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Guided to the Order by Blessed Father Kłopotowski

Prowadzona do zakonu przez bł. ks. Ignacego

The history of my religious vocation is linked to the founder of the Blessed Ignacy Kłopotowski who was distinguished by his particular devotion to the Mother of God.

I was born in the Lublin region where Father Kłopotowski worked and prayed for 17 years. In the tranquillity of forests and fields glittering with gold and silver from fields of grain, there is a tiny village called Majdan Sobolewski. This is where I spent my childhood. The village, surrounded by forest on all sides, was considered to be very poor, quiet and peaceful. Poor because there were only four classes in the primary school in this village. My siblings and I used to do our homework by the light of a paraffin lamp – the only source of light I liked very much.

When I was in 5th – 8th grades, in order to reach the school in the neighbouring village, we travelled among the fields and, in winter, through deep snowdrifts. We could say of our home in the words of the Polish poet M. Konopnicka: “Here hides an old cottage under a straw roof…” – it was a typical country cottage. On the outside were lime-whitened stripes, alternating with the colour of natural wood, and on the four sides of the house were crossed beams, the so-called “coals”. The roof was just covered with straw thatch. At this point I would like to quote the words of Blessed Father Ignacy Kłopotowski: “A GOOD BOOK, LIKE A SILENT MISSIONARY, WILL REACH EVERYWHERE, EVEN UNDER A VILLAGE THATCH”.

At home, I remember a magazine stitched into a thick book. Because my grandfather (mum’s dad) was a shoemaker, the only one for that area anyway, he carefully stitched many issues of this weekly into one book. On the first page was a title that caught the eye like a magnet: “POSIEW”. I started browsing through it as a child, although I was not interested in its editor (Fr. Ignacy Kłopotowski) at the time. Thus began a providential acquaintance with Blessed Fr. Kłopotowski. This priest passed away to heaven in 1931, so I never had the opportunity to meet him, but God nevertheless placed this blessed one in my life, like an angel, to look after me almost from childhood. Father Ignacy was a protector and a friend to everyone, as well as an editor of the good Catholic press.

I discovered a religious vocation in myself as early as the age of seven, but I didn’t reveal it to anyone. I loved it so much when we all – my siblings and my parents – knelt down to pray together. These were truly beautiful moments. I remember the day of my First Holy Communion; in fact, even then I thought I wanted to go to a religious order. In a long white dress I walked with my parents. It didn’t matter that the road to the church led 8 km through the forest. I walked proud and happy. I also remember the annual Midnight Mass before Christmas which I would attend with my family or neighbours under a sky full of stars and over creaking snow. With each passing year, the Lord Jesus solidified in me the desire to be a nun. I did not see any nuns around, nor did I dare to ask the priest who taught us religion (Fr. Jan Krzysztoń) about vocation matters. Fr. Krzysztoń went on a mission to Zambia where he worked for 40 years, but due to his health he returned to Poland and died in a hospital in Lublin on 24 May 2014. I kept asking myself, “to which religious order should I go?”.

One morning in May (I was already in eighth grade at the time), instead of going to school, I set off on a journey. There was a song: “Get on any train, don’t care about the luggage, don’t care about the ticket. Clutching a green pebble in your hand, watch everything fall behind…”. Maryla Rodowicz’s hit song was absolutely not a motivation to go on a journey. It was God’s inspiration and guidance. I passed Lubartów, a small town near Lublin where I was born and where – as I found out later – Father Kłopotowski extended his charitable activities. I arrived in Lublin. With only a few złotys in my pocket, I wondered where I could go next. At the train station, I spotted a price list for tickets and calculated that, with my school ID, it would be enough for a one-way trip to Warsaw. Where did I get so much strength and faith in Divine Providence, in the fact that God would take care of the return ticket? I don’t really know, although all I really wanted to do when I went to Warsaw was to find the monastery and STAY THERE FOREVER. The trains didn’t run often. As a 14-year-old girl, I waited at the train station in Lublin until midnight. In retrospect, I see that God put Fr. Kłopotowski beside me then, as he led me to the monastery he founded.

In the morning, around 4 a.m., I arrived in Warsaw. I was there for the first time in my life. I waited for it to lighten up and set off from the eastern station ahead of me. I thought: “I’ll go to the first church I see”. However, the first church unfortunately turned out to be the Orthodox Church of St. Mary Magdalene. I didn’t have to look for long because almost opposite it, the slender, tall towers invited me to St. Florian’s Church where years ago – I found out later – Fr Kłopotowski was the parish priest. He watched over me all the time. Mass was celebrated in the church. I prayed fervently to discern my path in life and to find the place where God wanted to have me. Fervent prayer and Holy Communion strengthened not only my soul, but also my body. After all, I didn;t have a penny for food. After Mass, I did not go to the sacristy for some information. I simply left the church and walked, as it turned out, in the direction of the Loretto sisters’ house – as if I had always known this road. In the street I asked a passing lady about the convent. She replied: “Miss, it’s close by now, please call there and the sisters will open”.

My plans were shattered when the Mother General (who at the time was Sister Cherubina Zagajewska) said that I could not join the order because I was not yet 15 and had not finished primary school. I was supposed to reach the appropriate age at the beginning of August, so I could arrive at the convent on 6 August. I was delighted with this decision! Mother General had been foresighted enough to ask if I had enough money for my ticket before bidding me farewell. Thus, she provided me with the necessary amount. So I returned home, confessed everything to my parents and eagerly awaited the day of entering the convent. During the holidays, I helped my parents and also worked in a neighbouring village for rich farmers, picking strawberries and currants to earn money for myself.

The longed-for day was approaching and I still had to listen to a lot of “sermons” from daddy who kept advising me against it. He reminded me that I was the eldest daughter and there were four little siblings at home (the youngest sister 11 years younger than me), so I should stay and help my mother. Through reading the Scriptures, God let me know the secret that “the first-born – belongs to God”. That’s why I didn’t discuss it and just packed up. Eventually, my dad said: “Since she is stubborn, maybe she will persevere…”.

The turning point in my life was 6 August 1978. On the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, the monastery gate opened to me, so that my life so far would be transformed into a new one – dedicated to God, immersed in His Love and Mercy. As I was driving to the monastery, in the course of my journey, I learned of the passing of Pope Paul VI to the House of the Father – it was a historic day and a historic year.

Another sign associated with my close association with Blessed Father Kłopotowski was the day of his joyful beatification. 19 June 2005 came exactly five years after my dad’s passing to eternity who passed away on 19 June 2000. It was also significant when my younger brother died in a mining hospital in Sosnowiec, after much suffering and dialysis for many years for failing kidneys on 7 September 2006. At the time, I was attending Mass at St. Florian’’s Cathedral in Warsaw – the very same church I once went to when I was looking for a monastery. Today, this church is already a cathedral. On 7 September 2006 the first liturgical commemoration of Blessed Fr. Kłopotowski was celebrated here (one year after his beatification). At that time I clutched a particle of the Blessed’s relics in my hand and prayed fervently for my sick brother Krzysztof. At that time my mother and two younger sisters were keeping vigil in the hospital. My brother did not recover, he fell asleep on earth to wake up in the arms of his Heavenly Mother. It happened on the eve of her feast. (8th September). My brother passed away on the same day as Blessed Ignacy Kłopotowski. That is why I believe that on the threshold of the Father’s home, together with the Blessed Virgin Mary, he – Blessed Father Ignacy Kłopotowski – the founder of our Congregation, was also waiting for Krzysztof.

My soul is still giving thanks because such great graces and gifts were given to me by the Almighty and Merciful Lord. May God be glorified!

Sister Anastazja Filipczuk


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