The most remarkable of these was probably that of the Silesian Anna Marianna Nietch (1766 – 1822), who, having read the lives of ss. Euphrosia and Marina, who lived dressed as men, conceived a desire to imitate them, though her parents wanted to marry her off. Dressed as a man she went to find herself a monastery. The Dominicans in Gidle did not accept her, but the gate opened for “Joseph Werner” at the Dominican house in Sieradź. A few months later, during a celebratory dinner in the refectory, a visiting nobleman was convinced that one of the brothers serving was a woman.  He bet a village on it against the prior. When the novice master realised that the nobleman had not been mistaken, he fainted.  In the night the Dominicans shipped Miss Nietch to the convent of the Dominican nuns in Piotrków [Trybunalski], where she contributed greatly to the renewal of the community in the 1790s, and at the beginning of the C19 she attempted to save the convent in Sochaczew.

From a review of  Dzieje Klasztoru Mniszek Dominikańskich w Piotrkowie Trybunalskim  (Piotrków Trybunalski 2009).

This is particularly interesting in the context of the utterly bizarre frenzy over the Field/Dorries amendment.

A few years ago two women were invited on to a Polish current affairs programme to comment on the introduction of compulsory sex education for schoolchildren. One was Joanna Najfeld, who in the course of the discussion said the following apropos a woman known precisely for her campaigning to bring about more abortions:

“Ms Nowicka’s organisation is part of an international concern, generally one of the largest, of providers of contraception and abortion. Ms Nowicka is on their payroll. “

Nowicka took the young publicist to court for this statement. Today Joanna Najfeld was cleared of defamation. The party bringing the charge has to allow the proceedings to be public – which Nowicka has not done.

The financial aspect is so obviously suspicious in the case of the abortion and contraception business  that it is very odd that the libertarian bloggers who so eagerly sniff out this sort of dodginess in other cases (see fakecharities.org) didn’t worry about it in the case of the Field/Dorries amendment.  Though when one considers people have been programmed to equate prolife=Nazi, it’s probably not that odd.

(The author is writing about the meaning of vocation, and has gone on to describe the vocation to marriage and to the religous life. She continues:)

 There is a third way – consecration to God in the world. Cecila Plater-Zyberkówna writes that „it differs from the first two in that God most often makes it known only later in life”, that it often matures in the soil of what appear to be failures. Young people engaged in some task, entangled in some unusual domestic situation and responsible for it, not finding (despite their desire to do so) a person suitable for them or rejected by someone in whom they were interested – remain alone. Plater-Zyberkówna writes „this does not all happen by chance (for a Christian there is no such thing). They are circumstances permitted or brought about by Providence for rational and deep ends which should not be missed. In these ways God says to souls not to enter into marriage, but to give themselves to him for the carrying out of many tasks that can only be carried out by people in the world consecrated to God and at the same time flexible, familiar with a given area of life or society, well prepared for the performance of their profession, trade or function”. Their task is to sanctify the world from within. They do not as a rule leave their place in society. They are in families, in the work place, in social life and the life of society. The fact of consecration changes nothing on the outside. The consecration must let down roots in ordinary human life in order to bring God into it, in order to save the world by imparting to it the fire of love brought to earth by Christ and by pouring His spirit into every area of life. Christ does not wish to take them out of the world, but to guard them from sin.

Taken from a text posted by Pianticellawhom I caused to wipe four days of work sorting WYD photos by gmail-chat-quizzing her about Calvinist novels as she performed a crucial Picasa maneouvre(?sp?). 

Established in Poland in 1971.

Mary is the Mother of the Church. Theologians have given the Mother of God this title from the beginning of the Church, as in the past century the popes Leo XIII, John XXIII and Paul VI have done. The Polish bishops submitted a Memorial [??] to Paul VI, with the fervent plea that he declare Mary the Mother of the Church, and once more give the whole family of mankind to her maternal heart. On 16th September 1964 during the third session of the Vatican council, Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński, in the name of seventy Polish bishops, gave a speech [there’s a word for this, isn’t there? Anyone?] in which he showed the necessity of declaring Mary the Mother of the Church. He drew on the experience of the Polish nation, for whom the Mother of Christ, present in its history and whom it had always invoked, had been refuge, help and victory. The Polish bishops also worked hard to see that doctrine about Our Lady was included in the Constitution on the CHurch, since this underlines the dignity of Mary as the Mother of the Church, and her active presence in the mystery of Christ and the Church.

In 1968 Paul VI confirmed his declaration on the Mother of the Church in the “Pauline Creed”. The Polish episcopate then added a new invocation to the Litany of Loretto, “Mother of the Church, pray for us”. They also appealed to the Holy See for this petition to be added to the Litany throughout the Church, and that the feast of Our Lady Mother of the Church be likewise established in the whole Church.

[from brewiarz.pl, trans. bat Ionah]

I sat at the desk at which a certain ks. dr hab. Karol Wojtyła lectured:


I sat at the desk at which the late great fr Mieczysław Krąpiec OP died two years ago, in the middle of an article:

And I met a man who built spaceships!  But I have no photo of him.  Here’s his wife lecturing in the room in which fr Krąpiec did most of his teaching:

I stayed first a week with the parents and teenage sister of Pianticella, some ten miles to the south of Lublin; glorious countryside, a jacuzzi bath and sandwiches made for me every morning by her mum. The second week I stayed with the graduate student who was partly responsible for organizing the lecture series I was attending – he and his wife have a flat next to the bus stop “Majdanek Pomnik”. Easily identified.  They were most hospitable, and we sat up late a couple of times talking about everything and nothing.  The week finished with three-course lunch cooked by them for the Mrs Guest Lecturer and Mr Spaceships, when Mrs Host said “why  keep dragging them around restaurants?” What with the lectures themselves, Gilson Society conferences, meeting my employers, having my French pronounciation angst cured, new shoes, new books, old books, … I made a good decision when I decided to go.

Great mother of the God-Man, most holy virgin, I, Jan Kazimierz, by the grace of your Son the King of Kings and my Lord, and by your mercy, king, falling at your most holy feet, take you to be my patron and queen of my dominions. I recommend myself and my Polish kingdom, my dukedoms of Lithuania, Ruthenia, Prussia, Mazovia, Samogitia, Livonia, Smoleńsk and Czernichow, and the armies of both nations and all my peoples, to your particular care and protection. In this woeful condition of my kingdom, full of calamities, I humbly implore your pity and help against the enemies of the Roman Church. And since, constrained by your remarkable kindnesses, I and my nation burn with a new and zealous desire to consecrate ourselves to your service, I swear, in my name as in that of my senators and my peoples, to you and to your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, that I will spread your praises and devotion to you through all the lands of my kingdom.

I promise and vow that when by your powerful intercession and the great mercy of your Son, I gain victory over the enemies and especially over the Swedes, I will ask the Apostolic See that this day be celebrated every year for ever in thanksgiving to you and your Son, and with the bishops of the kingdom I will strive that what I swear be carried out by my peoples.

Since with great sadness of heart I see that on account of the cries and oppression of the serfs the plagues of pestilence, war, and other calamities have these seven years fallen on my kingdom from the hands of your Son, the just Judge, I further swear and vow that when peace comes I, and all the estates, will use means to free the people of my kingdom from unjust burdens and oppression.

 And since you, most merciful Queen and Lady, have inspired the thought of these vows in me, my senators and the estates of my kingdom, do you bring about that I may obtain from your Son the grace of fulfilling them.

Last May, the surface of my street was ripped up, and its venerable (well, not that venerable, there were only fields here till the fifties) cobbles revealed. The surface was laid in one go by the most remarkable machine (German, of course). I spent a long time goggling from the balcony that day, first admiring the Amazing Machine and then enchanted  by the  Dance of the Yellow Baby Bulldozers that went on for some time in celebration afterwards.  And I’ve finally managed to get the photos off my phone and onto the ‘puter.


From the FCO email update thing I get:

Minister for Europe David Lidington and Minister for Equalities Lynne Featherstone have spoken ahead of Belgrade Pride this Sunday.

“The pride season is now drawing to a close, and as ever it has acted as a reminder that we all need to continue to promote equal opportunities and continue to work towards equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people. There have been so many successful pride events around the world, and as we look forward to Belgrade Pride it is heartening to see the events being so well supported.

This government is determined to take the action needed to build a fairer society, both in the UK, around Europe and across the world.”


Haven’t noticed the Warsaw Gay Pride thing being about a fairer society. Here in Poland assorted feminists and gay activists are  trying to bring down the equal opportunities minister because she’s a Catholic!  (There’s another oxymoronic movement-in-the-name-of-non-discrimination to introduce male/female quotas for MPs …)

Two years ago a 14 year old girl from Lublin became pregnant. She agreed to an abortion, though it seems only because she couldn’t persuade her mother to let her have the baby. Several hospitals refused to carry out the abortion, citing among other reasons that the girl often changed her mind, and they could not be sure that she wanted it. The mother and her daughter contacted the ministry of health and asked to be directed to a hospital that would carry out the procedure – the minister for health Ewa Kopacz, who later declared herself a church-going Catholic with nothing on her conscience, did so. This appears to have been what was required by Polish law.A priest-ethicist from a Catholic university said

I grieve over the situation of the 14 year old from Lublin, but a government minister must respect the law … the minister is not responsible for the fact that such is currently the law in Poland, but she is bound to respect it.

Thus the Reverend Professor dr. hab. Andrzej Szostek, MIC. Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life!

I am sure our three readers remember Fr Morrow's defence when in court for blocking access to abortion clinics:


as the Abortion Act is invalid, Fr Morrow had merely been acting to prevent unlawful killing of infants.

So was the minister justified in doing what she did?

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