Blessed Father Wojciech Nierychlewski (1903-1942) was born on 20th April 1903 in Dąbrowice near Kutno (Central Poland). At the age of twenty, he joined the Congregation of Saint Michael the Archangel on 28th September 1923. He made his vows on 15th October 1924; studied philosophy and theology at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. He graduated and was ordained on 20th July 1932.
During the Second World War he was in charge of the printing facility of the "Moderation and Work" magazine in Krakow. During a Gestapo inspection in 1941 he was arrested and imprisoned in the infamous prison in Montelupich in Krakow. A few years before the war had broken out, Blessed Father Wojciech had a discussion about a martyr with another priest. He confessed that he "would like to become a martyr for the faith, out of love and gratitude to the Crucified Christ." During a Gestapo inspection of the printing facility he could have followed his friends' advice and run away to save his life, but he replied: "No, I won't escape, because I prefer to suffer alone than to expose others or the Congregation to persecution." By doing so he saved the life of the technical manager of the printing facility, who was a father of a family. Blessed Father Wojciech gave the best testimony of love. In this way he became alike Christ, who sacrificed his life for his friends (cf. John 15,13).
At the beginning of 1942, he was taken away to Auschwitz concentration camp. There he died on 7th February, 1942 of pneumonia due to exhaustion from tortures and camp conditions. The culmination of the tortures was a "bath" in cold and hot water repeatedly.
Blessed Father Władysław Błądzyński (1908-1944) was born on 6th July 1908 in Myślatycze, province of Mościska, at present located in the Ukraine. Joined the Congregation of Saint Michael the Archangel on 1st August 1924, where he took vows on 12th December 1926. Having graduated from the Major Seminary in Przemyśl, he was ordained a priest on 26th June 1938. He devoted his life to educating and teaching poor youths in accordance with the adopted guiding principle of "Moderation and Work" in a local comprehensive and vocational secondary school in Pawlikowice near Wieliczka (neighbourhood of Krakow).
During the Second World War he organised and ran a secret secondary school although he knew it would mean punishment by the Nazis. He knew Hitler's Nazism well enough and was aware that it was aimed at the total annihilation of the Polish nation and destruction of the Roman Catholic faith. One day, during a Nazi inspection of his school premises, a Gestapo officer mocked the Catholic religion and Poland, claiming it would never be restored and that the Germans would surely rule the world. Father Władysław retorted without fear: "God is above the world and above the Germans. He will not let the Polish people die. The war is not over yet and the final victory is to be decided by God, not by the Germans."
During the last random inspection, on 24th April 1944, he was arrested and imprisoned in prison in Montelupich in Krakow. He refused to sign a paper, which claimed that the person responsible for the "crime" of teaching the Polish youths was his superior. Father Władysław assumed all the responsibility himself, thus dooming himself to conviction. In the August of 1944 he was sent to one of the hardest Nazi concentration camps, that of Gross-Rosen, where he was made to work in a quarry. This was a place where Nazi torturers showed no mercy at all, especially towards priests.
The approximate date of his death is 8th September 1944. One of his fellow inmates recalls his death: "One day the S.S. officers who supervised our work made the prisoners carry the heaviest stones. Father Błądziński carried them as long as he could, but at last he fell under one of them. That was the moment the guards were waiting for. One of them leapt to him, and began kicking him, and did not stop until Father Błądziński fell over the edge down the rocky precipice. He was never seen again. Blessed Father Władysław revealed his invincible faith and bravery. Sacrificing his life he gave proof of the most beautiful form of love towards Christ and his fellow man.
Powściągliwość i Praca (Temperance and Work) 1904, pp.73-74
The Two Pillars of Social Life
The world is falling apart because men have destroyed two pillars of social life. In education and in life they have placed the emphasis predominantly upon intellectual instruction and on science letting go of "work and temperance". Instead, our Creator, who knows what we need, better than we ourselves know, recommends, after having suffered the loss of bread and salvation, that we work with the sweat of our brow and that we be temperant. He expressly says to our first parents in Paradise "By the sweat of your brow shall you get bread to eat, until you return to the ground, from which you were taken." (Gen,3, 19) Jesus Christ in his Gospel adds: "If a man wishes to come after me, he must deny his very self, take up his cross and begin to follow in my footsteps" (Mt 16, 24) . This means: That not only I, your Saviour, have to work hard and suffer, but also all of you, my disciples, if you want to be with me in paradise, have to suffer and work, submitting your intellect, will and works to the prescriptions of the Commandments of God.
You must commit your body with all its senses and inclinations to the continual service of the Divine, fighting and working, day and night, for his glory during your whole life until death. "The flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh." (Gal. 5:17)
Work and temperance are not acquired easily. In order to avoid being overcome in battle we must rigorously control our body and all its natural inclinations, like a coachman holds on tightly to an untamed horse so that they both do not end up on the brink.
The Son of God, in human flesh walks before us lighting our path with his example, in order to lighten the burden which the Creator placed upon us and to exhort us to the voluntary renunciation of our very selves. Jesus worked willingly and by the sweat of his brow in St Joseph's shop, he endured the sufferings and the privations of daily life, finally he died on the cross suffering horrible pain. He did not spare himself he did not give in to anything in order to teach us how we are to live in every situation. His Mother, followed him closely, the sorrowful Mother who worked and suffered during her whole life. Behind her come the thousands of saints who "crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Gal:5:24).
Instead today, throughout the whole world and unfortunately among Christian nations, this command seems to resound: Let us seek to enjoy life to the fullest on this earth and to work as little as possible. Money, power, rest, diversion, pleasures and honours today constitute the ideal of all of humanity, while work by the sweat of the brow and Christian temperance are totally disvalued. Only those who are forced to do so work and suffer. Only very few work freely and are temperant in the spirit of Jesus Christ. The majority of today s people are not aware that work and Christian temperance obtain a hundredfold already on this earth. Abandonment of temperance, instead, brings about not only the risk of the eternal punishment of hell but also earthly disasters.
The effeminate world refuses to accept the bitter means of Christian mortification to heal the illnesses of the spirit. It is precisely mortification which heals the "things of the earth" (Phil.3, 19) and the inclinations which wound man's soul and lead to perdition. By means of mortification we pay, already on this earth, the temporal punishments which we have deserved because of our sins. Mortification raises our soul to heavenly realities and enables it to be united to God. Only those who are mortified have the gift of prayer which is indispensable for salvation. Christian mortification helps us to acquire, already on this earth, interior peace and the joy of the Spirit. Therefore, mortification, which consists of work and Christian temperance, constitutes the indispensable condition for, and is the source of spiritual wealth and of human happiness, in this present life and in the future.
Work and temperance are, thus, the most important pillars of social life. Only there, where they are solidly grounded, are well-being, health, strength, peace, freedom and independence possible.
We need not only instruct youth on these two pillars of social life but also to have them actively put them into practice, encouraging them by our own example. We need to pray, many times throughout the day, for the understanding and realization of these two conditions for happiness. We need to base our scholastic system and our whole education principally on these two pillars. Thus will we find abundant means for the social betterment of our people and neighbouring peoples. In this way the brotherhood of nations will be extended and a more glorious period in the history of humanity will dawn.
Lord our God, you choose people to be instruments of your unfailing goodness, raise into the glory of sainthood your servant Blessed Bronisław Markiewicz, for his concern for the salvation of people, especially abandoned children. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lord our God, you called Blessed Bronisław Markiewicz to be an apostle of your compassion to the poor and the abandoned of the world, especially your little ones. Grant that we, who strive to imitate his example, may respond to the challenges of our times in order to restore human dignity to all the people entrusted to our pastoral care. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Almighty and merciful God, who chose Blessed Bronisław to be Father and protector of abandoned youth; Grant, that encouraged by his example of hard work and temperance, we may faithfully carry out your will and be zealous in your service. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
The Congregation was founded by Blessed, Father Bronisław Markiewicz. Born on 13th July 1842 in Pruchnik near Jarosław (south-eastern Poland), he was a priest of the Przemyśl Diocese, and was a revered churchman recognised for his spirit of sacrifice. He was also professor of the local Major Seminary. From the very beginning of his priestly life, he was particularly sensitive towards the religious, moral, and material negligence of children and youth and to the misery of simple people. He spoke strongly against the national vices of the Polish nation. In his opinion the solution of social problems depended upon the proper education of young people and on changing the moral climate of the whole society.
Following the divine voice, he went to Italy and became a follower of Saint John Bosco. After seven years, in 1892, he returned to Poland and was put in charge of the parish in Miejsce Piastowe (south-eastern Poland). In addition to his pastoral work, he provided a widespread educational system, which not only included academics but also dealt with the spiritual and physical growth of the children, in the houses established by him. He soon thought of founding a new religious congregation.
On 23rd September 1923, he petitioned the Bishop of Przemyśl and the Pope to allow him to found the Congregation of St. Michael the Archangel. In spite of intensive efforts on his part, Father Markiewicz did not live to witness its approval and died on 29th January 1912. On 29th September 1921, Adam Stefan Sapieha, Bishop of Krakow, issued the Erecting Decree of the Congregation. On 15th June 1966, the Congregation w as affirmed under papal law. The beatification took place in Warsaw on June 19, 2005.
Epitaph of the Blessed Founder in St. Michael's Church. Our founder also gave the beginning to the Michaelite Sisters.
2751 Sunningdale Rd. W.
London, ON, N6H 5L2
Phone: 519 471 3180
Fax: 519 474 2156
al. J. Piłsudskiego 248/252,
05-261 Marki-Struga, Poland
tel. +(48 22) 781 14 90; 781 28 36,
fax +(48 22) 771 34 56
ul. Kazimierza Wielkiego 95
30-074 Kraków, Poland
Tel. +(48 12) 637 12 57
ul. Ks. Br. Markiewicza 25A
38-430 Miejsce Piastowe, Poland
Tel. +(48 13) 435 30 94; +(48 13) 433 80 70;
Fr. Robert Ryndak, CSMA
ul. Ks. Markiewicza 25a
38-430 Miejsce Piastowe, Poland
tel. +(48 13) 435 3010 or +(48 13) 794 506 065
A new version of our Coat of Arms was created by Adam Hanczakowski. It represents two important mottos closely related to the patron saint and spirituality of the Michaelite Fathers.
It displays a round coat divided into two fields. The colours yellow and red beautifully depict the spirit of the first defender of God’s glory, St. Michael. On the right there is a red sword of fire, the symbol of St. Michael, which expresses the first motto of our Congregation – “Who is like God”. On the left, there are three ears of wheat and above them, Fleur de lis. The ears of wheat symbolize prosperity, richness, and prudence. Liturgy of the Mass expresses it in these words: … gift of bread which human hands have made to become for us the bread of life …
Fleur de lis is an old symbol of royalty, nobility, and the symbol of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For us it symbolizes purity and innocence that signify the second motto of our Congregation – "Temperance and Work".
A Catholic man who has the required attributes and no obstacles in canon law, and intends to follow the charism of the Michaelites, may join the Community as a brother or as a priest.
Postulate: It can take place in every house of the Congregation and lasts for several weeks (for candidates for the priesthood) or for the half year (for candidates for the brothers). At that time, superiors will recognize the suitability of the candidate for the order, and the candidate will gain a preliminary knowledge of life within the congregation to which he will become part of.
Novitiate: This is the year of discernment of one's vocation, intensifying spirituality and making the decision. Novitiate ends with the profession of temporary vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. Currently novitiate for candidates takes place in Poland, Paraguay, and Papua New Guinea. It can also be initiated in any of our provinces, vice-provinces or delegations.
Seminary: Six to eight years of studying philosophy and theology. During the studies seminarians have a pastoral year in one of the parishes or educational facilities. Culmination of this stage is ordination to the priesthood. Different provinces and vice-provinces offer opportunities for formation and studies in countries where Michaelites are present: Australia, Paraguay, Italy, Germany and Canada.
The Congregation of Saint Michael the Archangel (C.S.M.A.), also known as the Michaelite Fathers, is a community of brothers and priests who choose Jesus Christ as the primary object of their love and the example to follow. The apostolic activity of the Congregation concentrates on the ethical and educational teaching of children and youths who are neglected both morally and materially.
We run several orphanages and oratories, which provide children with professional help in learning, assistance as they grow up and oftentimes, a simple meal. This help takes place at numerous summer and winter holiday camps and events and is supported by various groups and programs, which exist in our parishes.
We help by teaching religion, the gospel and by our priestly service. In our work we strive to bring God's Word to people whose religious lives have been neglected and whose courage and self-denial need to be strengthened. We try to teach prudence, persistence and diligence in work. We do our best to show the value and the beauty of a life in which God is most important.
We also run a publishing house called "Wydawnictwo Michaelineum". At present our Congregation has 347 members, comprised of 262 priests, 6 deacons, 19 brothers, 50 seminarians and 10 novices. Fourteen priests, nine seminarians, one brother and two novices come from other countries.