Marcelina Darowska

Marcelina Darowska
Marcelina Darowska
Born January 16, 1827
Szulaki (present-day Ukraine)
Died January 5, 1911(1911-01-05) (aged 83)
Rome, Italy
Honored in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified October 6, 1996, Rome by Pope John Paul II

Blessed Marcelina Darowska (January 16, 1827 – January 5, 1911), was a Polish nun, who was beatified by Pope John Paul II at the Saint Peter's Square in Rome in 1996. She was inspired by the Virgin Mary to cofound the Congregation of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, an religious order today active in Poland, Belarus and Ukraine.


Childhood and marriage

Marcelina (or Marcellina) Kotowicz was born in Szulaki, then a part of Poland under Russian occupation. Her parents, Jan and Maksymilia Kotowicz, were wealthy landowners.[1] She attended for three years a school in Odessa; later she helped the father in the administration of his farm. It is said[by whom?] that already as a child she was very religious. As her father could not understand this, before his death he obtained her promise, that she would marry and found a family. At October 2, 1849 she married Karol Darowski, a land owner from Podolia. Her husband died already three years later by typhus, leaving her with two children, Jozef and Karolina. A year later her son died. She she confessed, not anymore to belong to a human (in Italian: "creature" -di non appartenere più ad alcuna creatura) [1] but to God.

For health reasons she travelled too Berlin, later to Paris. Finally she arrived at April 11, 1853 Rome.

Life as a nun

In Rome she met Fr. Hieronim Kajsiewicz, a Resurrectionist priest (CR) who became her spiritual director. At May 12, 1854 she spoke her vows of chastity and obedience in front of him. Kajsiewicz introduced her to a nun, Józefa Karska,[2] who became a close friend. Both women developed the idea of founding a religious community dedicated to the education and support of women in Poland. The new organization, the Congregation of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary was established in 1857 in Rome. When Karska died from typhus in 1860, Darowska became the Superior of the congregation. In 1863 she moved the community to her homeland, and at Jazłowiec, in the Archdiocese of Lviv, at the donated ruins of the local castle she opened the convent and a middle school for girls, which soon became an important spiritual and cultural centre.

In 1863 the congregation received the decretum laudis by the pope, in 1874 the final approval was confirmed and in 1889 the constitutions were accepted. In 1883 the congregation erected the Statue of the Immaculate Conception of the Godmother in the convents chapel in Jazłowiec, which was blessed by archbishop Sigismund Felix Feliński, and, in 1939, crowned by Polish primate August Cardinal Hlond.

During her 50 years activity as superior of the congregation, Darowska opened many preschools and schools in rural areas. In later age suffering by heavy cardiovascular disorder and headache, she died on January 5, 1911 in Jazłowiec, aged 83. She left seven convents with 350 sisters.

Approach and meaning

In 1904, the Polish writer Henryk Sienkiewicz wrote her: "Praise for your wise work and honour to your merit and goodness". Darowska answered: "I do not look at the results (praise) of our work. Those results do not belong to us. In case that they exist, they belong to God for the good of our beloved and actually divided country".

" ... to extend the kingdom of God in human souls and bring it into the world - this was the programme for her apostolic activity, born in the silence of a heart immersed in prayer. She wanted to do everything so that truth love and goodness would triumph in human life and transform the face of her beloved nation. Together with her sisters, she generously laboured in the exhausting task of building the kingdom of Christ, paying particular attention to the religious formation of the young generation, especially girls, to the growth of catechesis and to educational work. She assigned a particular role in life to the Christian woman as wife, mother and citizen of her country. ... The new blessed is an example of an apostolic faith that creates new ways for the Church to be present in the world and forms a more just and human society which abides and bears fruit in Christ."
—Pope John Paul II, from the proclamation of the beatification of Marcelina Darowska, October 6, 1996



  1. ^ a b (Italian) Antonio Borrelli, Beata Marcellina Darowska (Maria Marcellina dell’Immacolata Concezione) Fondatrice at
  2. ^ Józefa Karska; religious name: Maria Józefa of the crucified Christ (born April 7, 1823, Olchowiec, Lublin, Poland — died October 11, 1860, Rome)

External links

  • Congregations website about Marcelina Darowska
  • biography, rough translated
  • photo from Marcelina Darowska

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  • Marcelina Darowska — in Ordenstracht Marcelina Darowska (auch Marcellina geschrieben, * 16. Januar 1827 in Szulaki (damals Polen unter russischer Besetzung, heute Ukraine); † 5. Januar 1911 in Jazłowiec (heute Yazlovets, Ukraine) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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