Wednesday’s Women: Celine and Hedwig Borzecka

by Melanie on June 28, 2017

in Catholicism, Nonfiction, Saints, Saints of the Americas, Sisterhood of Saints, Spirituality, Wednesday's Woman

Note: For the next several weeks I’ll be featuring women saints who knew each other personally–mothers and daughters, grandmothers and granddaughters, sisters, and friends.

The Basics: Celine Borzecka, born October 29, 1833, in Belarus; died October 26, 1913, in Poland; beatified October 27, 2007, by Benedict XVI; feast day October 26. Wife, mother, woman religious. Hedwig Borzecka, born February 1, 1863, in Poland; died September 27, 1906, in Poland; declaration of heroic virtue by John Paul II on December 17, 1982. Woman religious.


The Story: This is the story of a very special mother-daughter relationship. Hedwig Borzecka was only a few months old when she ended up in prison with her mother, Celine, who had shared food and shelter with Polish insurrectionists in what at the time was part of Russia. Fortunately, Joseph Borzecki was able to negotiate the release of his wife and daughter. It was just six years later, however, that Joseph suffered a serious stroke. Celine moved him, Hedwig and another daughter (also named Celine) to Vienna to provide her husband with better care. She was his nurse for the final years of his life. After his death, the three women (the younger Celine was already married at this point) went to Rome on a pilgrimage, and met Father Peter Semenenko, who had co-founded the Resurrectionists order and had hopes of beginning a congregation of women. Celine and Hedwig felt called to do so, and began a community in Rome with two other women. The future seemed dim when Father Semenenko died in 1886, but ultimately, the congregation was founded and the two Borzeckas professed their vows in 1891. The first house was established that fall in Poland.

Hedwig and Joseph

Hedwig was more retiring and shyer than her mother, but that did not stop her from engaging in a financially unsuccessful fundraising trip to France and Spain or from visiting the United States and Bulgaria to found additional communities. Hedwig was seen as the logical successor to her mother as the congregation’s leader until her sudden death at forty-three. Celine continued to guide the sisters until two years before her own death.

Their Wisdom: Despite what had to have been intense personal sorrow when Hedwig died, Celine said, “A soul is able to endure everything for the love of Jesus.”

What We Can Learn from Their Relationship: Celine and Hedwig not only loved each other as mother and daughter, but also respected each other’s unique charisms in working to bring souls to the Kingdom. It’s important not to let familiarity love blind us from the gifts of our mothers, daughters, sisters, and other relatives.

To Learn More About Them: Visit the site for the Congregation of the Sisters of the Resurrection, which also is rich with information about what the sisters are doing today.

To Learn More About Other Women Saints and Blesseds: Come back next week, or consider buying my book, Sisterhood of Saints: Daily Guidance and Inspiration.

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