Blessed Angela Truszkowska
Bł. Maria Angela Truszkowska
|Born||May 16th, 1825|
Kalisz, Congress Poland
|Died||October 10, 1898 (aged 73)|
Kraków, Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Beatified||April 18, 1993, St. Peter's Square, Vatican City by Pope John Paul II|
Angela Truszkowska (May 16, 1825 - October 10, 1899) was an unusually pious Polish nun who has been beatified by the Roman Catholic Church. Foundress of the Felician Sisters, she forged one of the first active-contemplative communities that, nearly a century and a half later, would grow to include more than 1,800 vowed Sisters over four continents serving in an array of ministries.
Sophia Camille Truszkowska was born in Kalisz, Poland in 1825, the eldest of seven children of Joseph and Josephine Rudziñska Truszkowska. Her days as a young student were characterized by schoolwork and reading, as well as daily Mass, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. At the same time, her compassion for the underprivileged grew as she gained invaluable insight into the social ills and issues of her time from her father, a juvenile court judge. When Sophia was twelve years old, her father was appointed Registrar of Deeds, and the family moved to Warsaw.
At the age of sixteen, Sophia contracted tuberculosis. The family physician recommended a rest in Switzerland to restore her health. After a year, Sophia returned to Warsaw and left boarding school in order to study privately at home. With access to her father’s vast library collection, she continued her study of Latin and her already fluent knowledge of French. She also pursued studies in contemporary philosophy, ethics, and social thought.
At one point, Sophia had considered joining a cloistered community of Sisters, but soon joined the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and began ministering as a lay woman to the abandoned children and homeless on the streets of Warsaw. In time, she opened a shelter to give comfort and aid to this vulnerable population. At the suggestion of her spiritual director, Capuchin Franciscan Father Honorat Kozminski, she joined the secular Third Order of St. Francis, taking the name of Angela. In 1855 she rented a small house near the Church of the Virgin Mary for the orphaned girls and elderly women whom she gathered off the streets. It became known as the "Institute of Miss Truszkowska".
Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Felix of Cantalice
Sophia, who was now known as Mother Angela, decided to consecrate herself totally to God and forged a new religious community steeped in the values and ideals of Saint Francis of Assisi.
Due to an increasing number of women and children, it was necessary for Sophia to find a larger home for the Institute of Miss Truszkowska. Sophia and Clothilde left their homes to live at the Institute and care for the residents there. On the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, November 21, 1855, Sophia, who was known by her lay tertiary name of Angela, and her cousin Clothilde Ciechanowska, praying before an icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, solemnly dedicated themselves to do the will of Our Lady's Son, Jesus Christ. For the Felician Sisters, this day is considered the official founding day of the "Congregation of the Sisters of St. Felix of Cantalice".
This new community embodied the active-contemplative model of St. Felix of Cantalice, the first Capuchin Franciscan to be canonized. In 1857, she and several associates took the Franciscan habit. Sophia took the new name of Mary Angela. The Sisters were often called the “Sisters of Saint Felix” or “Felicians” by the people of Warsaw, becoming known as the "Felician Sisters", the name that is commonly used today.
The sisters expanded their work among the Greek Catholics in Podlasie, where she established a number of houses in which the sisters conducted centers for peasant children. with the outbreak of the January Insurrection (1863) the centers were converted into hospitals where the wounded rebel soldiers received care.
Mother Angela was scarcely forty-four years old when she withdrew from active leadership in her Congregation due to increasing deafness. She saw the order grow and expand, including missions to the United States among the sons and daughters of Polish immigrants. She died on October 10, 1899.
- "Blessed Mary Angels", Felician Sisters of North America
- ""Blessed Mary Angela Truszkowska, Patron of the Sick", Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Felix of Cantalice". Archived from the original on 2016-06-30. Retrieved 2014-10-15.
- Foley O.F.M., Leonard. "Blessed Mary Angela Truszkowska", Saint of the Day, Lives, Lessons and Feast, (revised by Pat McCloskey O.F.M.), Franciscan Media
- "Blessed Mary Angela", Museum and Archives of Mary Angela Truszkoska
- Blessed Mary Angela R.C. Parish, Dunkirk, New York
- "Mother Mary Angela Truszkowska", Felician Sisters, Lodi, New Jersey Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine