The Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception
of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary
(also known as Marians of the Immaculate Conception (MIC))
The Congregation of Marian Fathers is the first monastic order to have been founded on Polish soil. It was established during the second half of the 17 th century by Blessed Fr. Stanislaw Papczynski (1631-1701). His desire was for the new monastic family to in particular, promulgate reverence for Mary Immaculate, help the poor souls suffering in purgatory, and surround with its care the most needy and most neglected faithful. The order grew rapidly and as quickly as the 18th century it had become an international community.
Following the crushing of the Polish uprising in January 1863, the Tsarist authorities worked towards dissolving the monastic communities, including the Marian Fathers, leaving the monks but a single monastery at Mariampol, in Lithuania as their home. By 1908, only a sole Marian remained there, the Superior General, Father Vincent Sekowski. The day the community would cease to exist appeared to be close at hand. But God's plan for the mission of the congregation had not, in fact, reached its end.
Blessed Jerzy Matulewicz (1871-1927) a bishop, and professor at the Imperial Roman Catholic Theological Academy (now the Saint Petersburg Roman Catholic Theological Academy) recognizing the possibility of reviving the order, went in 1909, still as a diocesan priest, to Fr. Sekowski and clandestinely joined the Marian Fathers. As part of the underground movement against the Tsarist authorities, he began to fulfil God's intention to rescue the community, which from that moment began to grow rapidly: whereas in 1911 it had only three members, some fifteen years later it could count over thirty religious priests and brothers. So, thanks to the devoted obedience to the will of God and great courage of the order's reviver, the Marian Fathers underwent a great rebirth. We also have two blessed martyrs (Fr. Jerzy Kaszyra and Fr. Antoni Leszczewicz) who, during World War II, voluntarily gave themselves up to death, together with their parishioners and, in so doing, thanks to the Grace of God, proved themselves to be good shepherds, who sacrificed their lives for the flock entrusted unto their care.
Currently, our congregation is about five-hundred strong. We work in 18 countries around the globe (USA, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, Rwanda, England, Portugal, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Latvia, Belarus, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Italy and Poland). We have 22 monastic houses in 18 locations throughout Poland. We carry out pastoral work at the Marian shrines in Lichen and in Stoczek Warminski, as well as pastoral care in parishes in such locations as Puszcza Marianska (our oldest monastery is here), in Warsaw, Gozlin, Elblag, Grudziadz, Skorc (where we also have a Novitiate), Gora Kalwaria (where the postulancy is spent) and in Lublin (where our seminary is located, adjacent to our parish there). We also have retreat centres in the mountains (in Rzepiska, Rdzawka and in Zakopane), by the sea (Grzybowo nr Kolobrzeg) as well as in Sulejowek (near Warsaw).
Our engagement in the community takes on many forms: we lead and support missions, provide pastoral care, give catechetical instruction to children and the youth, and also work as parish priests. Some of our monks are authors, or work in publishing, or as academics at the Catholic University of Lublin (KUL) and at the Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw. A number of priests are hospital chaplains. We run the Apostolate of Divine Mercy, promote the issue of sobriety and also work with married couples in family clinics (e.g. NaProTECHNOLOGY).