Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen!
We, Sisters of the Most Holy Soul of Christ, zealously and humbly prayed before, during, and after Hurricane Irma to the Almighty and Merciful Father to watch over us with love.
We also begged the Immaculate Mother of the Mystical Body of Christ to take us and the whole human family under Her protection. United into one family of God, we give highest praise to the Most Holy Soul of Christ for His infinite mercy, compassion, and His protection over us and all of our beloved friends, benefactors, families of St. Joseph Church and School and everyone whom we know because of Him.
We send special warm appreciation and thankful thoughts and prayers to our Dearest Sisters of our Community under the leadership of Mother General, M. Aurelia Nowak in Poland, to our parents, siblings, and all who embraced us by love, prayers, and outstanding support. Thank you for the loving concern of our Most Reverend Bishop Barbarito and the priests of our Diocese and St. Joseph Parish.
With thankful hearts, prayers, humble gratitude and deep trust in Jesus living in our souls, we love you all. With your prayers we were blessed with no damage to our Convent and Chapel. We suffered only a few days with no electricity. These difficult circumstances strengthened our faith and union with Christ and with each other.
Sr. Anita with Sisters, Stuart, Florida
Praised be Jesus Christ!
Who do you want to be when you grow up? I started to ponder this question when I was about eleven years old. My best friends and I were often playing games and trying to figure out our futures. As the oldest of four children, I enjoyed my family life with my parents and grandparents. I grew up in the southeast part of Poland in a little village where almost everyone owned and worked on a family run farm. I played with my friends, took care of my younger siblings, and helped out my mom at home and on the farm. I especially relished watching over the cows in the field. I loved to be in the fields where I had plenty of time to sing, pray, read, and think, “Who do I want to be?”
I always cherished family life and imagined myself as a wife and stay at home mom of four, five, or six children. I also thought about having a profession, and the most appealing for me was dancing and modeling. I loved dancing and watching shows on fashion and design. But, I learned that one day I would have to retire. Deep in my heart I desired to be someone who never steps down and stays at her post to the last breath. The answer came during Faith Formation class. One day our catechist, Fr. Pastor, introduced us to a young, happy priest in a white cassock. It was a religious priest working as a missionary in Congo, Africa. Since that day I knew that I want to be someone like him. I consider this meeting as a pivotal event in my life in regards to my religious life. I didn’t have any perception of consecrated life, except that I sensed it as a vocation to offer oneself totally to God and neighbor.
Since that time my personal relationship with Jesus and the Blessed Mother grew stronger. I became much more involved in our church as a lector, cantor, and a member of our youth group. I helped with training young children for Corpus Christi, preparing Eucharistic Adoration, and prepared special prayer services. Slowly, Jesus became a very important Person in my life. For instance, I enjoyed many social events during middle school, but the longing for the daily Eucharist was stronger. Sometimes during a social I used to slip away for the evening Holy Mass. Thanks to the gentle guidance of my Fr. Pastor I got to learn about various religious communities.
When I was in eighth grade one of my girlfriends shared with me an invitation for a “Come and See” retreat with the Sisters of the Most Holy Soul of Christ. I went with her out of curiosity. I wanted to know how the Sisters really lived and what they looked like. Our Foundress, Mother Paula Sophia Tajber, writes, “Whoever wears a religious habit must have a heart of gold and a soul like the sun that enlightens, warms, and motivates life.” It was that joy and warmth that drew me to the Sisters of the Most Holy Soul of Christ. After the retreat, deep in my heart I knew that this was the life I was longing for. I left the Sisters with the words, “I will be back.” I came and shared my desire with my parents, but they said that I was too young for that decision. So, I finished the eighth grade thinking that I have to be older to answer Jesus’ call.
After graduating from middle school I was accepted to a boarding nursing high school. During summer vacation I went to another “Come and See” retreat with the Sisters of the Most Holy Soul of Christ. When I was leaving home my mom said, “Goodbye, but please come back!” I jokingly answered, “Maybe I will be back?” It was during that retreat that I met Sisters working as missionaries in Cameroon, Africa and decided to speak with the Mother General of the Community to ask for acceptance.
I was fourteen and half when I joyfully announced to my astonished parents that I was accepted by the Sisters. With tears in my eyes I begged them for their permission and a blessing. My parents were speechless. I didn’t persuade them, just gave them the facts and time. I spent time in prayer, hoping that their answer would be “Yes.” And it happened! On Saturday, August 22, 1993 my whole family drove me to Cracow to the Sisters of the Most Holy Soul of Christ. That was twenty-two years ago. During that time I went through a timely formation. First, as a candidate and a high school student, next a postulant, then a novice, and later as a sister during temporary vows studying in college and working as a catechist. Finally, after all those years of formation and prayer, with a heart full of love and hope, I came to a conclusion, that Jesus is the Person with whom I want to grow old with, and that I want to start my eternity now. On Sunday, August 1, 2004 during the Eucharist, I vowed to the Triune God to live in poverty, chastity, and obedience according to the Constitutions of our Community. On that day of my final profession I was surrounded by my joy-filled parents, siblings, extended family, and friends. Since that day, with grateful heart and relying on His assistance, I follow Jesus, my Divine Spouse.
I would like to end with words of the Lord which often come to my mind, “Everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of My name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life” (Mt 19:29). I can tell that this is true. From the time I said “yes” to Jesus, He has always surrounded me with people who are as dear and loving as a father, a mother, siblings, or spiritual children would be. Additionally, He has given me another homeland, the United States of America.
Praised be Jesus Christ!
My name is Sr. Martina Bednarz. I am a Sister of the Soul of Christ and I am thankful to God the Father for the gift of my vocation. I was born into a large family in the beautiful mountains of Poland; I have six sisters, and no brother. As a child, I often went to All Saints Church in my Parish. My Mom made sure that we children went to the church to pray, not only on the weekend, but also during the week. She urged us especially to go to church in October to pray the rosary and in May to sing the Loreto Litany to Our Lady.
A far as I remember in my childhood, I had never thought about being a Religious Sister; it was simply because I didn’t know anything about this kind of life, and I had never met and talked to the Sisters. However, I have to say that I had wonderful parents, who taught me that if I wanted to be happy, God needed to be part of my life. They didn’t use a lot words, but showed it by their example. I am thankful to my Dad, who is still alive, and to my Mom, who is watching me from Heaven. She passed away a few years ago.
When I was in 7th Grade, to my surprise, I felt such a strong inner calling to religious life that I couldn’t keep it to myself. I still remember the time and the place when that happened. I ran right away to my Dad to share this joyful news with him. Since that time, he has been very supportive.
He helped me to contact the Sisters of my Community in Krakow. I entered this Community after I finished 8th Grade. In September 1988, I made my First Vows of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience. Still being in a formation stage of a Professed Sister, I received two assignments; first, I was to study to become a Religion teacher and, at the same time, I was to teach religion to children from Kindergarten through sixth grade. I felt so blessed to do this. I loved seeing the children every day. In 1993 I made my Final, Perpetual Vows. Through this act, I stated that I wanted to belong to Christ forever. One year later God revealed His Divine Will through my Superiors to send me to the United States. This assignment was not easy for me, but looking at the example of Our Blessed Lady, I said, “Yes,” like her. Just now, when I think about it, I am very happy that I answered God’s call in that way, and I am thankful to God for His graces.
In 1994 I arrived in Granby, MA. Then, in 1997, I came with Sr. Matthew and Sr. Anita to Florida. In the beginning, we all worked at St. Raphael Family Life Center- a retreat house in Palm City. This house belonged to our Diocese of Palm Beach. While working for the diocese, we were invited by a previous pastor of St. Joseph Parish and the Principal of the school to work in the school. Since the year 2000, I have been working at St. Joseph School full time and in the Parish with the children of different ages. God has truly blessed me with them. Children are precious, and I am happy to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with them. I find teaching children very rewarding; I always learn something beautiful from them.
Being aware of leaving some more space in this bulletin for all the activities and happenings in this parish, I shared just a little story of my wonderful journey with Jesus, so you know me a little more. Please pray for us Sisters here at St. Joseph, that we will fulfill God’s will in our lives. Also, please pray for more Religious Sisters, Brothers and Priests for our Catholic Church and also for the Congregation of the Sisters of the Soul of Christ. Maybe there is someone in our Parish or school who hears God’s voice, and your prayers may give him or her the courage and faith to answer Him. God can truly make you happy. God bless you all!
Praised be Jesus Christ!
God’s call to undivided love!
By Sister Anita (Aniela) Gabarczyk, CACh
The Lord our Savior calls each one of us by name to know Him, His call is a personal one, a Person – to – person call. I understood at a very young age that Jesus was asking something very special of me. I cannot explain exactly how I knew; it originated from nothing external, only a deep awareness within my own soul. Jesus’ call came gently, softly, and quietly into the sanctuary of my soul on the day of my First Holy Communion. I believe that Jesus loves me and that He wants me to have all that is best for me. It’s much greater than anything I can ever wish, understand or pray for. Knowing this, I cannot help but love Him and joyfully serve Him. All I had to do was to completely surrender myself to His Divine Will.
The Lord manifested His protective love through my family by granting me the grace of being born into a practicing Catholic family. I was born in a small village in southern Poland near the Tatry Mountains that rise 8,199 feet high. The oldest of 13 children I helped my parents raise my younger siblings. The atmosphere of our home was permeated with serenity, hard work, simplicity, frugality, and lots of joy. The Holy Rosary was recited each evening and my mother prayed the consecration to the Blessed Mother of Czestochowa, Queen of Poland. This simple life had its profound influence on me and increased my desire to answer Jesus’ call throughout my middle school years.
During those school years, the Sacrament of Confirmation enlightened me further and strengthened my desire to answer the call. Early on my mother recognized my desire to follow a vocation dedicated to Christ. Finally, kneeling before my parents I asked them for their blessing to follow my heart. Joyfully, that same day I was accepted into the congregation of the Sisters of the Most Holy Soul of Christ the Lord. On August 5, 1989 I humbly took the Final Profession of Vows to a life of poverty, chastity and obedience. On the day of spiritual union, Jesus brought with His Divine Presence incomparable gladness into my soul. My profession ring is engraved with; “Jesus my Spouse!” Yes! He is my All! “For to me life is Christ…” Phil 1:21. One day, I was asked by Mother General if I would like to go to America. I was astounded by this request! I had never thought about America but answered “let it be done to me according to Jesus’ Will”. I began my apostolic work in America on August 16, 1990 working in Granby and Chicopee, Massachusetts. Next, I became acquainted with Father Justin Rosary Hour the Polish radio station in Athol Spring, New York.
In the year of 1997our Community came to the Diocese of Palm Beach in Florida, and I began my service at Saint Raphael Family Life Center in Palm City. Few years later, our Community received an invitation to work in the parish and school of Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Stuart, Florida. The opening of our convent followed shortly afterwards in 2003.
I can say that there is no greater joy and freedom in life than knowing that you are doing God’s Will. Presently, my days are filled with events surrounding the Catholic school and parish classroom. Jesus Christ comes to me in the midst of these everyday fragments: the smiling face of a child, a life filled with suffering and a thirst for hope, a human heart looking for someone to talk with. The powerful source of undivided fidelity and strength to follow Jesus’ call always comes into my soul from the Most Holy Eucharist, love for adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, prayers, and motherly protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Without Jesus’ Presence I can do nothing. I place all my hope in Him who lives in my soul, and I ask Him daily to inflame my whole being with the fire of His love.
Thank you very much for your love, prayers and support. May the Most Holy Soul of Christ, Ark of all the Graces and Gifts be always your Best Reward.