Blessed Mother Celine Chludzinska Borzecka
Born: October 29th, 1833 Died: October 26th, 1913
What she said
"Give me the happiness, Lord, to place myself completely in your hands."
What the world was like
Blessed Mother Celine lived during an event-filled time in the world and in Church history. In 1861 the Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed. From December 1869 to October 1870, Pope Pius IX convened the First Vatican Council in Rome. But the council was ended when Italian revolutionaries threatened the conclave.
Unrest was felt all over Europe. Part of Poland was already under Russian rule. A new German Empire was founded under the direction of Otto von Bismarck. He began a program of persecution against Catholics. This, in part, was done in response to the Vatican Council's proclamation of papal infallibility -- the divine guarantee that the pope's official statements of doctrine regarding faith and morals are free from error.
During this period of persecutions and political upheavals, the nineteenth century was also a time when religious woman were founding orders throughout Europe and the world. These brave and holy woman, like Blessed Mother Celine, were striving, in her words "to bring about the moral and religious rebirth of society."
Who she was
Celine Rosalie Chludzinska was born in Poland in 1833. Celine's parents had a deep faith and love for God and the Blessed Mother. Celine, her brother, and her sister were taught to live simply and to help the poor. Celine referred to these early years as the "golden years of my childhood." The day Celine made her First Holy Communion was a turning point in her life. She desired to give her life totally to God.
Celine came from a wealthy family, and as a teenager, she was a socialite. There were many young men who wanted to marry her. In her heart she still felt God was calling her to be a Sister. But her parents arranged for her to marry a young man named Joseph Borzecka. Celine called on her bishop, and he advised her to obey her parents and to marry Joseph. Celine followed the bishop's advice as God telling her what He wanted her to do with her life.
Celine and Joseph grew to love each other. They had four children -- two daughters, Celine and Hedwig, and two who died as infants. When her daughter Celine was 11 and Hedwig was 6, their father Joseph had a stroke. He suffered with paralysis and died five years later.
Celine and her daughters moved to Rome, Italy where she continued to raise them. Her oldest daughter Celine married while Hedwig thought that God was calling her to be a Sister.
During this time, Celine met a wonderful priest, Father Peter Semenenko. Celine went to Father Peter for spiritual help and confession. He recognized how much she loved God, and she told him she still felt God was calling her to be a Sister. Father Peter helped both Celine and her daughter Hedwig to realize their vocations to religious life.
Father Peter had helped to begin the order of the Fathers of the Resurrection. Celine believed God was calling her to begin the Sisters of the Resurrection. For ten long years, both Celine and her daughter Hedwig prayed and worked to found and form the community of the Sisters of the Resurrection. On January 6, 1891, the Church allowed both Celine and Hedwig to make their vows, and the community of the Sisters of the Resurrection was established! This was the first time in the history of the Catholic Church that a religious community was founded by a mother and daughter.
From 1891 until 1906, both Mother Celine and Mother Hedwig began missions in Poland, Bulgaria, and the United States. Mother Hedwig died very suddenly at 43 years old. Mother Celine, who was already in her 70s, continued to build up the new community. She prayed and worked hard. She traveled extensively to support the Sisters and help them live as true witnesses of the Resurrection. On October 26, 1913 she was on her way to visit the Sisters in Warsaw, Poland and other convents in Poland when she died.
What does she mean to us today?
Mother Celine Chludzinska Borzecka is a "woman for all seasons." In her almost 80 years of life, she was a wife, a concerned citizen, a mother, a young widow, a single parent, a grandmother and great-grandmother, a Sister, a founder of a religious community, and a senior citizen. By allowing God to use her in so many ways, she is a role model for people in all different life situations.
Mother Celine teaches us how to love God above all, and in return for his great unconditional love, to search for his will in every circumstance of daily life. She shows us that even disappointments, loss, pain, suffering, and difficulties are ways that Jesus brings us to the new life of resurrection.
On October 27, 2007 this amazing woman of great faith was declared Blessed by Pope Benedict XVI.