- Marcellina Mary of the Immaculate Conception
Born to a land-owning Polish family, Marcellina was a pious child with a love of prayer. Though she would have preferred a religious life, she promised her dying father that she would marry and raise a family. Married Karol Darowski in 1849, and sanctified her marriage “by living only in God and for God.” Karol died less than 3 years later, leaving her a widowed mother of two. Her son died a year later, and she wrote, “The way of the world was not chosen for me by God’s will; the way of the convent was, indeed, my destiny.”
She traveled to Rome, Italy in 1854 for reasons of health, and there met Father Hieronim Kajsiewicz, a Resurrectionist who became her spiritual director. Through him she met Josephine Karska, who wished to found a religious community dedicated to the overall formation of women. The result was the Congregation of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Josephine suffered with typhus for years, and died in 1860, leaving Marcelina as Superior of the new religious family, which numbered no more than four. In 1863 Marcelina moved them to her homeland. At Jazlowiec, Archdiocese of Lviv, Ukraine, she opened her first school for girls. It soon became an important spiritual and cultural center.
Marcelina approached women‘s education believing that on it depends the re-birth of the family, the foundation of a morally healthy society. She stressed the following to sisters and students: the primacy of God over everything, truth, mutual trust, and unselfishness. She offered help to the poor, working for tuition-free elementary schools at every convent. During her 50 years as Superior she opened seven convents with formation institutes and schools for children.
I don’t look at the results of our work. They don’t belong to us. If they exist, they belong to God for the good of our beloved country, which is torn apart. – Blessed Marcelina
“He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit.” (John 15:5) Today the Church rejoices that Blessed Marcelina Darowska, co-foundress of the Congregation of Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, has been raised to the honours of the altar. Blessed Marcelina’s whole life was a ceaseless “abiding in God” through prayer and faithful imitation of Jesus Christ, who “loved man to the very end.” (cf. John 13:1) “To extend the kingdom of God in human souls and bring it into the world” – this was the programme for her apostolic activity, born in the silence of a heart immersed in prayer. She wanted to do everything so that truth love and goodness would triumph in human life and transform the face of her beloved nation. Together with her sisters, she generously laboured in the exhausting task of building the kingdom of Christ, paying particular attention to the religious formation of the young generation, especially girls, to the growth of catechesis and to educational work. She assigned a particular role in life to the Christian woman as “wife, mother and citizen of her country”. With great zeal she fostered the growth of the kingdom of God in the family, since only a healthy and holy family, “based on God”, as she said, can be the foundation of a new society. The new blessed is an example of an apostolic faith that creates new ways for the Church to be present in the world and forms a more just and human society which “abides and bears fruit” in Christ. – Pope John Paul II, from the proclamation of the beatification of Blessed Marcelina, 6 October 1996
- “Blessed Marcelina Darowska“. CatholicSaints.Info. 4 January 2014. Web. 2 May 2016. <>