What We Do 2017-07-17T13:49:40+00:00

DEVELOPMENT OF THE RELIGIOUS CONVENT OF THE BENEDICTINE SISTERS IN HUNTINGTON

The efforts of the Congregation’s board to send three sisters to USA: Boguslawa Marianna Kapusta (as superior), Waclawa Jozefa Kalinowska and Maura Kalina Moszynska, after two years of waiting and prayer were successful in 1962. In May 1962 the sisters received passports (and visas) to travel to America, and their farewell was held at the Mother House on June 19 that year. At the beginning of July of the same year the delegated sisters flew from Warsaw to the United States (to Huntington, Long Island). It should also be noted that in 1962 a great event for Roman Catholic Christianity was the beginning of the Second Vatican Council, which changed the face of the Catholic Church. The renewed community of sisters with energetic superior took up the work, and there was a lot of work. This was in keeping with the law of canonical form of following up to establish the legal status of the religious institution in Rockville Center Diocese, Long Island, New York, to build a new home for the care of the elderly and, above all, to organize the religious life of the sisters in a foreign land.

Difficulties piled up at every step: lack of English, lack of professional preparation of sisters to undertake the work, and bad opinion of Poles in America coming from lower social strata, crossing the ocean to earn their bread, without any preparation for living and working in the American environment. It is not surprising that the Polish Missionary Sisters of Saint Benedict, deeply religious and marked by traditional culture, at first experienced a severe lack of acceptance by the American bishops. The material bases required by canon law (canon 496) to establish a religious institution in the case of the Benedictine Sisters from Huntington were not regulated. Sisters Małgorzata and Witolda were allowed to live in the Diocese of Brooklyn until the end of the war, but they still thought of helping their poor congregation in Poland, which had to leave their homes in 1945 and the eastern borders of the II Polish Republic.

Thanks to the generosity of the local community, the sisters expanded their Huntington estate by eight acres and built another small house, planted a vegetable garden and were breeding chickens. With money saved, they supported the Mother House and Novitiate in their homeland. The diocesan curia led by Bishop Kellenberg organized a conference in 1959, highlighting the unregulated legal status of the material possessions of the emerging community of the Missionary Sisters of St. Benedict. They were accused of not paying tax, and the way out of this difficult situation was indicated. In order to build a home for the elderly, the sisters were required to set up a corporation, as required by the laws of New York State.

Corporation of the Missionary Sisters of St. Benedict, which also included the members of the curia and an attorney, was approved on October 26, 1959. It defined its purpose, resources and tasks. However, the first year of its operation showed many errors and brought the sisters many existential hardships. Mother Malgorzata, with the help of a trusted lawyer, Józef Płoński, led the change of the character of the corporation from temporary to perpetual. The housing conditions of the Sisters in Huntington were very difficult. There was an immediate need to build a new residential home for sisters and their residents in a short period of time. The hope of realizing such an investment in the absence of funds and lack of knowledge of English bordered on a miracle.

This difficult task was undertaken only by a new team of sisters who arrived in the United States in 1962. Before this happened, the sisters had received a permit from the diocesan curia to open a semi-public Chapel still in the old building. They did not expect so many challenges on the American ground, but did not give into fear because of the difficulties. Trusting the help of God, they took St. Joseph to be their Patron Saint. They also found in the new environment many benefactors, friends and advisers among priests and bishops of Polish origin. One should note special kindness, pastoral care and practical help (especially in situations requiring good English) of Father Alfred Jan Markiewicz, a professor at the seminary, then an auxiliary bishop of the Rockville Center Diocese, and finally the Ordinary Bishop of the diocese of Kalamazoo.

MISSIONS

The subject of mission is close to our heart, because ‘the Church counts on the participation of consecrated persons in the missionary work. The Missionary Sisters of St. Benedict are actively involved in the missionary work of the Church through prayer, material gifts and work in missions.’  /Directory No. 16/

The work undertaken in the mission territories is very diverse, but its essential role – bringing people to encounter God – remains unchanged despite the variability of time, place and situation…

Missionary Sisters of St. Benedict seeking material support for the poor orphans from Lutsk, went to the United States at the invitation of Bishop Paul Rhode, the Ordinary of the Diocese of Green Bay.  The political situation during World War II did not allow the sisters to return to Poland, therefore, through Divine Providence they were faced with the new mission.  In 1940, the sisters received a gift of the estate in Huntington Long Island and the idea of ​​a new apostolate, the work with the elderly was born. Only with the arrival of the new sisters in 1962 did the mission really move forward. The sisters started building a new home, which expanded over time as new sisters arrived.

Currently, 23 Missionary Sisters of St. Benedict live in Huntington, both from Poland, USA and from Ukraine. The primary ministry of St. Joseph’s Home is to provide help and daily care to our 45 residents. Sisters take care and provide for the needs of the elderly, and above all care to prepare them for the encounter with God. Residents are provided with daily Mass, access to the chapel with the Blessed Sacrament and conversation with the Lord. Creating the best “home like” environment, friendship and kindness is one of the main goals of the work of the sisters. That is why they celebrate together with the residents all the Church celebrations as well as the national holidays. There is also a celebration of the gift of life, the birthdays of all residents, whose ages often exceed 100 years.

Enriching each other with our lives and experience, our home often hosts many volunteers, seminarians and young people. Young people learn from the older the fullness of life and its beauty, for as Pope Benedict XVI said: “Even age has its message, and suffering its dignity and saving power.” Through their ministry, the sisters wish that every person at St. Joseph’s Home feel loved, needed and with dignity pass to the Father with outmost dignity.

RECREATION AT ST. JOSEPH’S

LET’S PURSUE GOD’S WILL TOGETHER

If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 4:11