The Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo

Kamba village, Varap post, shahad, Kalyan west,
Thane Dist, Maharashtra, India - 421103

Czestochowa 1997

The sisters of St. Charles Borromeo, called “Karolanki” came to Częstochowa, on 12th December 1997, to render their service in the Holy Family Arch Cathedral. Prior to taking up the Pastoral work, Rev Mother Andrea at the request of the Parish Priest Fr. Marian Duda sent Srs. Margaret Lawrence and Alis Martis to study the situation of the parish and finaly responded positively to the great satisfaction of the parish priest by appointing Srs. Leena Pinto, Margaret Lawrence and Diana D’souza as the pioneers of the Czestochowa community. To start with the sisters were lodged in rented flat close to the Cathedral. Sisters got involved in the varied pastoral work, working in the sacristy, in the church office, selling holy articles in the cathedral, taking care of the poor children, serving soup for the poor etc.

In addition to the various apostolates the sisters were engaged in, they realized the importance of recruiting local vocations to carry on the mission in Poland. Mother Andrea with her councilors decided to make Częstochowa community as the Formation Center and Sr. Leena Pinto was appointed the Novice Mistress. On Aug 28th 1999 the first candidate Małgorzata Bartos joined the formation house. The General councilors Sr. Victoria, Sr. Alex and Sr. Bertin, took turns to spend longer period with the sisters in Poland supporting them both physically and spiritually.

On Sept 21st 1999 sisters shifted from the rented house to the renovated apartment of assistant priests on a temporary basis. Meanwhile the other part of the Parish building was completely renovated and adapted to the needs of the sisters at the expense of the Generalate. Finally sisters moved to the newly constructed convent building on St. Charles Feast, Nov 4th 2000. House was blessed by the Archbishop his Excellency Stanisław Nowak and the day was memorable with the presence of Mother Andrea, former Superior General, Mother Benedicta, the newly elected Superior General and with all our sisters, priests, workers and guests.

As any other new foundation, this community also had his early pangs of birth followed by the joys of new life. From August 1999 to 2011, there was a steady flow of vocation. Out of the 8 sisters who made their first profession, only 4 sisters professed their Final Commitment and they are the strong four pillars of our mission in Poland along with 11 zealous and energetic Indian Missionaries. As the community is situated in the heart of the city surrounded by Cathedral, the shrine and many religious Institutes sisters have the privilege to meet their spiritual needs.

Czestochowa is well known city in Poland due to the famous shrine of our Lady of Black Madonna- “The Queen of Poland”. People from all over the country and outside throng to this shrine in very large number on foot especially during the Feast of the shrine on August 26th every year. In addition to all the pastoral work mentioned above, the sisters cater to Pilgrims to shelter them in their need. Sisters are also happy to take care of the homeless alcoholics through the “Soup Kitchen” since their existence in Czestochowa. Sisters not only give them food for the body but also nourish their souls with Word of God and other prayers and counseling. It’s an occasion to network with parish, Diocesan Caritas and with Capuchins residing in the campus.

This place also offered ample opportunities for the sisters to get qualified professionally for the different apostolates of the Mission. A few sisters completed theology and few others their degree in Nursing. Even today sisters are involved in teaching in the school and working in the nearby hospice while rendering their generous service in the parish.