This account, of Róża’s long-awaited approval of her acceptance into the Dominican Order, is from a biography of Mother Kolumba Bialecka, foundress of the Dominican Sisters of the Immaculate Conception.
After her father died when she was only 17, Róża was told by her confessor that she could meet with the Master General, or highest superior, of the Dominican Order, to talk with him about her vocation. He was traveling from Rome throughout the area to visit the Order’s convents.
She met with him, the Most Revered Father Wincenty Jandel, in Podkamień, a city which at that time was part of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Róża’s hopes, although she did not know which religious order she should join, was to teach and educate in a Christian manner children and others, people so neglected because of the misfortunes that took place in Poland.
Her first plan, under the influence of her confessor, a Dominican priest, was to join the Dominican Nuns in Cracow. There were no “active” sisters in Poland, only contemplative cloistered nuns. Roza’s desire was to figure out and follow God’s will regarding her life. After the meeting with Fr. Jandel, she saw more clearly the opportunity — and vocation — to serve people outside the convent. Anticipating the meeting with Fr. Jandel, she said, according to her biographer, “I will open my soul before Father General and will blindly follow his advice, as if I were following the divine voice.”
A long time later, Father Jandel fondly recalled his meeting with Róża. “I cannot forget a profound and clear impression which lasted after this brief meeting with this good, small sister in the sacristy of the cloister in Podkamień, on the day of the Visitation of Holy Mary.”
There, Fr. Jandel told her that he could arrange for her entry into a Dominican convent in Nancy, a city in northeastern France, where she would complete her novitiate. Then, if such was Lord’s will, she would establish a similar convent in Galicia, a region that today straddles Poland and Ukraine. The idea was to get her formation in Dominican spirituality and way of life so she could “transfer” that life to her country. But he sternly warned her that he could not guarantee that she would be able to return to Poland.
This was placing a high degree of confidence in a 17-year-old girl. “So,” the priest said, “consider whether you possess ample strength and generousness to give to our Lord a complete and unlimited sacrifice [by leaving] your country and your family, and taking the vows in these circumstances, with no conditions and without looking back!”
Róża, whose words were recalled by her sister, said that she “was delighted, and accepted everything and gave everything as a sacrifice.”