This is the continuation of the story of the life of the Mother Maria Kolumba, foundress of the Dominican Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. In our previous installment, Mother Kolumba traveled to visit her dying sister and comfort her family. Despite this and other trials in her life, Mother Kolumba showed great love and compassion to the Sisters of her order, never letting her sorrows weigh her down.
In July of 1874, a generous benefactor of the Sisters, Count Stanisław Tarnowski, arrived for the first time with his wife, Countess Branicka. At the request of the Count, the Sisters had been praying for his wife, who at the time of the request, had been his fiance. The Order owed much to the generosity and charity of Count Tarnowski and his family.
It was with great zeal that Mother Kolumba wished the Lord’s glory to be spread everywhere. Count Wodzicki of Tyczyn began speaking with the Reverend Mother of plans to build another convent in Tyczyn, and the Sisters expected to move there by the next year.
Romanesque Convent in Bieliny is Completed
In November of 1876, the solemn consecration of the finished convent in Bieliny took place. As her biographer writes, “The convent in Bieliny is spacious, comfortable and in a Roman style with a beautiful chapel, constructed some time later.” The convent also housed two school rooms which the Sisters would use. Mother Kolumba was especially grateful to Father Harmata, the priest in Bieliny, who lavished great efforts and costs for the Sisters’ convent. After the solemn blessing, the Sisters moved from the private house in which they had been staying to their new Bieliny convent.
The only regret of the Sisters was that the Most Reverend Father Leszczyński was not present for the ceremony. Although he was not far away, poor health prevented him from participating with the Sisters. He suffered with insomnia, dizziness, and other ailments before finally travelling to Cracow for a medical examination. The doctor’s report revealed a grave illness which required a serious operation. At this news, Mother Kolumba “instructed us in all affiliate houses to pray profoundly and serve Vespers in order to implore some more life and health for Reverend Father.”