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, the branch convent for the Sisters in Bieliny was finished and consecrated, due in large part to the local priests who made the work possible. During that time, however, the sisters received some sad news.
Shortly after the ceremony of the convent in Bieliny, the Sisters received the news that their beloved Father Leszczynski was diagnosed with a grave illness. Mother Kolumba then wrote to the priests in Przemysl, to Father Lobos and Father Szediwy, to beseech prayers for the health for Father Leszczynski. The Reverend Mother also contacted many God-fearing people with the same request, as she was greatly concerned for this good priest.
The beloved Reverend suffered from a cancerous tumor in his face, and it was spreading. The doctors decided that only an operation would be able to save him. Even though he was experiencing terrible suffering, Father Leszczynski insisted upon leading the Sisters’ retreat as he did every year.
Eventually, Father Leszczynski made the decision to undergo the operation, and in November, he traveled to Vienna for the procedure. He was not there alone, however, as Mother Kolumba traveled eight miles to ask Father’s friend, Parson Podgórski, to be present during the operation.
Special Mass at the Hour of the Operation
The Sisters offered a votive Mass for the life and health of their spiritual Father at the same hour which the surgery was to take place. Afterwards, a telegram was delivered from Vienna, informing Mother Kolumba that the operation had gone well. And one month later, the Reverend Father Leszczynski returned from Vienna. Even in his suffering, Father Leszczynski remembered the Sisters, and they wrote of him, “He brought us a beautiful statue of St. Joseph which we treasure greatly as a souvenir from Father.”
For several months, Father was confined to silence because of the wound in his mouth from the cancer, but returned in May for his first Mass. Even though his wound had not yet healed, he gave a beautiful homily about the Mother of God.