26 March 2019

PRIORY ANNUNTIATIONIS

Biskupów | Poland

The history of our community dates back to September 15, 1986. On that day a small village of Bielice in the Opolian Silesia region saw the arrival of fr. Ludwik Mycielski, who came there from Tyniec. He wanted to recapture the Benedictine life as he had experienced it in Subiaco. 

Before long Bielice saw arrivals of more young enthusiasts of such lifestyle. There was a particular grace at work in them which the first brothers – Antoni, Sławomir, and Justyn – describe as “the grace of the beginning.” They experienced the lavishness of Providence: they were given a car, had coal unexpectedly delivered for the winter; every morning vegetables, potatoes, and cured meat could be found on their doorstep… But it couldn’t have been foreseen that within a year the construction of a factory would begin in the closest vicinity…

At that very moment the Lord presented the brothers with the gift of new accommodation; it was situated in the same region, but 40 kilometres further to the south. Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Conception of Leśnica were leaving Biskupów, and decided to hand over their building to the Benedictines. At the same time the Opolian Bishop, Archbishop Alfons Nossol, donated a former parish compound. In addition, both donations included considerable patches of land. All was finalised on August 25, 1987, the Feast of St. Louis. The sisters set the takeover of the former convent building by the brothers on the 28th August.

That day, in turn, was the Feast of St. Augustine, the patron saint of the Abbot of Tyniec, fr. Augustyn Jankowski. It was by his decree – and after the vote of the Tyniec Chapter – that on the 24th November the community of Biskupów was canonically founded. A special intercession of the Mother of God can be seen in these events. The date of the 15th September, which is her feast, marks the beginning of the Benedictine history in the Opolian Silesia. Moreover the church in Biskupów is dedicated to her, being the church of the Annunciation – as is the Benedictine Congregation which incorporates the Polish Benedictines. One can also discern the hand of St. Benedict himself, who “loved the mountains”: his new monastery sits on a hill with a vista of the range of the Sudety Mountains. Benedictus amabat montes!

At present the spiritual profile of the monastery is becoming ever more distinct. The monastic community is striving to look to the tradition of Western monasticism depicted by St. Gregory the Great on the first pages of his Dialogues. With its poverty and simplicity of life the community from Biskupów is evocative rather of Subiaco than Monte Cassino.

Abbot Celestine Cullen, the former Abbot President of the Benedictine Congregation of the Annunciation wrote about the community:
Hospitality that takes on a wide variety of forms is a special charisma and a fundamental dimension of the apostolic work of this monastery. I trust it will be so too in the future, and that young monks will be prepared for this particular work which is a tremendously demanding task. Visitors to Biskupów will find here one of the nicest and most soothing places within our Congregation.

 

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