On the 1st June there is the 100th birth anniversary of Fr. Jan Twardowski (1915 – 2006), a fervent priest and a prominent religious poet.

The priest poet Jan was not only a witness but also a participant in the history of Poland of the XX century. This son of a Warsaw train driver had been emotionally related to the capital of Poland throughout his whole life: he took the secondary leaving exam in the Secondary School named Tadeusz Czacki in Warsaw, graduated from Polish studies at the Warsaw University. As a poet, he debuted in 1937. During the war he was a soldier in the National Army and a participant in the Warsaw Uprising. During the German occupation he joined a clandestine Seminary in Warsaw and received priestly ordination from bishop Wacław Majewski on 4 July 1948.

Being a priest, he worked in various parishes of the archdiocese of Warsaw, he was also a lecturer at the Warsaw seminary. From 1960 till his retirement he was a rector of the church of the Visitation Sisters in Warsaw, in which he preached sermons for children. He was a priest for a literary and artistic group, and also confessor for the ill in hospitals. He also wrote poems published, among the others, in the collections: ‘Poems’ (1959), ‘Signs of trustfulness’(1970) – this is a volume which made the poet very popular, ‘A checked notebook. Talks with children and not only with children’ (1973), ‘Blue glasses’ (1980), ‘You who create blueberries’ (1983), ‘On a little donkey’ (1986), ‘I did not come to convert you. Poems 1937-1985’ (1986), ‘Conscience moved’ (1989), ‘An extraordinary thing’ (1991) – this is mainly a collection of anecdotes full of a few short poems, ‘Do not worry’ (1992), ‘Poems’ (1992). In 1999 the Catholic University of Lublin awarded Fr. Twardowski the title of doctor honoris causa. The poet died on 18 January 2006 and was buried in the Church of Divine Providence in Pantheon of Great Poles.

On the occasion of the jubilee of the 100th birth anniversary of Fr. Jan, in the beginning of last October a group of senators of the Law and Justice party with the person writing these words submitted an act draft in order to establish the year 2015 the Year of Priest Jan Twardowski. In this act draft we wrote among the others: ‘His poems became extremely popular. He taught about wise friendliness – ‘let’s hurry to love people, they pass away so quickly’ – and humility: ‘To be unnoticed and be with You’. He wrote: ‘Gratitude is the most religious feeling’, and also: ‘Only somebody who remains in God’s love is calm’. He taught faith and patriotism; he taught with lyrics and his example. The year in which there is the hundredth birth anniversary of Prelate Priest Jan Twardowski is devoted to remembrance about him.

However, the Civic Platform senators who in the second chamber are the majority, did not want to agree to the establishment of the year as the Year of Priest Jan Twardowski, although the Senate can establish three prominent people as patrons of a particular year. On 21 May 2015 only an occasional act was enacted on the 100th birth anniversary of the Warsaw poet. However, there is a message from our act draft which says what the priest’s greatness was like. ‘The Senate of the Polish Republic addresses its appeal to universities, schools, social organizations and media to popularize works of Prelate Priest Jan Twardowski. Let the joyful, sometimes whimsical, friendly and wise lyrics of the Warsaw Priest become one of the sources of pride from the national Polish culture’.


„Niedziela” 22/2015

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl