SHE IS CALLED CRACOVIAN MOTHER THERESA OF XVII CENTURY
Zofia Czeska of Maciejowscy family was born in the year 1584. Her parents, Mateusz Maciejowski and Katarzyna from the Lubowieccy family, belonged to middle-class nobility of Małopolska. They brought up many children – 5 sons and 5 daughters in a religious atmosphere.
Zofia, at the age of 16, was given away into marriage to Jan Czeski, a heir in Czechy town near Słomnice. After 6 years of marriage she was a childless widow. Despite her young age, beauty, wealth and attempts to propose to her, she did not re-marry again. She devoted her life to fulfilling works of mercifulness, joining in the trend of the renewal of religious life in Poland through a work of education and bringing up young generations.
As sisters of the Congregation of Virgins of Presentation of Blessed Mary the Virgin emphasize, Zofia Czeska lived in difficult times, at the time of wars, epidemics, floods, famine and high death rate among people. – Zofia decided to take care of girls, especially those who are orphans and come from poor families. She opened a house for them in Szpitalna street in Cracow, in which not only could they live but they could also receive care and learn – say sisters. – In the years 1621 – 27 she ran a boarding school and she called this place a Maidens House of the Presentation of the Blessed Mary the Virgin. It had been the first formally organized school for girls in Poland, having suitable organizational structures because in those times only boys attended schools.
Zofia Czeska founded a new convent of Sisters of the Presentation of Blessed Mary the Virgin, popularly called ‘Presenters’ from the Latin word ‘praesentatio’ –Sisters of Presentation. She chose Mary in the mystery of Presentation, as a patron of her work, as an example of the perfect devotion oneself to God.
Maria Zofia Czeska died in the opinion of holiness on 1 April 1650 at the age of 66. She was buried in the Mariacki Church in Cracow, where her body debris have remained till today. Whereas her skull is kept in the side chapel of the church of St. John of Sisters of the Presentation of Blessed Mary the Virgin in Cracow. Mother Zofia Czeska is called Cracovian Mother Theresa of XVII century. Sisters of the Presentation of Blessed Mary the Virgin are continuing the works of Mother Zofia Czeska, among the others, they run a few schools, kindergartens and care houses.