ST. FATHER MAKSYMILIAN KOLBE’S DREAMS COME TRUE
Lidia Dudkiewicz talks with Fr. Prof. Grzegorz Bartosik OFM Conv – a director of the Marian – Kolbe Institute ‘Kolbianum’ in Niepokalanów, an Associate Dean of the Theological Department of the University of Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński in Warsaw, and a chairman of the Polish Mariological Society
LIDIA DUDKIEWICZ: - St. Maksymilian Maria Kolbe wrote in 1933 that Niepokalanów should be, among the others, a studies centre of the Polish Mariology. Is the Marian – Kolbe Institute ‘Kolbianum’ a realization of this thought of St. Maksymilian?
FR. PROF. GRZEGORZ BARTOSIK OFMConv: - Indeed, on 12 October 1933, Fr. Maksymilian Kolbe wrote during his return from Poland to Japan: ‘If Immaculate Mary wants – we will establish a Marian Academy, in order to study in it, give lectures, make publications for the whole world, about who Immaculate Mary is. Maybe, with gaining the PhD degree in Mariology’. This dream, or maybe even prophecy of Fr. Maksymilian has always been remembered by inhabitants of Niepokalanów. So, the Marian – Kolbe Institute and the Mariological Studies Centre of the University of Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński ‘Kolbianum’ in Niepokalanów may be a realization of the Saint’s dream, indeed.
– It is obvious that studies centres must meet academic requirements. How is it being realized in the case of the ‘Kolbianum’?
– The Mariological Studies Centre ‘Kolbianum’ is an organizational unit of the Theological Department at the University of Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński in Warsaw. So, students of Mariology are fully legal students of the University of Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński. The department provides professors’ staff, although we also invite professors from other universities, it acknowledges the schedule of studies, students can take advantage of scholarships which the Department offers. Whereas the monastery in Niepokalanów offers lecture halls and gives a possibility for accommodation and meals during didactic and exam sessions meetings. It also gives students an access to a specialist Marian library. The character of the studies is extramural and the studies are during four week meetings a year, generally in October, February, and in April, whereas in June there is an exam session. Students who cannot participate in all meetings, can listen to lectures in the form of e-learning, on the website of the Institute ‘Kolbianum’.
– What is the subject of the studies in the Institute ‘Kolbianum’, which are even unique in the global scale?
– The subject of the Mariology Studies is learning about the Person of Blessed Mary the Virgin and Her role in the Divine act of Redemption and in our personal life – therefore, we show Mary in many aspects. The schedule of the studies comprises the following lectures: Mary in the Holy Scripture, Mary in the teaching of Church Fathers, Mary in the Church teaching, development of Mary’s cult and Mary’s doctrine in history, Mary in liturgy, Mary in the Christian spirituality, Mary in tradition and spirituality of Polish convents (female and male ones), Polish Mariology, Marian teaching of John Paul II, Mary’s cult in various Christian religions and in Islam (ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue), Mary in folk religiousness, woman’s character in great religions, Mary in the social mission of the Church, Mary in evangelization and catechesis, Mary and the issue of woman’s character, iconology and iconography of Mary, Mary in literature, Mary in music, phenomenon of Mary’s revelations, sanctuaries and Marian pilgrimages.
– What are the criteria guaranteeing the realization of intentions of Niepokalanów founders?
– an act of personal entrustment of oneself to the Immaculate as The intention of St. Fr. Maksymilian was to pass the Church teaching as it is. Whereas, he took a prayer and intellectual effort himself, in order to uncover, learn and express Mary’s mystery in the best way. Some of his intuitions and thoughts are inspiration for theologians till today. Moreover, his Mariology had an extremely practical dimension: worship to Our Lady was reflected directly in Christian life and apostolic engagement, especially through a tool. The ‘Kolbianum’ Institute wants to be faithful to this heritage of Fr. Maksymilian, that is, to pass the deposit of faith as it is, search for the best ways of expressing Mary’s mystery in a creative way and implement these truths in practice and in everyday life.
– Do studies at ‘Kolbianum’ have a theoretical character, or should they influence a dynamic development of the Marian movement in Poland?
– St. Bonawentura, Franciscan, pointed to a practical purpose of theology: finally, it should serve to us so that we would become good and achieve salvation. Also we, in the ‘Kolbianum’, want to realize this purpose. lectures of a more theoretical character, such as: Mary in Bible, Marian dogmas or history of Mariology, are to help in implementing the learnt truths in a particular spiritual life and making pastoral ministry and apostolic ministry dynamic, in the Marian spirit.
– Does ‘Kolbianum’ take up also sociological and social aspects of Marian pastoral ministry in Poland, besides theological analysis, for example, pilgrimages, Knighthood of the Immaculate?
– Looking at the schedule of lectures, we see issues which touch on social and sociological aspect of Marian pastoral ministry in our country. Adding to these issues, I would mention, first of all, the following subjects: sanctuaries and Marian pilgrimages, role of Mary as the Queen of Poland, a place of Mary’s cult in teaching of prominent spiritual leaders, such as God’s servant Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, or blessed John Paul II, Mary in the social mission of the Church or Mary and woman’s issue. We also pay much attention to the spirituality of Marian movements, including especially spirituality and mission of Knight’s Order of the Immaculate.
– Who does the ‘Kolbianum’ Institute invite to take up studies in the sphere of Mariology?
– We address the studies to the future lecturers of Mariology in seminaries and other universities. Moreover, we particularly invite for the studies: custodians of Marian sanctuaries and people responsible for pastoral ministry in sanctuaries: moderators, animators and members of Marian movements and associations; lecturers and teachers both in female and male convents, especially those convents which have Marian spirituality in their charism. We also invite other all worshippers of Our Lady. Among our students there are both priests and nuns, and also laymen. The range of age is also various: starting with young people, who have just graduated from universities, to experienced people and elderly people.
– What are the admission requirements to the ‘Kolbianum’ Institute?
– We suggest PhD studies and post-graduate studies. In order to take up PhD studies in theology with specialization of Mariology, we require the graduation diploma of theological studies and MA degree in theology. In order to take up PhD studies, both the MA degree or the BA degree in any faculty will be enough. The first studies last for four years, the second ones – for two years. Recruitment is from the end of September 2013. It is necessary to submit documents personally or by post to the deanery of the Theological Department of the University of Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński in Warsaw, and in the case of PhD studies, also an interview is necessary which takes place on 12 and 24 September 2013 in Warsaw, on 5 Dewajtis Street. A detailed list of necessary documents and terms of recruitment are available on the website: www.kolbianum.franciszkanie.pl