KS. ANDRZEJ WITKO
In one of her songs Anna Jantar reminded that the person of her mum – Halina Szmeterling, with her family name Surmacewicz, who is just celebrating the 90th anniversary of her birthday. On one of Saturdays of the ending summer in a Warsaw church of St. Antoni, a solemn Holy Mass was celebrated in the intention of the Honourable Jubilee Woman, which was attended by many relatives and friends. There was also son Roman who had arrived from Vienna and beloved granddaughters – Agnieszka from the USA and Natalia. Her children – Jaś and Ania, were actively participating in the liturgy, wanting to give joy to their great-grandmother, they read the first lesson and sang a responsorial psalm.
Everyone thanked good God for the gift of life for Mrs. Halina, which began in July 1924 in the famous Surmacewicz family of Leliwo coat of arms.
When soon after the first World War, the borderland Ulan Czesław Daniel Surmacewicz arrived in Wronki in Greater Poland, he fell in love with charming Zofia Czosnowska, a woman of an extremely beautiful voice. For love to her, he did a misalliance – as a nobleman, he married a daughter of a merchant – the only child of Maria and Stanisław Czosnowski. For this reason, the Surmacewicz family broke contacts with him and did not appear at the wedding. The spouses had four children: Mirosław, Aleksander, Halina and Janusz.
In 1948 Halina married Józef Szmeterling, son of Edward – a military officer, a great Polish patriot, murdered by the Soviets. The fruit of this marriage were two children: son Roman, a teacher of Polish and a poet, and a daughter Anna, born in 1950, one of popular singers till now. The parents brought up their children as sensitive and good people.
When in 1975, being on the top of her popularity, Anna Jantar was expecting her baby, her mum did not hesitate to live with her daughter to help her with keeping house and bringing up her child. The air catastrophe in March 1980 broke the young life of Anna and became the source of unimaginable suffering for the mother, who lost her child in such dramatic circumstances.
When I was preparing this text, I found a letter written to me by Mrs. Halina 25 years ago in which she gave a significant testimony: ‘What is the most difficult is to agree with death of the dearest person, especially when this person who passes away, is somebody young, beautiful and good and at the top of popularity. The only consolation and the only hope which remains for the man at such a moment is not only strong faith in God and His justice. Anna lived for people throughout her whole life and she loved people. She was a good and modest girl and was never ashamed of her faith’.
After the tragic death of her daughter, Mrs. Halina became a mother for her little Natalia. It was her who gave her granddaughter these values, with which she lived herself, teaching her love to God, Homeland and ordinary people. Like once her grandma had cared about little Natalia, giving her a lot of love and good, and also bringing her up well and demanding from her , now Natalia is taking care about her grandma, responding to love with love. They are related together with strong emotional bonds – there is no day, when the granddaughters would not talk together during their artistic tours. When years ago, one of journalists asked 14-year-old Natalia about her 3 wishes which she would have to a gold fish, she assured that she missed her grandma who lived separately at that time. And she added: ‘If the gold fish found a solution in this difficult situation, I could even resign from two other wishes…’
One of the most beautiful days in life of Mrs. Halina, as she says herself, was her meeting with pope John Paul II in Vatican. The Holy Father, knowing the great suffering borne in the mother’s heart who had lost her child so suddenly and painfully, spoke to her in a warmhearted way and stroked her on her cheek. The papal rosary received then, has accompanied her till now. I asked the honourable jubilee lady about a clue for happy life. She answered me that the fundament of good life is humility which allows for accepting the everyday life as it is – whether it is happy, painful or difficult. It is humility which allows for loving people, as well as forgiving them their weaknesses and faults.
Thanking Dear Mrs. Halina for all the good and a testimony of her life, we ask Merciful God for much strength, joy and peace for her. Ad multos annos!