Servant of God Sister Emanuela Kalb, CSS (1899-1986)

'I met the One Who is'

Sister Immakulata Kraska, CSS

The essence of the religious life of the Servant of God Sister Emanuela Kalb, Canoness of the Holy Ghost, was total dedication to Love and fight for God's love above all. In her notes she wrote the following words, which summarise her call: 'I understood that God is Love. The souls who are wedded to God's Love are united with him; they bear souls to eternity... Bearing souls in suffering! I do not want any other love on earth' (Diary, 23).
Sister Emanuela Maria Magdalena (Chaje) Kalb was born in Jaroslaw in Jewish family on 26 August 1899. Her way of waiting, searching and at the same time discovering Christ in the promised Messiah, was full of sacrifice and hardship (lost of the relatives, difficulties caused by her family, physical suffering and spiritual struggle). However, the One about whom she would write after years: '...truly, Lord, I have believed you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God, the one who came into this world' (cf. John 11:27), enraptured her; she enthused about the Gospel. She wanted to belong to the Church and dedicate her whole life to the only Love of Jesus. At the age of 20 she was baptised and joined the community of the People of God. In her diary she wrote these meaningful words: 'I met the One Who is... God is Love. This love seized and took me!' That inner encounter with the redeeming love of Christ brought about a concrete answer to the grace of call to religious life. She accepted the gift with all consequence and entered the Canonesses of the Holy Ghost. Opening herself to the action of the Holy Spirit she was faithful to the charisma and call to the end. She enjoyed her superiors' confidence as well as the sisters whom she met every day trusted her, sensing 'great spirit' in her. She worked as a teacher, was a novice mistress, general secretary, she was a superior many times and in the last years of her life she was a librarian, but first of all she was a sister. Cordial, compassionate, opened to the needs of the whole Church, concerned with the salvation of her close and distant people, she authentically enjoyed the gift of religious consecration. She was contemplative; she loved the Eucharist and the sisters called her 'eternal light' before the tabernacle. 'She was extraordinary, someone who had a unique power to be in love with the Crucified and to show the sense of suffering', one of the sisters recollects.
Every man is deeply rooted in his/her nation, its history, in a way living its life and wanting its good. In the sacrament of baptism Sister Emanuela saw the mission of Israel and her own mission in a new light. She regarded Judaism and Christianity as one harmonious whole. Deeply immersed in contemplating Christ's humanity and his Divine Blood, she experienced the joy flowing from the fact that she was a daughter of the chosen nation and at the same time she felt responsible for this nation.
United with the Crucified, influenced by his grace she found her place in the Church. She devoted her life to the chosen nation so that it got to know 'the light of the Truth that is Christ' (Diary, 40). God, looking for devoted souls, who are to answer his grace by giving themselves totally to him, through the experience of their love, whips up the dynamism of apostolic work, winning souls for him. Finding Sister Emanuela available to do his works God entrusted her with a special mission, apart from the conversion of the chosen nation. The mission was: the concern for the faithfulness and holiness of priests, especially those who had gone astray. Imploring about light of faith for priests Sister Emanuela offered her sufferings and wanted to do everything that God would demand in order to save but one soul. She answered the question of Jesus if she would renounce all extraordinary graces he gave her in order to save one priest: 'Lord, take everything... treat me as if you completely turned away from me. Although I love you very much but this happiness would be still mine that you have won this priest's soul' (Diary, 62). She encouraged other people to this prayer. Leading a hidden life, offering herself, she became a real apostle passing the message of love in her environment and pointing to the source of real happiness, who is God.
In spite of twenty years after her death, 18 January 1986, the memory of her is still vivid: she is not only present in people's recollections, her notes and portraits painted after her death but also in spontaneous prayers to God through her intercession and in thanksgiving for her successful intercession. She stayed in the convent for about 40 years and she could not carry pastoral ministry because she lost her hearing. But today she becomes known more and more; she inspires confidence, admiration and desire to aspire to authentic holiness.
In the Jubilee Year the Congregation of the Canonesses of the Holy Ghost, from the beginning convinced of Sister Emanuela's sainthood and thankful to God for the gift of her life both for the Congregation and for the Church, addressed the competent ecclesiastical authorities with the request for permission to begin beatification procedures. After having received the permission the Canonesses began to gather and analyse the preserved documentation. The materials were sent to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which on 3 June 2005, after having studied the acts issued the decree concerning the validity of the evidence procedure, carried on the diocesan level. Currently, on the Roman level, the work is being done on Position concerning the life, heroic virtues and common repute for sanctity of the Servant of God Sister Emanuela Kalb.
All those who were lucky to get to know personally Sr. Emanuela Kalb, testify to her deep relationship with God, which yielded the fruits of goodness, love and heroic virtues. She will be remembered as a sister who lived from the Eucharist, showing the message of love, prayer and sacrifice for the salvation of the world. May the intercession of the Servant of God Sister Emanuela Kalb support us and bring us graces that we need in order to fulfil our missions.

Prayer for the intercession of the Servant of God Sister Emanuela Kalb, CSS
Almighty, Merciful God, and You Who called Sister Emanuela to a closer unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, pouring into her heart the spirit of contemplation and zeal for salvation of souls, hear my request... (mention your need)... which I make with confidence through her intercession. Enkindle in us the apostolic spirit of love, penance and remuneration.
O Lord, in Your mercy make us rejoice seeing Your Servant Sister Emanuela among the saints. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

If anyone's prayers are answered through the intercession of the Servant of God Sister Emanuela please contact the Canonesses of the Holy Ghost:
Siostry Kanoniczki Ducha Swietego
ul. Szpitalna 10
31-024 Krakow, Poland
or: Beautification of Sister B. Emanuela Kalb
Viale Mazzini 32, 00195 Roma, Italy.

Who are the Canonesses?

Pope Innocent III approved the constitutions of the Hospitallers of the Holy Ghost, which had men's and women's branches. The brothers and sisters of the Order of the Holy Ghost spread in other countries, ministering to the sick, the poor and orphaned children in the hospitals they founded. They arrived in Poland in 1220. It was Iwo Odrowaz, Krakow bishop, who brought them here. They created hospitals in Pradnik, near Krakow, as well as in Kalisz, Sandomierz and Slawkow. In 1741 the Polish province became autonomous and independent of the Roman general and so were the Canonesses in Poland; they decided to be named Sisters Canonesses of the Holy Ghost de Saxia. The nuns began their own ministry of charity, helping the sick and the poor as well as educating children. In 1763 they founded a hospital in Lvov. The Servant of God Sister Tekla Raczynska worked there. In 1850 the Canonesses opened a boarding school for poor girls in Krakow. They founded houses for poor girls, schools and orphanages. During World War II they helped refugees, Jews, the underground army and saved people from being transported to work in Germany. They created kitchens, first-aid posts and accommodation for the Polish army. They ran a field hospital in Pacanow. In the 1960s the Congregation lost their schools, nurseries and dormitories. In the years 1957-86 the Servant of God Sister Emanuela Kalb stayed in the house in Krakow. Her process of beatification began in Krakow on 20 September 2001. In 1979 the Congregation began missionary work in Burundi, Africa. Since 1980 the nuns have worked in Rome and since 1997 they have worked in the Roman Umberto I Policlinic.
At present, the Canonesses have formation houses: postulate in Krakow, Szpitalna 8/13, tel. +4812 422 54 59; noviciate in Lezajsk, Mickiewicza 129, 37-300 Lezajsk, tel. +48 195 42 06 75.
There are 202 sisters in the world. 191 sisters work in Poland. There are two Servants of God: Sister Nimfa Suchonska and Sister Tekla Raczynska.

"Niedziela" 3/2006

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