The Congregation Of Saint Michael The Archangel (C.S.M.A.)

The Coat of Arms

The Congregation of Saint Michael the Archangel (C.S.M.A.), also known as the Michaelite Fathers, is a community of brothers and priests who choose Jesus Christ as the primary object of their love and the example to follow. The apostolic activity of the Congregation concentrates on the ethical and educational teaching of children and youths who are neglected both morally and materially.

We run several orphanages and oratories, which provide children with professional help in learning, assistance as they grow up and oftentimes, a simple meal. This help takes place at numerous summer and winter holiday camps and events and is supported by various groups and programs, which exist in our parishes.

We help by teaching religion, the gospel and by our priestly service. In our work we strive to bring God’s Word to people whose religious lives have been neglected and whose courage and self-denial need to be strengthened. We try to teach prudence, persistence and diligence in work. We do our best to show the value and the beauty of a life in which God is most important.

We also run a publishing house called “Wydawnictwo Michaelineum”. At present our Congregation has 330 members, comprised of one bishop, 266 priests, 17 brothers, 40 seminarians and 10 novices. Fourteen priests, nine seminarians, one brother and two novices come from other countries.

They work in 17 countries; Argentina, Austria, Australia Aruba, Belarus, Canada, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Germany, Italy, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Poland, Puerto Rico, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the USA. Running 2 orphanages, several oratories and youth centers, five schools and 101 parishes. (23 parishes in Poland, 5 in Belarus, 3 in Ukraine, 7 in Paraguay and Argentina, 16 in Italy and Switzerland, 1 in USA, 7 in Canada, 8 in Australia, 16 in Germany, 18 in the Dominican Republic, Aruba, Curaçao and Puerto Rico.

Blessed Fr Bronislaw Markiewicz has been chosen as patron of over 30 elementary and secondary schools as well as colleges in different parts of Poland. The Congregation consists of two provinces, three vice-provinces and one delegacy.

Founder – Blessed Father Bronislaw Markiewicz

Blessed Father Bronisław Markiewicz

Love, humility and self-sacrifice was his trademark

The Congregation of St Michael the Archangel was founded by Blessed Father Bronislaw Markiewicz. Born on 13th July 1842 in Pruchnik near Jarosław (south-eastern Poland), he was a priest of the Przemysl Diocese and was a revered churchman recognised for his spirit of sacrifice.

Father Bronislaw began his ministry as assistant priest in a parish where he spent long hours in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament before the tabernacle. He was also professor of the local major seminary and recognised from his writings as a prophet. From the start of his priestly life, he was particularly sensitive towards the religious, moral and material neglect of children. In addition, he sought to alleviate the misery of the local poor folk who suffered severe hardship. Also, he spoke strongly against the national vices of the Polish nation, such as excessive drinking of alcohol. In his opinion the solution of social problems depended upon the appropriate education of young people and on changing the moral climate of the whole of society.

Angelic Congregation - Two pillars of social life

Father Bronislaw said “The world is falling apart because men have destroyed the two pillars of social life, “work and temperance”. Instead, they have placed the emphasis predominately upon intellectual instruction and on science and letting go of “work and temperance”. And yet, our Creator, who knows our needs better than we do, recommends that after having suffered the loss of the bread of life and our salvation, that we should work with the sweat of our brow and that we should observe temperance. He expressly says to our first parents in Paradise “By the sweat of your brow shall you get bread to eat, until you return to the ground, from which you were taken.” (Gen,3, 19) Jesus Christ in his Gospel adds: “If a man wishes to come after me, he must deny his very self, take up his cross and begin to follow in my footsteps” (Mt 16, 24) . This means: That not only I, your Saviour, have to work hard and suffer, but also all of you, my disciples, if you want to be with me in Paradise, you have to suffer and work, submitting your intellect, will and works to the prescriptions of the Commandments of God. You must commit your body with all its senses and inclinations to the continual service of the Divine, fighting and working, day and night, for his glory during your whole life until death. “The flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh”. (Gal. 5:17)

Work and temperance are not acquired easily. In order to avoid being overcome in battle we must rigorously control our body and all its natural inclinations, like a coachman holds on tightly to the reins of an untamed horse so that they both do not end up on the brink.

The Son of God, in human flesh walks before us lighting our path with his example, in order to lighten the burden which the Creator has placed upon us and to exhort us to a voluntary renunciation of our very selves. Jesus worked willingly and by the sweat of his brow in St Joseph’s workshop, he endured the sufferings and the privations of daily life, finally he died on the cross suffering horrible pain. He did not spare himself and did not give in to anything in order to teach us how we are to live in every situation. His Mother, followed him closely, the sorrowful Mother who worked and suffered during her whole life. Behind her come the thousands of saints who have “crucified the flesh with its passions and desires”.

Christian temperance devalued

Father Bronislaw added, “Instead today, throughout the whole world and unfortunately among Christian nations, this command seems to resound: Let us seek to enjoy life to the fullest on this earth and to work as little as possible. Money, power, rest, diversion, pleasures and honours today constitute the ideal of all of humanity, while work by sweat of the brow and Christian temperance are totally devalued. Only those who are forced to do so work and suffer. But, very few work freely and are temperate in the spirit of Jesus Christ.

The majority of today’s people are not aware that work and Christian temperance gain spiritually a hundredfold already on this earth. Abandonment of temperance, instead, brings about not only the risk of eternal punishment and of hell, but also earthly disasters The effeminate world refuses to accept the bitter means of Christian mortification to heal the sickness of the spirit. It is precisely mortification which heals the “things of the earth” (Phil.3, 19.) Also, the inclinations which wound man’s soul and leads to perdition. By means of mortification we pay, already on this earth, the temporal punishments which we have deserved because of our sins. Self denial raises our soul to heavenly realities and enables it to be united to God. Only those who are mortified have the gift of prayer which is indispensable for salvation. Christian discipline helps us to acquire, already on this earth, interior peace and the joy of the Spirit. Therefore, mortification, which consists of work and Christian temperance, constitutes the indispensable condition for, and is the source of spiritual wealth and of human happiness, in this present life and in the future Work and temperance are, thus, the most important pillars of social life. Only there, where they are solidly grounded, are well-being, health, strength, peace, freedom and independence possible.

We need not only instruct the youth on these two pillars of social life but also to have them actively put them into practice, encouraging them by our own example. We need to pray, many times throughout the day, for the understanding and realization of these two conditions for happiness. We need to base our scholastic system and our whole education principally on these two pillars. Thus will we find abundant means for the social betterment of our own people and that of neighbouring nations. In this way, the brotherhood of nations will be extended and a more glorious period in the history of humanity will dawn.”

Inspired by St John Bosco

Following the Divine Voice, Father Markiewicz went to Italy and was inspired by the work of St John Bosco. In 1892, seven years later, he returned to Poland and was put in charge of the parish in Miejsce Piastowe (southeastern Poland). In addition, to his pastoral work, he provided a widespread educational system, which not only included the academic but also dealt with the spiritual and physical development of the children in the houses / orphanages he established. He had a great devotion to Our Blessed Mother and would take the poor abandoned orphaned boys in his care to her statue on the altar of his church and say “She is your mother, come to her with all your problems and she will answer you.” This was a great comfort for the young boys. Father Bronislaw Markiewicz felt a stricter order with firm principles was needed and soon thought of founding a new religious congregation.

On 23rd September 1897, he petitioned the Bishop of Przemysl and the Pope to allow him to found the Congregation of St Michael the Archangel. In spite of intensive efforts on his part, Father Markiewicz did not live to witness its approval and died on 29th January 1912. On 29th September 1921, Adam Stefan Sapieha, Bishop of Cracow, issued the Erecting Decree of the Congregation. On 15th June 1966, the Congregation was affirmed under papal law. Father Bronislaw Markiewicz’s beatification took place in Warsaw on June 19, 2005.

Sisters of Saint Michael

The Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Michael the Archangels was established in Miejsce Piastowe near Krosno at the end of XIX. Growing social, economic, and political unrest created a need for the new community to look after abandoned and neglected youth. In the history of the Michaelite Sisters a prominent role was played by Servant of God, Sister Anna Kaworek (1872-1936) who after the death of Blessed Bronislaw Markiewicz took charge in organizing lives of the Sisters and their pupils. Sister Anna was chosen as the Mother Superior of the new Congregation. For 38 years she led her new community. Thanks to her dedication, commitment, and heroic hope the Sisters build their religious house and welcomed recognition by the Holy See in 1928. Her beatification process is currently underway in Rome.

At the present time the Sisters are working in 29 places in Poland, in the dioceses of: Czestochowa, Cracow, Przemysl, Radom, Rzeszow, Tarnow, Torun, Warsaw and Warsaw-Bemowo. They run educational facilities, after school youth programs, daycares, school, and a house for mothers with children. The Sisters teach religion in the schools and work in parishes as organists and sacristans.

There are 202 Sisters , five Novices, two Postulants and two Candidates. With the exception of few – very ill and aged – all sisters are involved in apostolic ministry, educational and charitable efforts and domestic work.

The Congregation also has another eight religious houses abroad. The Sisters of the Congregation work in six European countries and some sisters work as missionaries in the Cameroon.

Important dates in the life of Blessed Father Bronislaw Markiewicz

09/15/1867 - He was ordained priest in the Cathedral of Przemysl the hands of Ordinary Ks. Biskupa Antoniego Monastyrskiego. Bishop Antoni, Monastyrski.
1867 - 1885 - He served as vicar in Hart and the Cathedral in Przemysl. Następnie studiował na He then studied at the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Lviv and Krakow. On the other hand, he was pastor of the parish Since 1882 he was professor of pastoral theology at the seminary in Przemysl.
30/11/1885 - He came to Turin to Salesian Father.
01/01/1886 - He began with Salesian novitiate at San Benigno Canavese near Turin.
03/25/1887 - He worked in Italy.
28.03.1892 - As a member of the Salesian Society came to places that soon the efforts of the Servant of God was named "Place Piastowe."
06/04/1892 - The beginning of the organization of the Department of Educational in the rectory.
29/09/1897 - Bl. Fr Markiewicz applied to the Bishop of Przemysl and to the Holy Father Leo XIII, a request for permission to found a new Congregation.
12/19/1897 - Has been deleted from the list of members of the Salesian Society henceforth remained under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Przemysl.
14/04/1898 - Approval of the Statute of the Society Moderation and Work.
07/16/1898 - The first issue of the monthly "Moderation and Work".
24/04/1899 - The blessing of Pope Leo XIII to the Society Moderation and Work.
8/02/1903 - Department of Educational Foundation in Pawlikowice.
29/01/1912 - He died in the odour of sanctity.
01/02/1912 - Markiewicz Place Piastowe involving Ks. Biskupa Karola Fischera. Bishop Karol Fischer.
29/09/1921 - Michael the Archangel in ARCHDIOCESE OF KRAKOW BY BISHOP ADAM Stefan Sapieha.
12/10/1922 - Fr Biskup Józef Sebastian Pelczar zatwierdził w diecezji przemyskiej pierwsze Konstytucje męskiego Zgromadzenia. Bishop Jozef Sebastian Pelczar approved in the Diocese of Przemysl first Constitution of the Assembly.
21/08/1928 - The Bishop Anatol Nowak established the Congregation of the Sisters Michalitek.
05/05/1956 - Sisters received from the Holy See Decree of Praise.
08/12/1958 - The Bishop Franciszek Barda ordered the initiation of the information process for the beatification of Father Founder.
04/28/1963 - Closing of the information process in Przemysl and provide documentation to the Holy See.
06/15/1966 - Meeting of men received from the Holy See Decree of Praise.
05/05/1990 - The ceremonial transfer of mortal remains of Father Founder of the cemetery of the parish church religious.
01/29/1989 - Approval of the new Constitution of the Congregation of St. Michael the Archangel.
02/07/1994 - The promulgation of the decree heroic virtues of the Founding Father St. Jana Pawła II. Pope John Paul II.
08/12/1995 - 08/12/1996 - Marian Year in the Assembly because of the 100th anniversary of the presence of the Statue of Mary Queen of Polish, in the mother house of the Congregation in Place Piastowe.
1996/1997 - Year of Jubilee, 75th anniversary of the approval of the Assembly.
07/11/1998 - 100th anniversary of the monthly "Moderation and Work".
06/13/1999 - Beatification of Servants of God Michalickich martyrs Ks. Władysława Bładzinskiego, Ks. Wladyslaw Bładzinskiego, Ks. Wojciecha Nierychlewskiego Wojciech Nierychlewskiego
21/04/2004 - Fr approval by the Medical extraordinary - from a medical point of view - healing (how to), through the intercession of the Servant of God, Father Bronislaw Markiewicz.
19/06/2005 - The beatification of Bl. Fr Markiewicz.