Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis

Sister M. Stefania Gembalczyk

From childhood, I was thinking about religious life. Perhaps because two of my aunts were nuns. I think, they prayed for me for the grace of a religious vocation.

Joining the Congregation of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis I knew that in addition to nursing the sisters are engaged in different jobs and services. I thought that maybe I could be a seamstress because I learned this trade in the vocational school.

The Superiors, however, directed me to nursing. After graduating from the College of Nursing I wanted to work among seriously ill persons.

After some time I received a book about Father John Beyzym, SJ, who worked among lepers in Madagascar. About the same time, other information also reached us that one of our Sisters from the German Province had started to work among the lepers in India.

A glimmer of hope caught fire in my heart, perhaps I also can work among such people. I obtained permission of the General Superior.  After that, I went to a preparatory course at the Missionary Formation Centre in Warsaw, which ended in 1987 with the awarding of missionary crosses by the now saint Pope John Paul II.

In March 1989 I went to India, where I gave special care to the lepers. Although the beginnings were difficult, learning the Hindi language, new customs, another climate and the need to become familiar with other tropical diseases, I had a lot of satisfaction and I was happy that I could serve there.

Today I thank God for allowing me to serve the "poorest of the poor" for 25 years. At one and the same time, I experienced the extreme poverty as well as wealth, people living with abundance. Simply, I learned the true face of India.

Since returning to Poland in 2015, I work at the Provincial House.