Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis
To this day it is a mystery to me how it happened that God, wanting my happiness, offered me the way of religious life and how, with my simplicity and insensitivity to His presence and being a rebellious teenager, I could discover this.
Since I remember I was surrounded by people who loved and taught to love. One expression of this was the care for the other. God was always present although at that stage of life, but religious life and faith were not important. Gradually His presence became more familiar. From today's perspective I think that the breakthrough was, getting to know a group of young people who lived in friendship with Him. In these young people, God revealed Himself as a very real, close, caring and loving God... and up to this day this is still true despite different life situations. I never thought about religious life but there was a desire in me to learn how to love...
I met the Sisters by choosing between two retreat proposals conducted by different Congregations. I came to Ołdrzychowice with a friend. Ołdrzychowice did not impress me. But today, I am very grateful to God for the opportunity to share at that time the life with the Sisters in Ludwikowice and Rychnowo and to work and to pray with them. Such a real natural ordinary being with Sisters... just like that. These moments and other signs that the Lord gave in His words, the writings of St. Francis, people and the events of those days brought me to think about and then to make a decision to join the Congregation. I did not know how it will be because in the eyes of many people (including my own ones) girls like me were not suitable for religious life.
The story of the meeting of Saint Francis with the lepers and those stories about the beginnings of our Congregation and the way of life of the first Sisters impressed me. I also had my own image of our Sisters walking and serving the poor and sick, like the Missionaries of Mercy of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
In our Congregation, God led me to many places, but my life was strongly connected with the suffering ones... Today, being over 18 years in the community, I still experience that God is faithful, still real, loving, caring, affectionate. God who cares for the poorest of the poor or the abandoned ones. I am a happy woman, a Christian and a Nun. I honor God in that 19-year-old girl from that time and I am grateful that this girl chose the path of consecrated life. I honor Him in every Sister, in my relatives, friends, life companions, in every human being encountered all these years... and I think that it would be true in every place on earth, I would be today. Now I have the privilege of living and serving in Kazakhstan, where you can sometimes hear the footsteps of Christ walking between the houses and the steppe. Together with the Sisters, we try to serve here, listening to the needs of the local community and listen to God's inspiration. I am still learning to love and to experience more and more the love and beauty of the Church. I commend myself, my community and our whole Congregation to your prayer... and I bless you who are reading this.... God bless you +
Sister M. Rufina Maksymiak