Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis
My name is Sister. M. Blanka Kryczka and I am from the Polish Province. I was born thirty-seven years ago (in 1970) in a big industrial city of Silesia on the coal fields of Dąbrowa Górnicza . My family is Catholic and practicing. When I was a little girl I used to say that if didn't find a good boy for a husband, I would join a convent. Then I forgot about it, but my faith was very important to me. I actively participated in the youth movement Oasis, which taught me a lot and helped in shaping my faith during a difficult puberty within a communist country. The decision to enter the convent was reached after graduating from high school and working in a hospital for a year as a nurse.
I joined the congregation in 1991. After making first vows, I was sent to work in a house of social welfare in Opole. I worked well among elderly people. My grandma had lived with my family for many years and even now I feel very grateful to her for my upbringing. Unfortunately, I was infected with jaundice by a woman, and it meant the end of my work at that house because the job was too hard for me after the illness.
I was sent to a new post in the Czech Republic in Rychnov n. Kn. At the beginning everything was hard – the language, mentality, work with disabled children. However, after some time, I grew fond of this country and its inhabitants.
After working with the disabled children, I was asked to teach religion by the parish priest from the adjacent parish. That was the way my great adventure with parish work started. Only a few faithful went to church, so he needed help. At first I taught only religion but then I started working as a pastoral assistant in the parish, part time at the beginning and then full time. My duties grew: now I teach ethics in two kindergartens and religion in three schools. In the kindergartens the groups are big, about thirty children, so ethics is trendy in this country. At the schools it is much harder, since the children sometimes don't get permission from their parents to attend religion lessons. The groups at the schools are small with the total percentage attending religious education being 32%, 8%, and 1% respectively. Therefore, the small number of children provided with religious education contributes to the country’s atheism. I also lead meetings for children from our parish.
A prayer group was established in the parish which meets twice a month to pray for healing of our souls and for those who ask for prayer. We also introduced the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The parish has its own newsletter and website, too (www.farnost/solnice.net). I am present at the common prayer, I edit the newsletter and administer the website. Since I can sew, I sew different things for our parish, that includes repairing the liturgical linens. A mission is the place where you have to learn everything!
I give Holy Communion to sick parishioners in their homes and in hospitals. It is a special mission that has been deep experience for me many times. Oftentimes my entering a hospital room has caused different reactions from the patients. They ask about the sense of faith and ask me to pray with and for them. They ask for the sign of the cross to be made on their foreheads. I often realize that this may be the only preparation for death available for these people.
Because of a huge crisis of family in the Czech Republic, we organized camps for children from pathological, divorced families and for children of single mothers or for children whose parents can't afford going on vacation. A touching book could be written about each of these children.
My service in the parish has been lasting. It is very demanding but it brings a lot of satisfaction and joy. After a few years in this parish, I can notice some tiny changes. I am very grateful for the charism of our congregation: "Bring Christ's healing presence". It is needed in this financially rich but spiritually really poor country. I ask for your prayerful support of my ministry.