Kind, humble, open to the needs of people, filled with the spirit of the Gospel – the brothers. They support fellow priests in preaching the Word of God and at the Eucharistic table, they work in many apostolic works. They are a visible sign, a testimony of humble service, a showcase of religious congregations. In recent days, they have been experiencing a special time at the side of Our Lady of Jasna Góra. Around 130 of 1163 of those serving in Poland came to Chęstochowa in order to “recharge their batteries there”.

XXXIX Polish Pilgrimage of Religious Brothers to Jasna Góra, which took place on October 13-14, is patronized by St. Joseph.

In his speech preceding the Holy Mass, Fr. Damian Muskus OFM addressed the challenges faced by the brothers in the today’s situation of the Church and the world. He encouraged them to be apostles of reconciliation and peace, to witness with even greater enthusiasm and dedication the hospitality of the Church, welcoming every person with love.

He stressed the importance of bearing witness to brotherhood and the beauty of community in a world of deepening “loneliness and individualism.” He reminded that no one lives just for himself, that the experience of love and mutual giving is the foundation of our development, as well as the source of joy. He pointed out that the brotherhood is not only a matter of bonds within the religious family, but is also a testimony in the relationships with the people to whom the brothers are sent. Today, the brotherhood is needed like the oxygen.

The special experience of the brother’s pilgrimage was the carrying of the cross together, which was symbolic and emphasized the unity of spirit in following the Crucified and Resurrected Christ.

On the second day of the pilgrimage, which started with the Morning Mass in the Chapel of the Rosary, the brothers listen to Fr. Krzysztof Dyrka SJ, who addressed the topic “Current challenges in formations of religious brothers.”

The last point of the program was the Mass in the Chapel of the Miraculous Image; Fr. Jacek Kisiński CMF, the chairman of the KEP Commission for Consecrated Life, presided the mass and gave the homily.

Brother Remigiusz Rutecki SJ (first to the right on the image above), who has been taking part in the pilgrimage of the brothers for 13 years, tells a reporter from Jasna Góra radio that, considering the fact that 10% of the brothers still come here to draw strength and seeing the represented diversity, the heart rejoices. Looking with the eyes of faith at the statistics, which show how the numbers are declining year on year, one can still be optimistic. We are still needed in society, and we observe how God is working through our hands.

How was your vocation born?

During the carol service in 8th grade, the parish priest asked me if I would like to be a priest – brother Remigiusz recalls. I then firmly replied: “No, not a priest!” This question had stayed with me for a long time. There was high school, then there was the army, work, and meanwhile, I started studying local government politics, later did a master’s degree in political science in Gdańsk University, but that question of the parish priest “would you like to be a priest” had always been somewhere in the back of my mind. I changed jobs, school, but at some point, I thought something had to be done in this life. Being 32 years old, I started seriously to think about the religious order and went to vocation retreat to Elbląg, to the Franciscans. There, I talked for the first time about what I was feeling, what I was thinking. And there I started to talk about my vocation, but the father I spoke to said: “We could take you, but since you have a degree, it’s only to be a priest”. And I said: “No, Father, I would like to become a brother.” This somehow discouraged me from the Franciscans and after returning from the retreat, I started looking for the information on the Internet. I looked at Dominicans and the Pauline Fathers, but also came across the Jesuits. And as I lived in Gdańsk at that time, I arranged a vocation meeting in Gdynia and there I learned more about Ignatian spirituality. Father responsible for vocations at that time gave me a Jesuit newspaper with a description of the jubilee of the 60th anniversary of the religious life of brother Kowalczyk from Warsaw. It described his life in the order, and this was something that attracted me. I started seeking admission to the Jesuits. Now it has been 14 years since I became a Jesuit, and I work in our Curia in Warsaw as well as in the parish of St. Stephan. I have always been attracted to the quiet work in the background, supporting those priests who work on the front lines. This second front line is also very necessary, it is an important background.

If you are interested in joining the Jesuit order:

E-mail address [email protected] is for candidates who want to apply to the Jesuit order from the following countries: Poland, Denmark, Russia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.
E-mail address [email protected] is for candidates who want to apply to the Jesuit order from Poland and Ukraine.