Popiel Antonina, in congregation of st. Francis (1916-1963), Mother Superior General of Congregation of Ursulan Sisters of Agonizing Jesus Heart, the President of the Council of the Superiors of Higher Feminine Conventual Congregations in Poland. Born on June 19 in Wojcza, county of Stopnica, she was a grand daughter Jan (vid.), daughter of Michal, the owner of the estates of Wojcza and Ruszcza, and Jadwiga Mankowski. Out of the Popiels' five children, the older brother Jan became a Jesuit, and younger sister also "grey" Ursulan (with the name of Theresa). Popiel completed a Sisters' Sacre-Coeur gymnasium in Zbilitowska Gora nearby Tarnow, then shae studied for a year catechetic-social major in Belgium. She joined the Congregation of Ursulan Sisters of Agonizing Jesus Heart in 1937. Till September 1939 she worked in congregation outposts in Polesie, running educational, social and religious activities for inhabitants. Concurrently she managed the Congregation's farm in Molodow (from Skirmunt endowment), so that she learned the farmer's work and life. There she met reverend Jan Zieja, co-working with him at the People's University.

During German occupation she stayed in Warszawa. She studied social pedagogics in secret schools (completes) under prof. Helena Radlinska. During Warsaw Uprising of 1944 she worked as a nurse in the hospital for insurgents, organized in the Congregation's House at 2 Wislana St. During 1945-1948 she was running charitable tasks for the church "Caritas" in Kielce; also, she was appointed the Superior for the Congregation there. During 1948-1955 she was the Deputy Superior of the Congregation House in Pniewy. When in 1950 the communist State took over the Congregation farm, she worked with a group of nuns in the State Farm Initiative using skills she learned before, in Molodow. In 1955 she became the Superior General and in 1961 she was again appointed to that office by the Chapter General. From 1955 she was also a member of the Council of the Superiors of Higher Feminine Conventual Congregations in Poland and from 1960 on she became the President. Her broad experience ranging from social to farming to conventual to charitable work gave her a good support for work on preparation to the second Vatican Council and related movement of "adapted renewal" of conventual life and on preparation to the Great Novena, preceeding the "Millenium of the Baptism of Poland". She maintained broad contacts with the Congregations in the Western countries, in particular in Italy and France. She had strong relations with the movement of Ch. De Foucauld, Minor Sisters and Congregation of French Freres Missionnaries et Soeurs des Campagnes. She considered their ecclesiastical spirit close to that of her Congregation. She broadened her concerns about "adapted renewal" to the other congregations within the framework of the Council of the Superiors of Higher Feminine Conventual Congregations. She was a leader of the Congregation in particularly difficult times, politically and socially, when the Congregation lost its work domain such as schools, kindergartens and campuses. She courageously used to take on new forms of work, particularly in parishes (so-called parochial outposts). She died victim of a car accident together with her assistant, sister Ursula Kuleszanka, on August 16, 1963 in Wegierki nearby Wrzesnia. Buried on the Pniewy cemetery.

Gorska A., Matka F. Popiel, "Gosc Niedzielny" 1964 nr. 32 s. 188 (fot.), 190; Molin J.-B., Amitie franco-polonaise, "Chronique des Freres Missionaires et des Soeurs des Campagnes": 1964 nr. 67; La morte delle Madre Popiel, "L’Osservatore Romano" 1963 nr. z 19-20 VIII; Orsolina del S. Cuore di Gesu Agonizzante superiore generale e presidente del' USM polacca; m. Francesca Popiel, "Rivisita delle Religiose" (A.L.A.) 1964 nr. 8-9; Pogrzeb sp. Matki Popiel i Siostry Kuleszanki w Pniewach – 20 VIII 1963 r., "Mies. Kosc. Archidiec. Pozn." 1963 nr 11 s. 255; "Tyg. Powsz." 1963 nr. 36 s.5.

Zofia J. Zdybicka

Translation from Polish to English: sp

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This site was created on June 15, 1998 and updated on May 11, 2007
Copyright 1998. Jan Popiel & Slawomir Popiel.