Popiel (Chosciak Popiel) Stanislaw coat of arms Sulima (1688-1760), a Jesuit, a pedagogue, a provincial. Born on July 2 in Sandomierz province he was a son of Andrzej and Zuzanna of Dmosicki. He graduated from the Jesuit High School, probably in Lublin. After completing rhetoric class he joined the Jesuit Order (St. Stanislaus) in Krakow having in his mind future missions abroad. During 1708-11 he studied dialectics, then commentaries to the logic ("Organon"), physical, metaphysical and ethical works of Aristotle and mathematics in the Order college in Kalisz. His master was a prominent logician Jan Gzowski; under his tutelage Popiel was concentrated on the constitutive elements of matters and connotation problems. In summer of 1711 Popiel took part in the pedagogic course for the High School teachers and in the fall of the same year he started his teaching practice in the grammar class in Jaroslaw. After that he taught syntactic in Lwow, syntactic and poetics in Sandomierz, poetics in Lviv (1711-15). During 1715-1719 he studied theology in Krakow at the St. Peter's College. J. Gzowski who taught dogmatic theology then and there exerted tremendous influence on Popiels views. In June 1718 Popiel was ordained. From Krakow Popiel went to Piotrkow as a teacher of rhetoric (1719-1720). There he found himself in a middle of a feud between the Jesuit and Piarist schools cropping up as fights between students and following court cases. That convinced him that the close neighborhood of the Jesuit and Piarist schools does not do any good to the learning process. In 1720 Popiel was appointed to the Poznan college as a rhetoric teacher. During his stay there a theatre was built "for performing the art of the queen-speech" (chronicle). There are no records on Popiels work in the College theatre. In 1721 Popiel was close to execution of his missionary plans when his far cousin Krzysztof Popiel, a Tuczapy prefect,  was appointed on May 17 an envoy to the Ottoman Porta, and Stanislaw was asked to became a mission chaplain. Popiel, who was then a mathematics and ethics teacher in Lublin, tried to obtain the Order general M. Tambourini's consent to remain in Istanbul as a missionary in the Jesuit residence there. Tambourini refused, but he let Popiel joining the diplomatic mission as a theologist. At the beginning of 1722 the envoy left Poland with Popiel on the train. In September they were back in Poland.

During 1722-5 Popiel taught logic, physics and mathematics to the lay students in Przemysl, and during 1725-8 Aristotle's philosophy to the Jesuit clerics in Lublin, being also a director of the studies. His dictations are missing, but they were basis for A. Podlesiecki's book against the theory of connotations. As a school principal Popiel tried not to allow for opening Piarist schools in the town, remembering too frequent conflicts between the two Orders and their respective pupils. Thanks to Popiel's efforts necessary funds were provided to finally open in the fall of 1730 a full course of theology. Popiel held the principal's office and he lectured on the dogmatic theology. He lectured on commentaries to St. Thomas Aquinas's "Summa Theologica", but he did not accept all St. Thomas's views (Immaculate Conception, apostle succession). It caused violent reaction of the Dominicans, who filed a complaint with the nuncio in Warsaw and at Roman congregations, but in vain. Popiel also lectured on the canon law (1737-9), and from 1725 he was a permanent director for higher education.

In 1739 he was appointed a principal of the College in Sandomierz and a director of the schools there including seminary for diocese clerics. However, in 1740 Popiel arrived to Krakow and stayed there till 1744, living at the home of the St. Barbara's professors as a "court missionary". Possibly he was a court theologist to the cardinal Jan Alexander Lipski. In 1744 he left for Lviv to act as a director for higher education, and in reality, to watch the Piarists efforts in opening Piarist school in Lwow. Beginning of 1746 saw Popiel a secretary of the Polish province, and on August 7, 1748 he became also a rector and a master of the novitiate of St. Stephen in Krakow. The income from four novitiate villages and brewery (avg. 35,000 zloty a year) happened to be not adequate, counting 500 zloty for an elder monk and 300 zloty for a novice per year. Because of that Popiel gained himself patrons (among others Marcin Zeromski, the Krakow canon), bought on January 6, 1749 a Jordanow bailiwick from from Michal Soltyk and his wife, for 79,000 zloty. The young generation of monks Popiel grew in real asceticism of Ignatius Loyola. At the end of 1749 and beginning of 1750 Popiel held 30-days recollection for novices. He was knowledgeable but no good a preacher. His lecture was systematic and practical, however, without brightness. His alumni were, among others, Ignacy Wilczek, "the Polish Antilucretius", and Grzegorz Arakielowicz, the defender of the Copernicus's system.

In 1749 Popiel was chosen as a delegate of the Polish Province to the Order congregation in Rome. He supposed to submit the report on the status of the Polish province to the Jesuit general F. Retz, and learn on the Order position in the World. Popiel made a very good impression on the general and upon expiration of the term of the actual provincial Jozef Domaradzki, Popiel was appointed a provincial for Poland on May 17, 1750. The Polish province counted 75 posts including 25 colleges and 1,054 people. During Popiel's rule a construction of the great college in Krzemieniec, Podole, with great auditorium was completed (1753). When the fire destroyed the church (today's cathedral) and schools in Lublin, Popiel with great efforts run their re-construction, commissioning the Order architects, Franciszek Kozminski and Jan Zelner. Thanks to Popiel's initiative, the re-construction was completed in five years. Popiel financed a foundation system for popular missions in Poland, together with the French queen, Maria Leszczynski's plenipotentiary on August 11, 1750 in Warsaw. The queen introduced to Poland and endowed a mission after Lorraine pattern, founded by her father Stanislaw Leszczynski. She assigned 2,000 ducats (36,000 zloty) per year, which was an interest on 40,000 ducats (1 mil. zloty) capital obtained from the sale of the hereditary estates Sierakowo to H. Bruehl. Four missionary trains supposed to run 16 missions a year and give away 1,000 zloty each time to the needy and poor. The remaining part of the interest (20,000 zloty) was provided for maintaining the missionaries and to offset the cost of travel. The consent supposed to be executed after queen's death.

After the death of the general Retz Popiel took part in the general congregation of the Order in Rome, where on July 4, 1751 the Retz's successor, I. Visconti of Milano was chosen. The conferences of the congregation were related mainly to the schooling matters, therefore Popiel's activities since then were focused on re-creation of the Jesuit schooling in Poland. As a long time pedagogue and principal of the schools Popiel was experienced enough to create an adequate and uniform plan and start its execution. Understanding meaning of the physics and mathematics in educational program, he used to send young, talented Jesuits to study in Vienna (Florian Markowski), Paris (Jan Loyko, Ignacy Bieganski) and Prague (Tomasz Siekierzynski). They were intended to teach in the Orders mathematics college in Poland and prepare teachers of mathematics and physics for High Schools and colleges for lay men. To reinstate better level of theology, where there were showing up fruitless  and dangerous speculations, he let a new cadre of the professors to be educated in Roman College. Instead of the moral theology dictate, he introduced a H. Busenbaum's book "Medulla theologiae moralis", published in Sandomierz in 1753. It was a first case of modern lecture, important for shaping future ways of teaching theology and philosophy. Popiel introduced also obligatory public examination of the adepts on theology.

Most of his attention Popiel gave to the High Schools, since growing old the High School methods and successes of the competitors were most prominent here. Popiel accepted a rule, that a successful lecture lies mostly on a talented and diligent teacher, he started from re-forming the the pedagogic seminar which he turned into mandatory regular two-year college. His director was appointed by Popiel an extraordinary pedagogue, theoretician and and practitioner of the human sciences Franciszek Lesniewski. A seminar professor reported in writing to Popiel on each teacher candidate and his suitability to teaching. Also, after completing the course the candidates were to have special preparation course on methods of teaching. Written opinion on each candidate's teaching talents received provincial. Popiel commanded return to the ancient authors of the golden age, recommended studying of the Grzegorz Knapiusz, to teach youth the correct translation from Latin to Polish. The colleges supposed to have appointed rooms for each class professor, equipped with excellent library. Popiel obliged the school principals to frequent and in-depth inspections (one class a day) of the schools. Apart from that he tried to prepare youth to the political life of the country. The schools organized under supervision of the rhetoric professors public shows imitating the parliament or senate sessions. The students had to read the newspapers brought from the capital to be able to look into current political matters. Very strongly Popiel introduced a rule of just promotion of the students and forbade introducing to the schools goliards. The great breach from the established ways was Popiel's consent to deploy laic teachers in the class of infima. He wrote to the Jesuit printers with strong words, that having only profit in sight they publish only litanies and offices with harm to the serious literature, which, in his words, is ready out there.

After Popiel's term expired on October 28, 1753, he left the works to his successor Tomasz Baczynski and himself he became a rector of the Virgin Mary's college in Jaroslaw. His task there was to organize the celebration of the coronation of the figure of God's Mother worshipped there since 14th century. As early as in 1732 Jakub Sobieski brought the crowns from Rome and deposited them in the college's archives, but because stormy interregnum, frequent stops of the new church construction and death of the main sponsor of the crowning, general Jozef Potocki (1751), the crowning was postponed. In 1755 thanks to the support from the Przemysl bishop Waclaw Hieronim Sierakowski who also was a Jaroslaw parson, and financial help from the Polish magnates, in particular the Kijow palatine Stanislaw Potocki, Popiel was able to arrange for the celebration. It happened on September 8, 1755 with unheard-of pomp in presence of many magnates, nobles and some 60,000 plebs. Popiel arranged for minting two medallions with the crowned figure (obverse) and St. Ignatius (reverse). The pilgrims were given books like "Mater gratiarum..." (Lviv 1755; work decorated with drawings), "Jaroslawskiej Naswietszej Panny cuda i laski..." (Lviv 1755; continuation of the previous work). The youth of the Przemysl college arranged a spectacle "From the Church history..."(Przemysl 1756). Popiel also gave his attention to have printed a great number of the pictures of the God's Mother figure. Printed after the celebrations "Diary or description of the crowning of the miraculous figure..." remembers a great number of portraits of former and contemporary people as decoration of the six gates of the church. The permanent monument from that time is also a great gate in front of the church erected by Popiel. Popiel initiated establishing in 1754 in collegial village Radawa, a permanent Order mission endowed by the bishop Sierakowski with a sum of 6,000 zloty. After cassation of the Order in 1773 it became a parish.

The works related to the celebration ruined Popiel's health (for many weeks he was feeding 300 poor per day). After finishing finally his tasks in Jaroslaw on May 29, 1757 he moved to hamlet Loret near Chodel, which was a part of the Lublin college and became there a chaplain. Since 1756 Popiel was a member of new Malopolska province. In 1758 he came back to the Lublin college as a chaplain of the house. Paralyzed he died in Lublin on January 17, 1760. The burial speech (macaroni panegyric) gave a Dominican, Jacek Majewski and printed in the same year in Lublin as "The last care...". Popiel was one of the most prominent members of the Order in Poland.

Apart from Stanislaw Popiel there were in 18 century seven other Popiels, members of the Polish, and since 1756 Malopolska province: Jakub (1710-1776), Waclaw (1720-1774), Tomasz (1721-1781), Jozef (1740-?), Jan (1677-1735), Marcin (1737-?), Walenty (wstapil w 1770). First four were surely from the family using the coat of arms Sulima.

Estreicher, XXII 43 (Przysluga ostatnia ...), XV 425 (Diariusz); Niesiecki;  -Baracz S., Cudowne obrazy Matki Boskiej w Polsce, Lw. 1891, s. 92-4; Bednarski S., Upadek i odrodzenie szkol jezuickich w Polsce, Kr. 1933; Konopczynski W., Polska a Turcja 1683-1782, W. 1936; Popiel P., Rodzina Popielow ..., Kr. 1936 s. 19-20 (bledy dotyczace ojca i rodzenstwa); Zaleski, Jezuici III, IV; - Arch. Panstw. w Kr. Oddz. na Wawelu: Teki Schnaydra, t. 703 k. 46, t. 706 k. 13, t. 707 k. 91-96 (fundacja krolowej Marii Leszczynskiej), k. 165, 167 v.; Arch. Prow. Mpol. T.J. w Kr.: Gotfried K., Swiatynia marianska w Jaroslawiu, Jaroslaw 1955 (mszp, fotokopia); Arch. Rom. S.I.: Polonica 45, 46, 49 (katalogi roczne - 1706-60), Pol. 23-32, 38 (katalogi trzyletnie z lat 1711, 1714, 1717, 1723, 1727, 1730, 1737, 1743, 1746, 1749, 1754, 1758), Pol. 89 k. 100-101 (Defuncti in Collegio Lubliniensi - 1758-61), Pol. 60, 87 (Kroniki domow); B. Bobolanum w W.: rkp. 15 (Execitia spiritualia R.P. Stanislai Popiel SI domus Probatione rectore 1749/1750); B. Jad.: rkp nr 5195 (Liber Colegii Poznaniensis   - tu listy Popiela), nr 5194 (Memoralia relicta Collegio Posnaniensi); - Papiery rodzinne u Emanuela Roztworowskiego.

Bronislaw Natonski

Translation from Polish to English: sp


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This site was created on June 15, 1998 and updated on May 11, 2007
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