Congregation of the Resurrection

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Congregation of the Resurrection
Anniversary of the founding of the Fathers of the Resurrection 1836

Yesterday, we celebrated the founding of the Servite Fathers.  That day, February 17 is also the founding day for the Resurrection Fathers and Brothers. 

Bogdan Janski became an apostle among the Polish exiles living in France. A convert himself, he was bent on converting others. Two exiles stand out.  One of these was Peter Semenenko.  Born in 1814, Semenenko was a White Russian and a fiery revolutionary who fought in the unsuccessful November 1830 Polish rebellion.  Semenenko fled to Paris where he joined the radical political associations.  He also became a Mason. Abandoning his faith, Semenenko led a dissolute lifestyle. All this began to change when he approached Janski for financial and moral support.  Janski’s conversion experience awakened Semenenko’s own faith and his conversion came in January 1835. Another exile was Jerome Kajsiewicz. A Lithuanian by birth (1812), Kajsiewicz had also participated in the unsuccessful rebellion of 1830.  He arrived in Paris in 1832 where he was indifferent to faith and led a life of partying and pleasure. After aimless wandering, he came under the influence of the Catholic social reformers and Janski.  In 1833, he had a conversion experience.

Janski, Semenenko and Kajsiewicz shared the common experiences of renewed faith and a dream about the Christian revitalization of society.  In order to do this, a religious community was needed. When they came together on Ash Wednesday, February 17, 1836, they established a common life that began the Congregation of the Resurrection.

On Easter Sunday, March 25, 1842, along with five seminarians, Semenenko and Kajsiewicz professed their first vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as religious of a community without a name in the catacombs of St. Sebastian in Rome.  In light of the feat day, they were inspired to dedicate themselves to the Risen Lord and to call themselves the “Brothers of the Resurrection.”   That date comes on Good Friday this year, very near to Easter Sunday.

Father Peter Semenenko became the spiritual director for Mother  Celine and Mother Hedwig Borzecka, the co-foundresses of the Sisters of the Resurrection. 

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