According to data from the end of 2018, there are ca. 32,000 Polish nuns and monks. “The essence of religious life is to make the life of Christ present in the world through three evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty, and obedience. Chastity is love, poverty is freedom, and obedience is availability. That’s what Christ was like: he loved, he was free and obedient” – emphasizes Bishop Jacek Kiciński, chairman of the Commission for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Associations of Apostolic Life of the Polish Bishops’ Conference.
The largest group of consecrated persons in Poland are women. According to the latest data, the total number of nuns in Poland is about 20,240, of which 1,290 are nuns living in contemplative monasteries. In Poland, there are 106 female congregations that possess 2,120 religious houses. The nuns run u.a.: nurseries, kindergartens, primary schools, high schools, vocational schools, dormitories, common rooms, family orphanages, orphanages, educational centers, shelters for the homeless, canteens for the poor, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, holiday homes for laypeople, publishing houses and hospices.
Sr. Maksymilla Pliszka BDNP, chairwoman of the Conference of Major Superiors of Women Religious in Poland, points out that “the essence of religious life is to be a witness to Jesus and to radically love him. We want to transform the world from within through love, prayer, service, and work”.
There are also 11,403 Polish friars who serve in Poland and abroad. The male congregations with the highest number of members are Franciscans (1,230), Salesians (1,040) and Conventual Franciscans (934).
Bishop Arkadiusz Okroj, who is responsible in Poland for individual forms of consecrated life, notes that there are 322 consecrated virgins and over 300 consecrated widows and widowers in Poland. “Individual forms of the consecrated life are now experiencing their growth” – he stresses.
World Day for Consecrated Life was established in 1997 by Pope John Paul II. It is celebrated on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2 every year. The 24th World Day of the Consecrated Life will be celebrated under the motto “The Great Mystery of Faith”. It is part of the theme of this pastoral year: “The Mystery of the Faith – the Eucharist”.