Fr. Casimir Krzyzanowski, MIC


I was born (actually) on Dec. 17, 1922 (but according to my baptismal certificate: on Jan. 17, 1923) in Lublin, Poland, the son of Adam Krzyzanowski (died in 1942) and of Stanislawa nee Kozlowska (died in 1988). At my baptism, I was given three names: Kazimierz, Jan and Stanislaw. I have one brother (Seweryn, two years older, married, and living in Poland).

After a few years spent in Lubartow, our family returned in 1930 to Lublin and we took residence in a house (bought by my parents) at Rynek Street, 12. In 1938, having completed secondary education, I graduated from the private Vetter High School in Lublin. Before the outbreak of the Second World War, I completed my first year at the J. Zamoyski Lyceum (college) in Lublin, where I specialized in physics and mathematics.

Because of the limited possibilities of higher studies in Lublin under the German occupation, in 1940 I moved with my brother to Warsaw, where after a year of preparatory course, for two years I pursued the electro-technical studies at the Wawelberg Higher School of Machine Construction and Electro-Technology. Having graduated from it with a technician's degree, in the year 1943/1944 I studied at the Electro-technical Faculty of the State Higher Technical School (formerly called Polytechnic University) in Warsaw.

Since the spring of 1943, I was being trained in the underground Polish Army, and I took part as a soldier in the Warsaw Rising against the Germans, from its beginning on Aug. 1, 1944 until its capitulation on Oct. 3, 1944. As a prisoner of war, I was kept first in a transitory camp in Germany, and in November of 1944 I was transferred to a regular prison of war camp (Stalag XVIII A) in Wolfsberg, Austria. Due to a lung disease (pleurisy), I was moved to a camp hospital in January of 1945.

After the end of the war and the capitulation of Germany, in May of 1945, I was transported to Italy, to a hospital of the II Polish Corps of Gen. Anders under the British command. Having recovered from my disease, on Aug. 4, 1945 I began my studies at the Military Officer College of the II Polish Corps in Matera, Italy, from which I graduated on March 18, 1946 with the rank of Platoon Commander Officer Cadet.

In May of the same year I started studies in Alessano, Italy, at the Lyceum of the II Polish Corps, majoring in Mathematics and Physics (second year), in order to obtain the maturity diploma that would make it possible for me to resume my university studies abroad (since I did not plan to return to Poland as long as it was under the Communist regime). I was transferred to England for the demobilization purposes in Aug. 15, 1946. I was stationed in Cannon Hall Camp near Barnsley, where in the October of the same year I graduated from the said Lyceum with the maturity diploma. Having been demobilized from the military service, in November of 1946 I was accepted for the second year of the Electro-Technical studies at what was later called Polish University College in London. I took up residence at St. Stanislaus Hospice in London. I also became a member of the Polish Catholic University Association "Veritas."

My vocation to the religious life and the priesthood came to me unexpectedly on Sept. 8, 1947, when I was ready to start the third year of my university studies in London. The Congregation of Marians was the only religious institute that was more known to me at that time (I had gotten some information about it from my friend in London). Hence, when my spiritual director assured me of the authenticity of my vocation, I wrote to the Superior General of the Marians in Rome. On April 9, 1948 I was accepted into the Congregation and assigned to the American Province of St. Stanislaus Kostka.

While waiting for my three-year student visa to the United States, I went to a Jesuit college for late vocations in Isleworth, Middlesex, England, where I stayed until July 12, 1949, mostly brushing up my Latin. I obtained my student visa on July 6, 1949. Soon after I was on my way by ship from England to the U.S.

On July 19, 1949, I arrived in New York, then proceeded to Stockbridge, Mass., where at that time the novitiate was situated. I started my novitiate on Aug. 15, 1949, and a year later I professed my first religious vows. Then I was transferred to Washington, D.C., and for two years (1950-1952), I studied philosophy at the Catholic University of America, at the end receiving a Bachelor of Arts.

Then, I had an interruption in my priestly studies, because I became ill (tuberculosis of the bone). I had to stay for more than six months in the Lakeville State Sanatorium in Middleboro, Mass. In the meantime, my student visa expired and my stay in the U.S. was prolonged unlawfully. Therefore, while I was still in the sanatorium, one day I was formally arrested, but left where I was. The problem soon was solved, because at the request of my superiors, the congressman from the state of Massachusetts interceded for me, and I was granted by the Congress the permanent stay in the U.S. I went back to our scholasticate in Washington where I studied theology — first at the Carmelite Seminary (1953-54) and then at the Catholic University (1954-58). On June 9, 1956, I was ordained priest at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.

In 1958 I was granted the Licentiate in Theology (S.Th.L.), and in the same year I was sent to Rome, where I stayed at our General House and I continued my theological studies at the Dominican University "Angelicum." At their conclusion, I wrote (in Latin) and defended the dissertation entitled: Stanislaus a Jesu Maria Papczynski, O.Imm.Conc. (1631-1701): Magister Studii Perfectionis, and in 1963 I obtained the degree of Doctor of Sacred Theology (S.Th.D.).

In the summer of 1961 I returned to the U.S., and on Sept. 11, 1961 I became a naturalized citizen of the U.S. On this occasion, I "Americanized" my baptismal names "Kazimierz Jan" into "Casimir John," because I believed that I was obliged to do so.

In 1963, instead of letting me go back to my Province, I was retained by Fr. General and his Council in Rome and appointed to the office of Assistant Postulator General of the Congregation (1963-1973). In this capacity I helped in conducting the Beatification Process of our Father Founder, and particularly researching the required documentation (also in Portugal), and then writing and composing the so-called Positio on the life and virtues of Fr. Papczynski, and on the fame of his sanctity (1964-73; 1976-77), under the direction of an official of the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The Positio was published in Rome in 1977 and subjected to the evaluation by the historians and theologians — experts of the Holy See (later I had to answer their objections in the so-called Informatio, consequently annexed to the Positio). On the basis of these elaborations, the Holy See in 1992 issued the decree acknowledging the heroic virtues of Fr. Papczynski.

While working on the Beatification Cause of the Venerable Servant of God Fr. Stanislaus, I wrote explanatory texts to a series of 89 pictures that illustrate his life (they were painted in Poland). Thus, a book-album was composed and published in 1966 in London with the financial aid of our Province under the title: Pod sztandarem Niepokalanej, which in 1969 appeared in its English translation, published in Stockbridge under the title: Under the Banner of Mary Immaculate.

In the years 1963-69 I served as Local Secretary of the Roman House. In 1968 I was appointed a member of the Committee for the elaboration of the new edition of our Constitutions/Directory. In 1969 and 1970 for several weeks I offered pastoral assistance in our parish in Germany. Almost from the beginning during my stay in Rome until my return to the Province in 2005, I was chaplain in one or the other neighboring convents of religious Sisters.

In May of 1973, the 300th anniversary of the foundation of our Congregation was celebrated at the Catholic University of Lublin. On this occasion I delivered a paper on the rise and the development of our Congregation during the life of our Founder. In in 1975 this paper was published in Rome as a part of the book entitled:
Marianie 1673-1973.

In the first anniversary issue of the Marian Helpers Bulletin (now called Marian Helper magazine), my article appeared on the foundation and history of our Congregation entitled: "It All Started Three Hundred Years Ago," while for the second anniversary issue of the Bulletin I wrote an article presenting the Venerable Servant of God Fr. Casimir Wyszynski O.Imm.Conc. entitled "A Marian True To His Name."

In September of 1973, I returned to the U.S., where I was engaged in pastoral work, I had lectures on the history and spirituality of our Congregation for the novices, and I offered assistance in our houses of Brookeville, Md., and in Washington, DC. In the years 1975-78 I was Superior of the provincial house in Stockbridge, Mass.

Then I was called back to Rome, where I served the Congregation in various capacities: as Secretary General (1978-87, 1993-99), as III General Councilor (1981-93), as Procurator General (1987-99), as Assistant to the Postulator General (1989-92), and since 1987 as a member of the Historical Commission of the Marians (later called Institute of History and Spirituality of the Marians). Beginning in 1994, almost every year I make a special trip from Rome to the U.S. to give lectures on the history and spirituality of our Congregation to our novices.

In the years 1996-2001, I prepared the critical edition of the ascetical, historical and rhetorical writings of Fr. Papczynski written in Latin. On the basis of this edition, these writings began to be translated in the modern languages used in the Congregation, and I was given the task to verify the Polish translations (I did it until 2006).

In 2001-2002, I prepared an Italian edition of the Album Mortuorum for our Roman House. In the years 2001-2003 I worked on the updating and publication of our Constitutions and Directory, and in 2002-2003 I revised and verified their Italian and English translation (this last one in cooperation with Fr. Mark Garrow, MIC, who was Superior General at that time). In 2004 I translated the Marian Ritual into English. In 2004-2005, I verified and corrected (with the help of our Marian Censor) the English translation of Templum Dei Mysticum (Mystical Temple of God) that was then published by our Province. In 1999, I underwent a serious stomach operation in a Roman clinic.

On April 20, 2005, on the order of my Provincial (approved reluctantly by my Roman Superiors), I returned to my American Province and was assigned to the Washington House, mainly because it gave me an easy access to the Veterans Medical Center where, as a veteran, I receive a solicitous and gratuitous medical care. Also, it is easier now for me to have classes with our novices.

Presently my main work consists in translating Fr. Papczynski's Inspectio Cordis (An Insight with the eyes of Heart), 476 pages, into English (with Fr. Larry Dunn, verifying the correctness of my English). Also, occasionally I continue to help our General Curia and the Polish Province in various literary projects, requiring the knowledge of Latin, Italian, Polish and English, and also of the life and writings of Fr. Papczynski. Presently, especially I offer assistance to those projects that are connected with and provoked by the forthcoming beatification our Father Founder.