ALMA MATER - Seminarians
In first part of my seminary memories I forgot to mention some important people which were supporting us seminarians in daily life by silent service. I mean the people at the gates, in the kitchen and in seminary camion.
In the kitchen about buying food was responsible fr. Michalec, after him came fr. Jerzy; about cooking hidden sisters under s. Zofia as superior.
In camion was traveling old man from Byelorussian city Lida, who spend his youth in Siberia Mr. Stanislaw who was able to give all his heart to us seminarians.
For very little salary he was traveling across the entire diocese to take gifted us potatoes, whit and other fruits from village parishes.
At seminarian gates was working second driver Mr. Tekielak, father of one from Seminarians.
I have to tell you about lay professors as Mrs. Maria and Mr. Szafranski from Academy of Medicine.
It happened, just before my entering to seminary that one lay old man became a priest. He was teaching Latin in our Seminary. He become simple seminarian in old age, he got consecration in Drohiczyn diocese and I saw him once as Capuchin father in Eucharistic Congress 1988. His name is fr. Szelachowski. He really looks like prophet or patriarch.
Spiritual guide in Seminary during many years was fr. Szlegier. He stayed on Orzeszkowa Street as chaplain of sisters of Good Pastor. He also invited seminarians to have study homilies in his small chapel.
Without mentioning them my story will be too much poor and perhaps not truth. Now I am starting to talk you about seminarians, the heart of Alma Mater.
I came in 1985, so I met old students which started in 1990. I stayed 6 years until 1991 so the last people entered in my presence in 1990. I know these 2 generations of seminarians, older and younger than me 5 years.
This decade 1980-1990 was very special in history of diocese and of all the Polish Country. Maybe it will be also interesting for you to know conditions of life and the way of thinking and being some of 200 people, most of them are today priests some even very respectable ones.
The only source in my small research was my brain, my limited memory so I am begging your understanding to possible mistakes or wholes in my description.
Some of these boys also may not be priests now, problems with studies or celibacy; in some cases it was the people without vocation sent just by secret services to investigate us.
Some of my heroes were delayed with getting priesthood because of being in so called Dean Vacasions. Some of them became missionary priests some of them even young unexpectedly died.
This is the time of important "censors" means responsible in seminarians' society. Some Wojtek became not professor of the Bible. Other Stanislaw from Juchnowiec, which got consecration from Holly Father hands in 1987 in Lublin. These are seminarians which survived in Spartan conditions on Orzeszkowa Street. When they moved on Warszawska Street conditions were still not good. Their decision to become priests appeared in atmosphere of Polish August strikes 1980.
One of these seminarian Romek, just came from Bialowieza, parish in wild forest aerie, where some seminarians usually spent by decision of superiors for their obligatory dean vacasions in case of punishment.
I do not know what color his hairs were before but now he came back white. It was big contrast with his young face.
From very beginning I got touch with dean Grzegorz, which was director of "Bratniak" self-aid, organization. He was giving me some material support very discrete way, from special found.
Each seminarian from the first course had his personal "guard angel" which we were calling "vigilator" he was from the sixth year of studies and the man from the first year being under his care was called "pupil". My vigilator was Jacek Tomkiel, the black hairs small man with round face and big glasses.
He had warm voice and special style of talking. He never criticized others. When I tried to criticize professors he ever has something to say defending them with good reason. It was the style of most people from that generation. I was surprised first but later I tried to follow.
Jacek and his classmate Roman Balunowski came bit later from Pallotine Congregation novitiate.
He was responsible fro singing in the chapel. The entire liturgy was self made. We seminarians were caring about singing and cleaning chapel and professors do not intervene.
Singing in our chapel was nice and many visitors were telling the same. Myself I was also surprised that students without being controlled control them selves and sing nicely without being encouraged or forced to sing.
Perhaps it is similar mechanism like in Army or in pilgrimage when during marching long distance you walk easier when you sing.
Singing was helping us to survive many hardships we had in daily life.
Jacek was also good specialist in playing organ. At first it was just "phisharmony" imitating big organ, but later we got real organ in our small but beautiful chapel of Saint George.
Jacek except singing nicely had also gift of preaching. He was talking nicely like hypnotizer law, slow and quite voice, people were ever impressed.
There was some vice-censor Janek from Kuznica town, similar to Jacek by face but not character. He was smoking and I was surprised that smoking was not forbidden in our seminary.
Our senior was Richard. We 4 seminarians were living together with him in separated section from 3 rooms and one WC. He trained us pray psalms before sleep and gave us good example going ever to sleep at 22.00
We were respecting him but it was not fear he was friendly, because he also was seminarian just 5 years older.
There were also two another sections and two another responsible in same sections as ours.
The names of responsible were Leszek Struk and Zdzislaw Karabowicz. Zdzislaw was a bit sick it is why he got consecration as deacon later than others his classmates.
In the same sixth course I remember Zbyszek Snarski seminarian charismatic.
These times charismatic movement was criticized by professors, but now many of them became professors so I think nobody forbids such a movement.
Here are the people which started studies in 1981. They were not many but very individualistic in personalities. I remember many of them.
Grzes Boraczewski, it was seminarian with female way of being. Wojtek Tekielak, son of the second camion's driver who in free time was sitting in the entrance of seminary as steward and security in one person. Another boy I was calling "relative" because he was same family name as I am Marek Wisniewski.
Grzesio Kaszuba was a bit handicapped face boy with yelling voice and very bad notes. He was ever playing role of comediant.
Darek Grelecki, chief of seminarians philosophers... he was trying to behave same way as his master prof. Gladczuk. It was a bit funny.
Wojtek Poplawski, chief of Immaculate Conception movement. He was flegmatic, but pedantic, strong in words and doings.
Andrzej Walendziuk, the man of prayer.
Another their classmate was Andrzej from Czarna Bialostocka. It was seminarian which we were calling "Prezes" because he was ever looking as a leader. He was supposed to be punished same as Roman but he preferred change seminary. He had gone to USA and became priest overseas.
Andrzej Dowgiert, seminarian who eve criticized (contrary to Jacek Tomkiel), his total criticism was reason of sending him on dean vacasions to Zwierzyniec. He was friendly to me giving me cigarettes and taking me on his visits to local mosque, because his mastership was about polish Moslems. Later he became missionary priest in Africa.
There were also two seminarians from 1980 entering course but also punished because in forbidden time they were visiting friends in the city. We were calling them "birds", they were ever talking and joking during prayers in the chapel. One of them also became missionary priest in South Africa.
Piotrek Kasperczak, today he lives in France, he was our "infirmer" means responsible for the sick people. We have special room for sick in seminary and you have to stay there if you are not on classes because of being sick.
Wojtek Marat, he was funny boy with big glasses, ever smiling face. He had strong car accident and during many years cannot walk; he used opportunity to make additional studies and became a doctor of liturgics. Wojtek he had gift of actor as many other classmates.
"Socrates", means Andrzej Maslowski, bore somewhere near Augustowa, earie of beatifull lakes. He wrote spectacle about saint Casimirus. He also belongs to these poor boys forced to spend time on dean vacasions.
Sylwek Szyluk, seminarian which came from Congregation of Christ. His passion was literature especially poet Norwid. He liked also my poetries and satiric pictures so we used them issuing a paper FENIX
Stasio Slusarek, old man who came to us as former teacher from Technical School. He was teaching physics so when he prepared talks as seminarian he ever talked about the gospel using technical terms and examples; it was also funny to us.
Adam Snarski, the boy who spent 2 years in Military Service and got many mechanical customs from army. We were calling him Caporal.
Andrzej Maslowski, the second, he was also vice-censor. He made mastership about Greek-Catholics in Swieta Woda Parish, close to Bialystok. He also was seriously injured in car accident and also used free time for additional studies as Wojtek Marat.
I remember some seminarian from Tykocin, which we were calling "Uncle". He got alcoholic sickness and actually is retired as a priest. There was also some responsible about singing, so called cantor. I do not remember his name. I just remember his nice voice and behavior we were really sorry when we got to know about his decision to marry dome catechist girl.
Another who left from these classmates was Andronik. People were telling that he goes because was advised by professors. He was bad student and arrogant to others. I had same impression.
Rather big course of seminary hooligans. They liked to make fun, most of them became masters in liturgics or history under professors Holodok and Krahel's care.
Our censor these days was Tadeusz Kasabula. They made spectacle about resurrection with some pyrotechnical effects. Bombing in the moment of Jesus death was so strong that nuns were yelling in st. Adalberts auditory.
They were good in sport. Marek Stankiewicz, one of the best soccer player (now missionary in RSA) and Bogdan Poplawski. It is interesting that our seminaries in east Poland Bialystok and Drohiczyn small in number of students were ever the best in soccer, in all the country, better than so big seminaries as Tarnow, Krakkow or Warsaw.
Pikiel Grzes, small boy good seminarian and good footballer.
Andrzej Rynkowski, actually parish priest in Czarna Bialostocka in seminary times he was responsible fro our chapel.
Andrzej Rynkowski, actually parish priest in Czarna Bialostocka in seminary times he was responsible fro our chapel.
Antoni Paniczko he was ever smiling man, fat so bad sportsman.
Andrzej Brzozowski this one will be good for basketball, so high man about 2 meters.
Rysio Krutul, it was the man of prayer, another one who has gone after own decision to be a husband of some catechist girl. Special story happened to Zbyszek a boy which came from another diocese with health problems. In fact he had many other problems and just after becoming priest he made some scandals famous in the entire diocese as unmoral behavior. It is still taboo, but I will simply tell you, it was something concerning a lady with children. He was living with her some time. He made reconciliation. He got as punishment missionary duties in some parish in Russia but he spend there perhaps few moths and despaired.
It was a year of the people which ever was living in the new building of seminary. They were pioneers in the year of saint Casimirus. They were studying and working on final works in seminary building
Responsible on this course was Marek Ciesluk. The "dynamite" man. Now he is a teacher of Latin, generation of professors changed. I hope Latin is not a fear of students any more.
Darek Mateuszuk, he was a fat big boy but full of humor and energy, guru of other seminarians, hypnotizer like Jacek Tomkiel. Today he is working as secretary in diocesan office.
Zbys Recko, thin friend of Darek, but like a shadow. He was moving and talking like automat, he became our organist after Jacek. I was living with him in the same room and it was providence because without encouraging me I will be never able to do the spectacle about Lithuanian King Mendog. He also made spectacle about Warsaw Insurrection and designed empty room upstairs as Café for seminarians.
Jurek Kolnier blond man good singer and guitar player. He became a cantor, seminarian starting psalms and singing for few years.
Krzysio Rudzinski from Suchowola good actor, a bit female behavior, same as Piotr Kasperczak he liked French so both are working actually there in France
Krzys Romanowski from Starosielce friend of Darek and Zbyszek. Actually priest in Germany.
Fred Romanowski, funny boy, big eyes.
Grzesio Boltruczuk, unknown man, ever secret man in glasses.
Wiesio Kondzior, silent man, good guitar player, was attending Missionary School in Warsaw, 5 years spent in Philippines, later gone to USA.
Jurek Krasnicki, called "dragon", actually in RSA.
Andrzej Kakareko, lawyer, came in 1985 on my course older than others just after mastership from civil law. He made some additional exams and became student of older second course 1984.
Andrzej Sokolowski, he started in 1984, but got disciplinary vacasions and became my classmate together with Jurek Rojecki called "Picek" because of his pedantism. Sokolowski spend vacasions in Ksiezyno, Rojecki in Starosielce.
Perhaps it is good to start talking about my classmate with comments that just this moment of our start Russia started own "perestroika" and in Ukraine Happened huge explosion in Chernobyl. Church was preparing herself to the third millennium by some encyclicals of Pope and by proclaiming a year of Mary.
In Polish parishes continued second pilgrimage of Czestokhova Icon. Atmosphere was really special. In Poland few year earlier just happened putsch of "Jaruzelski's junta" and still affected our lives. Chaplain of Solidarnosc Jerzy Popieluszko native somewhere from Podlasie was killed. Pope John II was traveling thru the world, in Yugoslavia happened some visions to six children about coming war. In polish churches people gat together organizing so called "weeks of catholic culture".
In such atmosphere I started my studies in Bialystok. We were 11, most of us were living two in one room under care of senior from sixth course. Some of us was living alone
The boy who came from Civil law studies so called "student" Andrzej Kakareko. He was treated better because it was making prestige to our Alma Mater having graduate from respectful University. From another hand we had outsider Joseph from Jalowka, older than other who had many difficulties with studies and finally we got to know that he had not passed bachelor exams, obligatory to start studies in Seminary and he has gone.
Our seniors were nice people I liked very much Ryszard, he was very peaceful man.
Also Karabowicz Zdzislaw and Leszek Struk were same style for others. Both of them around 2 meters high and just it was giving them big respect except other qualities.
At first I was called Brezniew because of oriental sympathies. Later I got title "Latvian" or "Stiopka" like in previous studies in Opole. I hope that I was positive person in eyes of others, but a little comedian taking in mind my pseudonyms.
Conditions of my entering were bit special. Bishop wished me to keep silence concerning my arrest, but I was sure that if some people will enter seminary later than me, very possible it may be a spy. Difficult was that later than me entered seminary 4 persons and I was unable to get information who they were.
Finally my brain advised me to be suspicious with Antoni from Monki City. He was rather wise personality, but ever when he appeared happened some scandal. Funny was that he ever had alibi as innocent.
There were two brothers from Dabrowa, Janek i Czesiek. They were in Salezians before, unsuccessfully. Both of them had also problems with studies and after first year have gone.
Franek the third boy from Dabrowa, he was a teacher before. He had some strong way of being; he wished not to cut mustaches it is why Vice-Rector did not like him.
Taking in mind that student gone to another course, Joseph, Janek and Czesiek had problems with studies we were only 7 after 1 course. On the third course came 2 boys from course 1984 and we got back some character.
Peter the new one was a man with many gifts, nice voice, and good actor to any spectacle. He had good taste in music, collecting ever tapes with Celtic songs in the future he became our censor.
Jurek was good as photograph; in fact it was his passion and first vocation. He finished seminary together with us but was not permitted to get consecration after denouncing by some priest in connection with girls. Connection was not serious; Jurek after so many years is single man.
There was big boy Kaminski from saint Stanislaw parish good in studies but weak in relationship to other, his female way of being was disturbing any friendship with others. Seminarians are very suspicious against any possible homosexuals. Kaminski in fact was OK, but trained by strong mother got her habits more than fathers.
Krzys Bolesta another boy which came from Army, another example that polish Army these days was really crazy institution forming in man some deviations for all the rest of its life. At first he had the only friend Kaminski, later he loosed this friendship and became alone for ever
My friend was Bogus Zieziula called Zuzel or Beton. I know his native village and many his relatives. I was attracting him to Russia, but unsuccessful. He got good job in Bishops office and he is there until now.
Piotrek Jarocki was the most wise man in our course. We were calling him "mother". I DON'T KNOW WHY. He got his mastership 2 years earlier than others but he fall in love same time and gone with his girlfriend to USA. He made us a call in the day of consecration. Nice surprise.
On the course one year younger than mine happened very suspicious story. Two boys came; open way without any smell of vocation. Their behaviour was 100% homosexual. Black hair Kazik and blond boy which name I cannot remember. I was very surprised by patience of professors or their lack of information, concerning these two guys. Their presence was not good for our society.
The course was numerous in vocations so perhaps difficult to know all of them from beginning. They were numerous until the end of studies.
Additional character was given by two satiric from Sokolka and two "foreigners" from Siedlce diocese.
Wojtek and Piotrek called train they were using any opportunity to joke on classes and even in the chapel.
Similar to them was relative of priest from Czarna Glinko called "Gliniarz". Actually he lives in USA as lay man.
Stacho from Siedlce was another 2 meters boy. Two of his 3 brothers were priests yet. I do not know nothing about the 3 rd. He was also funny man, once he killed a rat using own shoes in the road to the chapel just on the stairs.
Darek Sawicki his classmate from Siedlce was big fun of Dmowski, famous polish politician from beginning of past century. He got friend with Krzys Bolesta, and both popularize nationalists' books in seminary. He changed me on my first parish in Dolistowo as vicar priest and unfortunately died in car accident in Suchowola.
This course was rich in wise boys which in the future became teachers in our seminary. Darek Wojtecki, last time prefect in Seminary. As seminarian he was a man of principles. His mastership was about blessed Boleslava Lament just in the moment of her beatification. His ceremony of first Mass and celebration of the first was made by some new movement of charismatic it was wonderful show.
Tomek, it was the boy who was fasting once a week. He got inters in Slovakia as our retreat talker prof. Bobrowski.
Proniewski, he was blond hair handsome wunderkind, today's Rector.
Marek Czech from Dojlidy. Yelling voice, red face and big glasses man. He became real good preacher and author of sarcastic articles in catholic press.
Jurek Sokolowski scout from Sidra together with Marek delayed hid deacon consecration by own decision. Not many cases we have of such humble decision.
Adam Szot, graduate as historian. He is caring about archives in Bishops office.
Wiesio Szancilo from Czarna Bialostocka. He was relative to archbishop of Moscow and even consecrated in Moscow. Many people were thinking he may go on missions, but he doesn't. He is building new church now somewhere in Dojlidy. In Seminary he was our infirmer and also he was caring about traveling to Rome. Just as seminarian in 3-rd course he testified his abilities as good organizer.
On course 1986 was a boy called "docent", he was working in hospital before as sanitarian so he got such pseudonym. He was not punished, he got sick and loosed one year of studies. He also continued caring about sick in our seminary as infirmer.
On course 1987 came 3 boys from Czarna. Piotrek, Grzes and Radek. Radek has gone from pallotine or verbist Society. He was good student so finally he does his additional studies in Rome. Actually he is bishops secretary.
Grzesiek Nienaltowski peacefull, even flegmatic. He was going together with me visiting my sick.
Piotr with pseudonym "scout" was bit nervous. He was as a child in Russian Rostov, he talked me about it but he never wished to come and work there with me. He is another one who died very soon in unknown circumstances in own flat from heart attack.
Wiesio Kulesza, he was another handsome man from saint Roch parish. He also graduated first in Polytechnic Institute so moved o Seminary. There was an old boy, man who was ever eating onion and smelled especially in the chapel, it was crazy. He has gone because feel sick.
Joseph Chitruk from Jalowka, he graduated in Niepokalanow Minor Seminary and moved to Bialystok. He had problems with Latin, he resign but later came back successfully.
Andrzej Choraczy from Chodorowka. He was studying in Krakow first in Saint Paul Monastery. He moved successfully to Bialystok. He was continuing caring the garden in Seminary and now is diocesan leader of Caritas. He ever helped me during my short stops in Poland.
When I start to describe young people I am ashamed because in fact I do not remember them. I may also mistake exact belongings of somebody to specific course of studies. I remember better pseudonyms than family names. Sometime I cannot remember first names and contrary, remembering first names I forgot family names.
I know that on the course 1988 we have actually 3 priests which successfully gone to Argentina missions: Artur Samsel, Jakub Radziwonski and Kondzior. There were also seminarians with pseudonyms:"George". "Misiek", "Buska", some Romcio and 100% Lithuanian boy Jacek Goldyn.
It was also course of wunderkinds. I remember their faces. What they were doing and how behaving I seminary and in priesthood I do not know, I was absent all these years.
These years I was engaged in vocational action. I was visiting many schools even out of Bialystok. It was good opportunity to get some free time from being on classes. Also priests were happy that on their class may appear new face to proclaim good news, attracting youngsters to follow as seminarians or nuns. I was rather successful doing that and got invitations to: Goniadz, Monki, Sokolka. I hope some of my listeners became seminarians.
Last comment has much common with course 1989. It was the next occasion when during winter session vacasions except going home I spend time together with group of teenagers which were preparing their decision to enter seminary. It was so called vocation retreats.
These days in Dojlidy, another local chaplain of Solidarnosc was killed hidden way and I was present on sad funeral meeting...This was the last time of secret services crimes. Berlin wall has fallen down, waked up sleeping Czech. On these retraits I met Alek Dobronski and Wonsowski Bronek.
There were also my future pupil Darek Sokolowski, and his friend future classmate Piotrek, actual parish priest of saint Rafal Kalinowski parish in Starosielce. Entered seminarian with pseudo "angel" and two Byelorussians
Anatol Parachniewicz he was like fire hot and peaceful Janek Puzyna. We were friends all along seminary studies. Both came on my first holly Mass in Skrwilno.
Fr. Jacek was my preacher two funny boys from Siedlce were my deacons, Janek was reading first reading Anatol was singing psalm. They helped me to get invitation to USRR; I was visiting twice Janek in his house in Grodno. Thanks to that connection I got occasion to see the first candidates entering new created Seminary in Grodno.
Our professor Olszewski was present in exam commission one of first workers in seminary was some priest from Bialystok so called "grand-pa" fr. Sadowski.
These are my last observations from seminary Alma Mater... On that course we have my pupils... I finally became a senior myself. Another 3 seniors were Zieziula Bogus, Darek Kaminski and Darek Wojtecki from fifth course.
I organized some artificial difficulties for our pupils like in civil schools especially in friendly Theatre School it calls "fuksowka". The idea was difficult to deliver from zero, nobody can accept with smile as fun.
I was living same place as 5 years earlier. This time I was living together with a boy from first course. It was big number of candidates that year. His name was Kozlowski, native from Rozanystok. He also finished studies in Rome and may become big fish some day.
In same section were living two "Packers", seminarians from Sokolka. The most important for them was sport and perhaps it was a reason to advice them to go away from Seminary. They were looking other opportunities to continue even in Orchard Lake in Polish Seminary in USA. Tomek resigner. Darek Sanko moved second time to East Prussian Elk, became a priest and good one.
I got knew about him from Stanislaw Wojtach during my request for some associate in trip to Siberia.
Seminarian Antoni became in the future successful vicar priest in Swieta Woda sanctuary.
Another, red face seminarian name was Lukuc. He was following me in blood giving point. I introduced him to local doctors and sisters and he stayed a donor until now.
On that course was also future missionary man Wojtek Wojdach, he asked to send him in Argentina and his request was satisfied.
It was also course of seminarian "Kiziol", which twice visited me in Russia and finally gone to work as spiritual guide in Sankt-Petersburg Seminary. I am very proud of him.
These are my memories from Alma Mater... such speed view of photo albums. So many Podlasian students have gone in many places of the world. There are some in France, Germany, Argentina, Africa, Georgia, Russia, Byelorussia and Ukraine.
In all over the world and in all the Poland we may find some graduates as priests or lay people from Bialystok.
Once I saw a picture of American Maryknoll Society. I asked my friendly priest "who they are" he answered "my classmates", but there were many dressed as lay people, I asked about them. "They also studied with us, they gone but we ever invite them on our meetings." It was his answer, and I liked such style.
I remember that memories of some students were horrible, such were times. Perhaps it may change and my classmate may meet together never mind they are priests or lay man. It happens that some former seminarians or nuns have children which continue their choice with more success.
We will never know who from us is good son or bad, comparing the story about Merciful father.
F. Jaroslaw Wisniewski