Karlowska, Maria, Bl.

views updated


Foundress of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd of Divine Providence; b. Sept. 4, 1865, Stupówka (now Karlowo near Gziezno), Poland; d. March 24, 1935, Pniewita, Poland. The eleventh child of Matthew Karlowska and Eugenia Dembinski, Maria attended school in Poznán, where her family had moved after her birth. Following

the death of her parents (1882), Maria worked in her sister's tailor shop, where she met a prostitute. Maria came to understand that her mission was to work for the moral and social rehabilitation of prostitutes and to tend to those suffering from venereal diseases. Her ministry attracted a number of like-minded women. Together they founded the Good Shepherd Sisters in 1894. That same year, with financial help from Duchess Aniela Poluticka, Maria established the Good Shepherd Institute in Winiary (near Poznán) to care for prostitutes. Both Prussian and Polish civil authorities commended Karlowska's work, which continues today in seven Polish educational institutions for girls and women, three homes for single mothers, and a rehabilitation center. Karlowska's cause for beatification started in 1965. She was declared venerable on July 11, 1995, and on March 8, 1997, a miracle attributed to her intercession was approved. She was beatified by John Paul II on June 6 1997 (Feast of the Sacred Heart), at Wielka Krokiew Arena, Zakopane (near Kraków), Poland.

Feast: June 5.

Bibliography: m. karlowska, Wybór pism Marii Karlowskiej, ed. j. r. bar (Warsaw 1981). L'Osservatore Romano, English edition, no. 29 (1995): 5.

[k. i. rabenstein]