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Ledóchowska, Maria Teresa, Bl.


Foundress of the Sodality of St. Peter Claver for African Missions (now the missionary sisters of st. peter claver); b. Loosdorf, Austria, April 29, 1863; d. Rome, July 6, 1922. She was the daughter of Count Antonius Kalka-Ledóchowski, the sister of Wladimir ledÓchowski, superior general of the Jesuits, and (Bl.) Urszula ledÓchowska and niece of Cardinal Miecyslaw ledÓchowski. After living at Salzburg in the court of the grand duchess of Tuscany (188590), Countess Ledóchowska came under the influence of Cardinal Charles lavigerie and dedicated herself entirely to the abolition of slavery and to the evangelization of Africa. In 1894 she founded a religious congregation to aid the missions of Africa directly or indirectly. For the remainder of her life she acted as the sodality's superior general. She recognized the importance of the press for the mission apostolate and started the periodical Echo of Africa. The polyglot printing plants that she established have published millions of copies of catechisms and other religious works in native languages. She was beatified Oct. 19, 1975 by Paul VI.

Bibliography: Maria Terésa Ledóchowska i misje: praca zbiorowa, eds. b. bejze, j. gucwy, and a. koszorza (Warsaw 1977). v. bielak, The Servant of God, Mary Theresa Countess Ledóchowska, Foundress of the Sodality of Saint Peter Claver (2d ed. St. Louis, Mo. 1944). m. and g. magnocavallo, Vita della fedel Serva di Dio Maria Teresa Contessa Ledóchowska (Rome 1940). g. papÁsogli, Maria Teresa Ledóchowska (Rome c. 1950). m. winowska, Allez dans le monde entier: l'appel de Marie-Thérèse Ledochowska (Paris 1975).

[p. molinari]

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