A formation meeting of the Confraternity of the Order of the Annunciade was held last weekend (Nov. 21-23, 2014) in the privacy of Grąblin convent of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The retreat was attended by 16 lay people – members of the Confraternity, who live out in their daily live the spirituality of the nuns.
Retreats for members of the Confraternity of the Order of Sisters of the Annunciade are organized three times a year. People belonging to the Confraternity come to Grąblin from all over the country to meet and discover within the monastery walls the new, and thus far unknown to them values, which St. Joanna de Valois, founder of the female contemplative community in France, passed down in her spiritual testament.
Spiritual exercises were conducted by Fr. Eugene Zarzeczny, MIC, Provincial Vicar of the Congregation of Marian Fathers in Poland. This time, he decided to elaborate during the three-day retreat on two of the 10 virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary: the ninth virtue (most merciful) and the tenth virtue (most sorrowful or most compassionate). Each of the Annunciade Sisters’ convents gathers a group of people who want to live out the Sisters’ charism and spirituality. What they draw from the Sisters, they want to carry to and implement in their own environment. “These people realize in their own way the Marian spirituality in everyday life: not as monks or nuns, but as lay people,” said Fr. Zarzeczny.
Anna Dzięgielewska of Konin was among the retreat attendees. For the first time she came to the Grąblin forest and the local church a few years ago to look for peace and quiet after the sudden death of her husband. There she met the Annunciade Sisters: “I was very surprised to learn that the Sisters came to a foreign country, to the people speaking a different language just to pray for pilgrims coming to Lichen and Grąblin. They told me about their Foundress, St. Joan, and about her spirituality, which is based on the evangelical virtues of Our Lady,” Anna explained. She did not join the Confraternity immediately. It was not until the next meeting that the nuns asked her to the Confraternity. “That was the time when I begun to learn another aspect of the Mother of God. She is to us, the Lady and the Queen; but in Grąblin, having pondered the virtues of the Mother of God, I begun to see her as a woman just like myself: a wife, a mother, and a daughter,” Anna added.
The [Polish] Confraternity of the Annunciades, which has 20 members, exists since 2011; it was founded the year after Sisters settling down at the convent in Grąblin forest. Similar groups exist in other countries, where the Annunciade Sisters have their convents. To learn more about spirituality of the Order of Blessed Virgin Mary, please visit www.anuncjatki.pl.