During April of 2022, the members of the General Secretariat for Formation, at the request of the Minister General, conducted a General Visitation to the formation houses of Poland.
Friars Kazimierz CIEŚLIK and Piotr STANISŁAWCZYK visited eight formation houses: the postulancy house in Gniezno; two novitiate houses (Kalwaria Pacławska and Smardzewice); two post-novitiate communities (the major seminaries in Cracow and Łódź); and three communities located in Lublin, which are characterized as houses of study.
There are three Conventual Franciscan Provinces in Poland: the Province of St. Anthony and Bl. James of Strepar (Cracow), the Province of the Immaculate Mother of God (Warsaw), and the Province of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe (Gdańsk). Numerically, the friars of Poland now comprise one quarter of the total number of friars of the Order. There are currently ninety men in formation: thirteen postulants, fifteen novices, fifty-six clerical students and six post-novices. The friars in formation come from Poland, Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. There are eighteen friars serving directly as staff members in the formation houses. They assume the function of rectors, formators, teachers, spiritual directors, economs and other support personnel).
All of the Provinces in Poland conduct common formation at the postulancy level, while the novitiate and post-novitiate houses are managed separately by the Province of Warsaw (in collaboration with the Province of Gdańsk) and by the Province of Cracow (in collaboration with the other Franciscan families). The post-novitiate houses are organized as major seminaries and conduct study programs in preparation for priestly ordination with extensive training in the field of Franciscanism. They also offer a formation and professional preparation program for post-novitiate friars.
Finally, the three houses of study in Lublin bring together the friar professors, doctoral students and those following university or professional specialization courses. There are currently ten friars residing in the houses of study.
We thank the Ministers Provincial of Poland for their benevolence and help in carrying out this visitation. We also thank the friars of the formation houses for their welcome, fraternal meetings, kindness and cordial hospitality.
Friar Piotr STANISŁAWCZYK, General Delegate for Formation