Albin Małysiak CM

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Bishop during 90th anniversary celebrations

bishop Albin Ma?ysiak CM, born June 12, 1917 in Koco? (near ?ywiec, Southern Poland) in merchant's family. After completing the local elementary school, following indication of school's headmistress in 1928 father brings him to Minor of Seminary of Vincentian Fathers in Krakow (the building neighbored the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes run by Vincentians. During WWII the building was confiscated by Nazis and after the war nationalized and turned into a hospital locked down in 2006) where he begins secondary school education. after four years spent in Krakow, up to tradition and curriculum students moved to Minor Seminary in other location -- at Vincentian house on Savior's Mountain in Vilnius, then in Poland and presently in Lithuania. He stayed in Vilnius between 1932 and 1934. learning Vincentian rules and they deepening their spiritual life as all other seminarians. For latter two years of education (7 and 8 grade of high school) he returned to Krakow. This time to other Vincentian house at Kleparz (19 ?w. Filipa Street) the Mother House for the CM Province of Krakow. After graduation from the Minor Seminary he enters the Congregation of the Mission and studies theology in the Vincentian Theological Institute (Instytut Teologiczny Ksi??y Misjonarzy at 4 Stradom Street, where the provincial residence is too). He takes his vows April 12, 1936. During the WWII the Institute and Provincial Office were evacuated to Kleparz House because Nazis took over the Stradom residence. Because of the German occupation he is not ordained priest until May 1, 1941. On that day Stanislaw Rospond, the auxiliary bishop of Krakow ordains Albin Ma?ysiak a priest in the St.Vincent de Paul Church at Kleparz House in Krakow.

His first priestly appointment was in the parish of Zembrzyce, near city of Wadowice where Fr. Albin was a vicar and catechist. He organized so called "do?ywialnia" (kitchen and dining-room) for poor children and displaced persons. Next year (1942) he comes back to Krakow and it becomes a chaplain at the nursery house for elderly and sick people. Commonly named "the Helclów House" (named after Helcel family, its founders and benefactors), the largest and one of oldest nursery and care institutions in Krakow. Presently the Helclów House is still one of the largest and most recognized institutions for elderly people in Krakow. Daughters of Charity have been staffing it since the very beginning. Simultaneously, Fr. Ma?ysiak was engaged in underground teaching system too. He taught Latin, religion and gymnastics in underground structures.

Bishop Ma?ysiak shows out the diploma for "Righteous Among Nations" Medal

In November 1943 while walking back from Helclów House to Kleparz House, where he lived he met a man asking about shelter and rescue. The man appeared to be Jewish. Fr. Ma?ysiak realized himself, that if he would not help this man he would have lead him into Nazi hands. To avoid this he decided to help the person he met on the street. He knew very well, that helping this man he risks his own life and lives of his associates. In agreement with Sister Bronis?awa Wilemska DC, mother superior of Helclów House he has hidden the Jewish man and gave him asylum in a small room inside the Helclów Institution. He was given fake ID, birth certificate and Kennkarte (a special document allowing to have employment in occupied territories). All documents were fetched by Fr Albin. Additionally the man was checked in as the institution's resident. Shortly, another fur Jewish people (two women and two men) found rescue in the same way under Fr Malysiak and Sr Wilemska guidance. In 1944 Nazi occupants take over Helclów Institution and turn it into a prison for women. All elderly and sick inhabitants are moved to two private boarding-houses in resort city of Szczawnica in mountain area of Southern Poland. Before WWII Szczawnica was one the famous Polish health resort locations. All five Jews were put in these two places called "Adria" and "Yellow Falcon". They stayed among other patients despite a military police and boarder guard stations were settled nearby. Nobody betrayed rescued Jews until the end of war and liberation from Nazi occupation. However lives of all inhabitants Fr Malysiak, Sr Wilemska and other staff were endangered all the time.

In 1991 the daughter of one of the saved women -- Katarzyna Stycze? -- a United States resident Maria Rolicka, found out Fr. Ma?ysiak in Krakow. She convinced the priest to inquire the government of the State of Israel with application for a medal "Righteous Among Nations" which is given by the Yad Vashem Institute to those who saved and rescued Jewish people from the Holocaust. Initially Fr. Ma?ysiak didn't want to have a proof and special acknowledgment for his efforts to save Jews during the war, because of he "concealed the not for medals but because the conscience lead him to do it", as he said in an interview. "As a Christ's priest I had a duty to save my neighbors", he added. Maria Rolicka's reasoning that "many people in America are continually claiming that Poles didn't help Jews in times of occupation" convinced him to agree for the Medal. On November 1993, during a special ceremony in the Embassy of Israel in Warsaw "Righteous Among Nations" Medals were handed to Fr. Ma?ysiak and to Sister Wilemska, posthumously. Years later, on October 10, 2007 the President of Poland honored Albin Ma?ysiak the Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, one of the highest rank Polish medals, for heroic and extraordinary attitude showed in saving lives of Jews during WWII and contributions in defending human dignity and human rights.

bishop's seal

After the war, he was sent to Tarnow, where he was a vicar in the church of Holy Family in 1946 and 1947 .He also was a catechist in high school. In 1950 he received Master's degree in Theology at Jagellonian University and in 1952 he became a Doctor of Dogmatic Theology. In 1954 Fr. Albin was appointed the last director so called Siemaszko Institution in Krakow. The Siemaszko Institution was care and education center for abandoned and poor boys founded by Fr. Kazimierz Siemaszko CM in 1904. It was taken over by the government and nationalized. Vincentians could restart the center in its original facility in 1990. In 1954 Fr. Albin started his academic career as a lecturer of Dogmatic Thelogy in Vincentian Institute of Theology (ITKM). Five years later he was appointed pastor f Our Lady of Lourde Parish in Krakow (at 37 Misjonarska Street), the same church near which he started Minor Seminary education years before. He was very active in special ministry for students. The parish run by Vincentians since beginning of 20th century is known as a major academic center because big number of students' dormitories located thare. Students are about 1/3 of parish population. Fr. Ma?ysiak hold this position till 1970.

On January 14, 1970 he was appointed an auxiliary bishop in archdiocese of Krakow and a titular bishop of Beatia. Cardinal Karol Wojty?a (pope John Paul II) ordained ALbin Malysiak a bishop on April 5, 1970. He put an "Ave Maria" exclamation as his bishop's seal motto. Being Vicar General he supervised departments of religious orders, catechist and economic affairs in the Metropolitan Curia. He was deeply involved in preparations for most of John Paul's II pilgrimages to Poland and Krakow. Up to Canon Law requirements, after achieving age of 75, in February 27, 1993 he was retired. However, he continued to take part in works of various many committees of Episcopate of Poland, including presiding Subcommittee for Enclosed Religious Orders.

Since October16, 2007, bishop Albin Ma?ysiak CM is recognized as the Episcopus Nestor -- the oldest member of Polish Episcopate of Poland.

If You want to read this page in Polish go to "Ma?ysiak Albin" entry in WincentyWiki -- Vincentian Encyclopedia Polish edition