The Congregation of
the Resurrection began in France on Ash Wednesday of
1836. Bogdan Janski, Peter Semenenko, and Jerome Kajsiewicz,
regarded as founders of the Congregation, were the first
For details about the Beatification
of our Founder click here
Bogdan Janski must be recognized as the
one who planted the seed. Born of Christian parents,
and educated in
Catholic schools, he went on to the University of Warsaw,
where he received degrees in law and economics. However,
at the university he became caught up in student movements
and as a result began to lose his faith. His faith was
further weakened when he was granted a scholarship and
was sent to study economics in France, England, and Germany.
Ever the dreamer, he drifted from one social movement
to another, seeking ways of establishing an ideal society.
Disenchanted with various solutions that were offered
to him, he finally returned to the Catholic Church. His
firm conviction was that truth is to be found only in
the Catholic Church and that the only real solution to
social problems is to be found in the Gospels.
became an apostle among Polish exiles living in France.
A convert himself, he was bent
others. What little money he earned as a tutor and as
a contributor to encyclopedic dictionaries was soon dispersed
to poor Polish exiles throughout France. He was a one-man
bureau offering not only material assistance, but secretarial
Janski was full of ideas. His plans and
projects cover many pages in his diary. A lay man himself,
he was deeply
committed to involving the laity in the work of the
Church. Janski was a visionary with a vision as wide
as the Gospel
Janski knew how to look with a critical
eye on the posture of the contemporary Church in relation
to human society. "Present-day
ecclesiastical authority is not in touch with the present
time," he wrote. The Church needed updating. It
would be the task of an enlightened laity, not only in
Poland, but throughout the world, to dispel misconceptions
about the Church. "It will be
necessary to act in various closely linked ways to unite
in order to introduce
Christian principles into politics, education, literature,
sciences, arts, industry, customs - the entire public
and private life of a modern, increasingly pagan society."
Janski was also deeply committed to providing
a well educated clergy to instruct and lead the people.
At the time this need was sorely felt in Poland, weakened
by Russian oppression. For this reason he sent two of
his closest associates and protégés, Peter
Semenenko and Jerome Kajsiewicz to Rome to establish
closer contact with the Holy See and ultimately to found
a Polish college in Rome to educate priests for Poland.
In Rome the seed of the Congregation began
to blossom and bear fruit. Peter Semenenko and Jerome
established a small community in Rome where they were
ordained in 1842. At Mass in the Catacombs of St. Sebastian
on Easter morning of that year seven members of the Roman
House professed vows as religious of a community that
was yet without a name. However, Divine Providence which
had guided them to this moment was with them that morning,
for on emerging from the catacombs they heard the bells
of Roman churches announcing the Easter Alleluia, and
they were moved to adopt the name of the feast: They
would become the Congregation of the Resurrection.
Father Semenenko composed the preliminary
Rule whose thirty-three paragraphs were an elaboration
of the thought
of Bogdan Janski. Father Kajsiewicz described the sentiments
of the first members: "We feel
the need of living in a family, bound together by spiritual
ties. We desire
to undertake works which require continuity and order
and workers on whom we can rely. And therefore we desire
to become a religious Congregation."
At a General chapter in 1850, the members
set out to follow the advice of Pope Pius IX - "Organize
yourselves in a way that will do the most good for the
The Pope also predicted: "You
all will not write a new Rule, for this is not the work
of many, but the
work of one, and that one must have the Spirit of God." Father
Kajsiewicz was quick to admit that "The
principal merit for all our work on the Rule belongs
Semenenko." Father Semenenko became leader and guide
in matters of the Rule and of the spirit of the Congregation.
He, more than anyone, formulated, elaborated, and defended
the original thought of Bogdan Janski.
The General Chapter of 1857 was very important
for the Congregation for it was there that Father Semenenko
the specific apostolate of the Community, namely, the
care and administration of parishes and the education
of youth. The Rule presented to the Church for approbation
in 1887 was almost entirely based on the Rule of 1850,
the original thought of our Founders.
The most recent revision of the Constitutions
is merely an adaptation of the Rule to accord with the
the Council, and retains the guiding principles and the
spirit of the Rule of 1850. At the General chapter of
1981 a Charism statement, was included as a preface to
the constitutions. We regard this as a clear statement
of our identity and our call.
"We desire to be faithful to the grace
received by our founders, a grace we now share by our
call to the Congregation
of the Resurrection. We recognize certain truths to be
especially important for our life and work as Resurrectionists
because they give expression to the grace and this call.
We believe that God's love for us is merciful and unfailing.
We have not earned his love. We are nothing, have nothing,
and can do nothing without God. We are attracted to evil.
We are sinners. Yet God Continues to draw us to himself.
We believe that in his love the Father
calls us to conversion: to personal resurrection in union
with Jesus, to a new
life filled with the power of his spirit. With Jesus
we die to ourselves when we surrender our lives to the
Father, renouncing anything that separates us from him.
The power of the Spirit forms Christ in us, and moves
us to respond with love to the Father's great lover for
We believe that God calls
us to live together as brothers, sharing the gifts that
we have received,
another, praying and working together for his glory.
He has called us to be a community which is a living
sign of the Gospel values of justice, truth, and love.
believe that God calls us to work together for the
resurrection of society, bringing his live and
all: through our personal witness, through the witness
of our life in community, and through our community apostolats,
primarily through parish work and teaching. This also
requires that we build, and teach others to build, a
Christian community in which we all can experience the
hope, joy, and peace of Christ's Resurrection.
We believe that Mary is our model for all that we are
called to be and do as Resurrectionists."
Written by Father Francis Grzechowiak,
+ April 29 2004
The Congregation has developed into an
international Community, serving or having served the Church in Italy,
Austria, Germany, Canada, the United States, Brazil,
Bolivia, Australia, Bermuda, Mexico, Ukraine, White Russia,
Slovakia, Africa, and Israel.