Thursday, 11 February 2016 11:32

An exile in Scandinavia


The first stage of her exile is in Stockholm, Sweden. From the beginning, in spite of her loneliness, she tries to get in touch with the local community. She earns her living by teaching foreign languages. Gradually she brings the other sisters from Russia. Near Stockholm she opens a school of languages for Scandinavian girls which she later transfers to Aalborg in Denmark. In 1917 she moves with the sisters to Denmark, where she organizes an orphanage for the children of Polish immigrants. At the same time she activeliy participates in the life of the Catholic Diaspora introducing her own ideas. She publishes the first Catholic monthly magazine Solglimtar – Ray of Sunshine – and organizes the Sodality of Mary.

Mother Ursula remains in touch with many people in the Swedish and Danish community. The sisters’ house becomes a meeting place of emigrants, Polish politicians and statesmen of various orientations. She gets involved in Henryk Sienkiewicz’s Central Committee organized to help the war victims in Poland; through travelling in Scandinavian countries with a lecture series she raises money for it. She learns Scandinavian language to reach out better to her listeners. Her lectures on Polish history and culture and Poland’s right to independence make the Scandinavian people interested in the affair of this country on the eve of regaining its independence.

When two years ago I spoke in Swedish, many people did not feel like coming because they were afraid they would not understand me. But now, when I am concerned about the fate of thousands of Polish children, the people must understand me. That is why I decided, two month ago, to learn the Danish language and like a child sat at a school desk. (from Mother Ursula’s lecture in Copenhagen, 1917)

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