Thursday, 11 February 2016 11:31

St. Petersburg and the Finnish Bay

Towards the unknown... 1907 - 1914

In 1907, at the invitation of the administration of the Polish High School of St. Catherine in Petersburg, Mother Ursula, accompanied by two sisters, leaves Cracow to administer a girls’ residence. She embarks on a road leading to the unknown...

The sisters live in secrecy since in the Russian Empire the religious life is forbidden. They administer the boarding school. Mother Ursula reaches out to the minds and hearts of the girls. She learns the Russian language and passes a state exam. At the same time she makes close contacts with the local Catholic community since she plans to do apostolic work for the Russian population. The sisters’ community grows. In 1908 this small offshoot of the Cracow convent becomes an autonomous Ursuline house with a novitiate and with Mother Ursula as its superior.

In 1910, in Karelia, situated at that time in Russia territory, Mother Ursula organizes a boarding school for girls, following the most current of pedagogical ideas. It was the first endeavor of the Petersburg Community. The sisters’ house named Merentähti (Finnish for Star of the Sea), located almost at the beach in the woods, was a perfect place for peaceful study and rest. Some sisters, including Mother Ursula, continue their work in Petersburg. Also here, in Merentähti, motivated by the love of Christ, she quickly gets in touch with the local Protestant population. The Catholic chapel becomes a place of worship for the Finns in their own language.

In 1914 at the out break of the First World War, Mother Ursula, as an Austrian citizen, has to leave Russia. She goes to Stockholm to stay as close as possibile to her religious community.

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