Sister Magda: She gives hope and joy to others
Sister Magdalena Kumorek, SDS is visiting from Poland to speak about our international missions at weekend Masses across the U.S. We’re grateful to the Salvatorian Polish Province for sharing Sr. Magdalena with us this summer, and to Diocesan Mission Offices for their gracious invitations to speak to their parish communities.
Salvatorian Sister Magdalena Kumorek entered the Sisters of the Divine Savior Congregation in 2004. She describes a period of time before she entered as “fighting with God” as she discerned the call to religious life.
“When I was in high school I decided to start going again to church on Sundays, and even more I started going every day. Before that I didn’t go to church on Sundays at all for a few years, but I was still searching God and praying. So at the end of the high school God touched me very deeply.”
At that point, Sr. Magdalena started reading the Holy Bible, and listening with understanding the readings during the Mass. She says the organist from her parish also helped to deepen her faith. She also began thinking about religious life, but admits she didn’t want to hear God’s call.
“I was worried I would have to lose everything. I was scared that God wanted to take away from me everything what I loved and knew. So I ignored God’s calling, and after high school I went to the Medical University to study physiotherapy.” It was two years later that Sr. Magdalena withdrew from school and entered the Salvatorian Congregation. She says simply, “I couldn’t fight longer with God. I decided to trust and answer to His love and His invitation.”
At that time, Sister Małgorzata Oczkowicz, SDS was working in vocations and living in the Salvatorian community in Sr. Magdelena’s home town of Żywiec. Sr. Magdalena recalls their first encounter.
“We didn’t meet on retreat,” says Sr. Magdalena, “but during my neighbor’s birthday party. I was shocked when I saw a nun at this party. We started talking, and we had a little argument – now I don’t remember what we were arguing about. But Sr. Małgorzata was different than I thought a nun should be. Her openness, joy and simplicity changed my way of thinking about the nuns. In that time I was thinking about religious life, and I didn’t want to accept God’s call, so her presence was a kind of sign from God. From that day, I kept contact with Salvatorian Sisters.”
Sr. Magdalena says she never seriously considered any other religious congregations. She took part in a retreat led by another women religious community, but didn’t feel comfortable there and had no desire to return. She had a much different feeling with the Salvatorian Sisters.
“When I first time came to Goczałkowice – Zdrój (our Provincial house, located close to my home city), I felt very comfortable – like in my own house. A lot of young sisters were here, so I found my place and common ground with them immediately. Community, good atmosphere helped me survive first months in the convent, because it wasn’t easy leaving my family and friends.”
It wasn’t easy for her family either.
“My parents were very sad,” Sr. Magdalena says. “They didn’t want me to enter the congregation, but they didn’t stop me. They’ve always told me, ‘You should do what you think makes you happy. This is your life.’ I think they worried about me, that’s why they weren’t happy because of my decision. I’m really grateful because my parents always supported me. When they saw that I am happy, they accepted my decision.”
Since then, Sr. Magdalena has devoted her life to proclaiming Jesus and His Gospel.
“I share my passion and faith with children whom I teach religion at primary school. I try to lead my pupils to discovering, to meet, to love Jesus our Savior.” She says her day-to-day ministry brings to life the words of Acts 20:35, ‘There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.’ ” She strives to instill that message in her students.
“In my opinion these words of Scripture are very important. Today’s world tries to persuade the youth that everything belongs to them, that they can use everything, and then throw away if they don’t need it anymore. So called consumerism. And it’s not only about things but also concerns people and relations. So I try to make them aware of needs of others. I teach them how to give ourselves to others, instead of receiving all the time. Good example for that is voluntary work with children with Down Syndrome. I belonged to one youth movement where we helped children with Down Syndrome, so I share my experience with my students.”
Along with sharing her faith in the classroom, Sr. Magdalena cares for elder and ailing sisters in the Salvatorian community where she lives. She knows their challenges and considers their lives a model for hers.
“I admire our elderly sisters. They had to work very hard in bad conditions. They worked in the days of Communism. So they know terror, fear and poverty. Because of that, now they have a lot of illness. They are very brave and don’t give up. They would not change anything in their life. They often share experiences with us younger members, give good advice, and give us good examples of being Salvatorian Sisters.
“I’m very grateful to God for calling me to the Congregation of the Salvatorian Sisters where I can live, share and grow in my faith and give hope and joy to others.”