BRIEF HISTORY OF THE MONASTERY
The Monastery of the Norbertine Sisters in Imbramowice was founded in 1226 by Iwon Odrowaz, the bishop of Krakow, on the land of his uncle, Imbram. It is situated on the Dlubnia River, 40 kilometres northwest of Krakow. The founding and organization of the monastery was approved in 1229 by a Papal Bull of Gregory IX, with the help of the Norbertine sisters in Zwierzyniec. According to the chronicle of Abbot Witowski, the monastery was destroyed by invading Tatars in 1260 and it took a long time to rebuild. From the 16th century, the Canonesses were engaged in the apostolic work of education and schooling. This work continued throughout the centuries with periodic interruptions during the wars of annexation and during the times of foreign occupation. In 1710 the monastery with the Gothic church was destroyed by a fire. It was rebuilt by Abbess Groth and on the site of the original buildings there rose a complex of monastic architecture, which included the church with its artistically rich interior in the style of Later Baroque. In 1819, as a result of the persecution politics of the foreign occupation, many Norbertine houses were liquidated. The community of Imbramowice was sentenced to die out since it was not permitted to accept new candidates. But female religious of other communities, which were liquidated by the Russian government, were sent to the Imbramowice Monastery. The Norbertine house was stripped of its temporal goods and its library was looted and its very rare and precious works were lost. It was only in 1835 that Tsar Nicholas I permitted the novitiate. After the Second World War the Norbertine Sisters in Imbramowice, faithful to tradition, resumed the work interrupted by enemy occupation and continued their didactic educational and formative training of girls, at the same time remaining faithful to their contemplative lifestyle. Seeing the pressing need of the rural community, the monastery established a school. Then in 1949 it was closed by the Communist government and the buildings and land were confiscated. Deprived of almost all means of support, the Sisters again found themselves in a very difficult situation. This lasted until 1992. The complex of antique Monastery buildings is now slowly regaining its former beauty. An especially precious gift of Divine Providence during the last decades is the dynamic growth of the cult of the Suffering Christ.
Behind the grills
A DESCRIPTION OF THE WAY OF LIFE IN COMMUNITY
As Canonesses of the Order of Premontre, we are called to live in strict Papal enclosure while adhering to the Norbertine spirituality and traditions handed down to us for generations. Every Sister entering our Monastery professes to live a hidden life permanently in common with the Sisters in this Monastery, according to the Rule of Saint Augustine. The Sisters form a community primarily to foster a oneness of heart and soul directed to God. The goal and essence of our contemplative vocation is `to remain in the missionary heart of the Church through constant prayer, self denial and the rendering of the offering of praise`. Four times a day the Sisters come together to pray in common, a total of six hours. This includes the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Divine Office, meditation, rosary, novena to the Suffering Christ, crown to Divine Mercy and devotion to Saint Joseph. In addition, every Sister adores before the Blessed Sacrament individually every day for at least a half hour and attends to her Lectio Divina. Besides these daily prayers there are particular devotions connected with certain Feasts and seasons of the year. As guardians of the Regional Sanctuary of the Suffering Christ we feel especially called by our life endlessly to praise Our Lord Jesus in the mystery of His salutary Passion and implore His boundless mercy for ourselves and the whole world. As a community of Norbertine nuns observing the rule of strict papal enclosure we are dedicated in a special manner to the development of the cult of the Passion of Our Lord. In 2003 our monastery church was declared officially by our bishop as Regional Sanctuary of the Passion of Our Lord. Since then the months of August to November have become a time of special grace, during which we pray and share our faith with the pilgrims and visitors to this shrine. We rejoice when, at the foot of the miraculous image of Jesus with His side pierced by a lance, the ever growing numbers of pilgrims and people come to spend time in prayer and contemplation of the Sacred Heart. There is a constant increase in the number of people who seek comfort and strength in their sufferings and who are in contact with us by mail and telephone. We and they are in prayerful union. We greatly rejoice with them when Our Passionate Christ, whom they adore in the Shrine`s famous image, hears our prayers and shows them His mercy in a tangible manner. With the help of the Order and and the benefactors, we could finish the remodeling. So now we can give accommodation to about 50 pilgrims at one time.Formation: Full participation in the life of the community begins with Solemn Vows, which is preceded by three phases of religious formation: 6 - 9 months of postulancy, 2 years of novitiate and 3 years of juniorate. At present our community consists of fifteen persons. Eleven are perpetually professed, one is a juniorate, two are novices and one is a postulant.
Daily activities of the Sisters - Besides the work connected with the management of the Church and Monastery the Sisters are engaged in the reception of pilgrims, the propagation of the cult of the Suffering Christ, and in agricultural work. They also busy themselves with sewing, embroidery and artistic creations.
Sisters in the Refectory
Pilgrimage-house of the Sisters