Faith Against Odds: The Resurrectionist Founders’ Day

Today, Resurrectionists around the world celebrate their Founders’ Day. The story began on Ash Wednesday, February 17, 1836, in Paris. A group of young individuals in their twenties decided to start living together. Despite facing skepticism and being labeled as fools by some, the founder Bogdan Janski, along with his disciples Peter and Jerome, was convinced that it was God’s calling for them to lead a communal life. Jerome, one of the co-founders, documented in his diary…

On Ash Wednesday, 1836, Peter and Jerome moved into a small house that Bogdan had rented in Paris… There were others who lived in the house for a time, but they were merely transients. Together, we dedicated ourselves to common prayer and study. Our income was so meager that we couldn’t even afford linens to cover our mattresses. We shopped at the market and did our own cooking, often at the risk of poisoning ourselves. The initial funds for the rental of the house and for household goods were provided by Bogdan.

Even those who knew us better, people who believed in our honesty, considered our step to be some kind of political maneuver. They looked upon us as a Catholic club established to support our country and the Polish clergy. Others simply confronted us with the dilemma: ‘Either you’re scoundrels or you’ve lost your minds.’ There were still others, normally serious people and certainly ashamed of their conduct later, who, without thinking, spread all kinds of absurd monstrosities about us… For example, saying that we had enormous crucifixes in our house that reached from the floor to the ceilings, that we scourged ourselves until we bled, etc.

As a result, a good number of people came to see these ‘fools.’ Not finding anything out of the ordinary and seeing that we were calm, ordinary, friendly people, they showed by the expression on their faces that they were amazed and edified. Often, they said this in so many words. Only a very few people believed us when we said simply that we felt called by God to serve our brothers, first among the exiles, and then, God willing, in our homeland, Poland. People are always looking for a mystery even when there is no mystery.

Yet, we were feeling so good within ourselves that it didn’t make any difference what people thought or said about us. We had a common time for rising, going to bed, and prayers. Our meals were sanctified by spiritual reading. We attended Mass daily at the church of the Carmelite Nuns on Rue Vaugirard, a church that had been sanctified during the revolution by the martyrdom of several scores of bishops and priests.

Please pray for the Congregation of the Resurrection on our Founders Day,
that we may continually strive to live as a Christian community,
rooted in the Paschal Mystery,
working for the Resurrection of society.
May our Risen Lord send more labourers into His vineyard,
and may young people everywhere be open to God’s call. 
Our Lady of Mentorella, Pray for Us.