Namesake of Tyler’s first hospital, current chaplain share common connection to Poland

The namesake of Tyler’s CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Hospital and a chaplain currently serving patients there share an interesting connection.

Polish-born Mother Frances Siedliska founded the order of religious known as the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth in 1875. Years later in the 1930s, 16 sisters came to Tyler from Chicago to operate the city’s first hospital.

The same community of religious still work in and guide the medical center today.

One of them is Sister Malgorzata Majszczyk, or Sister “Margo” as she’s known, also grew up in Poland. She came to the U.S. almost 40 years ago.

In fact, her connection to East Texas goes beyond a common nationality with her foundress. Sister Margo’s family relocated to Tyler’s sister city of Jelenia Góra after World War II.

“They never left that part of Poland. It’s a beautiful place with hills. It feels like East Texas because it has hills and a lot of green scenery. So it’s really very beautiful. And I’m so happy that Tyler, Texas found Jelenia Gora and that we are sister cities. That’s amazing and beautiful.”

Sister Margo was in Poland when the war in Ukraine broke out in February. She stayed until May, ministering to the refugees who flooded across the border.

Tyler and Jelenia Góra have only been sister cities since the 1990s, but their focus on faith is something a delegation from East Texas is exploring this week.

A team from the City of Tyler and the Tyler Sister Cities Organization is visiting Poland to deepen cultural ties and explore new opportunities for educational and economic cooperation.

One focus of the delegation’s visit is to gain a better understanding of the people, culture, and history of this part of Poland.

According to statistics from the CIA Factbook, 85% of believers in Poland identify as Catholic. The church’s role in daily life is evident in many ways, from the number of churches to crucifixes placed on the walls inside government buildings.

On Thursday, a tour of the Lower Silesia region around Jelenia Góra included a tour of one of the most significant Catholic churches in southwest Poland, the Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Krzeszów. Constructed between 1728 and 1735, it is considered one of the greatest examples Baroque architecture in Europe.

Its ornate paintings and sculptures illustrate scriptural scenes, a common practice before literacy was widespread.

Also inside, the icon of Our Lady of Graces is said to be a hundred years older than the revered Black Madonna of Częstochowa.

Another enduring influence — Pope Saint John Paul II, who was credited with playing a role in ending the Cold War by encouraging people to stand up against communism. He is still venerated in his Polish homeland, almost 20 years after his death in 2005.

The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the views of KLTV/KTRE-TV or Gray Television. They are solely the opinion of the author. All content © Copyright 2022 Lane Luckie

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