Painting of Sister Maria Antonina KratochwilWe are called to live like Jesus: forgiving others, comforting those in need, lifting up the poor and powerless, and living in peace and love. Throughout her life, Sister Antonina Kratochwil fully embraced these ideals, becoming a symbol of hope for those whose lives she touched. Despite her struggles, she remained true to her faith and inspired others to follow in her footsteps.

Maria Antonina Kratochwil was born to Jan and Joanna (Kolarzyk) Kratochwil on August 21, 1881, in Witkowice, Poland, currently Ostrawa in the Czech Republic. She was named Maria Anna. Maria’s father died when she was young, leaving her mother with very few resources to care for Maria and her three siblings. As a result, Maria was accepted into an orphanage operated by the School Sisters of Notre Dame where she received her education. Even as a child, Maria possessed a steady serenity and joyful disposition, and was considered the “guardian angel” of the other children in the orphanage because of her caring nature and sense of responsibility. After elementary school, Maria helped in the kindergarten operated by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Bielsko, Poland. It was through this experience that she was introduced to the work of the sisters. She admired the sisters so much that she asked to be received into the candidature on May 16, 1901.

Maria was sent to the Silesian Province motherhouse in Wroclaw, Poland, and then in 1902, to Bilá Voda, Poland, now in the Czech Republic, to study at the teachers’ seminary of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. In 1906, she received her teaching certification. Still a candidate, Maria was sent to Karvina, Poland, now in the Czech Republic, to teach in an elementary school. Because of her teaching methods and her cheerful and serene disposition, she won the love, respect and admiration of her students, their parents, and other teachers and school administrators.



Celebrate the lives of Sister Antonina and other Polish sisters at our Signature Event: A Polish Celebration! The event will be held on Saturday, May 4, 2019, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at Notre Dame of Elm Grove, in Elm Grove, Wisconsin. Registration includes traditional American and Polish-inspired foods, desserts, beer, wine and entertainment! Be sure to bring your dancing shoes! Enjoy live music from Val Sigal, Polish polkas, a silent auction and reconnecting with sisters! Seats are limited, so register today.

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  • ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me.’ These words of Jesus from Matthew 25:35 challenge us, especially as we witness the world in crisis as millions of people are forced to flee their homelands.

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