The Servant of God
Father Anselm of St. Andrew Corsini O.C.D.
Maciej Józef Gądek (1884-1969)
Founder of the Congregation
of the Carmelite Sisters of the Child Jesus
The Servant of God Father Anselm Gądek, OCD was born in Marszowice, (Poland) in the parish of Niegowić, on February 24, 1884. In 1895, he attended the Carmelite Boarding School in Wadowice and was a student at the local High School. In 1901, he received the Carmelite habit at Czerna, and in 1902, he made his first profession of religious vows. In the novitiate, inspired by the discovery that he was ?a son of Mary?, he entrusted himself completely to Her. Until the end of his life, he remained faithful to the decision he had made: ?I wish to be and must be a saint?. He completed his theological studies in Rome and was ordained a priest there on July 25, 1907. From 1909 to 1918, he taught theology in Kraków, Linz, and Vienna, and was an instructor for seminarians as well. He was likewise known for the wide range of his pastoral ministry as a spiritual director, retreat master, and homilist. In Kraków, he founded and then directed the Fraternity of the Infant Jesus of Prague. In the years 1918-1920, Fr. Anselm was Prior in Wadowice, where he established a Minor Seminary. In 1920, he was appointed the first Provincial Superior of the revived Polish Province of the Discalced Carmelites. He made great efforts to recover monasteries that had been dissolved and zealously fostered a deep spiritual life among the Carmelite communities.
In 1921, with the cooperation of the Servant of God Mother Teresa of St. Joseph (Janina Kierocińska, 1885-1946), Father Anselm founded the Congregation of the Carmelite Sisters of the Child Jesus, to which he imparted the charism of devotion to the Divine Childhood according to the ?little way? of St. Therese of the Child Jesus. He spread devotion to the ?Little Flower? as well as her teaching throughout Poland at that time.
From 1925, Fr. Anselm lived in Rome. While in Rome, he organized the International Camelite College, the ?Teresianum?, where he was likewise rector from 1926 to 1945.
From 1931 to 1947, Father Anselm held the office of Definitor General, and in this capacity, he was assigned to make visitations in various provinces of the Order. He was likewise appointed by Pope Pius XI as apostolic visitor for the seminaries in Poland and the national college seminaries in Rome, as well as consultant to the Congregation for Seminaries and Universities.
After returning to Poland in 1947, Fr. Anselm served three terms as Provincial. He always gave eloquent witness by his zealous life as a priest and Carmelite. He was known for his ardent love of God, his prudence, humility, simplicity, and joyful spirit, as well as his charity in tending to the needs of his neighbor. His entire life was an edifying example of patience and joyful fidelity to the Rule of the Order. With paternal love, he fostered a high level of spiritual life among his brothers and sisters in Carmel. He also undertook a thorough spiritual formation of the Congregation he himself had founded, for which he left as his legacy his many writings, drew up new Constitutions, and often visited the individual communities. Fr. Anselm was the spiritual director for many consecrated persons, religious as well as laypeople, whom he guided on the path to holiness.
Fr. Anselm spent the last ten years of his life at the Carmelite monastery in Łódź. At that time, he carried out his apostolate by writing, prayer, and suffering. In spite of failing health and spiritual trials, he was faithful to the end in prayer and took part in all the acts of community life. He expressed the mystery of his life in the words: ?All my life I have trained myself in the love of the Child Jesus?.
Fr. Anselm Gądek died in the opinion of holiness on October 15, 1969. His mortal remains, after exhumation, now rest in the vestibule of the church of the Discalced Carmelites in Łódź. The process toward his beatification was conducted in the Archdiocese of Łódź from 2002 to 2008. The documents from the beatification process were then passed on to the Congregation for Saints? Causes in Rome.