Friday, July 5, 2013

Blessed Maria Teresia Ledóchowska

The Polish countess who worked against slavery. To quote:
She was the eldest of seven children. Members of the Polish nobility, she and her siblings – including Wlodimir Ledóchowski, Ursula Ledóchowska and Ignacy Kazimierz Ledóchowski were born on the estate of their father, Count Antoni Halka-Ledóchowski. Their uncle was Mieczysław Cardinal Ledóchowski.

From 1885 to 1890, Maria Teresia was lady-in-waiting to the Grand Duchess Alice of Tuscany. Two Franciscan Missionaries of Mary came to Salzburg to seek financial help for their missionary work. The lady-in-waiting listened raptly as the two women religious shared their experiences of working with the lepers in Madagascar. Her interest in the missions increased when she read a pamphlet on Charles Lavigerie’s anti-slavery campaign. Pope Leo XIII had entrusted the evangelization of Africa to Lavigerie. She began to publicize his cause, which soon attracted donations.

As Mary Theresa’s involvement with the missions grew, she began a mission page in a Catholic periodical. These mission features, called “Echo From Africa”, were based on correspondence from African missionaries. The page of letters evolved into a monthly magazine, which made its debut in 1889, even though the nineteenth century was not ready for a woman publisher. The magazine soon became a full-time job, and Emperor Franz Joseph personally released Mary Theresa from her court duties in 1891 so that she could devote all of her time and energy to the missions. (Read entire post.)

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