Vale Sister Cecylia Maria Roszak (1908–2018)

Mateusz Szczepaniak / English translation: Andrew Rajcher, 23rd November 2018
Cecylia Maria Roszak died on 16th November in Kraków at the age of 110. She was a nun belonging to the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Dominic and had been honoured with the title of Righteous Among the Nations. In the last years of her life, she was acknowledged as the world's oldest, cloistered nun. Sister Cecylia's funeral took place on 22nd November at the Rakowicki Cemetery in Kraków.

What is it like to have lived for 110 years and 7 months? How should such a life end well? How should we escort this extraordinary life to a funeral, when we realise that it is changing, not ending?

– asked Father Tomasz Nowak OP, who delivered the homily at Sister Cecylia's funeral service at the church of Our Lady of Snows in Kraków.

During World War II, Sister Cecylia Maria Roszak, together with other Dominican nuns, helped a dozen or so Jews who had come to their convent in Kolonia Wileńska, where the Prioress was Sister Bertranda (Janina Siestrzewitowska, aka Anna Borkowska). Amongst those in hiding were Aba Kowner, Arie Wilner, Chaja Grosman, Edek Boraks, Chuma Godot and Izrael Nagle, who later became resistance fighters in the Białystok, Warsaw and Wilna ghettoes. They found refuge with the Dominicans in 1941-1942. 

Read Sister Cecylia's story »

On 29th March 1984, in recognition of the help provided, Sister Cecylia Maria Roszak and the other Kolonia Wileńska sisters were honoured with the title of Righteous Among the Nations. Medals and certificates were presented in December 2008 at the Dominican Sisters convent in Gródek, Kraków.

She died in Kraków on 16th November 2018 at the age of 110. She was laid to rest in the monastic tomb of the Dominican Sisters in the Rakowicki Cemetery.