Life of Blessed Mary Angela

Early Life of Sophia Truszkowski
Sophia Truszkowska was the first child born of Joseph and Josephine Truszkowski in Kalisz, Poland. They instilled in their daughter the virtues of piety, social justice and charity. From early in her childhood, Sophie distinguished herself with an unusual sensitivity for human suffering and poverty. She even gave away to the poor the few pennies she received.

Sophia struggled with frail health, but she was very bright and full of curiosity. Her parents provided their eldest daughter with the best education and cultural upbringing possible. When she was twelve, Sophia was enrolled in the renowned boarding school for girls conducted by Miss Lehman in Warszawa. Religious training was an important part of her studies. When she received her First Holy Communion, she was profoundly infuenced by the experience. Sophia's religious experience greatly influenced her life and attitude. She eagerly and conscientiously persevered in completing duties and tasks assigned to her. The intensity with which Sopia approached her tasks, however, was detrimental to her health. She contracted tuberculosis when she was sixteen years old. The doctor recommended that she rest in Switzerland to restore her health. Sophia spent a year in Switzerland accompanied by Mrs. Kotowicz. When she regained her health, Sophia returned to her home to study privately. Her studies included Latin, French, philosophy, ethics, and social thought. She also developed her spirituality by spending much time in prayer.

Sophia told her parents that she wanted to live a life of contemplative prayer as a Visitation nun. However, her father took ill and went to Salzbrunn to seek a health cure. Sophia, as oldest in the family, accompanied her father to Germany. While at prayer in the Cathedral of Cologne, Sophia began to discern that God was not calling her to be a Visitation nun. When she and her father returned to Warszawa, Sophia continued her normal activities while continuing to care for her father. Sophia assured her father she would remain with him until death and she resumed her works of charity.

Sophia joined the St.Vincent de Paul Society in 1854 and became involved in home visits and service to the many poor families in the city. Supported by finances from her father, Sophia rented a flat where she cared for several orphaned girls and aged women. Sophia spent her days working at what became known as the "Institue of Miss Truszkowska."

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