ul. Woronicza 10
The building at Woronicza Street 10 contains one of the most emotional and dramatic representations of the suffering Christ: Ecce Homo. The painting gave its name to the sanctuary in Kraków’s Prądnik Czerwony district where the Albertine Sisters set up their convent in 1928. Both the painting and the Order are connected with the same man: Adam Chmielowski.
A painter, art critic and theoretician, he took part in the January Rising. Heavily wounded, he was taken captive by the Russians. In 1887 he donned on a monk’s habit, and a year later took the monastic vows, assuming the name of Albert and starting a new monastic family.
Chmielowski not only established the orders of the Albertine Brothers Servants of the Poor and the Sisters of the Third Order of St Francis Serving the Poor but also himself tended to the homeless and the poor. He gradually resigned from painting, investing all his energy into starting homes for orphans, the disabled, the elderly, and the terminally ill. Not having sufficient material resources, he made collections for the support of the poor. He also helped the unemployed, organising labour for them. A famous quote from the future saint reads that “everyone must be given food, the homeless – some space, and the naked – clothing; all they can do without a roof and a piece of bread, is to steal or beg to carry on living”.
Standing in the place of what today is the sanctuary were the buildings of a Renaissance manorial estate of the Cellari family. The convent lives on the ideas of the founder of the Order: apart from its headquarters, the compound includes the aid institutions run by the Albertine Sisters: a care centre for the elderly and disabled, a relief and assistance centre, and a kitchen for the homeless and the poor. This is also where the majority of the memorabilia and documents connected to the saint, as well as his paintings, are kept. Standing in the convent park is a small church, the Sanctuary of St Brother Albert. It is here that the relics of the saint are situated. They were deposited in a modest room, designed by a Kraków artist, Stefan Dousa, after St Brother Albert’s beatification in June 1983. In turn, the relics of the co-founder of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis Serving the Poor, Blessed Sr Bernardyna Maria Jabłońska, have been displayed by the high altar since she was beatified by the Holy Father John Paul II in 1997.
The painting Ecce Homo is situated above the main altar of the church. It is a painting and symbol, a proof of spiritual transformation, and the opus magnum of the lay life of Adam Chmielowski the painter, before he turned into brother (Friar) Albert. It presents an image of tormented Christ, intended to reflect the figure of a humiliated human, one of those who St Brother Albert looked after.
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