Fr. Vincent Sekowski (1840-1911)
In November of 1892, the Superior General of the Marians, Fr. George Czesnas, died at the Marian monastery in Mariampole, Lithuania, the only Marian monastery in existence after all others had been closed down by the tsar’s government in 1864. On November 24th, the five remaining “white Marians” held an election for a new Superior General. Fifty-two year-old Fr. Vincent Sekowski, who was noted in the community for his education, was elected General.
Fr. Sekowski was born on September 6, 1840, in the village of Asmonai (parish of Szum) in Lithuania. During 1855-58, he attended a four-year district school in Mariampole. In 1858, he entered the Marian Order at the age of 18 years. Upon completing his novitiate at the Mariampole monastery, he made his solemn profession of vows in 1861. During the years 1858-1862, also in Mariampole, he studied theology, passed his final examinations at Sejny, and was ordained subdeacon by Bishop Maciej Wolonczewski in 1862. Shortly afterwards, he was sent by his superiors to continue his theological studies at the Warsaw Spiritual Academy, which he attended during 1862-64. In 1863, he was ordained a deacon by the Metropolitan of Warsaw, Archbishop Zygmunt Szczesny-Felinski. In 1864, he was ordained a priest by Bishop Henryk Plater in Warsaw. Fr. Sekowski completed his education obtaining the degree of a candidate of Holy Theology. During 1871-74, he held the office of the Procurator of the Mariampole monastery. The enlargement of the church building in Mariampole, construction of two additional tall towers, two side chapels, and the renovation of the church interior were the fruits and merits of his pious activity in his capacity as the pastor.
In electing Fr. Sekowski their General Superior, the Marians hoped that their only remaining monastery of Mariampole would not die away. This hope was strongly supported by the newly elected Superior General, who also served as the pastor of the Mariampole parish. The Merciful Lord heard his fervent prayers, and as a reward for his great trust, allowed him to live to see the joyful moment of the renewal of the Marian Order. On August 29, 1909, Blessed George Matulewicz, a Professor at the St. Petersburg Spiritual Academy and later a Bishop of Vilnius, who has been brought up in the Mariampole parish, made his religious vows in Bishop Kazimierz Ruszkiewicz’s private chapel located at the Holy Cross Church in Warsaw. This event became the beginning of the renovation and reformation of the Marian Order.
Father Vincent Sekowski passed away on Palm Sunday, April 10, 1911, in Mariampole; he was 70 years old. He directed the renewed Order in his capacity of the Superior General for 19 months and 12 days. In the opinion of his contemporaries, he was renowned as a zealous priest, excellent preacher, and holy religious man, to which the participation of numerous faithful in his funeral, which took place in Mariampole on Holy Wednesday, testifies. Father Vincent’s body was buried at the parish church in Mariampole, where he fulfilled his duty as a pastor for a long time.