Fr. Christopher Szwermicki (alias Szwernicki), son of Adam and Katarzyna nee Woclawska, was born in 1814, in the village of Worpuniany, Diocese and Province of Augustow. He went to a three-year grammar school at Mariampole, which he completed in 1824. Next, he studied in a middle school run by the Marian Fathers at the Mariampole monastery. Then, at the age of 10, he took up residence at that monastery. There, in 1832, he finished his middle school, which involved a lay program of studies.
At this time he entered the Order, after completing the novitiate and professing his religious vows. His studies of philosophy and theology also took place in Mariampole. They were also conducted by the Marians themselves. The novitiate and following studies lasted usually five years. He was ordained to the priesthood in Sejny, on December 24, 1837, by Bishop Pawel Straszynski (1784-1847), who was consecrated Bishop in Warsaw, on January 8 of the same year, and, as the first Bishop of Sejny, took up his permanent residence there.
During the two following years, Fr. Szwermicki taught at the Mariampole House of Studies for seminarians and fulfilled duties of Vice Novice Master, in other words, the House of Studies’ Superior and Educator of the seminarians.
Upon the Bishop’s wish and following his Superiors’ orders, Fr. Szwermicki left for Warsaw in 1839, to learn methods of teaching in the Institute for the Deaf.
Having returned to Mariampole two years later, he organized and ran there a school for young deaf people.
Fr. Szwermicki, as he stated himself, spoke the following languages: Polish, Latin, Lithuanian, French, German, and Russian.
The 1884 General Chapter of the Marians elected him Superior of the Mariampole monastery. He held this office for two and a half years only.
On December 6, 1846, he was arrested, brought to Warsaw, put into the Alexander citadel, and tried by a court martial. He spent five years in the annex No. 10 of the Warsaw citadel, all the time being under strict investigation without any chance for defense. He stood accused of allegedly receiving forbidden books from Prussia. Upon this accusation, he was exiled to the Province of Irkutsk. He left Warsaw on March 23, 1852, along with other convicts who were to be transported to Siberia. When he came to Irkutsk, he obtained permission to fulfill his priestly duties at the local church.
Fr. Szwermicki was permitted to go back to his homeland because of the Czar’s edict issued at the coronation on November 17, 1855. However, fulfilling his parishioners’ desire, he voluntarily stayed in Irkutsk. Under the authority of the Decree given by the Metropolitan of Mohylew on December 10, 1855, he remained the pastor of Irkutsk and an army chaplain. This was also confirmed by State officials through their decision of June 26, 1856.