IN THE RENOVATED CONGREGATION
The first official document of the renovated Congregation bears the seal that was used by the General Superior Fr. Sękowski. This document is a short protocol, prepared after the election of Fr. George Matulewicz to the General Superior’s office by the first General Chapter of the renovated Marian community (the original document is presently located in the Archives of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in Rome). This Chapter took place in Gelgaudiškis, Lithuania, on July 14, 1911 – three months after Fr. Sękowski’s demise. Its participants were: Frs. G. Matulewicz, F. Bučys, and J. Totoraitis. Therefore, it seems highly probable that the seal might have been among a few things left behind by the General Superior of the olden Marians. Probably, the seal was made out of brass, which seems to be confirmed by a closer scrutiny of its round impression of 5 cm in diameter. The imprint is an inverted image of the die normally used for making impressions in wax; in case of the above-mentioned protocol, the die was used to make an impression in blue ink (probably, for the want of wax).
Fortunately, there is another surviving imprint of the same seal – made earlier with the use of “wafer” method. We find it in the acts of the called Three-year Chapter, which took place in Marijampole in September 1838. On the rim that seal bears the Latin inscription: SIG: MAIUS: ORD: CC•REGL: MARIANORUM•SUB•TIT: IMMTÆ•CONCEPT: B.V. MARIÆ:
Analyzing the contents of the inscription, one can easily conclude that the seal was created shortly after 1786, when the Holy See renewed its approval for the Marians, while the Constitutions of the Order displayed in its title for the first time the slightly altered Institute’s name that was faithfully repeated in the inscription on the seal’s rim.
We don’t know what has happened to that seal, which is also missing from the Congregation’s archives. However, noteworthy is the fact that the next important legal document of our Community – the protocol of the General Chapter celebrated in Gdańsk on July 16-19, 1923, and presided over by the Blessed Renovator, bears a seal whose general appearance and the inscription of the rim clearly refers to the one left by Fr. Wincenty Sękowski to the renovated Community. It is similar in case of the image of the Immaculate Mary placed in the Congregation’s Constitutions, released in 1930, and the seals used by General Superiors – direct successors of our Blessed Renovator.
Also, it ought to be mentioned that – right from the day of their arrival in the U.S. in 1913, – the Marians used the seals created in the image of Fr. Sękowski’s seal (cf. pictures in the text).