Founded the Congregation of the Virgins of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
(1584 - 1650)
Memorial - 1 April
"WHATSOEVER YOU HAVE DONE FOR THE LEAST OF MY BROTHERS, THAT YOU HAVE DONE FOR ME" (Mat. 25, 40)
Servant of God Mother Zofia Czeska followed this advice of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. She was born in 1584, the third child of Mateusz Maciejewski and Katarzyna Lubowiecka Maciejewska. She was born to a family of average means who lived in Krakow and in the Sandomierz area. At the age of 16, Zofia Maciejewska married Jan Czeski and changed her surname to Czeska. After 6 years of a childless marriage, she became a widow. One day, on her way home from church, she was kidnapped by a man who wanted to force her into marriage. When she refused, the man instead married her younger sister, Anna.
Despite her youth, she never married again. She dedicated her life to the arts of mercy, in particular by serving poor and orphaned girls. From 1621 till 1627, using her own resources, she ran a home for them called The Virgin's House of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Krakow at 18 Szpitalna Street. On May 31, 1627 she received official approval for this home from Bishop of Krakow Marcin Szyszkowski. That was the beginning of the first school for girls in Poland. To continue her work, a congregation of sisters was established. The constitution of the Order was approved on January 13, 1660 by Krakow Bishop Andrzej Trzebicki not long after the death of Mother Zofia. She died on April 1, 1650. She was buried in St. Mary's Church in Krakow.
Her work - the school and Congregation of the Sisters of the Presentation (Prezentki) is still carried on today. On April 1, 1995 Cardinal Franciszek Macharski started the process of canonical examination of the heroic virtues and holiness of Mother Zofia Maciejowska Czeska. On November 20, 1997 the diocesan stage of the process was completed and the documentation delivered to the Vatican. On March 30, the Vatican announced confirmation of the diocesan process.
The Congregation of the Virgins of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Congregatio Virginum a Praesentatione Beatae Mariae Virginis) is one of the oldest Polish female congregations. The term "Prezentki" derives from the Latin word "praesentatio" and means presentation.
In 1621, Zofia Maciejowska Czeska established the first school for girls in Poland, in Krakow. Poor girls and orphans attended the school. To continue her work after her death, Pope Alexander VII gave official approval for the establishment of a congregation of sisters called the Congregation of the Virgins of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The school and congregation were located in Kraków at 18 Szpitalna Street. The seat of the congregation later moved to 7 Swiętego Jana Street in Krakow. This is still the location of the mother house of this congregation.
In keeping with the motto: "Praise God and His Mother" the sisters spend their time on the upbringing and education of children and teenagers; they run a lyceum for girls in Krakow and a middle school and lyceum in Rzeszow. The school in Krakow is the uninterrupted continuation of the school founded by Mother Zofia Czeska. The sisters do various work according to their abilities and the local needs of the Church. They run kindergartens, orphanages, houses for children with special needs; they work for parishes e.g. as Religious Education teachers. They propagate the cult of the Blessed Virgin, as the most holy Madonna is the Mother and Patron of the congregation. The sisters wear a black habit and veil.