Magdalena Morteska

She is one of the most significant Polish Benedictines. She decided to devote her life to a convent life against her father’s will, entered the convent of Chelmno Benedictines in 1578 and in 1579 was appointed the prioress. She had a strong personality and was a good organizer and administrator. She introduced a new rule changing the medieval one – the Benedictines became a teaching order instead of being contemplative. The new rule was approved by Rome in 1605. Since then all the Benedictine convents were to make a congregation under the leadership of the Chelmno prioress. One of her achievements was renovation of the convents not only in Chelmno and Torun but also of all the others on the territory of Poland, including the ones in Zarnowiec, Jaroslaw, Sandomierz, Sierpiec, and Poznan. Additionally, a seminary educating future convent and monastic chaplains was founded in Poznan. There were schools educating and bringing up girls from wealthy townsmen and noble families at every Benedictine convent. However, educating nuns themselves in terms of reading and writing in Polish and Latin introduced by Morteska was an important element as well.
Magdalena Morteska died on 15th February 1631 and was buried in the convent church in Chelmno under the main altar.