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Introduction

Mieczysław Gogacz was born on 17 November 19261 in Nadróż near Rypin in Dobrzyń Land, where his parents Szczepan and Marianna Gogacz, née Gołębiewska, ran a shop with colonial goods. He started his elementary education in Nadróż and completed it in Obory, where his parents had moved in 1934. During the occupation, Mieczysław worked at the post office in Rypin. He continued his interrupted education after the war ended. He finished middle school with the so-called ‘small matura’ (exam after 9th grade) in Rypin where the Gogacz family had moved after the war. He received his matriculation examination (the so-called ‘big matura’) in an episcopal secondary school in Płock in 1949. He then chose to study philosophy at the philosophy faculty of the Catholic University of Lublin. He attended the lectures of Stanisław Adamczyk on metaphysics, theodicy and cosmology, Antoni Korcik’s on logic and the general methodology of sciences, and Wojciech Feliks Bednarski’s on ethics...

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Introduction

Stanisław Kamiński was born on October 24, 1919 in the manor of Gubernia (now Radzyń Podlaski) in Poland, to Helena née Gmur and Jan Kamiński, a car mechanic by profession. In 1938 he passed his matura, a secondary education final exam in grammar school (Gimnazjum Biskupie) in Siedlce and entered the higher theological seminary in Janów Podlaski, which was later moved to Siedlce in 1940. He was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in 1946 and worked for a short time as a curate in The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary parish in Kosowo Lackie. In the same year he started studying philosophy at the Catholic University of Lublin (KUL), which he completed in 1948.  He did not serve in any army or partisan units, nor did he belong to any organizations during World War II. One of his brothers was shot by the Gestapo in 1940 for belonging to the Polish Scouting Association...

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Introduction

Kazimierz Kloskowski was born on August 20, 1953, in Gdańsk, the youngest of the four children of Leon and Anna, nee Weyer. After graduating from High School no. 6 in Gdańsk in 1972, he attended a philosophical and theological course at the Bishop’s Theological Seminary in Gdańsk-Oliwa (current name: Gdańsk Theological Seminary affiliated with the Faculty of Theology at the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw). In 1977, he obtained a Master of Theology diploma on the basis of his paper Nauka o Logosie w dziełach Filona z Aleksandrii i w hymnie Prologu Czwartej Ewangelii [Teachings on Logos in the works of Philo of Alexandria and hymn of Prologue of Fourth Gospel], written under supervision of Dr. Grzegorz Gólski CM. He was ordained on December 18, 1977, by the Bishop of Gdańsk at the time, Lech Kaczmarek. After his ordination, he began his pastoral work at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Sopot...

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Introduction

Kazimierz Kłósak was born on 1 January 1911 in Skwarzawa Stara near Żółkiew (at that time, a village in the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria and part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) to a working-class family of Jan and Zofia nee Maćkowska. He was baptized in the parish church of St. Laurence the Martyr in Żółkiew. Kazimierz Kłósak had three brothers and a sister but we do not know much about his early years. In the autumn of 1916, his parents decided to leave Żółkiew and soon the young Kazimierz was to found in Żywiec, where he first attended a 4-year elementary school, and then 8-year Nicolaus Copernicus Junior High School for Boys. At that time, graduating from high school was no easy matter. Although the economy of Żywiec developed rapidly after Poland regained its independence in 1918, in many regions—especially in the villages surrounding the town—poverty predominated, and children usually only completed the elementary school...

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Introduction

Feliks Karol Koneczny came from a Polish family settled in the Moravian town of Hranice. His ancestors came from Silesia with the army of Jan III Sobieski, who was heading to Vienna in 1683. He was born on November 1, 1862 at 17 Kleparski Square in Krakow. When he was 10 years old, Feliks started his education in the elite St Ann’s Gymnasium, known today as the Bartłomiej Nowodworski High School. In 1873, after passing the entrance examination and paying the appropriate fee, he was accepted to the first class. In May of 1876 he left school irrevocably with three failing grades: in Latin, Greek and History. Years later he maintained that “experience teaches that no one in school has ever learned to speak a language.” Having failed to receive promotion to the fifth class after a half-year break, in 1877 he repeated the fourth class in St. Hyacinth’s Gymnasium…

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Introduction

Mieczysław Albert Krąpiec was a philosopher, theologian and renowned humanist, the main figure behind the founding of the Lublin School of Philosophy. He was born on the 25th of May 1921 in the village of Berezowica Mała (located in the Zbaraż region of the Tarnopol voivodship, now in Ukraine) and he died on the 8th of May 2008 in Lublin. In 1931, after four years of elementary school (in his home village), he began his education in the Wincenty Pol Classical Gymnasium in Tarnopol. It was a school where the basis of teaching were classical languages (four years of Ancient Greek, eight years of Latin) as well as reading works by classical authors. In June 1939, after graduating from the gymnasium and passing the final exams (in Polish: matura), he joined the Order of the Dominican Fathers in Krakow. There, during the Nazi German occupation, he participated in clandestine academic courses in philosophy and theology at the Dominican Philosophical-Theological College (1940–1945)…

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Introduction

Piotr Lenartowicz, the son of Wiesław and Krystyna née Schneider, was born on the 25th of August 1934 in Warsaw. He passed his school leaving certificate examinations in 1951, completing his education at the Jan Sobieski Secondary School in Krakow. A year later he started medical studies at the Medical Faculty of the Medical Academy of Warsaw, which he completed in 1958 and was awarded with a diploma in medicine. In conversation with Prof. Zbigniew Wróblewski he would honestly admit that his choice of medical degree was one taken through a process of elimination. For he was neither taken by humanistic nor technical fields of study, and given that there were so many doctors in his family he decided to pursue a career in medicine. Even though his decision to take up medicine as a degree was not particularly motivated by any calling in this direction or an affiliation for medicine as a career—as we shall become convinced—that this decision was to have a huge impact on his academic-philosophical undertakings. While in his second year, Lenartowicz signed up for the “physiologists circle”...

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Introduction

Tadeusz Józef Styczeń was born on 21 December 1931 in the village of Wołowice near Krakow as the second child of Anna and Tadeusz. His father worked as a mason tender and a village shopkeeper. Tadeusz began his secondary education during the years of the Nazi occupation, attending underground classes run by the Salvatorian Friars in Zakrzówek, a district of Krakow. After the war, he continued education at Salvatorian schools in Krakow, Bagno and Mikołów. In 1947, he graduated from Władysław Sikorski Middle School and joined the novitiate of the Society of the Divine Saviour (the Salvatorian Friars) in Bagno near Wrocław, adopting the monastic name of Józef. He took his perpetual vows in the Society in 1953 in Trzebinia, and was ordained a priest in 1995 by Bishop Franciszek Jop. In the years 1949–1955, he studied at the Theological Faculty of the Jagiellonian University, and after the Faculty was closed, at the Institute of Philosophy and Theology run by the Dominican Friars in Krakow...

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Introduction

Tadeusz Ślipko was born on January 18, 1918 in Stratyn, the former district of Rohatyn. His father, Jan Ślipko, was a local police commander, and his mother, whom he remembered as an exceptionally brave woman, took care of the children. In 1923, after his father’s sudden death, Tadeusz moved with his mother and sisters Janina and Maria to Horodok, his parents’ hometown. It was there that he went to primary school and then to King Władysław Jagiełło Humanities High School. At that time, Horodok was inhabited not only by Poles, but also by Ukrainians, Jews and those of German, Austrian or Hungarian descent. Thus, he reminisced about growing up in a “multinational, multicultural and multidenominational environment.”1 In 1936, he passed the secondary school examinations, and a year later began geological studies at the John Casimir University in Lvov Department of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. It soon turned out, however, that this was not a good choice, and in 1938 he moved to the Department of Humanities, choosing Polish philology and history as his major...

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Introduction

I was born in Stary Sącz on 12 March 1931. My father Józef and my mother Weronika, née Chowaniec, taught school in Łopuszna, Nowy Targ County. In 1937 I began attending primary school. At the beginning of the war we were transferred first to Chabówka, then to Raba Wyżna, and finally, in 1942, to Rogoźnik, Nowy Targ County. I attended the primary school first in Raba Wyżna, then in Rogoźnik, Czarny Dunajec and Nowy Targ. At the same time, I clandestinely covered the curriculum of the first grade of middle school, so that after the national liberation I could be promoted to the 2nd grade of the middle school in Nowy Targ. It was there that I first finished middle school, and then, in 1949, a comprehensive secondary school. In the same year I began my studies at the Faculty of Law at the Jagiellonian University. My parents still work as teachers, and since the national liberation they have been living along with my brother Kazimierz in Łopuszna; my other brother, Marian, is attending a comprehensive secondary school in Nowy Targ.

The above words were penned by Józef Tischner as he wrote about his early years in a letter of application to the Metropolitan Seminary in Krakow…

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Introduction

Karol Wojtyła (John Paul II): Polish Catholic priest, Metropolitan Bishop of Krakow, 264th Pope of the Catholic Church, philosopher, theologian, educator and poet. The son of Karol Wojtyła and Emilia Kaczorowska, he was born on May 18, 1920 in Wadowice to a middle-class family. His childhood was marked by the deaths of those closest to him. On April 13, 1929, Wojtyła’s mother died, and three years later (December 5, 1932) his older brother Edmund, who was a doctor at the City Hospital in Bielsko, died as a result of an infection from scarlet fever. Here begins the adventure of a father and military officer, with the rank of lieutenant, who brought Karol up with a Catholic and patriotic spirit. In 1930 Karol Wojtyła began studying at the then eight-year-old Marcin Wadowita State Gymnasium for Men in Wadowice. In the course of his studies he showed a special interest in the theater. He was a valued student. He was involved in parish life, at first as an altar server and later as the member and then president of the Sodality of Our Lady at Men’s Gymnasium...

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Introduction

Jacek Adam Woroniecki was born on December 21, 1878 to Duke Mieczysław Woroniecki and Countess Marianna Drohojewska; at his baptism he received the names Adam (his grandfather’s name), Marian (after his mother), Tomasz (which was prophetic), Pius and Leon. He was the second child from a large family and spent his childhood on his father’s estate in Kanie, in the vicinity of Chełm (in the Lublin region). From 1892, he attended the 4th all-boys Gymnasium in Warsaw, where he also participated in clandestine Polish language and history lectures. It was during this period that he developed an enduring interest in the humanities and natural sciences. He received his high school diploma [matura] in 1898 and subsequently opted to join a military academy, from which he graduated with the rank of ensign of the cavalry (cornet). After completing one year of service in the Grodno Hussar Regiment, he left in 1899 for Freiburg, Switzerland, where he studied the natural sciences and, later, theology and philosophy. During his stay in Switzerland he became acquainted with the work of the Dominican friars who were professors at the University of Freiburg, individuals who influenced his later decision to join the priesthood...

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Introduction

Zofia Róża Zdybicka was born on 5 August 1928 in Kraśnik Lubelski—now a district within the town of Kraśnik (Lublin Voivodeship)—into a wealthy, religious, middle-class family, to Feliks and Helena (family name: Łukasik). She had one sister who was four years older. The premature passing of their father in 1939 proved a tragic experience for the entire family. After graduating from primary school, Zdybicka continued her education in war-torn Lublin, in a well-established A.J. Vetter’s Merchants’ Secondary School. In 1948 she passed her state exams. During her education at the academy, following the suggestion of her confessor, Father Stefan Dzierżek SJ (†2005), a pupil of St. Urszula Ledóchowska, Zdybicka established contact with the Ursuline Sisters of the Agonising Heart Congregation in Pniewy. After passing her state exams, on 25 September 1948, Zdybicka entered the Ursuline Congregation. Her first task, as a graduate of the merchants’ secondary school, was taking custody of the financial aspect of the activity of the congregation-ministered orphanage in Otorów, near Pniewy...

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Introduction

The aim of the Companion to Polish Christian Philosophy of the 20th and 21st Centuries is a synthetic presentation of the academic achievements of thinkers whose manner of philosophizing may be regarded as belonging to a broadly conceived category of Christian philosophy. Numerous works on the history of philosophy have highlighted ist unique features and the role it played, especially in the times of real socialism (1945–1989) when Marxism was the philosophy promoted by the authorities. At that time, Christian philosophy was a sign of pluralism and openness to different thinking trends developed in Western Europe, something which could not be explored by Polish philosophical scholars at the time due to censorship. At the same time, because of its very nature, Christian thought made it possible for all of the philosophy practiced in Poland in that period to maintain pluralism. The current literature may allow us to become familiar with many aspects of Christian philosophy in Poland, but there is no single monograph that presents it as a whole, showing the contribution it has made to shaping the philosophical culture of Poland over the last 120 years…

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