History of Monastery
The monastery of the Norbertine Sisters in Imbramowice was founded by Iwo Odrowąż, the bishop of Kraków, in 1226 on the land of his uncle Imbram. The place called Imbramowice (formerly called Dłubnia) takes its name from Imbram, the co-founder and proprietor of the village where the monastery was built. It is situated on the Dłubnia River, 40 kilometers northwest of Kraków. The founding and organization of the monastery was approved in 1229 by a papal bull of Gregory IX.
According to the chronicle of Abbot Witowski the monastery was destroyed by invading Tatars in 1260 and took a long time to rebuild. From later, XVI century, sources we learn that the Canonisses were engaged in the apostolic work of education and schooling. This endeavor was undertaken not only for the purpose of schooling but especially for the purpose of educating the youth in religion and patriotism. The work continued thruout the centuries with periodic interruptions during the wars of annexation and during the times of foreign occupation. The work assumed various forms ranging from that of conducting elementary schools to that of maintaining institutions of higher learning for young ladies of wealthy landed families and lastly to the training of rural girls in home economics.
In 1710 the monastery with the Gothic church was destroyed by fire. Thanks to the efforts of extraordinarily active and energetic Abbess Groth all was rebuilt. On the site of the orginal buildings there rose a complex of monastic architecture which included the church with its artistically rich interior in the style of Later Baroque, as can be seen to this day.
In 1819, as a result of the persecutional politics of the foreign occupation, many Norbertine houses were liquidated. The community in Imbramowice was sentenced to die out since it was not permitted to accept new candidates. But female religious of other communities, which were liquidated by the Russian government, were sent to the Imbramowice monastery the Norbertine house was stripped of its temporal goods and its library was looted and its very rare and precious works were lost. It was only in 1835 that Tsar Nicholas I permitted the novitiate.
After the “January Uprising” the Norbertine community experienced new and extremely oppressive times up until the dawn of the 20 century. The new generation of Norbertines hidden behind the cloister grill had to face bravely the new test of faith and sacrificial love under the brutal conditions of two horrible world wars.
From the chronicle or more yet from the various correspondence we learn that many families found shelter and complete sustenance in our community during the difficult years of enemy occupation. For its heroic effort and aid rendered the conspiratorial forces in the war against the German occupants in 1939-1945 the Norbertine community in Imbramowice received the distinguished Golden and Silver Cross of Merit.
After the Second World War the Norbertine Sisters in Imbramowice, faithful to tradition, resumed the work interrupted by enemy occupation and continued their didactic educational and formative training of girls while at the same time remaining faithful to their contemplative lifestyle. Seeing the pressing need of the rural community, the monastery established a school of village home economics. Altho the school was conducted in an exemplary and dynamic manner nevertheless already in 1949 it was closed by the communist government and the buildings and land were confiscated. Deprived almost of all means of support the Sisters found themselves again in a very difficult situation, which lasted up to 1992. However, during this difficult period they survived as a community thanks to the generosity of the local community of faithful. The complex of antique monastery buildings is now slowly regaining its former beauty. The systematic work of conservation and renovation of the complex has been going on now for about thirty years.
A specially precious gift of Divine Providence during the last decades is the dynamic growth of the cult of the Suffering Christ, whose grace-famed painting is venerated in our monastery since the XIX century. Upon the request of adorers of the Suffering Christ the Ordinary Bishop of the diocese has elevated the monastery church to the rank of Regional Sanctuary of the Suffering Christ. The propagation of the cult, especially in this present age of intense laicization and the growth in Poland of animosity towards Christ and His Church, becomes for us a sign of the special mission written into the new evangelization of our fatherland, Europe and the world.