Lucjan Z. Kr�likowski was born in Nowe Kramsko, near Pozna� in 1919. His
father fought in the Uprising leading to the unification of the Great Poland
region with the motherland just after the end of World War I. That
tradition, cherished at home, resulted in young �ucjan being embedded in the
strong patriotic ethos of his whole family. He attended schools in Krotoszyn
and Pozna�. In 1935, he entered the Minor Mission Seminary in Niepokalan�w
near Warsaw. There he encountered Father Maximilian Kolbe, later Auschwitz
martyr and saint, who was his master and spiritual father. St. Maximilian�s
personality left a lasting mark on �ucjan. In 1939, he was sent to continue
his studies in philosophy to Lw�w, where he was caught by the war�s
As early as January 1940, Lucjan was arrested by the Soviets and sent to a
prison-camp in the far North, Archangielsk region. For two years he labored
in the taiga [Siberian forest] logging. Descriptions of the Siberia nature,
work conditions, and relationships between the prisoners belong to the most
moving parts of the memoirs.
At the end of 1941, Lucjan and his colleague, were able to reach the Polish
armed forces which were organized on the Soviet soil by General Anders.
Enlisted to the artillery, Lucjan went through the full training of the
artilleryman and with Anders� army was evacuated to Persia. After almost
four years under the Soviet, atheistic, and inhuman system finally he was
Soon, he decided to return on his path to priesthood, interrupted by the
war. In the Spring of 1943, securing permission from both the military
authorities and his order superiors, he went to Lebanon and entered the
French Jesuit Fathers Seminary for Priests in Beirut. These studies gave him
not only a perfect theological education and spiritual formation, but also a
fluency in French.
He was ordained as priest in 1946, and professed his permanent monastic
vows. Recalling that moment, Father Lucjan, with his innate sense of humor,
said that he probably was the only Franciscan in history who made his
monastic profession of obedience, chastity and poverty to a Jesuit.
Immediately afterwards, he was sent to the Polish military hospital in El
Kantara in Egypt, near the Suez Canal, where he served the sick and the
dying. Within a year there, he was ordered to go to Africa and take
spiritual care of the Polish children rescued from the hardships of Siberia.
He settled in a camp for children in Tengeru, at the foothills of
Kilimanjaro mountain, in June 1947.
And here again, Father Lucjan moves the reader with colorful descriptions of
African landscapes, truly exotic excursions called �safari,� and climbing
the Kilimanjaro. First of all, though, he precisely describes the situation
of the children-orphans marked by deportations, loss of loved-ones, and
deprived of their family homes. The author provides their names, ages,
places of birth, features of their character, and natural talents. He
emotionally engages himself and the reader in depicting their tragic,
Since June 1949, the children camps in Africa had gradually been moved to
Europe, within a plan to close them. This meant the most difficult time for
the Polish kids and their caretakers. A war of arguments, bargaining,
diplomatic maneuvering, and press articles raged. The question was: who is
going to be in charge of the children � communist Poland or one of the free
countries of the West.
Warsaw authorities tried very hard to make impossible for the children to
remain on in the West. Arcane and dirty intrigues, which in one instance
involved Czes�aw Mi�osz, at that time a Polish communist diplomat in New
York, endangered the future of the children and their caregivers.
Eventually, the Vatican and its Secretary of State, Msgr. Montini (later
Pope Paul VI) helped to solve the problem. In December 1949, the children
led by Father Lucjan set out from Bremen to Montreal. Thanks to the
exceptional hospitality of the Canadian government and Montreal�s
archbishop, both the children and Father Lucjan finally found a safe and
long lasting harbor in Canada.
Father Lucjan served as legal and spiritual custodian of the Polish
orphans-exiles in Canada until 1964. He took care of their education,
religious and social formation, and even summer vacations. He also helped
them to find their places in their adult life. He was their adviser, pastor,
and, indeed, loving father. At the same time, he gradually associated
himself with Canadian Polonia. He still thought about fulfilling his dream
and original vocation to be a missionary, but instead, he was named pastor
at Our Lady of Cz�stochowa parish in Montreal in 1964.
Yet, he was not allowed to make his nest there, because only two years later
he was invited by Father Cornelian Dende to come to Buffalo, NY. He humbly
accepted this new calling and began working in the Franciscan radio program,
�Father Justin�s Rosary Hour.� Here, finally, he could settle down for a
longer time � 32 years. These years were filled with untiring pastoral
service. He wrote the majority of radio catecheses and prayers for the sick,
which are real jewels of the Catholic radio service to the listeners.
Responding to dozens of thousands of letters was yet another responsibility.
All these years �The Rosary Hour� maintained its status of a radiating
center of Polish apostolate in America. One more segment of Father Lucjan�s
service in Buffalo was his constant personal interaction with scores of
people of the area. They all remember him as a good, attentive, open,
friendly and caring priest until today.
Upon his retirement, Father Lucjan moved to the Franciscan House in
Chicopee, MA, near Boston in 1998. He still works very hard as priest,
spiritual director, homilist, and teacher. He was also able to find time and
energy to put down his memoirs � an extremely valuable historical source and
a testimony of a life as a true follower of Christ.