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Religion in every day life of Poland

edith 1 | -  
7 Sep 2009 /  #1

i'm currently working on a Masters looking at how catholics (polish in particular) practice their religion. i am really interested in the actual real life daily experience of being catholic and the importance of the Saints and the Virgin Mary to roman catholics. I was raised a catholic in ireland, a country that at the time was very religious and this experience is what prompted my interest in religion and he part it plays in people lives. If you could answer some of the following questions (in as much or as little detail as you like) that would be fantastic. Alternatively you can email me at

many, many thanks,

"One of the things I am most interested to explore is how people experience religion personally. With this in mind could you tell me how you feel about Catholism, focusing on the role it plays in your life?"

"What aspects of Catholism play the largest part in your day to day life?"

"Would you say that the Virgin Mary or any particular Saints are important to your practice of Catholism?"

"When you think about the Virgin Mary/Particular Saint how would you describe your relationship with them?"

"Has this relationship changed over the years; if so can you point to anything that may have caused the change in the relationship?"

"Do you give offerings to the Virgin/Saint; if so why?"

"Could you give me a description of one type of Catholic devotion you have taken part in recently (mass, novena, pilgrimage etc), including any details (descriptions, senses, events, experiences etc) you think were important?"

"Do you think the physical appearance of the church or statues are important? Can you give an example of anything physical that has an influence on how you practice Catholism?"
SeanBM 35 | 5,806  
7 Sep 2009 /  #2
Hello edith,
And welcome to the Polish Forums.

I am Irish and have lived in Poland on and off for years.

I will make my own attempt at answering some of your questions with my own observations.
I am sure someone will be more than happy to point out if I got it all wrong.

"Would you say that the Virgin Mary or any particular Saints are important to your practice of Catholism?"

The Virgin Mary is said to be the queen of Poland.
Also you should know about the Polish custom of "name days" (wiki).
Name days are still celebrated but not as much as they used to be, they used to take the place of birthdays.
Now birthdays are more widely celebrated and name days are for the more mature generation.

"Do you give offerings to the Virgin/Saint; if so why?"

There is something very interesting that happens in Poland every year hundreds of thousands of Polish people walk from various locations all over Poland to pay homage to the Wiki ( a very holy religious painting of Mary).

Some friends of mine just came back from such a pilgrimage, which was coordinated by thier local priest, they walked for about 35 Kilometres a day and stay in houses in villages on their way.

It took my friends 9 days to get there.

I live near Krakow and there are some magnificent churches here, from many different architectural periods.

One of the main differences I see between Catholicism here in Poland and what it was like living in Ireland growing up, is that in Poland religion and politics are separate.

Communism tried to destroy religion, which made the people become stronger through their faith.

Every Sunday people flock to the churches in thier best Sunday clothes.

The RCC played a big role here in Poland during communism, it appears that part of the communist trick was to keep the people suppressed, this was done in many ways both in mind and in body.

My friends were a part of a church movement that would not drink alcohol in a kind of passive resistance against communism.
If you are sober you can make changes. - for a very in depth look into the fall of communism in Poland and what role the Church had in it.

I don't have time right now but I will add more of my observations on this subject later.

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