About a month before her death in February of 1887, Mother Columba called senior sisters to her death bed. Out of tremendous compassion for the Congregation, her life’s work, she continued to instruct them. These tender encounters, sometimes including the younger sisters – resulted in what is today called “The Testament.” As Mother approached death, every word she uttered was preserved with the greatest reverence in the chronicles of Wielowieś.

Teachings are brief and to the point … one may hear the gasping for breath of the extinguishing Eucharistic Lamp …

The Testament of Mother Columba

Dear Sisters,

What I will tell you, please repeat to the younger ones and those in mission houses; many of them may become your superiors soon. Before I instruct you, I turn to you first as it will be your duty to teach the younger ones.

Watch that nothing is done for any material gain. When you ask favors, never abuse your position by saying the sister’s request should not be rejected. Let others help you out of a pure intention for the love for the Lord Jesus.

Care readily for all the sick, let there be no exceptions. It’s crucial that this Congregation embrace the spirit of selflessness: this will be the degree by which our will bear fruit. The spirit of hospitality must prevail. When you give to the poor, do it with great love. If you give of clothing make sure it is not worn out, for what charity would that be? If a poor abandoned villager needs aid, do not count the cost: whatever we have, we have it from the Lord Jesus.

Regarding relationships with laity, be discrete in the amount of visits and correspondence. Towards priest, act with the highest reverence.

You more experienced sisters, practice humility, and in relations be always modest, never authoritative. Do not be overbearing: no one should be able to distinguish the sister superiors among you. Be loving towards the servants, easing any religious practices. May this Congregation be marked with goodness, love, and kindness.

How much I desire that you acquire humility, my Sisters. Do not take offence when someone criticizes you. Humility is the cornerstone of spiritual life.

Practice also obedience. Now you will be able to practice it more perfectly. It has been easy for you to obey me, since you loved me. Yet not much merit can be found in obeying your first mother.

Sisters, do not cry. I will be by your side.

My dear Sisters, before I depart I want to leave my maternal blessing not only on you, but also on those in mission houses and those who will later serve the Lord Jesus in this Congregation. I cannot speak much; I will tell you what the true happiness of a nun only consists of: to be united with the Lord Jesus in the Sacrament of the Altar. Your souls should always dwell there.

Love the spirit of prayer and silence, and you shall see how much the Lord Jesus will give himself to you. Have affectionate and childlike devotion to Our Lady. She is our singular protectress.

May this Congregation be characterized by two devotions: one, to the Most Blessed Sacrament and, the other, to Our Lady.

I commend you love, the unity of heart, kindness in relations with the older sisters towards the younger ones, as well as submission and respect for the younger towards the elder. Remember that in love you can resolve anything. Where love is, everything is all right.

About humility, what can I tell you, my Sisters? It’s pointless to labor with no humility; it is as if someone were to build on sand. Seek neither your vainglory nor praise nor honors, but Jesus, the Lord. Only in Him will you find peace at the hour of death.

My separation from you is only temporary, only for a time. True, it is painful, but remember how much God loves you.

Thus far, I have not touched upon an important topic, namely your attitude towards your future superior, my successor. God knows whom, in His designs, He has chosen. Implore the Holy Spirit throughout the time preceding election to prevent anyone from holding your destiny other than the one whom His Most Sacred Will has appointed. If you seek God and the fulfillment of His Will alone, be assured that you will not stray from the straight path. The way you are to act towards your future superior is indicated clearly in our Constitutions. As for dearest Daughter, my successor: I bless her and can promise as much of God’s blessing as she will act in line with the inner spirit, the spirit of love for the Lord Jesus, and the spirit of Constitutions.

Strive my Sisters, that our ministry will continue not for human reasons, but rather out of pure love for the Lord Jesus. Remember that your duty is not only to sanctify yourself, but also to help others reach salvation. This is the apostolic spirit of our Order. Your excursions to villages, caring for the sick, preparing of children for the Sacraments; yes, put every effort into making them worthwhile. But seek only Jesus, never yourself.

Love the Lord Jesus. Unite with Him spiritually at all times. It is a great support for a soul even in most turbulent of times; only there you will find solace. And to our Blessed Mother entrust yourself as well.

To the older sisters, never seek any external signs of respect from our youth. It is very easy to degenerate it into perverse interpretations. On the contrary, instill in them rather the spirit of faith that their obedience and docility are directed toward God.

Train yourself in meditation, my Sisters. Go there always with the desire to discover the will of God. Once you have this desire, you will clearly discern what is evil and what is good.