May 1st 1934 - of Dunin Borkowski
† in Munich
He was born on May 11the 1864 in Lemberg. Lemberg was at that time (1772-1918) the capital of the Austrian Crownland Galicia. His father Withold Francis originated also from Lemberg. He died already at an age of thirty three. His mother Kasimira, Countess Fredo came from Luzern. She died in Munich 1928 at the high age of eighty three. Of Dunin called her 'a woman distinguished by a great spirit and soul, a taciturn woman, who above all awoke reverence and silence by the majesty of her exclusive figure'. Thus read one of his letters, which can be called ethical and literary masterpieces.
At an age of seven he had a kind of vision, a clear insight: 'The One to whom you pray is some very great being.' This experience of God-certainty developed in his later life to a happy God-intimacy.
He began his school time in Kremsmünster and then in Vienna. Repeatedly he had to do page services at the Imperial Court. At an age of seventeen he escaped unexpectedly from his situation in the Theresianum. It was an escape from an environment that was strange to him, and from a distressing danger zone. After that his mother brought him to the Stella Matutina in Feldkirch.
On May 3rd 1883 he entered in Holland the Noviciate of the Society of Jesus. After the usual studies of philosophy in Exaten (1886-89) and theology up to 1893 - two years in Ditton Hall, and two years in Valkenburg -, he was in 1896 ordained priest in Valkenburg. His studies were broken by the Interstice
in Feldkirch, where he worked in the College.
After the conclusion of his training by the Tertianship in Wynandsrade (Holland), he was destined in 1899 to work with the writers in Exaten, with whom he moved in 1900 to Luxembourg. He researched and wrote about the church as Jesus' foundation, especially about the beginnings of the episcopacy.
In the year 1903 he was called to Feldkirch again, to work there as teacher of religion, usually in the upper classes. Only in 1910 he returned to Luxembourg. In those years also his successful book about the young Spinoza appeared, with whom he was concerned nearly his whole life. In 1911 followed an invitation to Bonn. In the year after he is mentioned as a co-worker of the 'Stimmen aus Maria Laach' (in the catalogue of the Order).
In the year 1918 he was shifted to Munich, to be able to devote himself with more leisure to his Spinoza research. But he made also a name for himself as educational writer. He is considered as pedagogical expert by his book 'Reifendes Leben' (Maturing Life), which appeared in 1922 in first and second edition. In 1923 followed the deeply felt book 'Schöpferische Liebe' (Creative Love).
Again a deep break came into his life, when in autumn 1920 he was appointed Spiritual Director in the seminary in Breslau. His radiance was also here unusually great. By the abundance of human refinement, practical philosophy, experience and complete insight into the souls of his listeners and readers his meditation books for theologians were well received.
It hurt him very much that there were also opponents and envious people, who were displeased with his activity as Spiritual Director. He forestalled a transfer and asked for his removal because of overstrain by one hundred new theologians. In 1931, after ten years, was introduced his successor. Father Dunin-Borkowski came for a short time to Coblenz, and in 1933 at his own request to Munich again, to complete there his work and life.
His health was not as stable as most people assumed. Already since his college days he was agonized by frequent neuralgias. In Coblenz a painful, very dangerous nose furuncle was added, and more and more a heart disease became apparent, which he bore quietly, high-mindedly and courageously. His death in the afternoon of May 1st 1934 resulted from a cardiac infarction, which caused heavy difficulty in breathing and extreme unrest. He groaned under an almost intolerable anxiety. After he had received the extreme unction his consciousness visibly dwindled. An occlusion of the coronary artery induced the end.
Dunin of Borkowski belongs without doubt to the grand and important Fathers of the German Province. He was great as researcher in the field of science, great as pathfinder in the area of education and great as personality. Despite all honours he remained a child before God, a pious, humble child, who searched and found in all things God's will. His kindness was almost defeating, and resulted in an unusually high radiance.
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