Metropolitan Dr. Vasile Suciu – Founding Father of The Congregation of the Sisters of the Mother of God

Fondatorul CMD Vasile Suciu

Congregația Surorilor Maicii Domnului a fost întemeiată de Mitropolitul dr. Vasile Suciu, cel dintâi mitropolit al Bisericii Române Unite cu Roma, greco-catolică după constituirea României Mari prin actul istoric de la 1 decembrie 1918, fiind întâistătător al Provinciei mitropolitane de Alba Iulia și Făgăraș între anii 1920 – 1935.

The way on which God guided the steps of the young graduate of the “St. Basil” high school in Blaj passed through Rome, where Vasile Suciu – sent by Metropolitan Vasile Mihaly of Apșa – spent six years of assiduous study, that represented not only a time of accumulating intellectual knowledge, especially in theology, but also of growing, of being in contact with the reality of the Universal Catholic Church, in its spiritual “centre”, and also at its social, educational and cultural level. In his later confessions, after the “Roman period” of studies, while being Metropolitan Vicar in Blaj, he evokes being built by the nuns from the apostolic congregations he met in Rome, in various areas of activity: education, sanitary, caring for churches and chapels. Even then he realised how beneficial would be for the Romanian Greek-Catholic Church the existence of such an apostolic congregation.

At the time appointed by God, after he became Metropolitan, Hierarch Dr. Vasile Suciu managed to translate into act the burning desire of his predecessors: the existence, in the Romanian Greek-Catholic Church, of a “monastery for nuns”, for the young Greek-Catholic girls that wished to embrace such a vocation.

This great goal was realised through a happy conjecture, although the life background after the First World War was dark. His very sensitive soul towards the needs of the little and poor, whom he felt as a personal responsibility as a spiritual Pastor, and also the concern towards the future of our country and people, pushed the young priest Dr. Vasile Suciu to also engage in the founding of the Greek-Catholic Orphanage destined to house and educate the children that were left orphans after the war, whose fathers gave their youth and family in defending their country at any cost. Simultaneously with the beginning of the Archdiocesan Orphanage, the Divine Will ordained that a group of young girls, eager to become nuns, go to Blaj where they met Vasile Suciu, future Metropolitan of the Romanian Greek-Catholic Church. They were searching for a “place” in their “church” to respond to the vocation they felt in their souls, to entirely give up their lives to God. Considering the frail human resources of the recently founded Orphanage, the girls were housed there and destined to take care of the orphans (1919). Consequently, these few young girls took over, with great courage and open hearts the caring of the children housed in the Greek-Catholic Orphanage in Blaj, without them forming a religious congregation yet.

The founding of the Congregation took place in February 2nd 1921, in Blaj. Metropolitan Dr. Vasile Suciu enacted the precious document in which he declared “The Congregation of the Romanian Greek-Catholic Sisters in Blaj” founded. The Hierarch sketched in the same document the programme and purpose of the Congregation with the following words: “the spirit of prayer and work will have to cross the whole lives of the sisters of this Congregation”, spirit that “will make, we believe, with the help of the Almighty God, that the humble beginning of today be a blessed seed that will bring the most rich fruit.” The Founding Father concluded the document placing “this first Romanian Congregation under the shield of the Holy Mother of God and all holy Virgin Mary” and “hoping that the love of the first members of the Congregation will know how to give everything that is needed for its development and flourishing.”

Metropolitan Vasile asked approval from Rome for some Romanian sisters from the Franciscan Congregation of the Poor from Mallersdorf, Bavaria to come to Blaj, being fully aware that the new Congregation and its future development depended on the thorough formation, at every level, of the young girls that were already novices and of those that were to come.

Pursuant to his efforts, in the summer of 1921 Sister Febronia Mureșan came to Blaj, a teacher and professor of German at the Institute of the Poor Franciscans in Târgu-Mureș, daughter of the Greek-Catholic priest from Subcetate, Harghita County. Sister Febronia became the first General Superior of the Congregation of the Mother of God.

The values that the Founding Father of CMG has lived at first hand, spreading and cultivating them with consistency not only in the life of the church, but also in the life of the Congregation, could be synthesized as following:

- faith and belief in God and the Divine Providence;

- dedication for the good of the Church and of the neighbour, by giving him access to knowing God, to culture and preoccupation for the common good;

- serving freely and in sacrifice even up to martyrdom in fulfilling the duty of the state of life.

Deeply involved in the life of the Romanian Greek-Catholic Church and in the life of the Romanian people, in a period of great turmoil and deep changes, Vasile Suciu was an active factor in consolidating a new mentality of Christian and Romanian Life. A good organiser and administrator, although the Church and the state were materially deprived after the First World War, The Hierarch knew how to make fruitful “the few talents” received from the benefactors in the country and abroad.

Fiind un bun organizator şi un bun administrator, deşi biserica şi statul erau secătuite din punct de vedere material de pe urma Primului Război mondial, Înaltul Ierarh a ştiut să facă să rodească „puţinii talanţi” primiţi de la binefăcătorii din ţară şi din străinătate.

He himself was an example of sobriety, choosing to live as poorly as he could in order to place its incomes entirely and continuously for the necessities of those in need.

His pluralistic personality urged the Metropolitan to involve all of his being and knowledge both in the aspects regarding “the harvesting” that was entrusted to him in his hierarchical mission in the Church, and in the scientific and social-political aspect of the country, in his mission of Senator in the Parliament of Greater Romania.

With everything he did, he sought the good and the development of the “complete” person, convinced that you cannot build a “healthy” society without first putting the basis of a human formation, and then, gradually, building the spiritual edifice: faith and knowledge of God.

A trecut la cele veșnice la 25 ianuarie 1935 la Blaj la vârsta de 62 de ani, fiind considerat cel de-al treilea ctitor al Blajului. Una dintre operele cele mai dragi sufletului său, pe care a încredințat-o în testamentul său spiritual purtării de grijă a ierarhilor BRU, a fost tocmai familia călugărească a Congregației Surorilor Maicii Domnului – ctitoria pe care a considerat-o ca pe o „fiică iubită”.