Establishment of the Province
Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette arrived in Poland on 16th September 1902. The first five priests initially lived in Kraków. The second religious house was opened in Puźniki, where also the seminary was founded. In 1910 the Missionaries opened another house in Dębowiec near Jasło, organizing there the minor seminary as well as the novitiate and seminary internum for the students. In 1921 the Missionaries began publishing the magazine La Salette - The Messenger of Our Lady of La Salette.
The following years helped to develop the Congregation on Polish ground. In that time more houses were built and established (Stanisławów, Hurko, Kobylanka, Lwów, Rzeszów and Ostrowiec). As well as working in Poland, Polish priests took up missionary work abroad in the United States (Ware, Westfield, Olivet), Argentina (Cordoba, Rosario, Santa Fé, La Plata) and Canada (Beauséjour, Ladywood, Elma). Finally, in 1934 the Polish province was officially established. The Polish Province included all houses in Poland, Argentina and some in the United States and Canada.
World War II and the postwar period
During World War II the Polish province lost five priests who died in the bombing of Lwów. After 1945 the Missionaries were forced to leave their posts in Lwów and Stanisławów. The Polish Province ministered for Polish congregations in Argentina, the United States and Canada contributed to the establishment of two Vice Provinces (1958): Argentine and American Olivet. Shortly after the World War II the Polish Missionaries opened new posts in Trzcianka, Bircza, Lubrza, Dytmarów, Biała, Lubsko, Gdańsk-Sobieszewo, Kuźnica Czarnkowska, Kraków, Warszawa, Resko, Łętowe, Zakopane, Olsztyn, Elbląg, Prabuty, Królew Malborski, Rzeszów-Zwięczyca, Łapsze Wyżne, Mrągowo, Mysłowice-Krasowe. In 1952 the communist government took away from the Missionaries the buildings in Dębowiec, Rzeszów and Hurko and prevented the realization of the state policy of the lay apostolate. During that period the Missionaries focused on parish work and formed informal formation groups of lay people.
The development of the Province
The period of political transformation in Poland of the 90's, which was associated with greater freedom and a positive impulse to the development of the Church in Poland related to the pontificate of John Paul II, led to new works. During that period, publishing house La Salette was established in Kraków (1995) and publishing of the magazine La Salette - The Messenger of Our Lady of La Salette was resumed (1995). Apart from that the Fund for Children and Youth under the name of Our Lady of La Salette was created (1998). The purpose of that Fund was to support large families, children and youth from poor families and single parents. At that time, also in Dębowiec, a Polish maternal house of the Province and the major centre of worship of Our Lady of La Salette in Poland, a statue of Our Lady of La Salette was crowned with papal crowns on 15th September 1996.
After a period of rapid development, the beginning of the twenty-first century was marked by a decline in the number of vocations. At that time, new work, related to challenges of a changing world, was established: in 2008 a formation place called Reconciliation Center La Salette was established in Dębowiec, and in 2012 Information Centre of Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette was opened in Kraków. In 2012, the Swiss Province was merged to the Polish province forming so-called a Swiss district.
Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette currently work in parish ministry (Dębowiec, Gdańsk-Sobieszewo, Kobylanka, Kraków, Kuźnica Czarnkowska, Łapsze Wyżne, Łętowe, Mragowo, Olsztyn, Rzeszów, Trzcianka Lubuska and Warszawa) as well as specialize in: leading parish missions and retreats, spiritual direction, schools of prayer, and catholic schools. They are also involved in teaching and research work at universities and at their own institutes. In different ways they support social institutions of the Church, especially charity. They run retreat houses in Dębowiec, Mrągowo and Zakopane. The Polish Province sends missionaries to work in Madagascar, as well as running pastoral work in various places abroad, spreading devotion to Our Lady of La Salette in the following countries: England (Dagenham, Goodmays, Harlow, Rainham, St. Ives), Belgium (Bruly-de-Couvin, Couvin, Jéhonville, Paliseul), Belarus (Dalekie, Widze), the Czech Republic (Bozkov, Mělnik), Germany (Aldersbach, Aufhausen, Bayerbach, Engerazhofen, Friesenhofen, Sammarei, Simbach bei Lindau), Liechtenstein (Balzers), Slovakia (Chrenovec, Povazska Bystrica), Switzerland (Mörschwil), Ukraine (Busk, Krzywy Róg, Łanowice, Nikopol, Zaporoże).
Rectors of the Polish Province (Provincials)
Rectors of the Polish Province of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette were: Michał Kolbuch (1934-1950), August Gauthier (1950-1952), Bronisław Młynarski (1952-1958), Stanisław Zawisza (1958-1964), Władysław Baran (1964-1970), Franciszek Danioł (1970-1979), Józef Mituś (1979-1985), Adolf Grotkowski (1985-1988), Antoni Skałba (1988-1994), Augustyn Hamielec (1994-1997), Józef Krzyszycha (1997-2003), Lesław Pańczak (2003-2006), Władysław Pasiut (2006-2012), Andrzej Zagórski (2012-).