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The SMA Seminary transformed into an aircraft engine factory...

Ninino todayThis year, the Society of African Missions celebrates the 90th anniversary of the opening of its first mission house and first seminary located in Ninino, in the parish of Ryczywol Poland, on the the15th of September 1931. This seminary functioned until the beginning of the Second World War and ensured the formation of many missionaries and priests. One of the first seminarians of Ninino was Fr. Bolesław Szmania, ordained in France on January 6, 1937, then appointed prefect of the seminary of Ninino.

(This photo is taken from https://bit.ly/3kjnTTN).

The beginning of the war stopped the development of the Society of African Missions in Poland. At that time there were 2 priests, 6 brothers, and about 80 seminarians. After the campaign of September 1939, the Germans confiscated the seminary of Ninino and transformed it into a factory of aircraft engines. As a result, priests and seminarians dispersed throughout the world.

Some of the seminarians of Ninino graduated during or after the war and became SMA missionaries in Africa, mainly in Togo including Fathers Kapuscik, Szmania, and Walkowiak and in Côte d'Ivoire Fathers Michalek, Romaniak, Swierkowski, and Zielinski. Others became chaplains among Polish emigrants in England represented by Fr. Sowinski and Fr. Nowacki in Brazil. Fathers Besler, Cyrok, Marianski, Gniezno, Wojciechowski, Wroclaw, and Jasiak worked in Poland, mainly in the archdioceses of Poznan.

After the capture of the seminary of Ninino by the Germans, Fr. Boleslaw Szmania was sent by his superiors to a mission in Togo, where he worked for 4 years in the diocese of Atakpamé. Then, after being mobilized, he accompanied the Polish refugees from Russia to Rhodesia (present-day Zambia) as chaplain for the next 4 years. In 1948, he returned to Poland with some of the refugees and settled in Ninino, where he wanted to reopen the SMA seminary. Unfortunately, financial hardship did not allow him to resume classes quickly. In addition, in 1950 the seminary was confiscated by the state authorities and, despite numerous petitions, it was never returned to the Society of African Missions. Fr. Szmania remained in the Archdiocese of Poznan, working in the parishes of Pruscach and Boruszyn, where he died on April 23, 1984.

  After the confiscation of the Ninino SMA Seminary, despite the fact that many of its members remained and worked in our country, the Society of African Missions no longer existed officially in Poland until 1990; it was then that a new house was bought in Borzecin Duży near Warsaw and obtained legal recognition.  From there, it began to shine through its presence and activities. It currently has 25 Polish priests and two houses: in Borzecin Duży and Piwniczna Zdroj. Our missionaries currently serve in Morocco, Egypt, Tanzania, the Central African Republic, and Benin.

1936 community in NininoIn this historical commemorative photo dating from 1936, we can see Fr. François-Xavier Hirch (in the center) surrounded by professors (Fr. Buchert, A. Maurer, A. Gutknecht) and seminarians from Ninino.

                                                                                                                                                                                                       Marian Szatkowski SMA