Rosary helped Tasmanian survive WWII labour camp

Mary Siejka (second from right) with others at the 2017 public Rosary in Launceston (Hobart Archdiocese)

Praying the Rosary has helped to sustain Tasmanian Mary Siejka during times of the most extreme hardship. Source: Hobart Archdiocese.

Mrs Siejka, 88, originally from Poland, was in a labour camp in Germany for three years during World War II.

“The Rosary is special,” she explained from her home in Launceston.

“It is important for me. I was in a labour camp as a young girl of 13. My mother and I prayed the Rosary.

“They were very hard years and I don’t know how I survived the hardship and the hunger and the cold. The Rosary helped me through those difficult times.”

Now, Mrs Siejka is preparing to once again share her love of the Rosary with others as she helps to organise the third annual public Rosary in Launceston on Saturday.

It is a chance to honour Mother Mary, receive her blessings and pray for peace in the world, Mrs Siejka said.

“We were very blessed to be close to Pope John Paul II, who was also Polish,” Mrs Siejka said.

“We met him a number of times. He said the Rosary is very important because it is very good to meditate to Our Lady and Our Lord.

“With the Rosary you can travel, you can say it anywhere. It is very special.”

After the war, Mary met her husband-to-be, Jan, who was also Polish, in a refugee camp in Germany. They married in 1948 and emigrated to Australia in 1949. In 1952, they set up the construction firm Continental Builders which went on to build a number of notable structures, including the Carmelite Monastery in West Launceston and the bell tower for Launceston’s Church of the Apostles, where Mrs Siejka is still a devout parishioner.

The third annual public Rosary is at the City Park Rotunda in Launceston on Saturday, October 13, from 11am with Hobart Archbishop Julian Porteous officiating.

On the same day in Hobart, a public Rosary event will be held at St Mary’s Cathedral and at St Paul’s Church in Bridgewater.

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Praying for peace with public Rosary (Hobart Archdiocese)  

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