Najstarsze bractwo różańcowe w Wadowicach 1616-1822


Tomasz Graff
Uniwersytet Papieski Jana Pawła II w Krakowie


The Oldest Fraternity of the Rosary in Wadowice (1616-1822)

This book describes the activity of the oldest Fraternity of the Rosary in Wadowice, which was established which was established in 1616 by the foundation of the burgher Jakub Wierczkowic. The Fraternity of the Rosary was an institution that gathered not only some of the inhabitants of this small city in Lesser Poland, but also people from neighboring communities who represented various states: the clergy, the nobility, and the common folk. Its activity focused not only on Marian piety, which flourished in the post-Tridentine period. The origins of such organizations reach back to secular fraternities that were founded in late antiquity and in the Middle Ages. Unfortunately, the foundation charter of the Fraternity of the Rosary in Wadowice has not been found, although it is known that in order for it to have been written the approval of the bishop of Krakow and the superiors of the Dominican Order were necessary. Formally, the Dominican Order was the patron of the Wadowice fraternity from the beginning of i s existence, as was the case with other Fraternities of the Rosary; however, in archival materials the traces of the Dominicans’ control over this fraternity were only sporadic in the seventeenth century, on the occasion of the election of the fraternity’s authorities.

The fraternity under discussion functioned from 1616 until the 1780s, when Wadowice became part of the Austrian Partition of Poland. It was reactivated in 1802-1822. Apart from research dealing with similar communities, the main source of information about this fraternity’s activity is the now-lost Book of the Fraternity, which was previously stored in the Archive of the Parish of the Presentation of Mary in Wadowice. The author has included an edition of it based on preserved scans and photocopies in Appendix I of this book (Appendix II is a detailed statistical study of the structure and the frequency with which entries appear in it). Thanks to the use of other sources, including parish records in Wadowice, documents from the above-mentioned Parish Archive in Wadowice, and sources in other archives and libraries, the author has also successfully reproduced the list of the promoters of the Fraternity of the Rosary in Wadowice and in establishing its endowment, which systematically grew thanks to the numerous bequests by Wadowice burghers and the local nobility.

While analyzing the preserved documents concerning the history of St. Anne’s prebend in the parish church in Wadowice, the close ties between the Promotory of the Rosary and this prebend were also confirmed. However, there were also cases in the history of the fraternity when the Promotor of the Fraternity of the Rosary and the altarist of St. Anne were two separate persons, which led to certain conflicts between them.

The above-mentioned Book of the Fraternity of the Rosary in Wadowice was first copied in 1738 by Rev. Jakub Stochowicz, the promotor of the Fraternity of the Rosary, and it would later by continued by his successors. It contains 2,231 entries from 1616-1821. An analysis of 2 094 entries in the Fraternity Yearbook from the pre-Partition period (until 1752) reveals that among all those registered, inhabitants of Wadowice and other persons of plebeian origin (1,919, or 91.6 percent) predominated; among them were at least 347 peasants (16.6 percent), most of whom came from villages in the vicinity of Wadowice. The nobility was poorly represented (155 persons, or 7.4 percent), while the clergy constituted the smallest group, only twenty persons (almost 1 percent). Women were recorded more often (1,268 persons, or 60.6 percent) than men (826 persons, or 39.4 percent). The deceased, for whom the living members of the fraternity were obliged to pray the rosary, were also included in the book. The most common female (Regina) and male (Jan) names in the book were also indicated.

The regularity of entries in later years as well as their quantity were also subject to study, which is reflected in the graphs and tabulated data. It emphasized that some crises related to the lack of new recruits into the ranks of the fraternity were related to calamities that the town and the Polish state faced in the modern period; this phenomenon was especially evident during fires epidemics, and wars, such as the period of the Great Northern War. Meanwhile, the entries in the Book of the Brotherhood from 1802-1821 did not present opportunities for analysis as those from the previous period because of the poor quality of the surviving photographs of pages from this period and the much smaller group of those who were inscribed (137 persons). The majority or all of those inscribed in this period represented the peasantry and came mostly from villages outside Wadowice. Women also predominated in this case in the group inscribed in the book. The conclusions presented in this book supplement our knowledge concerning the history of the Wadowice parish where the Fraternity of the Rosary functioned. They are also an inducement to the further development of studies on fraternities of the rosary in Poland in previous centuries.


  • Wstęp .......... 9
  • Rozdział 1. Bractwa różańcowe na świecie i w Polsce .......... 15
  • Rozdział 2. Wadowice – miasto i kościół do początków ery austriackiej .......... 29
  • Rozdział 3. Fundacja i pierwsze lata Bractwa Różańcowego w Wadowicach .......... 41
  • Rozdział 4. Powiązania Bractwa z altarią św. Anny .......... 47
  • Rozdział 5. Prebendarze i promotorzy Bractwa .......... 51
  • Rozdział 6. Sprawy majątkowe Bractwa .......... 61
  • Rozdział 7. Księga Bractwa .......... 69
  • Podsumowanie .......... 97
  • Aneks I. Księga Bractwa Różańcowego w Wadowicach z lat 1616-1752 wraz z kontynuacją z lat 1802-1821 .......... 103
  • Aneks II. Podsumowanie liczby wpisów do księgi Bractwa Różańcowego w Wadowicach w latach 1616-1752 oraz 1802-1821: struktura pochodzenia stanowego, podział płci .......... 203
  • Aneks III. Decretum Reformationis pro ecclesia parochiali in oppido Wadowice z 1708 roku [fragment] .......... 209
  • Wykaz skrótów .......... 211
  • Spis ilustracji .......... 213
  • Bibliografia .......... 215
  • Indeks osobowo-geograficzny .......... 229
  • Summary. The Oldest Fraternity of the Rosary in Wadowice (1616-1822) .......... 237
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October 14, 2020

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