U is for Urszula, Ursulines and “urodziny”

Poland-eagle-150squareEven though I’m a day late, I’m determined to post this today!  I already missed S and T, in spite of having slub. szczesliwy and Sukiennice at the ready, and Theresa, of course!  I can’t be everywhere! (a hard realisation for a lady like me to make)


St. Ursula, from Wikipedia

In Poland many girls names trace back to a saint, and Urszula is no exception. The photo shown above is actually of an Italian Catholic saint, who was instrumental in the setting up of the Ursulines.  This is a religious order, founded in Brescia in 1535, and now a world wide organisation.

Urszula Maria Ledóchowska was a Polish religious sister who founded the Congregation of the Ursulines of the Agonising Heart of Jesus.  Doesn’t sound much fun, does it?  Born Julia Maria Ledóchowska on 17.4.65, she entered the novitiate of the Ursulines in Kraków.  She received the name of Ursula at the end of her training, and went on to become Mother Superior.  In Kraków she set up a home for female university students, then travelled abroad with the blessing of the Pope, fighting religious oppression.  She was active in St. Petersburg, Russia, in Finland, Stockholm and in Denmark.  In May 1939 she died in Rome, and was canonised by Pope John Paul II in May 2003.

Her feast day is May 29th, which may well be why my neice, Ula (short for Urszula), born May 28th, takes her name.  You’ve seen Ula before.  She’s the “lady of the cakes” who’s helping to run her Dad’s pieczywo de smakoszy (tasty cake shop) in Kraków.

Sampling the wares?

Here she is with her lovely Mum, Marta, my Dad and more cake (of course!)

Sampling the wares!

Sampling the wares!

There was another Urszula in the family, Dad’s older sister, whom I never met. Over the years I have seen an assortment of photos, but know little of her history, other than that she died early.  Here she is, on her wedding day.

Ursula, with her husband, Ignacy

Ursula, with her husband, Ignacy

And that just leaves us with urodziny– birthdays!  You can imagine how many cards I send to Poland every year, can’t you?

I’m sure Frizz won’t mind that I’m slightly out of sync on his series of A-Z’s. He’s a very forgiving chap, and the letter V which is next up doesn’t exist in Polish. (W is pronounced “v”)  There is no timescale for Julie Dawn Fox’s Personal A-Z Challenge, which I’m sure you’ll agree is just as well.  I’d be very happy if you could check out both, and maybe even join in?



  1. So worth being tardy 🙂 you and me both but reader was working so I got to see it 🙂 something to be thankful for 🙂


      1. 🙂 I hear you with almost 1000 followers when my computer slow all I can do is comment on a comment 🙂 I see more of yours on FB thankfully 🙂


  2. I enjoy seeing photos of your father. He always looks so happy. 🙂 May I ask what kind of cake that is? It’s very festive looking, but I don’t see any chocolate.


    1. That’s a good question, Jill! I don’t like jelly, personally, so I have never sampled this cake. The orange jelly-topped one that Marta has, I tried (but discreetly left the jelly to one side) but it was mostly cream with bits of jelly in. I prefer more cake mixture, but these were special occasion cakes. “Ciasto” is the word for cake. Any clearer? 🙂


  3. Jo, my head is swimming with all these Ursalas, Ursalines, and Ulas, not to mention the urodziny! I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many Us used in one place! Nice to see the photo of your dad, and that cake!


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