The Steciak family of Rembieszyce, Poland, was honored by the Knights of Columbus as the 2021 International Family of the Year during the Order’s 139th Supreme Convention.
“Their achievements in service to their parish are enormous, and their testimony of faith, response to God’s call and openness to life evoke respect,” said Poland State Deputy Krzysztof Zuba. “They can be a role model for everyone, especially today.”
Michał, a member of St. John Bosco Council 16266, met Angelika in 2006, during an event commemorating the first anniversary of St. John Paul II’s death, and they have had a special devotion to him ever since. In fact, they were married Oct. 22, 2011, John Paul II’s first feast day after his beatification.
A few months after the wedding, Angelika was taken to the hospital with severe pain. The doctors found a cyst near an ovary, and both had to be removed.
“It made me enter premature menopause,” she said. “Over the next few years, it turned out that I would not be able to have children.”
However, Michał and Angelika still felt called to share their love with others. They founded the Angel’s Village Foundation, which helps elderly people and disabled children. They became involved in parish groups, including the Knights of Columbus. And they decided to try to adopt children.
“We prayed a lot through the intercession of St. John Paul II for help in choosing the path of our life,” Michał said. “Once we had made the decision to adopt, various miracles and signs led us to our child.”
At the beginning of 2020, Michał and Angelika attended a pro-life event at the Divine Mercy Shrine in Kraków. The speaker’s words deeply touched them: “If we care about life and everyone who has conceived, why don’t we adopt disabled children? Why don’t we give them a chance to live?”
Two days later, the couple received a call from an adoption center asking if they would consider adopting a child with a genetic defect. Michał and Angelika later found out that nine families before them hadn’t even wanted to meet the child, an infant boy named Piotr.
“We thought that it cannot be a coincidence. He was just waiting for us,” Michał said. “Thank God for our son! We wanted to love and we wanted to give Piotr our love.”
“When I saw Piotr for the first time, I first noticed his lovely blue eyes, which are simply wonderful,” Angelika recalled. “He smiled at us. I will not forget how he was smiling so sweetly.”
Knights of Columbus in Poland, like those around the world, are active in defending human life at every stage. They help organize and participate in pro-life marches and other events, support centers for single mothers financially and materially, and even sponsor pro-life movie nights.
“Human life begins at conception — it’s a scientific, medical and indisputable fact,” Zuba said. “And our task, our mission, is to protect the weakest. Our attitude should be based on prayer and education, but above all on witness.”
In addition to their pro-life witness and activities, Michał and Angelika are deeply involved in their parish. They organize events for children and initiated a Bible study and parish choir.
Michał said that the Knights of Columbus has given him opportunities to serve the parish and local community while helping him strive for holiness alongside other Catholic men.
”It shows the true strength of men,” he said. “The work of the Knights of Columbus brings you closer to God. No one is left alone but can develop his faith in a community.”
He added that behind each Knight is his family supporting him. “Families stand behind each of our Knights. I think that is precisely why our Order has such strength,” Michał said.
The strength of the Steciak family grew earlier this year when they adopted a little girl. Marysia is now nearly a year old and Piotr is 19 months.
“During evening prayers with our children, we make intentions through the intercession of St. John Paul II. His image hangs in our bedroom and we always point to it with Piotrek and Marysia. We say, ‘St. John Paul II, pray for us.’ And they understand it,” Michał said with a smile.
Click here to view a brief video highlighting the Steciak family.
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