Lights, Camera, Action!

A documentary about the future saint from Podegrodzie is being filmed

One of Warsaw’s film crews is filming a documentary about Fr. Stanislaus Papczyński in Nowy Sącz and the municipality of Podegrodzie. The film should be ready in late spring.

Recently, the crew worked in Nowy Sącz near St. Margaret’s Basilica and the Gothic House, the seat of the Regional Museum. This corner of the city excellently renders the atmosphere of Lviv, to which Fr. Papczyński travelled twice in his life. More than 20 extras — residents of Podegrodzie, Olszana, Podrzecze, Juraszowa, and Mokra Wieś — joined Ignatius Martusewicz, a Warsaw theater actor who plays the role of young Stanislaus Papczyński, in this production. They arrived at the setting together with Krzysztof Bodziony, director of the Municipal Cultural Center in Podegrodzie.

This documentary, intertwined with the re-enactments, has been commissioned by the Congregation of Marian Fathers, which Fr. Papczyński founded. He spent 24 years of his life in that Marian community. The film is directed by Agnieszka Dzieduszycka-Manikowska.

“We’ve already filmed shots of wandering young Papczyński in the municipality of Podegrodzie and the Dunajec River region,” says director Agnieszka Dzieduszycka-Manikowska. “We captured the beautiful rustic landscapes and still-lingering snow. Indeed, we have very little time for making this film. The canonization of Blessed Fr. Papczyński is scheduled for June. Therefore, the video must be ready in mid-May. We are now working at Collegiate Square before St. Margaret’s Basilica in Nowy Sącz that perfectly renders the atmosphere of Lviv, which young Papczyński visited twice. During his first trip, he fell seriously ill and almost died there. Right now we’re shooting this period of his life. The second time Papczyński came to Lviv to study.”

Filming of the Collegiate Square in wintertime was made possible thanks to the help of firefighters from VFB Podegrodzie, who fetched real snow, collected in Brzezna-Litacz, to Nowy Sącz. However, the film crew was prepared for any contingency, and artificial snow was ready and waiting.

The production crew will return to Nowy Sacz again in mid-March. With the kind permission of the management of the Regional Museum in Nowy Sącz, they will be filming in that open-air museum.

“We will be shooting scenes related to Fr. Papczyński’s youth and family, but also some other scenes,” says the director. “We want to use the beautiful small manor located at that open-air museum to film scenes of the adult Papczyński’s arrival at the Karski’s family court, where he then resided for two years. We want to shoot as many re-enactments as we can, because they make our documentary more diversified.”

Four different people will be playing the part of Stanislaus Papczyński in this 40-minute-plus fictionalized biography. Viewers will see him as a child (played by a teenager), a young man, and an adult.

There is a chance that the documentary about Fr. Papczyński will be aired by Channel One of Polish Television. Talks are in progress.

Krzysztof Bodziony, director of the Municipal Cultural Center in Podegrodzie was among the 20-plus extras — residents of the municipality of Podegrodzie — participating in the production.

“Being in this movie is a great honor for us Podegrodzie residents,” says Krzysztof Bodziony. “I volunteered. I play one of the nobles. This is not the first film that I am in, and this is another nice experience.”

There was also Urszula Bodziony from Podegrodzie.

“This is my first part in a movie. So far, I do not feel any stress,” this Podegrodzie denizen told us. “Let’s see if the stress does catch up later, when we’ll start working on the plan.”

Ignatius Martusewicz of Warsaw recreates young Stanislaus. Prior to appearing on the set, he patiently undergoes the necessary make-up process.

“In this movie I play the part of young Papczyński in a difficult period of his life, namely, the time of his illness,” says the young actor. “It is a very interesting experience for me. This role is a challenge, because the character I play is unusual. I play a very unhappy man. I hope to be able to cope with this challenge.”

Ignatius Martusewicz spent a lot of time preparing for this role to best portray this character. He has read a lot about this religious from Podegrodzie.

“I hope to do a good job. It is very difficult to get the feel of such a person.”

Many city residents came to the Collegiate Square to watch with curiosity the production crew at work. Reverend Jerzy Jurkiewicz, curator of the Shrine of the Transfiguration, was among them.

“The portal of the tower, before which the action is filmed, shows a date — the date of Blessed Stanislaus Papczyński’s birth,” says Fr. Jurkiewicz. “A part of our Basilica with the Collegiate Square in front will stand in this movie for the cathedral in Lviv. I am very pleased that the film crew chose this corner of the city. Pope St. John Paul II said about our diocese that it is the land of saints and blesseds. And so it is. Southern Poland, Sądecki region, is the place where the Catholic faith is very firmly rooted and passed on from generation to generation.”

This is yet another movie filmed on the premises under the care of the Regional Museum in Nowy Sącz.

“Museum objects create a beautiful space,” says Sławomir Chop of the Regional Museum in Nowy Sącz. “Film crews have already used our buildings more than once: they don’t have to make a lot of changes, really. It is certainly a great honor for the museum that yet another movie is being made here.”

Father Stanislaus Papczyński was born on May 18, 1631, in Podegrodzie. He was educated in Jesuit and Piarist colleges. After completing his education, he joined the Piarist Fathers due to their Marian character. In 1661, he was ordained a priest. Twelve years later, he founded a new Order, the Congregation of Marian Fathers, to which he assigned the task of spreading devotion to the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, praying for the dead, and helping pastors. He worked as an educator and was known as a valued preacher and teacher of rhetoric. He died on September 17, 1701, in Góra Kalwaria near Warsaw. The news of his death spread like wildfire, and crowds of the faithful began to come to his tomb. Everyone believed that he was a great saint, healer, miracle worker, mystic, visionary, and inspired preacher. The poor mourned particularly their comforter who had always served them with good advice. In 1764, the Coronation Parliament of King Stanislaw August Poniatowski sent to the Holy See a petition asking for the elevation of Stanislaus Papczyński to the altars. His beatification took place on September 16, 2007, at the Marian Shrine in Licheń.

On January 21, 2016, Pope Francis authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to publish a decree recognizing the miracle attributed to the intercession of this Polish religious.