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Camaldolese Monastery in Bieniszew

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The settlement is located among the forests of the ancient Puszcza Bieniszewska (Bieniszew Forest Complex) about 8 km north-west of Konin. The monastery dominates a prospect known as Sowia Góra (Owl Hill).

The Camaldolesians were brought to Bieniszew from Cracow and a wooden building was erected in 1663. The sanctuary was restored after a fire in 1741 and a brick church erected in 1747-1781. The monastery was closed by the Tsarist authorities in 1819. The Camaldolesians returned in 1937 and, apart from a break during WWII, have been here ever since. During the occupation, the monastery was used as a branch of a transit camp for the clergy of Kazimierz Biskupi and, as of 1941, a Nazi Youth training centre.

The baroque Church of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a three-nave building with a rectangular presbytery. Cupolaed towers were erected over the aisle extensions in 1925 and 1939. The presbytery is adjoined by a chapter house from the north and a sacristy with rococo paintings depicting Camaldolesian hermitages in Poland from the south. The furnishings were destroyed during WWII. The rococo high altar, behind which stands the monastic choir loft, has been restored. The altar contains the miraculous painting of Our Lady of Bieniszew. The crypts where the monks lie buried are beneath the aisles. Paintings depicting scenes connected with the legend of the Five Martyred Brothers look down on the aisles.

The monastery belongs to the Camaldolese Hermite Congregation of Monte Corone, based in Frascati, Italy. The monastery is only open during Sunday mass. The monastery is open to the public on the second day of Pentecost, on 2 July to mark the anniversary of the return of the hermits in 1937, and on 8 September to celebrate the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary (a solemn pardon takes place inside the church and then everyone can enter, even into the enclosure). At other times, entry is restricted to men. Entry to the monastery grounds is via a gatehouse dating back to the first half of the 18th century.

The Camaldolesians came to Poland in 1603 and settled near Cracow. These days, there are two monastic houses - one in Bielany and the novitiate here in Bieniszew.

The start of the educational forest trail is not far from the hermitage and we can make it to Konin by following the signposted walking trails.

62-530 Kazimierz Biskupi
Tel. +48 63 241 15 00

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