1918-2021

Charles Wroblewski was born on March 8, 1918 to Francis and Angela (née Fajkiel) Wroblewski in Chicago, Illinois and baptized on March 14, 1918 at St. John Cantius Parish in the same city.

He attended Holy Trinity Parish grade school, graduating in 1932.  He began his high school years at Holy Cross Seminary on the campus of Notre Dame University, South Bend, Indiana, graduating in 1936.  Following graduation, Charles entered the novitiate of the Holy Cross Congregation. Near the end of his novitiate, he was diagnosed with a heart condition. As a result, the Holy Cross community recommended he not make profession.

Returning to Chicago, Charles attended DePaul University for the next two years. During that time he applied to the diocesan seminary, but was rejected for the same medical reason. He contacted the Jesuits but they thought his intellectual gifts were below their standards. The Vincentians also considered him a health risk.

Andrew (Herman-Joseph) Ziemba was a boyhood friend of Charles and encouraged Charles to seek admittance to the Franciscan Order. Even though he never met a friar, he made an application.  After meeting with Fr. Isidore Cwiklinski, Provincial Minister of the Assumption of the BVM Province, Charles was welcomed with open arms.

He entered the novitiate of the Assumption BVM Province, located in Pulaski, Wisconsin on September 14, 1940. He received the name Sergius and made first profession on September 15, 1941. Three years later, September 15, 1944, Sergius made his Solemn Profession. After completing his studies, Sergius was ordained a priest on June 15, 1946 at St. Mary of the Angels Monastery, Green Bay, Wisconsin.

After ordination, Sergius began an educational journey that offered him numerous opportunities to influence the lives of his brothers in the Order as well as the people of God.

Besides his teaching responsibilities, Sergius found that his love for Sacred Scripture compelled him to preach the Word in season and out of season. He was a frequently requested preacher, offering retreats to diocesan priests, Religious Men & Women’s communities and was well-known for his parish missions. He also gave special attention to the Secular Franciscan Order, writing a commentary on the III Order Constitutions entitled, Following Francis.

The late 1960’s was a time of great searching and questioning both in the Order and in the Church. With Christ the King Seminary closing, Sergius began a radical shift in his religious life. A group of four friars; Blaise Karas, Dominic Figura, Tom LaPointe and Sergius, began their journey by moving into the inner city of Chicago. Their neighborhood wasn’t the typical, safe suburban situation. To support themselves, each found suitable work.  Sergius continued writing, publishing, and lecturing on Franciscanism. As important as it was to work for their support, their primary objectives were to live as a community and to worship. Work was not to destroy the spirit of prayer and fraternity.

A new challenge was on the horizon.  In 1983, the friars in South Africa were looking for someone versed in Franciscanism to offer workshops and retreats. In 1991, Sergius accepted the invitation and asked that Sr. Madge Karecki, a Sister of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis, be included. Both headed for Zimbabwe where they offered their Franciscan insights. During his time in Africa, Sergius wrote two books; Guide to the Old Testament and Guide to the New Testament. His next move was to Johannesburg where he concentrated on the study of Bible.

In 1993, after a much needed rest, Sergius felt the need to return to Africa. After contacting the provincial of the South African Province, an invitation was extended and the offer was accepted. In September 1994, Sergius and Sr. Madge began the Franciscan Institute. The objective of the Institute was to provide professional formation based on the writings of St. Francis and St. Clare as well as other Franciscan sources.

It was in 2005 that Sergius made his way back to the United States. He was welcomed into the fraternity at Lourdes Friary, Cedar Lake, Indiana where he took up pastoral ministry in the area. His preaching was well received.  He was also known for his Bible Study sessions, drawing many from the area.

With health issues complicating his life, it was determined that he needed more care than the local community was able to offer. In 2016 Sergius moved to Queen of Peace Friary, Burlington, Wisconsin. But this was short-lived. His care necessitated a further move to St. Ann’s Salvatorian campus as a resident in 2017.  He remained there until his death on September 21, 2021.

He was in the 103rd year of his life, the 77th year of his solemn profession and the 75th year of his priesthood.