The article presents selected aspects of the life of Cecylia Działyńska against the background of her times, with a focus on the historical and cultural context as well as the specific local conditions, which had a considerable impact on her beliefs and attitude. The analysed source made it possible to reconstruct Cecylia’s convictions concerning her understanding of the nation, patriotism, attitude to the emancipation of women, social roles, faith and the Catholic church, which basically did not differ from the model convictions and behaviours in the public domain which were mandatory in the circles of women from the more enlightened spheres in the Prussian Partition. It was not so with the fulfilment of Cecylia’s ideals. Her deep religiousness, inclination to mysticism, unwillingness to marry, as well as an incurable, chronic disease, all left their mark on her life, preventing Cecylia from adopting the traditional role of a wife and a mother preserving the Polish customs and traditions, and maintaining faithfulness to the national and Catholic values in a family. Despite serious differences between the developing women’s movement in the Prussian Partition, and its equivalent in the Austrian and Russian Partitions, the views and the activity of women in the province of Posen, including Cecylia Działyńska (their rich charitable and educational activity as well as the significant development of female congregations in the second half of the 19th century), should be considered a more traditional, conservative model of the process of the emancipation of women on the Polish soil.
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