To the Tomb of a Teacher

On this date in 2008, Mieczysław Albert Maria Krąpiec OP, passed away.

I learned about this man as I gradually also learned how to pronounce his name.

This Polish priest-professor was a former rector of my university and is considered the founder of the Lublin Philosophical School – the most notable proponent of whom became Karol Wojtyła/Pope John Paul II.

It was in my very first week of classes that a professor of mine named Fr. Maryiniarczk spoke in an earnest yet convivial manner about this tradition saying, “The Lublin Philosophical School prepared, amid a very harsh time, an understanding of the human person and of reality. We aim to continue in this tradition of realistic philosophy. Metaphysics is concerned with discovering the content of being, not a conception of being and not merely a definition of concepts. We do not try to grasp a theory of man, but rather to understand man himself. This is part of what is meant by the approach called existential Thomism – an integration of truth and experience in our lives.”

Not long after this introduction, my classmate and I were visiting the Lipowa cemetery during All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days when it seems that just about every Pole flocks to the cemetery to visit and tend to the graves of their relatives.

Since my classmate and I did not have any relatives buried there, we showed our filial reverence to the past professors and rectors of the university.

Today, I am seeing lots of posts on the Polish Facebook pages I follow honouring this legacy. Here’s one example that I found particularly neat:

Living in Poland not only educated me in certain ideas; it also helped me to distinguish ideas for their enduring relevance and lifelong value.

Have you had teachers to whose grave you would go in tribute and with respect? If so, what has it been about this teacher that could elicit such a response?

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