Renovation of a new house

Our second house at Długa 12, which we are currently renovating and expanding, will meet the needs of our residents and poor people but also the needs of the community that appreciates the value of the meeting, architecture, film and art and the taste of delicious coffee and tea.

Donate 1,5% of your tax

KRS: 0000486210

Why “Betlejem”?

Because Betlejem is a place that changes:

our way of looking… It was in Betlejem that the prophet Samuel, sent to anoint one of the sons of Jesse as king, heard:

“Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16

God chooses David, the youngest of Jesse’s sons, to be king, whom his father did not consider! Homeless, lonely, weak and neglected is also called to greatness! To participate in the riches of God’s kingdom. Betlejem is the place of the anointing of the Lord’s poor!

our way of giving and receiving… In Betlejem, the Messiah was born to save and repair this world. He begins his mission by … accepting the gifts of the poor. The shepherds bow down to him, they offer pastoral gifts! The poor need a roof over their heads, food, clothes, social assistance. But is it just this? In Betlejem we learn not only to give, but also to humbly accept the gifts of the poor. A dozen or so years ago in our house we had a vigil with Andrzej who was dying of cancer. After his death, one of our homeless inhabitants said: “It’s good that Andrzej was with us. I didn’t sleep at night with him, but I felt really happy then. Finally, someone needed me”.

our plans and decisions… The wise men from the East, after offering their gifts, “returned to their lands in a different way”. In Betlejem we get to know new ways, new possibilities and perspectives. We learn how to live anew, not to return to old habits, how to recognize the voices of angels who warn us, tell us to get up and go on our way. Another way … How to go from the path of carelessness to the path of responsibility, from the path of addiction to the path of freedom, from the path of selfishness to the path of service, from the path of unbelief to the path of seeking God and His will. Change me into yourself, so that I may become bread like you.

our house… We live in a building that is over 100 years old! Built in 1913 with a donation from Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph (Jaworzno at that time was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), it served as a school for children for over 80 years. After teachers and students moved to the new building, it stood empty for several years and almost fell into disrepair. In 1995, the “Charity” Association bought it for a symbolic “one zloty” from the city for the needs of the poor. On February 14, 1996, during a conversation between Fr. Dean Józef Lenda with Fr. Mirosław Tosza in the presbytery of the parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Jaworzno the idea of creating a home for the homeless was born. Fr. Miroslaw, who, together with several friends from the “Faith and Light” movement, had a desire to live together with the poor, took steps to implement it. In 1998, he received the consent of Bishop Adam Śmigielski to create a community. Thanks to the efforts of people from the “Charity” Association and Fr. Józef Lenda it was possible to obtain funds for the replacement of the damaged roof and new windows were installed. Fr. Mirosław Tosza with volunteers and friends began to fix old plaster boards in the entire building. More than 100 dump trucks of rubble were removed from the house and the adjacent area (the old gymnasium and the one-story buildings in the garden were demolished).

In 2001, the first people moved into the house. As the work progressed, with the invaluable help of sponsors and friends, the inhabitants of the house created new places to live in the community. A dozen or so years have passed since then … After the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the building’s construction, we took up the challenge of transforming it and expanding it so that it could serve even more people, inspired by the works of the Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. We write more about the project in the article “Hundertwasser Project”.

The text below was written on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of our home “Betlejem” (2013). Edited after the influence of several phrases from the exhortation “Gospel of Gaudium”, it was signed by almost 1000 poor people from our city. It expresses our vision and the role of the poorest in society and the Church. On October 1, at the end of the walking pilgrimage to Rome, we presented it to Pope Francis during an audience in St. Peter’s Square.

Manifesto of Leftovers (Manifesto degli avanzi)

It cannot be that a death of cold of an old man, forced to live in the street doesn’t become a news – but a drop in the stock market by two points is a big news. This is an exclusion (…). It is no longer just about the phenomenon of exploitation and oppression, but about something new: exclusion hurts the very essence of belonging to the society in which man lives. He is not even at the bottom, in the periphery or without power, but outside the society. The excluded are not “exploited”, but they are rejected, they are “unnecessary remnants”.
– Gospel Gaudium, 53

In the world of digital precision, laser cuts and perfectly flat surfaces – what is crushed, broken and shattered is devoid of value and honor. Chunks, pieces and fragments, chipping and crumbs – leftovers litter warehouses, occupy the lowest shelves in the stores, live in landfills, sold out at the lowest price, by-products of big ideas and serious ventures. Only some of them, silent witnesses of the distant past, will rest in venerable archeological sites. Most of them will be a troublesome ballast, a recoil that no one needs, with which you do not know what to do…

There are also Remnants of People: broken by various life experiences, bruised by suffering and harm, crushed by poverty and hopelessness – rejected by themselves, deprived of respect of the powerful and influential. They exist in places of the last category, third and fourth worlds, they travel through life in the lowest class rail cars, often without a ticket, which they cannot afford … A troublesome burden for postmodern societies, a splinter in the eye of a man named “success”. The marginalized, they hide behind a wall of aggression, frustration and fear, they are dulled by addiction to be able to forget. They throw insults at those who have “succeeded”, they are often silent because they doubted the sense of shouting … Because they have no strength to shout … We call them “margin”, “social outcasts”, “excluded”, “bums”, ” freeloaders, “idlers” – the shameful remnant of our civilization, a by-product of commerce and ruthless competition. What to do with them? Where should we send them, so that they would not spoil our well-being, behind what wall and into what ghetto – as long as possible, beyond our eyes … What to do with People – Remnants?!

Before we get rid of them from our lives, let’s look at them carefully… Let’s take off the glasses of judgments and accusations, stereotypes and banal opinions… Let’s look through the eyes of a child. Once, one of them said to his alcoholic father who hurt them: “Daddy, I love you”… And then Daddy, stunned more than after a night’s binge, walked through the estate and cried… That day he decided that he would not drink any more… He’s been sober for 20 years. Now he tells his adult son and little grandson: “I love you!”…

Let us wake the child hidden in each of us – what is more beautiful than a child’s gaze, with all innocence, trust, sincerity and fantasy? The world seen through the eyes of a child where everything is possible, the desire for a fairy-tale world: this world is colorful, sunny and beautiful. How little it takes to see dreams in a bit of fantasy. A few pebbles, twigs, mud, something else – and we have a castle, a moat, we feel like a prince, a knight, a conqueror.

Man, created in the image and likeness of God, carries a source of light within him. When the scales fall off it, it begins to illuminate the world…
– Heschel

Let us look at the invisible treasure hidden in the dark cave of tormented humanity, let us believe the light under the scales, let us discover a pearl in the mud. Let’s take a risk! Jesus turned the thief Zacchaeus into a giver, an adulterous woman into the first witness of the Resurrection, a wild fisherman into the Prince of the Apostles. God’s gaze is that of a child. Both transform and surprise. Both see a treasure in Remnants.

A little boy gives 5 loaves and 2 fish to feed 5,000 hungry people … Christ accepts this leftover food with gratitude. The poor widow puts the rest of the money into the temple treasury, a few pennies … Jesus says that she put in the most! A remnant of faith as small as a mustard seed moves mountains! The prodigal son gives the father a remnant of his honor and battered youth. In return his father gives him new robes, a ring, sandals, holds a feast in his honor! The villain on the cross gives the remnant of his dying life and in return he receives the promise: “Today you will be with me in paradise”…

The kingdom of God is promised to those who have the gaze of a child and are like Jesus – trusting and patient (to the world: naive and not serious…).
Let’s pick up the leftovers! At the Sea of Galilee, 7 baskets of them were collected after the miracle of the multiplication of the bread. Let’s pick up the leftovers! Colorful mosaics are created from the leftover ceramics, stained glass from broken glass, warm blankets from old patchwork yarn … What will be created from collected leftover people? Stained glass of gratitude, mosaics of joy, warm blankets of friendship… Let’s pick up the leftovers! With love and attention, with respect and dedication.

It will not be easy… They will consider us dreamers, they will laugh and scoff at us, they will call us communists and idealists, they will say that we do not know our stuff, that we are wasting our time, that we are creating communities of kitsch and trash…

If we dream alone, our dreams will remain only dreams. If we dream together, our dreams become the beginning of a new reality…
Friedensreich Hundertwasser

Let’s collect together Friedensreich Hundertwasser’s words that inspire us and ignite us to fight. Let us make our houses places of hospitality for those who are not visited by anyone. Let us accept with humility and gratitude the simple gifts of the poor. Let’s not just give gifts… The poor also have their gifts! The Holy Family in Betlejem received rich gifts from the Magi and poor gifts from the shepherds. Let us imitate the Holy Family in hospitality…

And what to do with the Remnants? We want to collect them in our “Betlejem” House. Our House is already 100 years old, it was built in 1913. For over 80 years, children have studied there and for almost 15 years it has served the poorest. Over the years, it has become an important meeting place – a home open to everyone: the poor and the rich, the learned and the uneducated, the lonely and living in families. Adults and children. We want it to continue. We want to make it an extraordinary place, a place of mutual sharing of gifts. A beautiful, colorful place on the map of our city, region and country. Place of Hope. A place where colorful mosaics will decorate fragments of an old building, ceramic balls on the porch will joyfully invite you to enter and a golden dome on the roof will remind you of the sanctity of every home and every life. Where the water from the fountain in the square will bring joy to sparrows, children and adults, Filip (the donkey) will gratefully crunch a carrot, and the sheep will ease our habits … Help us make our dream come true! Help collect the precious Remnants and make them a treasure for all of us!!!

It’s good to go beyond yourself to join others. Closing ourselves in ourselves means tasting the bitter poison of loneliness, and humanity loses every selfish choice we make (…). The Gospel always invites us to take the risk of encountering the face of another person, with his physical presence that poses questions, with his suffering and prayers, with his contagious joy, constantly shoulder to shoulder. True faith in the incarnate Son of God is inseparable from the gift of self, from belonging to a community, from service, from reconciliation with the body of others. The Son of God, through his incarnation, encouraged us to a revolution in tenderness.
(Gospel Gaudium, 87.88)

Inhabitants of the House of Betlejem and Friends

Stay with us on a regular basis

*Twój adres e-mail

*Wyrażam zgodę na obowiązującą w serwisie politykę prywatności.

Visit us, let’s get to know each other

Stowarzyszenie Betlejem
ul. Długa 16
43-603 Jaworzno
NIP: 632-177-06-21
REGON: 272146684
Ph: 506 307 862 (8.00-16.00)


    *Your e-mail

    *Phone number