Maria Piłsudska


Maria Piłsudska née Billewicz was born in 1842 in Adamowo near Teneniai, in what was then the Kaunas province, as one of three children of Antoni Billewicz, the Mogiła coat of arms, and Helena née Michałowska. She came from one of the most honored noble family. As a child, she had a hip surgery in Berlin, which caused her to have a slight limp all her life.
She married Józef Wincenty Piłsudski on 22 April 1863 in Teneniai, and her dowry was the property inherited from her mother Helena née Michałowska. She and her husband had twelve children. Maria instilled patriotism in them and taught them Polish literature and history. She saw her sons, especially Józef, as fighters for Poland’s freedom. She died on 1 September 1884 in Vilnius, and was buried in Suginty. On 1 June 1935, her remains were exhumed and temporarily deposited in the chapel of St. Theresa’s Church in Vilnius. A year later, on 12 May, the coffin with the remains was ceremoniously placed in the crypt of the mausoleum at the Rossa Cemetery. A crystal urn with Józef Piłsudski’s heart was placed next to it.

Photo of Maria Piłsudska, Bronisław’s mother
Maria Piłsudska née Billewicz; photograph from Wacław Sieroszewski’s book World in Images, Marshal Józef Piłsudski” (Warszawa, 1932); from the collection of the Józef Piłsudski Museum in Sulejówek
Portrait of Maria Piłsudska née Billewicz; from the collection of the Józef Piłsudski Museum in Sulejówek
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