Countess Maria Rey née Potocki (1929-2020)

15 August 2020

Countess Maria Rey née Potocki (1929-2020)

We regretted the message sent by Anna Mesnet of Montresor. On August 15th Mrs. Maria Helena Gabriela Countess Rey nee Potocka, Pilawa coat of arms, with whom we had many years of friendship, went for eternal rest. She represented the Montresor Castle “since forever” at the annual sessions of the Permanent Conference of Museums, Libraries and Archives in the West, i.e. from the moment the Conference was founded in 1979.

She visited the Polish Museum in Rapperswil many times and liked it because it had a similar story to her beloved Montresor. September days spent during the Permanent Conference sessions organized in the castle in Montresor had a great charm. The very joy of meeting again with Maria and the family living in the castle accompanied us during our trip to Montresor. We passed the entrance gate to the castle, greeted in the courtyard by the always smiling Mrs. Maria. The atmosphere of the medieval castle, which was purchased in 1849 by Konstanty Rey and provided shelter to refugees from Poland for over a century and a half, added a special aura to our meetings. In the rooms decorated from the times of the Second Empire, among the portraits of the ancestors, mementos of John III Sobieski, paintings by Italian and Polish masters – it was soaked in Christian tradition, culture and patriotism. Maria watched over the collections, knowing their provenance and history very well. During closed conference sessions, we shared with Maria concern for the technical condition of the castle and the struggle to obtain funds for its maintenance.

The matters of preserving the castle in the hands of the Polish family, preserving the collections and historical substance were the most important matters for Maria. The sessions of the Permanent Conference were accompanied by a daily Holy Mass. Deeply religious Maria was a regular participant. During the 2018 session, Maria showed us around the cemetery around the castle. In the chapel, we stopped at the tombstones of members of the Rey and Branicki families, listening to the stories of Maria. When saying goodbye, none of us thought that this would be our last meeting with her. With the departure of Mrs. Maria, another witness to the history of Polish cultural institutions abroad is disappearing. She took with her the memory of people and events. The sadness of saying goodbye to Maria, along with prayers, will be accompanied by a feeling of gratitude for many years of work for the benefit of Polish cultural heritage, for the beautiful September days in Montresor.

We express our sincere regret and sympathy for the death of Mrs. Maria to all members of the Family and Friends of Montresor.

Lord, grant her eternal rest, and may eternal light shine for her forever.

May she rest in eternal peace. Amen

Anna Buchmann
The Polish Museum in Rapperswil

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