The Encounters of Married Couples movement was founded by the married couple, Irena and Jerzy Grzybowski. They both graduated in geography. They have two daughters. Irena Grzybowska first worked as a research assistant at the Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies, University of Warsaw, and later, after many years’ break, as a library custodian at the Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization, Polish Academy of Sciences. Jerzy Grzybowski, PhD worked as a research assistant, and then as an assistant professor, at the Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization, PAS (1976-1990), and later (1990-2008) as an editor and chief editor of the “Misjonarz” (Missionary) monthly, published by the Society of the Divine Word. He was a member of the Coordination Team of the Polish Council of Catholic Movements (Zespół Koordynacyjny Ogólnopolskiej Rady Ruchów Katolickich) in 1996-2004, and has been a member of the Council’s Programme Board since 2004. Irena and Jerzy Grzybowski were members of the Pastoral Council at the Archbishop of Warsaw in the 2009-2013 term. Since 2018, they have been consultors to the Council for the Family of the Polish Episcopal Conference. They author numerous publications on marriage, marriage preparation and marital spirituality. Jerzy Grzybowski’s book Małżeńskie drogowskazy (Marital Signposts), originally published in Polish, has two Ukrainian editions as well. In 2019, the Grzybowskis were awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal by Pope Francis.
Irena and Jerzy were the formal leaders of the Encounters of Married Couples movement and Association from its foundation until 2014. They continue (2019) to actively inspire the movement’s work by formulating new programmes and verifying those already existing. They see to the whole movement’s spirituality, charism and mission. As members of the International Board of the Association, they visit its centres both in Poland and in other countries.
When we were going to our first, experimental “weekend”at Pewel in southern Poland in 1978, we didn’t think the Encounters of Married Couples would develop into an international movement, and then a Church Association, with such a range of influence both in Poland and in other countries. Supposedly, it was God’s will for such a movement to appear in this part of Europe, so as to bring God’s gift of dialogue to people. We all long for dialogue, both in marriage and in every area of social life. We all long for dialogue with God. In the present time of devaluation of values, the Encounters of Married Couples tries to restore the true, deep meaning to the word “dialogue”, and at the same time make it a daily experience of every human being, primarily in marriage, but also at any other plain of social life, in all interpersonal contacts. (statement made on 20.03.2012)