When former Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe served as the United States Ambassador to Poland, what he found was a country whose citizens were prosperous, cultured and very attuned to their religion.
Ashe spoke to the Chilhowee Club in Maryville on Feb. 1. “He was a very engaging speaker,” said club president Dianne Cserbak. “His ambassadorship is what he focused on and what he shared was interesting. Very few of us were cognizant of religion having such an impact on the culture and society of Poland.”
Cserbak said Ashe explained that most of the citizens of Poland are Catholic and that Catholicism had played an important role in how the country had evolved.
“He told us that when Pope John Paul II was pope, it was an overwhelming experience for Poland to have one of their own in the Vatican and one of their own governing the highest office of church that their entire country embraced,” she said.
The club president said the Chilhowee members were very curious about life in Poland and what it was like to live there since the fall of communism. “Victor shared quite openly that it was wonderful. The people are very robust, and they love social engagement. Culturally, he said they are very refined, their manner is very high cultured,” Cserbak said. “He said at no time did he feel the need for a bodyguard as most ambassadors insist on one. He said that as his family adjusted well. It was comfortable, and at no time were there any threats.”