Monday, November 20, 2017

Action Alert: Haitians and TPS

The Department of Homeland Security is required to make a decision to terminate or extend Temporary Protected Statue (TPS) for Haiti by November 23, 2017

What is TPS?  TPS is a temporary, renewable, and statutorily authorized immigration status that allows individuals to remain and work lawfully in the U.S. during a period in which it is deemed unsafe for nationals of that country to return home.

Why should TPS be extended for Haiti?  From September 4-7, a delegation from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops/Migration and Refugee Services (USCCB/MRS) traveled to Port-au-Prince, Haiti to analyze the need for extension of TPS for Haitian nationals living in the United States.  (Currently, TPS is set to expire for them on January 22, 2018.)  The extensive report of their journey is available here.  The delgation's conclusion was:  "Haiti is in no position to accommodate the return of the estimated 50,000 Haitians who have received TPS. Doing so would potentiall destabilize the small nation, derail its path to recovery, and possibly harm those returned, particularly the uprooted children.  In addition, terminating TPS would needless create a large unauthorized population in the U.S. and contribute to unauthorized re-migration."

What can we do?  The USCCB urges action prior to the November 23 decision.  "Justice for Immigrants" (part of the USCCB) has provided this petition to urge continued protection for Haitians while their country continues to recover. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Invest in Love

According to the Catholic News Service, between 6,000 and 7,000 people attended today's Mass in St. Peter's Basilica for the World Day of the Poor.  Most of them are now living in Europe, but they are migrants and refugees from around the world.  In his homily during the Mass, Pope Francis stressed, "What we invest in love remains, the rest vanishes."  The entire homily (available here) merits our reflection.  Here are a few excerpts:

  • All too often, we have the idea that we haven't done anything wrong, so we rest content, presuming that we are good and just.  But in this way we risk acting like the unworthy servant [in today's Gospel] . . . But to do no wrong is not enough.  God is not an inspector looking for unstamped tickets; he is a Father looking for children to whom he can entrust his property and plans.  It is sad when the Father of love does not receive a generous response of love from his children, who do no more than keep the rules and follow the commandments.
  • Omission is also the great sin where the poor are concerned.  Here is has a specific name: indifference.  It is when we say, "That doesn't regard me; it's not my business; it's society's problem." It is when we turn away from a brother or sister in need, when we change channels as soon as a disturbing question comes up, when we grow indignant at evil but do nothing about it.  God will not ask if we felt righteous indignation, but whether we did some good.
  • Drawing near to the poor in our midst will touch our lives.  It will remind us of what really counts: to love God and our neighbor.  Only this lasts forever, everything else passes away.  What we invest in love remains, the rest vanishes. . . . This is the choice before us: to live in order to gain things on earth, or to give things away in order to gain heaven.  Where heaven is concerned, what matters most is not what we have, but what we give.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

5 Ways to Observe the World Day of the Poor

Catholic Relief Services has prepared resources for the World Day of the Poor (available here).  These resources include "5 Ways to Observe the World Day of the Poor."  Each of these is explained more fully within the resource (available through the link above):

1.  Pray for the poor.
2.  Practice the Corporal Works of Mercy.
3.  Make caring for the poor part of your routine.
4.  Learn about the causes of poverty and work to change them.
5.  Support the church's outreach to the poor.


Friday, November 17, 2017

Prayer for World Day of the Poor

Catholic Relief Services has provided this prayer for Sunday's World Day of the Poor:

God of Abraham,
On my television,
On my newsfeed,
On my street,
Everywhere I go,
I see Lazarus.

But I also see so many doors,
Doors that I've built,
That I've closed.
Doors that society has hung and locked.
Doors that separate me from Lazarus.

Lord, teach me to open the door to Lazarus,
To the poor.
To know them as your children,
To lift them in their distress,
To work to help them find a fair share of your bounty. 

This World Day of the Poor,
Help us all turn to those outside the door --
To bless, heal, comfort;
And together, from this day forward, build a world
Where the poor are strangers to none,
And, indeed, the very chains of poverty are broken.
Amen

Thursday, November 16, 2017

World Day of the Poor

This Sunday, November 19, the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, has been designated by Pope Francis as the first World Day of the Poor.  In his letter for this commemoration (available here), the Holy Father wrote:  "I invite the whole Church, and men and women of good will everywhere, to turn their gaze on this day to all who stretch out their hands and plead for our help and solidarity.  They are our brothers and sisters, created and loved by the one Heavenly Father.  This Day is meant, above all, to encourage believers to react against a culture of discard and waste, and to embrace the culture of encounter.  At the same time, everyone, independent of religious affiliation, is invited to openness and sharing with the poor through concrete signs of solidarity and fraternity.  God created the heavens and the earth for all; yet sadly some have erected barriers, walls and fences, betraying the original gift meant for all humanity, with none excluded."

Resources for the World Day of the Poor (including prayers, homily helps and intercessions) are available through Catholic Relief Services.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Prayer Request for Kidnapped Sisters

Although more specific details do not seem to be available currently, this blog post includes a prayer request for religious Sisters who were kidnapped in Nigeria on Sunday.  Let us pray for them and for their community, the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Mercy. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The World Will Be Saved by Beauty

Perhaps the 120th anniversary of Dorothy Day's birth (November 8) is a good time to mention her granddaughter's new book, Dorothy Day: The World Will Be Saved by Beauty (Scribner, 2017).   In this 356-page book, Kate Hennessy, daughter of Dorothy's daughter, Tamar, has written an intimate portrait of her grandmother.  A review is available (here) from America Media.  A discussion guide and an opportunity to join this book's Facebook discussion group (also through America Media) are available here.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Final Excerpt: Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we have been posting excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC. This is the last excerpt we will post.  We hope that you have become informed and edified by reading these portions of our history and the you have been motivated to read the entire book.  Thank you for reading along!

"In retrospect, it is with wonder and gratitude that we remember the path that the Congregation has traveled since the death of its Founder, Pauline von Mallinckrodt, sometimes full of joy and trustful certainty, sometimes with hesitation and uncertain steps, but always with trust in God's guidance.  For the individual Sister, this looking back also includes a part of her own personal memories along the way that she has traveled with the Congregation, as well as hope and trust in the awareness that all live from the same source.  For the many who in any way have or have had connections to the Community, the view expands and the whole can be seen from the perspective of the individual person and the specific place.  It becomes clear that, despite all the ups and downs, new life has been generated.

"Our history is the foundation upon which we stand today and minister, which permeates our life in the here and now; the history which we are "writing" with our lives in the present is, in turn, the foundation for future generations.  May it not be written just for the Archives!

"From remembrance, hope can grow that even in the present time of upheaval, the possibility is present to go on courageously 'in view of the promises' and to carry the founding spirit into the future.

"'That is our life: To have faith and to be on our way.'"


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Stop Trafficking Newsletter

Click here to access the November 2017 issue of Stop Trafficking, focusing on the vulnerability of indigenous peoples to human trafficking.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

Globalization

We are daily confronted with topics like war, force, terror and fear, problems of refugees, child soldiers, epidemics, climate change, natural catastrophes like floods and earthquakes, to mention just a few.  What can the individual, what can a small Congregation do in the face of such a depressing situation?  Nevertheless, the General Chapter of 2013 met the situation courageously.  "To what is God calling us today with our possibilities and limitations?  What is our task in a changing and globalized world?"  These questions were present in all the areas to be discussed.  By our life in the modern world and society, we are asked and challenged to consider our own principles anew.  The tenets of religious life, spirituality, community, mission, are inseparably bound up with each other and mutually nourish each other.  

Responsibility for creation and the world is part of the spirituality which is concretely lived within community.  According to the spirit of Mother Pauline we strive to confront the negative culture of death and the power of force with the love and peace of Christ.  We have been called to become involved in the total society and commit ourselves to the global network for justice, peace and the care of creation.  By our personal lifestyle and, wherever possible, we also strive to contribute, by word and deed, to the development of awareness and a definite value system in the sense of the network.  This includes, e.g., solidarity, which expresses itself in concrete action for the marginalized.  Here a broad sphere of activity and development opens up.  Again and again it deals with the question of how we can be peacemakers and bearers of reconciliation in today's world.  The "freedom poles" which have been erected in America and in Germany are a silent prayer for peace, an important symbol and "a constant reminder of our mission to radically and creatively live evangelical nonviolence in our world so obsessed by force and terror."  The goal of the 2008 conference for coordinators for justice and peace in Rome was to discuss common concerns as well as specific concerns of the countries/continents.  Later Sister Adalberta, Superior General, reported to the Sisters, "We are being strengthened in our efforts, congregationwide and together with other Congregations as well as the laity, especially especially our Associates, to respond to the signs of the times according to our possibilities and personnel."  The effort toward justice and peace corresponds "in a special way today to our charism of love."  "Where life can develop, where life is supported, justice takes place, healing takes place.  It is our mission to care for the fullness of life."  A high expectation, which one can only approach again and again.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

Lay Associates

With the decrease in the number of Sisters, more importance was given in the Provinces to good cooperation with qualified laity. . . . The concern was not simply cooperation or the continuance of activities, but there was a desire to hand on Mother Pauline's charism and to carry it into the future.  The first such group of laity was begun in the Western Province in 1988, when 14 young women promised to live in accord with Mother Pauline's spirituality.  They were able to help in specific apostolic activities and participate in prayer and community events.  The covenant signed during the celebration of admission was to be renewed annually.  The number of Companions of Pauline grew very quickly and there was no longer a limit as to age or gender.  In 1998 a new group, Prayer Companions, was begun, which enabled those who wanted to live in Mother Pauline's spirit, but who have no time for additional activities or who because of age and health reasons can no longer participate.  

The concept of Lay Associates quickly spread throughout the Congregation.  In the Eastern Province the first 47 members were accepted in 1995.  In 1997 the report mentions 70 members who renewed their covenant and several new members.  The very active Lay Associates (Kaisa) in the Philippines have already been mentioned.  Without "the cooperation of the laity the carrying out of the apostolate there would hardly be possible."  Besides, they form an "extended family" for the small community so far away.  In Chile it was above all our former students who wanted to live their lives as lay women in the spirit of Mother Pauline. . . . Since 1998 the community is open to all, including male members.  It is a very large active group, from which many responsibly participate in apostolic activities.  Today a number of administrative positions in our schools are held by members of the [Lay Associates]. . . . The first members of the Laicos Asociados in Uruguay who made their covenant came from the so-called Damas Paulinas.  In the meantime there were different groups who worked for the poor and needy there, as well as in Argentina.

At the time of the formation of the first official Lay Association, the Paulinenbund in Germany was celebrating its 40th anniversary and had about 5,000 members.  The original purpose of the Paulinenbund had been fulfilled by the Beatification in 1985.  The League remained in existence with a new goal, to orient oneself according to the example of Mother Pauline's life and to try to make the love of Christ visible. . . . In the course of time, very different groups began in the German Province (Germany and Rome), who meet regularly and want to live their lives in the spirit of Pauline von Mallinckrodt, but without a covenant.

The names, the type of belonging and commitment, their outreach in the social or church sphere are different.  However, all groups are united by common objectives, such as regular meetings, which serve a deepening of spirituality, common exchange and a mutual strengthening, even if the nature and the organizational structure reflect local circumstances.  In 2010, at a general meeting of representatives from all Provinces and the Sister-Coordinators, it was "especially in the variety of forms . . . that the unifying and common elements were felt; the characteristic through Mother Pauline's charism, the willingness and desire to allow the light of the love of God and of neighbor into one's own life, to creatively and empathetically help where help is needed and in all life's situations to trust in God's guidance."  

Friday, October 13, 2017

Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

Challenges in a Changing World -- the Path to the 21st Century

Congregations have always earnestly searched the so-called "signs of the times" to ascertain the will of God and to regulate their decisions and actions accordingly.  During the last fast-paced decades such questions also arose in our Congregation:  Are we, are our activities still addressing the needs of the times, as Mother Pauline did in her day?  How do we as a Congregation ignore the needs of the times? 
. . .
With the closing or shrinking of large communities which represented a specific, common activity, the ministry of the individual Sister became more important.  At the same time, good cooperation with the laity, "who in the spirit of Mother Pauline work with us and continue her work," carried weight.  With the decrease of priests in the parishes and facilities, the need for pastoral assistance grew in all Provinces.  More and more we also had to become aware of the fact, "that the activity as such was not the most important, but rather the main apostolate lay in a witness to a life vowed to God."  Not only our service, but also the nature of our personal and common life were to be witness for the Kingdom of God.  For that reason, in all efforts at renewal, special importance was laid on the deepening of spirituality and a vital community life.



Thursday, October 12, 2017

To Reach Across Borders

The brief video below shares "A Prayer for Refugees: To Reach Across Borders."  During the next two years, as we continue to "Share the Journey" of awareness of the situations of immigrants and refugees, let us remember the message of this prayer.  (Email subscribers, click here to view the video if you do not see it embedded below.)


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Unity in Diversity

During this Week of Prayer and Action to kick off the "Share the Journey" campaign, the USCCB offers "Unity in Diversity: A Scriptural Rosary" as a way of praying the rosary while reflecting on the plight of immigrants and refugees.  Click here for the rosary reflections.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A Prayer for Migrants and Refugees

We offer this prayer as part of the Week of Prayer and Action in the "Share the Journey" campaign to raise awareness of the situation of refugees.  This prayer and more resources are available here.

Good and gracious God,
We thank you for the gift of families.  We are grateful for all of the joy and love that they bring into our lives, and we ask that you provide special protection for all families, particularly those who face hardships as they move in search of a better life.  Show mercy to those who travel in danger, and lead them to a place of safety and peace.  Comfort those who are alone and afraid because their families have been torn apart by violence and injustice.  As we reflect upon the difficult journey that the Holy Family faced as refugees in Egypt, help us to remember the suffering of all migrant families.  Through the intercession of Mary our Mother and St. Joseph the Worker, her husband, we pray that all migrants may be reunited with their loved ones and find the meaningful work they seek. Open our hearts so that we may provide hospitality for all who come in search of refuge.  Give us the courage to welcome every stranger as Christ in our midst.  We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.  Amen

Monday, October 9, 2017

Catholic Teaching on Welcoming Refugees

As we continue to observe the Week of Prayer and Action in the "Share the Journey" campaign, this brief video from Catholic Relief Services remids us of why we are called to welcome refugees. (Email subscribers who do not see a video embedded below, click here to view it.)

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Share the Journey

As we reminded you in this post from August, Caritatis Internationalis is seeking to raise awareness of migration with its two-year campaign, "Share the Journey."  During his weekly audience on September 27, Pope Francis began the campaign.  This week (October 7-13), in collaboration with Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities USA, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is calling for a week of prayer and action.  Click here to find resources and information about the campaign, as well as suggestions for prayer and action.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

New Foundation in the Philippines (continued)

Soon the first home was too small for the growing number of blind.  A nearby building with a garden was purchased for a reasonable price in 2000.  After a thorough renovation, the group was able to move in that same year.  The things that the residents considered essential clearly showed what they had been deprived of in their lives:  first of all, security, "We are safe because we have gates, an alarm system and a fire alarm."  The topic "having room" plays an important role, e.g., one's own bed, closet, a place to do homework, a place to play, a place to do laundry and a place "for visitors."  The garden, the piano, the chapel, the grotto and the fans in the large room were also explored.

The Mother Pauline Learning Center for the Blind, an idea which had come about when we accepted the first mentally-challenged blind children a few years ago, was further developed and changed.  In this in-house facility for the mutli-handicapped blind, who, even with additional help could not successfully attend any public school, learn as far as they are able to write, to read, to do math, and above all, many practical things they need for life.  There is much emphasis on religious education.  The other children and young people, according to their ability, attend the public elementary school (6 years) and High School (4 years).  If they are qualified, they continue in a college.  In 2006 the first girl who graduated from High School left the Margaretha Home.  She had begun her schooling at the age of 15 when she came to the home.  Even though here mother was a teacher, the girl had never attended school because of her blindness. She was able to skip class levels and completed her preliminary education in six years.  She then attended college near her home and is now a teacher.  Experiencing such successes are moments of glory for the Sisters and their co-workers and the reward for their daily, patient, arduous, detailed work.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Respect Life Month

Click here for resources from the USCCB for Respect Life Month.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Reminder: Online Prayer Service

As we announced here on Sunday, the ecumenical online prayer service for the Feast of St. Francis will occur on October 4 at 10 am EDT.  Click here to register. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Online Prayer Service

On Wednesday, October 4 at 10 am EDT, the Global Catholic Climate Movement invites you to an ecumenical online prayer service to celebrate the feast of St. Francis.  Click here to register

Friday, September 29, 2017

Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

New Foundation in the Philippines

Our mission in the Philippines, which began in 1995, was a foundation made on the Congregational level, staffed by an international community and responsible to the Generalate as a delegation.  The main activity is the apostolate for the blind, for which Cardinal Sin from Manila had invited our Congregation in 1992.  This was given serious thought and despite the shortage of Sisters, the decision was made to accept this work.  Many people in this eastern Asiatic country live in great poverty, but the blind and the sight-impaired, the largest percentage worldwide, especially need help.  Leadership saw this as a special call to our Congregation.  After traveling to the Philippines to assess the situation, Mother Gregoris Michels concluded that "a rich and multifaceted missionary activity for the education of the blind" was opening up for us.  She continued, "Again and again I am reminded of the time 150 years ago when Mother Pauline began to care for the blind.  There is a similarity between the conditions in Westfalen at her time and those in the Philippines today."  After much deliberation and prayer, the decision was reached to accept the new foundation.  By the end of 1994 the negotiations and preparations were so far that three Sisters, two from the North American Eastern Province and one from the German Province, were able to leave after a preparatory period in Paderborn and Rome.  This new beginning in hope and trust was at the same time a departure and a risk. 

The date of foundation is the date when the Sisters landed in the Philippines, January 25, 1995.  They received their first orientation from the Benedictine Sisters from Tutzing, who had been in the Philippines for some time.  On February 4, 1995 they moved into their small house in Quezon City, a suburb of Manila.  That same evening one of the priests came from the parish, celebrated the first Holy Mass in the small chapel and reserved the Blessed Sacrament.  This was in keeping with Mother Pauline's desires, because it was very important to her that the Sisters were not without the Blessed Sacrament.  The first weeks in Manila were "spent making contacts with other Congregations, with authorities and groups in the parish and areas of service."  This was especially important because this small group formed the first and only convent we had on the Asian Continent.  Instructions in Tagalog, the language of the country, were also part of their immersion.  Since work with the blind was to be their main apostolate, the Sisters worked in a rehabilitation facility for blind youth and young adults as well as in a Center for the handicapped.  Soon they realized the dangers to which blind women were exposed in their surroundings.  To offer them a secure place to stay and support, without curtailing their independence, the Sisters used donations to purchase a small row house for six to eight women next to their house.  This home, named after Margaretha Feichtler, for whose acceptance in the School for the Blind in Paderborn Mother Pauline had taken personal responsibility, was the seed of the later Margaretha Home for the Blind (MHB).  By February 1997, a small residence for 10 women and girls was supported by donations.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Praying and Helping

There are so many people who need our help these days.  We continue to pray for those who have been devastated by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria -- in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and other areas of the Carribean.  We pray, too, for those affected by the earthquakes in Mexico.  So many local communities and parishes are collecting donations.  Additionally, if you'd like to donate toward the efforts of Catholic Relief Services, click here.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Beatification of Father Stanley Rother

Click here to read the OSV article on Father Stanley Rother, who will be beatified today at the Oklahoma City convention center.  Father Stanley, a priest from Oklahoma, was killed in his rectory in Guatemala in 1981. The article provides a glimpse into the life of Father Rother and a timeline of his beatification cause.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

In 1949, the celebration of the 100th anniversary of its foundation was a highpoint in the life of the Congregation.  In all Provinces, it was a time of deep gratitude, an incentive or the inner renewal of each Sister and an opportunity to help the poor. . . .
. . .
Afterwards the grave of Pauline von Mallinckrodt was frequently "the goal of pilgrimages" for groups and individuals and "many a person weighed down with suffering brought his pain to Mother Pauline and placed his intentions in writing on the marble slab." . . . On the occasion of the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the German Catholic Teachers (female) Society in 1955, whole groups of the attending guests came to St. Conrad's Chapel.  At the first public meeting, Dr. Lorenz Jäger held Mother Pauline up as "the ideal of a Catholic teacher and urged all to approach their work in education in her spirit."

That same year the wondrous healing of Sister Christophora Ostermann took place.  Sister was a member of the German Province and at 29 years of age, was seriously ill with Multiple Sclerosis.  All medications were unsuccessful and the neurologist admitted that there was nothing more that he could do for her.  She suffered from terrible pain in her entire body and from severe dizziness day and night.  Failing eyesight, paralysis of her arms and total paralysis of her legs made her as helpless as a child.  In this state, she was transferred to our Home for the Elderly in Wiedenbrück on May 13, 1955.  . . . Completely surrendered to the Will of God, she continued with great confidence to pray to Mother Pauline, to whom we had already made numerous novenas begging her to obtain Sister Christophora's healing.  How surprised we all were, when on the 14th a phone call from Wiedenbrück brought us the joyous news that Sister Christophora had been healed. . . . This healing played a special role in the beatification process. . . . The attending physician had submitted reports about the illness and treatment and after exhaustive study of the matter, he had come to the conclusion that "the healing and the disappearance of all symptoms of the illness within one half hour were medically and scientifically unexplainable."  Various doctors and nurses and also the hospital in Neuhaus where Sister Christophora had been treated in 1954 were questioned.   As the process continued, the Church recognized the healing as miraculous.  After her sudden return to health, Sister Christophora was able to continue her apostolate for 40 years and the participate in daily community life.  She was the director of the knitting department in the School for the Blind and died on June 1, 2010.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

International Day of Peace

The International Day of Peace is observed each year on September 21.  This year's theme is "Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All."  Let us continue to pray for peace in our world.


Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Dream Act

On September 5, 2017, the Catholic Bishops of New Jersey issued this statement in support of the Dream Act of 2017 (S. 1615/HR. 3440).  If you would like more information on how to encourage your elected officials to support the Dream Act, please click here to go to the Justice for Immigrants site.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

Ever since the end of the war, the Sisters in America, and Mother Anselmis, the Superior General who was still living there, waited for the return of mail service with Germany.  It was not until August 1946 that the USA could send 11 pound packages with food and clothing.  Later, the weight allowance was increased. "Immediately a long procession of packages began across the ocean."  . . . At first, the government in Chile only allowed items to be sent generally.  Thus crates with food and clothing were sent to the Caritas Society in Germany.  . . . Until direct mail service was available at the end of 1947, the Sisters in Uruguay sent their gifts to Germany by way of Switzerland. . . . Help from America in the form of money and/or goods, packed in packages, crates or barrels, continued undiminished for several years.  Besides our convents, these also helped many other persons to survive the difficult postwar years.

After a 14 year absence due to political circumstances, the long-awaited return of the Superior General, Mother Anselmis Nickes and her traveling companion Sister Mathilde Niemann took place in May 1948.  In August of the same year, a General Chapter could once more be convened, the first in 16 years.  Representatives from all the Provinces gathered for exchange and deliberations.  The Chapter was characterized by . . . solidarity and a strong sense of unity within the Congregation.  When thanking the American Provincials and Sisters Mother Romana Löffler, Provincial of the German Province said: "After God, we thank you that we are more or less able to work and that we can serve God's kingdom.  Just when the food supply in Germany, which had already been meager during the war, became totally insufficient and most German families knew hunger, the first of your gifts arrived."  Then followed the gratitude for dresses, coats, fabric, yarn, meditation books, rosaries, medicine . . . "Without your help we could not have accepted any Candidates or invested any Postulants . . . and our building!  Without your loving help and support, it would have long remained in ruins."

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Father Uzhunnalil

In March 2016, we were horrified at the news of the murder of four Missionaries of Charity and 12 others and the kidnapping of Salesian Father Thomas Uzhunnalil in Yemen.  Yesterday, Father Uzhunnalil was released and today he met with Pope Francis.  Let us offer prayers of gratitude to God for the return of Father Uzhunnalil and let us continue to pray for all who are persecuted throughout the world, especially our brothers and sisters in religious life.  Click here for more information.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Prayer and Fasting on 9/11

For several years, we have prayed and fasted for peace on the 11th of each month.  Today, we also pause to remember the anniversary of the terror attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001.  The SCC Western Region has prepared a prayer service ("A Prayer of Remembrance, Comfort and Hope," available here) to help us in our commitment toward non-violence in our world.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

Our Congregation took various means to acquaint young women with religious life.  These varied according to country.  In 1946, the Western Province opened a so-called Juniorate in Wilmette with seven girls, who could become more acquainted with the community and, at the same time, continue or complete their high school education. . . . About the same time (1947), a Juniorate was established in San Bernardo, Chile with five girls from the colegio.  The Uruguay/Argentina Province opened a Juniorate in Montevideo, Uruguay, and in Martinez, Argentina. "Because relations between the Motherhouse and the Argentine houses was getting more and more difficult due to political opposition, the Province also created a Postulancy in Martinez for Argentine applicants that same year. . . . The Juniorate, which had been begun in Paderborn in 1925, was first moved to Wiedenbrück and later to Soest, but was discontinued in 1936 due to unfavorable circumstances.

In order to further the education of the young women in formation the Eastern Province opened a Junior College in Mendham, Assumption College.  Young girls from the schools where our Sisters taught were invited to visit Mendham.  They were hosted by the Aspirants and participated in vocation assemblies.

The lace of personnel led the Chilean Province to introduce five Cooperadoras for the first time in 1950.  Thus the foundation was laid for a project that had been in the planning for some time already: "to gain young women who felt drawn to religious life, but who were unable to follow their desire for whatever reason, to become fellow workers in building up the kingdom of God in the Chilean Province."

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

DACA Explained

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is on the minds and hearts of many today. Hopefully, this article (written before the administration's announcement yesterday) will help us to have a greater understanding of DACA.

Especially during the next six months, let's continue to pray for immigrants -- especially those who are most affected by the decisions being made -- and those who make the decisions.

"God of the journey, God of the traveler, We pray for those who leave their homes in search of new beginnings and possibilities.  May they know your presence with them. We pray that those who seek to make a home in this country may find us welcoming and willing to help them find a path toward citizenship.  We pray that our legislators may find the wisdom and courage to enact new policies that do justice for our country and for those who would immigrate here.  We pray for those who fan the flames of fear and discrimination against the undocumented; may they be touched with your divine compassion. Amen" (from Collected Prayers for Immigrants, by Interfaith Worker Justice).

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

September Issue of Stop Trafficking

Click here to access the September 2017 issue of  the Stop Trafficking! Anti-Human Trafficking newsletter.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Labor Day Statement: Adopting God's Gaze of Love

Please click here for the Labor Day Statement of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).  Adopting the language of Pope Francis, the statement urges us to take on God's "gaze of love," concluding:  "On this Labor Day, then, let us give thanks to God present to us in the Eucharist as we toil for our heavenly reward. Let us give thanks for the human vocation to work, and strive to make our businesses, our communities, our nation, and our world places where the human person can fully thrive.  And let us give thanks, finally, for the opportunity to encounter Christ present in those in need, along with the great gifts that come in demonstrating care and concern for our most vulnerable brothers and sisters, including those experiencing great poverty in the area of work.  May we all earnestly seek to adopt God's "gaze of love" as our own, to envision and make real a world of work restored "in deed and in truth."

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Assisting Storm Victims

Please click here to read Dan Stockman's article in Global Sisters Report about members of religious communities assisting victims of Hurricane Harvey in the Texas area.  Please continue to pray for the victims and those who assist them.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

From Denville to Uganda

Please take a moment to read this touchingly beautiful article in  The Beacon about Morris Catholic senior, Ben Duphiney, Assumption College for Sisters student Sister Mary Cecilia Akol and their mission of mercy from Denville to Uganda.  Because both Morris Catholic and ACS are very "near and dear" to the Sisters of Christian Charity, we are happy to share this story with you.  Thanks to Beacon reporter, Cecile Pagliarulo, for the article, "Cultivating Friendships."

Friday, September 1, 2017

Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

"The years from 1945 until the Second Vatican Council -- Anxious holding on and cautious setting out"

The topic "Lack of Sisters" or "Lack of Personnel" is nothing new in our time.  It is a common theme throughout the Chronicles. Even in the 1950's when there was still a steady growth in the Congregation, there is mention of the small number.  How often the various places which had to be refused for that reason are listed with regret.  The main objective always remained, to further the religious spiritual education and stability of the Sisters, "because all effectiveness will remain fruitless, if it is not the fruit of the inner spirit."  While, during these years the regret was usually that further houses or activities could not be accepted, later on, the regret is more often expressed over relinquishing of foundations or apostolic activities.  Countermeasures to this development were undertaken by easing workloads with the help of technical advances and the gradual employment of lay co-workers.  In the Western Province (USA), e.g., with the agreement of parishes, a lay person was employed for every sixth Sister.  In this way, the Province was able to take on two new schools.  In the 1956 Chronicles of the German Province this revealing sentence is recorded:  "With this pressing need for personnel, we Sisters cannot remain in activities which can be carried out just as well by the laity."  The Church urged the Congregations to combine smaller communities while maintaining their apostolic activities.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hurricane Harvey: Another Way to Help

We have all seen on the news the outpouring of support for our brothers and sister in Texas who have been devastated by Hurricane Harvey.  What a wonderful response to such tragic circumstances!  While so much has been donated, one thing lacking is clean underwear.  The charity "Undies for Everyone" has made a wish list on Amazon (available here) for people to order underwear and have it sent to those in the Houston area who have none.  What a very tangible way to respond to the need!

Don't forget our previous suggestion of donations to Catholic Charities USA or to Catholic Charities Galveston-Houston.

As always, please continue to pray for everyone affected by this hurricane and for those who are responding to their needs.  

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Hurricane Harvey Response

Please click here to contribute to Catholic Charities USA's Hurricane Harvey Response and here to read the statement of USCCB President Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who is also the Archbishop of Galveston-Houston.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

Continued Expansion in America
South America

In South America, besides their activities in schools, especially colegios, both Provinces were very involved in care for the poor.  There was planned support of needy families by Sisters, pupils and alumnae "on the spiritual level by regular catechetical instruction and on the material, by providing daily bread and necessary clothing" . . . In 1952, the Sisters in Montevideo, Uruguay opened a Gratisschule, a free school.  At first a small house was used for 45 children in three classes.  By the end of the school year, the number had risen to 80 children and a new building was needed.  On a plot of donated land and, for the most part, financed by donations, a new school arose, which is still in existence today.  Escuela Madre Pauline was dedicated in 1953 and had a school population of 134 children.

Since the beginning of 1956, the Sisters have been visiting a poor section of Buenos Aires, gathering the children, giving religious instructions, distributing food and clothing, visiting the sick in their homes and "in every possible way helping the priests in their pastoral work."

Again and again the countries in South America suffered from natural catastrophes.  In San Bernardo in 1946, part of the Chilean Motherhouse was destroyed as a result of a chimney fire.  In July 1948, the hospital in Puerto Varas burned to the ground within three hours from an unknown cause.  One employee was killed, but the sick were all brought to safety.  A major flood was reported in Uruguay in 1959.  Two thirds of the country was submerged and suffered much damage. . . .

A severe earthquake, during which many of our houses were damaged or destroyed, shook all of southern Chile.  A further quake in May 1960 and its numerous aftershocks, which surpassed any previously recorded earthquakes in strength and duration, destroyed on third of the country.  All that survived the quake of 1939 was destroyed in this one. . . . The coastal area that was affected was about 560 miles long. . . . Immediately, relief activities began everywhere: collections of clothing, money, medicines, food, household items, etc. Pupils, alumnae, friends, acquaintances got involved.  The effort Help for Chile continued for weeks and months.  Most of the items were sent to the central locations, the Motherhouses, sorted, organized, packed and sent in huge shipments of 100-200 freight items. . . . In the Motherhouse in Paderborn the relief effort took on large proportions, because church and public organizations took part.  At this time, many of the Sisters in the Chilean Province were from Germany and a large number of them from the Archdiocese of Paderborn.  Thus, donations came from all sides.  Thanks to this generous and continued help, by late autumn 1961, heavy machinery of all kinds could be sent, so that the Sisters in Chile were able to help others in need.  Through the collection organized by the Archbishop, the contributions of the Caritas Society and gifts from various persons the most necessary repairs and also the reconstruction of the destroyed houses could begin.  An important reason for this readiness to help was evident from the letter that accompanied the contribution from the city of Paderborn: "This contribution should underscore the old bond between the city of Paderborn and its 'Liebesschwestern' and at the same time be a recognition of your loving response to the citizens of Paderborn after the bombing.  It was your Congregation, with the active support of your Chilean foundations, that offered so many people in Paderborn, who had lost home and hearth in the terrible events of the last war years, the necessary nourishment in your Community Kitchens.  Only this made it possible after 1945, for life to gradually return to Paderborn. . . ."

Friday, August 18, 2017

Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

Continued Expansion in America
North America
The main apostolate, education in different types of schools, as well as religious instruction for children in the parishes who attended public schools, continued to expand in the 1950's.  In 1956, the leadership of the Western Province attempted to return to and implement Mother Pauline's first apostolate, the education of the blind children. . . . A further activity undertaken for the Kingdom of God which was a big challenge was the opening of a school for African American children in North Little Rock in 1957. . . . In 1956 the Eastern Province took over its first school for African American children in Greenville, NC. . . . St. Vincent Orphanage in Normandy was thoroughly renovated and rebuilt in 1959.
. . .
A special project expanding our apostolic activities was undertaken in the North American Eastern Province during these years.  The Province moved into new territory by the decision to build and administer a hospital, Divine Providence Hospital, in Williamsport, and to become engaged in health care. . . . At the blessing of the cornerstone, a Catholic Monsignor, an African American Minister from the Baptist community, a Lutheran minister and a Jewish rabbi spoke, certainly a symbol indicating that "in this hospital all the sick regardless of race or religion would experience the blessing of Christian Charity" . . . Preparations for the construction of a second hospital, Holy Spirit in Harrisburg, were begun in 1957, and the dedication took place in 1963.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Share the Journey

"Share the Journey" is the theme of the new, two-year, global campaign of Caritatis Internationalis to raise awareness of migration.  In preparation for the campaign -- which will be launched officially in Rome by Pope Francis on Septermber 27, 2017 -- the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Charities USA and Catholic Relief Services will host a webinar on August 23.  Consider attending the webinar to prepare your community to "share the journey," thereby answering the repeated calls of Pope Francis toward a "culture of encounter."  Click here for more information.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

Gradual Changes in Fields of Activity
The diversity of activities in Germany, already established because of the Kulturkampf, was strengthened during and after the Second World War.  After pioneer activities during the initial postwar years, the Sisters placed renewed emphasis on their main apostolate: the rearing and education of children and young people in schools and kindergartens, in the School for the Blind, in boarding schools and homes.  A second apostolate included service in hospitals, homes for the elderly and as visiting nurses, as far as was possible given the available personnel.  In modern times, new emphasis is being given to service in parishes and pastoral activities, partly integrated in the above mentioned tasks, but also explicitly in parishes and in the retreat house.
. . .
Given the changes everywhere in state, Church and society, combined with the search of many people for the meaning of life, it was appropriate that further answers to the needs of the times be found.  There was opportunity for timely pastoral activities, which were in keeping with the purpose of the [retreat] house.
. . .
After the problems of the first postwar years, schools steadily improved.  Children and young people of all ages were enrolled and challenged by multi-faceted possibilities.  Again and again, increasing demands by officials necessitated structural and program changes.  These called forth much effort, but in the end, had positive results. . . . What had been "Community Schools" now became "Schools in the Community's Tradition," . . . aware of their responsibility to keep this tradition alive and to make it visible in the various aspects of school life: Pauline von Mallinckrodt continues to be the role model.
. . .
During the first years after the war, homes concerned themselves with recovery  from damages and the need for daily bread. . . . Amid changing political and social circumstances, new pedagogical findings, legal policies and changed requirements had to be implemented. . . . The goal of training in a home is oriented toward a Christian view of the human person.  It gives children and young people the help they need to develop their personality, to be able to return to their families or to lead independent lives after they leave the home.
. . .
The area of nursing services is vast. . . . In the German Province there was a gradual shift away from large institutions and administrative positions to activities that were more geared toward spiritual and pastoral service in the same institutions.  The reason for this lay partly in the availability of personnel, but more pressingly in need, brought about by the times, for concern for and spiritual care of people.
. . .
"Serve the blind!" The Congregation considered these words of Mother Pauline a mandate to do what it could in the work for the blind. . . . A constant adaptation to the demands of the times is evident.  Mother Pauline's straightforward and challenging mandate is still valid.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Blessed Oscar Romero's 100th Birthday

We are invited to remember the 100th birthday of Blessed Oscar Romero on August 15.  Whether it is  a Mass in his honor around August 15, an added intercession during Mass on the feast of the Assumption, or another prayerful way, let us remember this "voice of the voiceless."  Click here for an article from America describing the centenary.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Pastoral Letter on Migration

On July 18, Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, Texas, issued a Pastoral Letter on Migration entitled, "Sorrow and Mourning Flee Away."  Click here to read the letter (in English or Spanish).

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Prayers for Japan on August 6

The United Church of Christ has offered this prayer for Japan on Sunday, August 6 -- the 72nd anniversary of the dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima:

Compassionate God,
On this Hiroshima Day, we pray for peace.
We pause to remember the devastation caused by the atomic bombs 72 years ago and the human suffering that continues to this day.  We also remember the horrific nuclear disaster in Fukushima 6 years ago.  Be with the people of Fukushima and neighboring areas who still suffer.  We pray for a world that is free from the suffering caused by nuclear weapons and nuclear disasters.  Give our leaders the wisdom and the leadership that is needed for true peace in this world.  As Jesus had compassion for those who were hungry and sick, let us too have compassion.  Let us also share what we have so that all are able to eat and be filled.  Let us believe that with faith in God, we too can make possible what seems impossible!  Help us God so that we are not complacent with systems that leave people to suffer.  Help us give voice to the injustices that exist and help bring about the peaceful world you meant for us.
Be with us and guide us,
Amen.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

Return to Previous Apostolic Activities - New Foundations

One example will give us a brief glimpse into the turbulent times.  On March 28, 1945, the female teacher in the town of Wünnenberg took two now homeless Sisters from St. Joseph House into her home -- her blood sister, Sister Siglinda Potthast and Sister Virginia Gerke.  The long-cherished wish of the people and their pastor to have Sisters in their parish reawakened.  Besides, the rooms of the kindergarten, which had been dissolved by the NSV were empty.  After the Sisters could no longer withstand the pressure, Sister Siglinda rode to Paderborn on a bike to consult the Provincial Superior.  In the meantime, to keep herself busy, Sister Virginia had begun to clean and get the kindergarten rooms in order.  In the midst of housecleaning, the pastor met her and asked when kindergarten would begin.  Sister told him that "first the answer from the Motherhouse was still pending and, besides, there was still much to do. . . . As he left, the pastor said, 'We begin tomorrow.' Sister did not take him seriously.  The next morning (April 20) she could not believe her ears when at the end of Holy Mass, he announced, 'At 10:00 am today kindergarten will begin, conducted by the Sisters of Christian Charity.' Three hours later, 80 to 100 mothers appeared to entrust their children to the Sister.  What could she do?"  She never expected such a large group.  She began her work trusting in God and "with silent concern in her heart" what the Motherhouse would decide.  Late that afternoon, Sister Siglinda returned -- with a refusal.  The Sisters were to be recalled from Wünnenberg on April 23.  Paderborn had no way of knowing how the situation had changed here.  So, the following day, Sister Virginia traveled to the Motherhouse to explain everything.  The result:  the Sisters were able to stay in Wünnenberg.  Upon a further request from the people, a Sister nurse came on Many 29 and in the course of the year two more Sisters.  In November/December, they were able to move into their own house and to open a sewing school.

Later on some of these convents were closed, because the Sisters were needed for other activities in the Congregation.  According to Canon Law, convents with less than four Sisters were not recognized and, after the General Chapter of 1948, had to be dissolved.  The decision brought much unpleasantness with it.  The people had gladly taken the Sisters into their homes in 1945 and they had been such a blessing everywhere.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Laudato Si Pledge

Last week, the Global Catholic Climate Movement announced that Pope Francis endorsed its "Laudato Si Pledge."  Click here for more information.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Stop Trafficking Newsletter for August

The August 2017 Stop Trafficking newsletter -- highlighting the trafficking of homeless youth -- is available here.

Friday, July 28, 2017

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

Remember that July 30 has been designated by the United Nations as World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.  Click here for more information from the UN and here for a prayer service from US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking.

Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

Return to Previous Apostolic Activities - New Foundations

At the same time as they undertook reconstruction and were involved in services called for by the post war period, the Sisters immediately turned their attention to Mother Pauline's original apostolate, which had flourished despite its ups and downs, but which had been made impossible during the Nazi era and the Second World War. . . . Many requests and petitions for Sisters came from parishes, charitable organizations and similar places, and soon also from state authorities.  Due to the circumstances of the times, purposeful planning was at first impossible.  In the beginning, it was much more a search for what could be done and what was needed at that moment.  Many requests had to be declined.

The establishment of small rural missions was characteristic during the time after the war.  In several of the communities where the homeless Sisters had been warmly received after the bombing, the wish for their own foundation was soon expressed.  In the light of the charitable possibilities these requests were often met.  . . .  Thus, in quick succession and in non-bureaucratic ways, ten new foundations came into being, some of short duration, some for several years, others for longer periods.  Everywhere there was beneficial service rendered directly to the persons committed to our care.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Prayers for Kidnapped Priests

Please pray for Father Charles Kipasa and Father John-Pierre Akilimali, who were kidnapped this week in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  (Click here for more information.)  Pray, too, for all priests, religious and other missionaries who put themselves in dangerous situations to minister to the "least" of our brothers and sisters.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

Acceptance of Activities in Response to the Needs of the Times

Years Immediately After the War

Given the general emergency during the first years after the war, the Sisters considered it their main apostolate to help wherever they were needed and were able to assist.  The primary concern was for those who had lost all through the bombing, evacuees, displaced persons, refugees and people returning home.  Even though they themselves were living in cramped quarters, they moved closer together to be able to offer others refuge and help.  Immediately after the war, empty classrooms in the missions became shelters for refugees.

. . .

During the Jubilee Year 1949, the Motherhouse had a special task:  helping with the "Heimkehrzüge" (trains which, for the most part, transported soldiers who were finally returning home after being prisoners of war).  From March until the end of the year there were 230 trains carrying about 160,000 persons.  Repeatedly, there were also women, children and young people among them, most of them in terrible health.  Due to the change of locomotives, they had a longer layover in Paderborn.  Soon the custom developed of welcoming each such train festively.  Cities and communities near and far took turns preparing for their so-called "Patenzug" (the train for which they were "godparents") and donated food and refreshments.  The Sisters were always able to help with the preparation and distribution.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

The Congregation After 1945

The Sisters in Paderborn shared the distress mentioned above with the many other residents, because their city had been 90% destroyed.  To restore some order out of chaos, effort was made to create a government, which was undertaken by several leading men.  They were energetically supported by the other citizens.
. . .
On April 27, our Sisters with the help of volunteers, opened a community kitchen in a military truck in the courtyard of the School for the Blind.  All, without exception, were at first dependent upon these community kitchens.  There were also many people who were returning to their homes or who were seeking a new home: evacuees, refugees and the first returning soldiers -- coming on foot, with baby carriages and self-crafted handcarts.  They flocked to the community kitchens where, later, 1,000 meals could be prepared at one time.  In April 1946, the kitchen was moved to the Motherhouse and remained in operation until July 1950.

The first concern was to get the children off the streets.  In April 1945, the Sisters opened a kindergarten for the Busdorf Parish in the former dining room for the blind in the men's home in the School for the Blind.  The Cathedral kindergarten was opened in a school in June and in 1946, in Heiersburg (now a Youth Hostel).  A sewing center was set up in the main building of the School for the Blind, and later in the motherhouse.  Volunteers worked without pay, but could improve their skills and spend two days each week sewing for their own families.
. . .
There was mail service in September, but not to the Sisters who lived at distances and also not to the American Provinces.  In America, Mother Anselmis, the Superior General, was informed of the destruction of Paderborn and the Motherhouse via radio and newspaper reports.  The first greetings from her, delivered by the International Red Cross on June 5, were dated April 16.  "We think about the Motherhouse with heavy heart.  Terrible catastrophe!  God grant that all are well!  Here we are storming heaven."  A letter written in September arrived in November.  The Sisters "over there" were waiting for the opportunity when they could come to the aid of the German Province by sending packages.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

The Congregation After 1945
The German Province in the Process of Rebuilding

Life in the Devastated Motherhouse
Immediately after the bombing at the end of March 1945, the Sisters in the devastated Motherhouse at first lived in the cellar rooms, which had not been damaged. . . . The cellar corridors and the tunnel afforded sleeping quarters, using straw sacks and salvaged mattresses.  This was, however, not without danger, because the still very hot, meter-high masses of rubble which lay above them could, at any time, fall and collapse the ceiling.  "Even though the inferno had been weeks before, the cellar rooms were so hot that we covered our faces with wet towels during the night to avoid getting blisters."  Despite the cramped quarters, several other persons also found shelter here. . . . The entire city was in need of a supply of safe drinking water.  The pipelines had been destroyed.  The water from the Pader River could not be used due to the many corpses of people and animals and there were few wells.  Each day the Sisters went to the nearest well in the city with two hand carts to fetch the most necessary water in wicker bottles and barrels.  Rain water was used for all other purposes until our own well in the courtyard could be used again in May.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Stop Trafficking July Issue

The July 2017 issue of Stop Trafficking -- providing information about the 2017 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report -- is available here.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

"In 1938 [in Germany], religious persecution took on greater proportions, sometimes gently and masked, then again brutal and open, by spying on priests and the faithful, disruption of church services, the elimination of prayer in schools and the removal of crucifixes from classrooms, the restriction of religious instruction and even the disbanding of the Catholic Youth Associations and the seizure of their entire resources because of 'subversive activities.'

"The contest against the Church was, at the same time, a contest against religious Congregations.  A secret instruction of February 15, 1938 stated: 'The Congregations are the militant arm of the Catholic Church.  For that reason, they must be pushed back, constricted and finally exterminated from their fields of influence.'  Whenever the Sisters could serve a good cause, the courageously set to work.  Some missions provide opportunities for meetings to groups who had been disbanded.  There were days of reflection for pupils before their graduation and for various other groups.  At such gatherings, one always had to reckon with the appearance of the Gestapo and the fear of being taken away by them was great.

"The solidarity of the Sisters during difficult times showed itself even more strongly during the destruction of foundations in Germany and at the beginning of reconstruction.  A selection from a Circular Letter from Mother Anselmis during this time emphasizes this: 'My dear Sisters, what makes me very, very happy, despite all the heartache . . . never has holy love, the main rule of our beloved convent family celebrated such triumph as in this time of inner and outer distress.  In my long life in religion, I have never had the opportunity to witness a closer unity of Sisters with one another and a greater willingness to help and to support each other.  We must thank the dear Lord for that, but also our blessed Mother Pauline, who instilled such a spirit of harmony and love into her Community.  Holy Love was to be its life, its soul and its guiding principle.  Thanks be to God, dear Mother Pauline, your foundation has faithfully preserved this original spirit.  The year 1945 is the proof of it.."


Monday, June 26, 2017

Laudato Si for the Classroom

The JPIC promoters in Rome have made a new booklet for teachers, providing creative ways to share Laudato Si in the classroom.  (You will recall that Laudato Si is the Pope's "Environment Encyclical," published in June 2015.)  Click here for the booklet and here for the accompanying cards.

Thanks to Sister Joanne for sending this information from Rome!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

"The vibrant memory of Mother Pauline and the striving to live and to labor in her spirit was, and still remains today, a source of the inner unity among all the members of the Congregation. . . .  The Episcopal Informative Process came to an end on November 20, 1933.  The final signatures and seal were added to the collection of materials . . . Thus began a new phase in the beatification process. . . .

"In the meantime, the 28 volumes of Mother Pauline's writings, which had been notarized and sent to Rome in 1930, had been carefully studied by the theologians assigned by the Congregation of Rites.  A decree of December 6, 1942 officially stated 'that nothing contrary to the Faith of the Church or good morals had been found.'

"To spread devotion to Mother Pauline in America, the Western Province began the Mother Pauline League.  Above all, the children in the schools were to become acquainted with Mother Pauline's life and work, and through them also the adults.  Membership grew quickly not only in the West, but in the other Provinces where the League had spread.  The Eastern Province joined in 1940 and in South America the Liga Paulina came into existence."

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Reminder: Fortnight for Freedom

Reminder:  The Fortnight for Freedom begins June 21 (the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More) and ends on July 4 (Independence Day in the USA).  Click here for more information from the USCCB.

Monday, June 19, 2017

World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day, commemorated on June 20, was first designated by the United Nations in 2001.  This is a day to honor the strength, courage, contributions and cultures around the world.  Thanks to Sister Joanne Bednar for sharing this prayer and reflection guide with us, from the JPIC Promoters in Rome.

Fortnight for Freedom

Reminder from the USCCB:  The Fortnight for Freedom (from June 21 through July 4) is a way for dioceses around the country to highlight the importance of defending religious freedom.  This year's theme is "Freedom for Mission."  Click here to learn more about this observance and to find materials for each day.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

Identity and Community Unity in Changing Times
The external threats, obstacles and limitations in Germany led to a strong awareness of the unity among the Sisters and the convents.  This inner consolidation can be compared with the time during and after the Kulturkampf.  The fact that the unity among provinces did not suffer during the time of National Socialism and the Second World War, but rather grew stronger, cannot be understood in the light of Germany's political threats to other countries, but is rather based upon common roots and goals. . . .
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The celebration of traditional community feasts, which gave inner strength during these difficult times was also important:  Investing, First and Final Profession, jubilees, Founding Day.  April 30, 1933 was of importance as the first such celebration in Paderborn after Hitler seized power.  Eleven Postulants were invested and 19 Novices made First Profession.  . . . Many young women entered during the following years until after September 1940, when the acceptance of new applicants became almost impossible due to a decree by the Reich.

This sad situation found a happy balance in the American Provinces.  During the years from 1941-1945, 17 new members were accepted in Germany, but during that same time, 73 were invested in South America and 126 in North America.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

World Day of the Poor

"Tragically, in our own time, even as ostentatious wealth accumulates in the hands of the privileged few, often in connection with illegal activities and the appalling exploitation of human dignity, there is a scandalous growth of poverty in broad sectors of society throughout our world.  Faced with this scenario, we cannot remain passive, much less resigned."

Offering these words on the Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua (June 13), Pope Francis introduced the first-ever World Day of the Poor, to be commemorated on the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (November 19).  The complete text of the Holy Father's message is available here.

According to the message, "It is my wish that, in the week preceding the World Day of the Poor . . . Christian communities will make every effort to create moments of encounter and friendship, solidarity and concrete assistance.  They can invite the poor and volunteers to take part together in the Eucharist on this Sunday, in such a way that there will be an even more authentic celebration of the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King, on the following Sunday."

What can we do for the Word Day of the Poor?

Friday, June 9, 2017

Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

North America (continued)
In the Western Province, the home for the elderly and sick Sisters, which had been located in Clarenden Hill since the division of the Provinces, became too small and impractical.  The situation was remedied in 1937 by the construction of a new home on the Motherhouse property in Wilmette.  . . . 'With grateful hearts, 32 ill and elderly Sisters moved into the beautiful, very practically and comfortably furnished house.' It was the beginning of Sacred Heart Convent, which today serves the same purpose.  The original house in Clarenden Hill was converted into a retreat house and a home for women.  
. . .

The strong cohesion of the communities and Provinces among each other was especially felt during times of crisis and was manifested by spiritual and material aid.  During the Court Proceedings regarding finances in Germany, the Sisters overseas shared pain, concerns and prayers with their German Sisters.  Involved Sisters in North America wrote hundreds of letters to all possible influential persons and institutions (Senators, Delegates, Judges, large firms, etc.) asking them to write to the German Ambassador in Washington. The Sisters of Christian Charity are widespread in the USA, accomplish much and have very great influence in all possible circles. . . . Mountains of letters of this type and thousands of signatures were sent to the Ambassador and were later forwarded to Berlin in crates.  This certainly did not remain without effect.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

One Minute for Peace

Pope Francis has asked for international participation in "One Minute for Peace" on Thursday, June 8 at 1:00 pm, local time.  Click here for more information and here for the text of the General Audience in which Pope Francis invites us to pray. Wherever you are at 1:00 pm, try to stop and say a prayer for peace.

June Issue of Stop Trafficking

The June 2017 issue of Stop Trafficking, providing various reports to help us realize the complexities of human trafficking, is available here.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Co-Responsibility

In the May-June issue of Health Progress, a publication of the Catholic Health Association of the United States, Chris Lowney suggests that lay persons must no longer be thought of as "collaborators" in the Church, but as "'co-responsible' for the Church's being and action." Entitled "Ministry Leadership's Next Great Leap," the article (available here) is written as a reflection on health care sponsorship, but "The concept of sponsorship . . . [is] relevant to a broader niche than Catholic health care."  It is relevant, according to Lowney, "across all Catholic ministries . . . all around the globe."  Lowney sees "co-responsibility" as something necessary for the 21st century church to survive.

Please read the article and see what you think about co-responsibility as a "way forward" for the church.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Why is the ACLU Targeting Catholic Hospitals?

Stephanie Slade's recent article in America, "Why is the ACLU Targeting Catholic Hospitals?" is well worth the time to read.  As she notes in the article, one in six patients receives medical care at a Catholic institution -- of which there are 649 in the country, employing 750,000 people.  While the ACLU's targeting of these Catholic institutions centers around abortion and contraception, the larger point (and one of the reasons we should pay attention to this) is that Catholic health care exists in many underserved communities.  In fact, in some communities, the Catholic hospital is the only one within a wide geographic range. Click here to read the article.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Pauline at 200


Today we commemorate the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, the Founder of the Sisters of Christian Charity, Daughters of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception.  Born on June 3, 1817, Pauline was the first of four children of the vice-president of Minden, Detmar von Mallinckrodt, and his wife, Bernardine von Hartmann.  Historically, these were turbulent times in Germany.  The rulers who had lost their lands and power during the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) were looking to regain both by whatever means possible, including seizing property of the Catholic Church and depriving Catholics in Germany of their rights.  In its attempt to legislate religion, in 1803 the government passed a law entitled, "Religious Worship and Education," which required that all children of high-ranking officials follow the religion of their father. In fact, it stated that failure to comply with this law would result in dismissal from office.   As the child of a Catholic mother and a Lutheran father who was a government official, Pauline should have been baptized Lutheran.  However, at four days old, when it became uncertain whether baby Pauline would live, a priest was summoned and she was baptized Catholic.  Thus, from the beginning, Pauline was involved in the struggles between church and state that were characteristic of Germany at that time and would continue to play a significant role throughout her life.

On August 21, 1849, Pauline and three other women became the first Sisters of Christian Charity, whose "primary solicitude and love was to be directed to the care and instruction of the blind."  From that time on the congregation grew and spread, expanding its sphere of activity to embrace men and women of every generation, every social level, every religion, rich or poor, infants or the aged.

Today, the Sisters of Christian Charity carry Pauline's vision throughout the world.  We are grateful to God for Blessed Pauline, for her family and for all those on whose shoulders we stand.

Father in heaven, lead us in the way of love as you led Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt.  Open our hearts to others, that loving them as your Son commanded, we may be one with them in your heavenly kingdom.  Amen.

Please visit scceast.org for more information.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

North America

The Apostolate in schools, especially in parish schools, grew continuously.  In 1941, Sisters began teaching in the high schools in McSherrystown and Reading.  The Western Province accepted a new activity in a small school in Pewamo and in 1942 took over the local public school building.  The Sisters were also involved in additional activities, e.g., religious instruction in the so-called "Vacation Schools," where children from the countryside were unable to attend the parish schools because of distance, received instruction.

With the new structure of the Provinces, the Motherhouse acquired in Mendham, Villa Pauline, soon proved too small.  By 1930, the large number of new Candidates could no longer be accommodated. . . . "After careful consideration and much prayer" groundbreaking took place in September for a large new house on the same property.  After two years construction time Mallinckrodt Convent came into being. . . . The missions of the Eastern Province had contributed to the building cost to the best of their ability, and the neighboring Province, in true Christian Charity, had put a considerable sum of money at its disposal without interest. . . .
. . .
The Eastern Province saw the need for a further apostolate in health care.  Due to the war, the plans for the construction of a hospital in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, could not be carried out at first.  On the land which was purchased for this purpose in 1944, Divine Providence Hospital was opened in 1951.  A second hospital, Holy Spirit Hospital, in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, opened in 1963.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC.

Expansion in America (Continued)
South America

Chile:  In addition to work in education, the apostolate in hospitals became more important.  In 1937, State officials in Chile negotiated with the Province for the acceptance of the hospitals in Puerto Montt, Valdivia and Osorno.  When the negotiations threatened to fail due to lack of their own Sisters, the Chilean Province offered to assume the traveling expenses for 12 Sisters from Germany.  Under these conditions, a contract was finally signed.  In all, during the above-mentioned year, 26 Sisters were sent from Germany to Chile.
...
Many schools in South America, especially the Colegios, were operated under the sponsorship of the Congregation. . . .
...
Political unrest aroused fears in the Sisters in Chile.  In 1932, sporadic periods of unrest and revolution went on for months.  The acute danger that religious and foreigners would be expelled was avoided by a change in government. . . .
...
As in earlier years, Chile suffered damage from natural catastrophes.  Especially fire and earthquakes caused great harm.  They often brought about many fatalities, but also showed the willingness of the people to help those in need.  A fire destroyed the Colegio in San Fernando in 1935.  In 1941 the hospital in Ancud burned to the ground  With great difficulty and danger, the Sisters and the personnel, with the help of the citizens of the city, were able to save all patients and some of the furnishings. . . .
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In March 1945, part of the Motherhouse in San Bernardo was destroyed by a fire which began in a chimney.

The worst natural disaster took place on January 24, 1939, when an earthquake destroyed large areas of the country and caused heavy damage in the Chilean Province.  "All our foundations in the affected area were partially or totally destroyed: the Colegios in Concepción, Talcahuano and Cauquenes, as well as the hospitals in Linares, Cauquenes and Angol." With the collapse of the hospital in Cauquenes, 45 persons lost their lives; patients, employees and one Sister, who was buried under the rubble and who could not be freed until hours later.  That same day she died of her injuries.  Two Sisters died when the school in Concepción collapsed and many were injured, some seriously.  Conditions in the region were extremely difficult.  There was a lack of food and water, despite the pouring rain.  Dry accommodations were accompanied by constant fear, because of continuing strong aftershocks day and night.  The dead and wounded were everywhere, but no outside help was possible due to the disruption of transportation.

When conditions grew calmer and there was contact with the outside, clean-up and rebuilding began.  In some areas instruction could begin by May, even though in limited space.  The Province had suffered tremendous losses and was faced with gigantic tasks.  With courage and trust in God, the Sisters looked to the future.  After all, many of them had miraculously escaped death.  Soon generous support poured in from the other Provinces: donations of money and goods were on the way.  Collections were held. . . . The missions in Chile which had not suffered from the earthquake avoided any local repairs that were not absolutely necessary, to be able to send as much money for the rebuilding as they could.  Thus, in this year massive building activities are recorded.