Friday, May 5, 2017

Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt in 2017, we continue to post excerpts of Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016),  the history of the Congregation of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC (translated into English by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC).

"Due to difficult political circumstances and the urgent demand of the government, the foundations in Bohemia were united into the Czech Vice-Province in 1925.  The Sisters has been carrying out Mother Pauline's mission in education there since 1875. . . .  All foundations were recognized and esteemed.  The period of National Socialism, however, put them in a difficult position.
. . .
"Toward the end of the war all German Sisters of the Vice-Province lived in Schlackenwerth.  The war took on ever more gruesome forms.  About one million refugees came through Schlackenwerth, of whom often 180-200 persons found refuge with the Sisters; everything was shared.  The unconditional surrender of Germany did not make things easier for the Sisters and the other Germans, but rather made the situation worse.  Especially in the West, hatred against "the Germans" no longer knew any bounds and was directed toward "all" Germans.  During the period following, all Germans had to wear white armbands.

"According to one decree issued in May 1945, all Germans who had entered the country after 1938 were to leave within 18 hours.  This involved four of our older Sisters.  On May 27 they traveled on foot, by train or car through Aue, Gera, Leipzig, Halberstadt and Braunschweig to Höxter, where they finally arrived in Haus Nazareth on June 25, completely exhausted from this unimaginably arduous journey.  They had experienced an incalculable number of refugees, the most difficult conditions of transport and totally inadequate supplies, but again and again they had met good people who helped them."

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