Friday, May 12, 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.

[We continue last week's post spoke about the Bohemian Vice Province and the beginning of the Sisters' departure from Schlackenwerth.]

"For the 39 remaining Sisters the situation became ever more threatening.  Mother Theresia Strachwitz, the Superior of the Vice Province sent a letter to Mother Liboria in Paderborn on July 9, 1945, in which she wrote that 'it was totally useless to take steps to be able to remain herer.  We would have no prospect of any kind of activity or livelihood.  Our mission here is literally ended. . . .' Mother Teresia risked her life trying to obtain permission to leave.  This meant many trips under difficult conditions (Germans were forbidden to travel by train) for meetings with various officials of state and church. . . . The Sisters left Schlackenwerth on November 8, 1945. . . The journey, in two groups, began . . . amid unimaginable difficulties.  The van that had been put at their disposal proved unserviceable already on the first day.  With great effort, after a 19 hour trip (usually took 1 1/2 hours) and a night in the bitter cold on the highway, the Sister reached Eger, where friendly people from the town came to their aid.  There they found refuge with the Sisters of the Cross, until another means of transport was able to be obtained and the journey to Waldsassen could continue on November 14.  After stopping for another week, they continued on in two groups by train to Bad Kissingen, where the Mary Ward Sisters offered them accommodations.  Finally, on November 25, they were all able to travel together in a furniture van to Fulda, where they were heartily received by the Vincentians and remained for a week. . . . They continued on to Kassel by bus on December 2 and then to the Motherhouse in Paderborn.  As the Angelus bells rang at noon on the second Sunday in Advent, in pouring rain, the large bus pulled into the courtyard.  The Sisters in the Motherhouse had been awaiting the arrival of their Sister Companions.  Due to poor mail connections, the Motherhouse Sisters did not know whether their departure had been successful and, on the other hand, the arriving Sisters had no idea of the extent of the destruction of the Motherhouse.  They wept at the sight."

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