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 "Heimkehrz├╝ge" (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.