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.