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.