Friday, August 4, 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.

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One example will give us a brief glimpse into the turbulent times.  On March 28, 1945, the female teacher in the town of Wünnenberg took two now homeless Sisters from St. Joseph House into her home -- her blood sister, Sister Siglinda Potthast and Sister Virginia Gerke.  The long-cherished wish of the people and their pastor to have Sisters in their parish reawakened.  Besides, the rooms of the kindergarten, which had been dissolved by the NSV were empty.  After the Sisters could no longer withstand the pressure, Sister Siglinda rode to Paderborn on a bike to consult the Provincial Superior.  In the meantime, to keep herself busy, Sister Virginia had begun to clean and get the kindergarten rooms in order.  In the midst of housecleaning, the pastor met her and asked when kindergarten would begin.  Sister told him that "first the answer from the Motherhouse was still pending and, besides, there was still much to do. . . . As he left, the pastor said, 'We begin tomorrow.' Sister did not take him seriously.  The next morning (April 20) she could not believe her ears when at the end of Holy Mass, he announced, 'At 10:00 am today kindergarten will begin, conducted by the Sisters of Christian Charity.' Three hours later, 80 to 100 mothers appeared to entrust their children to the Sister.  What could she do?"  She never expected such a large group.  She began her work trusting in God and "with silent concern in her heart" what the Motherhouse would decide.  Late that afternoon, Sister Siglinda returned -- with a refusal.  The Sisters were to be recalled from Wünnenberg on April 23.  Paderborn had no way of knowing how the situation had changed here.  So, the following day, Sister Virginia traveled to the Motherhouse to explain everything.  The result:  the Sisters were able to stay in Wünnenberg.  Upon a further request from the people, a Sister nurse came on Many 29 and in the course of the year two more Sisters.  In November/December, they were able to move into their own house and to open a sewing school.

Later on some of these convents were closed, because the Sisters were needed for other activities in the Congregation.  According to Canon Law, convents with less than four Sisters were not recognized and, after the General Chapter of 1948, had to be dissolved.  The decision brought much unpleasantness with it.  The people had gladly taken the Sisters into their homes in 1945 and they had been such a blessing everywhere.

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