Friday, August 11, 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.

Gradual Changes in Fields of Activity
The diversity of activities in Germany, already established because of the Kulturkampf, was strengthened during and after the Second World War.  After pioneer activities during the initial postwar years, the Sisters placed renewed emphasis on their main apostolate: the rearing and education of children and young people in schools and kindergartens, in the School for the Blind, in boarding schools and homes.  A second apostolate included service in hospitals, homes for the elderly and as visiting nurses, as far as was possible given the available personnel.  In modern times, new emphasis is being given to service in parishes and pastoral activities, partly integrated in the above mentioned tasks, but also explicitly in parishes and in the retreat house.
. . .
Given the changes everywhere in state, Church and society, combined with the search of many people for the meaning of life, it was appropriate that further answers to the needs of the times be found.  There was opportunity for timely pastoral activities, which were in keeping with the purpose of the [retreat] house.
. . .
After the problems of the first postwar years, schools steadily improved.  Children and young people of all ages were enrolled and challenged by multi-faceted possibilities.  Again and again, increasing demands by officials necessitated structural and program changes.  These called forth much effort, but in the end, had positive results. . . . What had been "Community Schools" now became "Schools in the Community's Tradition," . . . aware of their responsibility to keep this tradition alive and to make it visible in the various aspects of school life: Pauline von Mallinckrodt continues to be the role model.
. . .
During the first years after the war, homes concerned themselves with recovery  from damages and the need for daily bread. . . . Amid changing political and social circumstances, new pedagogical findings, legal policies and changed requirements had to be implemented. . . . The goal of training in a home is oriented toward a Christian view of the human person.  It gives children and young people the help they need to develop their personality, to be able to return to their families or to lead independent lives after they leave the home.
. . .
The area of nursing services is vast. . . . In the German Province there was a gradual shift away from large institutions and administrative positions to activities that were more geared toward spiritual and pastoral service in the same institutions.  The reason for this lay partly in the availability of personnel, but more pressingly in need, brought about by the times, for concern for and spiritual care of people.
. . .
"Serve the blind!" The Congregation considered these words of Mother Pauline a mandate to do what it could in the work for the blind. . . . A constant adaptation to the demands of the times is evident.  Mother Pauline's straightforward and challenging mandate is still valid.

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