Friday, September 29, 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.

New Foundation in the Philippines

Our mission in the Philippines, which began in 1995, was a foundation made on the Congregational level, staffed by an international community and responsible to the Generalate as a delegation.  The main activity is the apostolate for the blind, for which Cardinal Sin from Manila had invited our Congregation in 1992.  This was given serious thought and despite the shortage of Sisters, the decision was made to accept this work.  Many people in this eastern Asiatic country live in great poverty, but the blind and the sight-impaired, the largest percentage worldwide, especially need help.  Leadership saw this as a special call to our Congregation.  After traveling to the Philippines to assess the situation, Mother Gregoris Michels concluded that "a rich and multifaceted missionary activity for the education of the blind" was opening up for us.  She continued, "Again and again I am reminded of the time 150 years ago when Mother Pauline began to care for the blind.  There is a similarity between the conditions in Westfalen at her time and those in the Philippines today."  After much deliberation and prayer, the decision was reached to accept the new foundation.  By the end of 1994 the negotiations and preparations were so far that three Sisters, two from the North American Eastern Province and one from the German Province, were able to leave after a preparatory period in Paderborn and Rome.  This new beginning in hope and trust was at the same time a departure and a risk. 

The date of foundation is the date when the Sisters landed in the Philippines, January 25, 1995.  They received their first orientation from the Benedictine Sisters from Tutzing, who had been in the Philippines for some time.  On February 4, 1995 they moved into their small house in Quezon City, a suburb of Manila.  That same evening one of the priests came from the parish, celebrated the first Holy Mass in the small chapel and reserved the Blessed Sacrament.  This was in keeping with Mother Pauline's desires, because it was very important to her that the Sisters were not without the Blessed Sacrament.  The first weeks in Manila were "spent making contacts with other Congregations, with authorities and groups in the parish and areas of service."  This was especially important because this small group formed the first and only convent we had on the Asian Continent.  Instructions in Tagalog, the language of the country, were also part of their immersion.  Since work with the blind was to be their main apostolate, the Sisters worked in a rehabilitation facility for blind youth and young adults as well as in a Center for the handicapped.  Soon they realized the dangers to which blind women were exposed in their surroundings.  To offer them a secure place to stay and support, without curtailing their independence, the Sisters used donations to purchase a small row house for six to eight women next to their house.  This home, named after Margaretha Feichtler, for whose acceptance in the School for the Blind in Paderborn Mother Pauline had taken personal responsibility, was the seed of the later Margaretha Home for the Blind (MHB).  By February 1997, a small residence for 10 women and girls was supported by donations.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Praying and Helping

There are so many people who need our help these days.  We continue to pray for those who have been devastated by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria -- in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and other areas of the Carribean.  We pray, too, for those affected by the earthquakes in Mexico.  So many local communities and parishes are collecting donations.  Additionally, if you'd like to donate toward the efforts of Catholic Relief Services, click here.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Beatification of Father Stanley Rother

Click here to read the OSV article on Father Stanley Rother, who will be beatified today at the Oklahoma City convention center.  Father Stanley, a priest from Oklahoma, was killed in his rectory in Guatemala in 1981. The article provides a glimpse into the life of Father Rother and a timeline of his beatification cause.

Friday, September 22, 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.

In 1949, the celebration of the 100th anniversary of its foundation was a highpoint in the life of the Congregation.  In all Provinces, it was a time of deep gratitude, an incentive or the inner renewal of each Sister and an opportunity to help the poor. . . .
. . .
Afterwards the grave of Pauline von Mallinckrodt was frequently "the goal of pilgrimages" for groups and individuals and "many a person weighed down with suffering brought his pain to Mother Pauline and placed his intentions in writing on the marble slab." . . . On the occasion of the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the German Catholic Teachers (female) Society in 1955, whole groups of the attending guests came to St. Conrad's Chapel.  At the first public meeting, Dr. Lorenz Jäger held Mother Pauline up as "the ideal of a Catholic teacher and urged all to approach their work in education in her spirit."

That same year the wondrous healing of Sister Christophora Ostermann took place.  Sister was a member of the German Province and at 29 years of age, was seriously ill with Multiple Sclerosis.  All medications were unsuccessful and the neurologist admitted that there was nothing more that he could do for her.  She suffered from terrible pain in her entire body and from severe dizziness day and night.  Failing eyesight, paralysis of her arms and total paralysis of her legs made her as helpless as a child.  In this state, she was transferred to our Home for the Elderly in Wiedenbrück on May 13, 1955.  . . . Completely surrendered to the Will of God, she continued with great confidence to pray to Mother Pauline, to whom we had already made numerous novenas begging her to obtain Sister Christophora's healing.  How surprised we all were, when on the 14th a phone call from Wiedenbrück brought us the joyous news that Sister Christophora had been healed. . . . This healing played a special role in the beatification process. . . . The attending physician had submitted reports about the illness and treatment and after exhaustive study of the matter, he had come to the conclusion that "the healing and the disappearance of all symptoms of the illness within one half hour were medically and scientifically unexplainable."  Various doctors and nurses and also the hospital in Neuhaus where Sister Christophora had been treated in 1954 were questioned.   As the process continued, the Church recognized the healing as miraculous.  After her sudden return to health, Sister Christophora was able to continue her apostolate for 40 years and the participate in daily community life.  She was the director of the knitting department in the School for the Blind and died on June 1, 2010.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

International Day of Peace

The International Day of Peace is observed each year on September 21.  This year's theme is "Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All."  Let us continue to pray for peace in our world.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Dream Act

On September 5, 2017, the Catholic Bishops of New Jersey issued this statement in support of the Dream Act of 2017 (S. 1615/HR. 3440).  If you would like more information on how to encourage your elected officials to support the Dream Act, please click here to go to the Justice for Immigrants site.

Friday, September 15, 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.

Ever since the end of the war, the Sisters in America, and Mother Anselmis, the Superior General who was still living there, waited for the return of mail service with Germany.  It was not until August 1946 that the USA could send 11 pound packages with food and clothing.  Later, the weight allowance was increased. "Immediately a long procession of packages began across the ocean."  . . . At first, the government in Chile only allowed items to be sent generally.  Thus crates with food and clothing were sent to the Caritas Society in Germany.  . . . Until direct mail service was available at the end of 1947, the Sisters in Uruguay sent their gifts to Germany by way of Switzerland. . . . Help from America in the form of money and/or goods, packed in packages, crates or barrels, continued undiminished for several years.  Besides our convents, these also helped many other persons to survive the difficult postwar years.

After a 14 year absence due to political circumstances, the long-awaited return of the Superior General, Mother Anselmis Nickes and her traveling companion Sister Mathilde Niemann took place in May 1948.  In August of the same year, a General Chapter could once more be convened, the first in 16 years.  Representatives from all the Provinces gathered for exchange and deliberations.  The Chapter was characterized by . . . solidarity and a strong sense of unity within the Congregation.  When thanking the American Provincials and Sisters Mother Romana Löffler, Provincial of the German Province said: "After God, we thank you that we are more or less able to work and that we can serve God's kingdom.  Just when the food supply in Germany, which had already been meager during the war, became totally insufficient and most German families knew hunger, the first of your gifts arrived."  Then followed the gratitude for dresses, coats, fabric, yarn, meditation books, rosaries, medicine . . . "Without your help we could not have accepted any Candidates or invested any Postulants . . . and our building!  Without your loving help and support, it would have long remained in ruins."

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Father Uzhunnalil

In March 2016, we were horrified at the news of the murder of four Missionaries of Charity and 12 others and the kidnapping of Salesian Father Thomas Uzhunnalil in Yemen.  Yesterday, Father Uzhunnalil was released and today he met with Pope Francis.  Let us offer prayers of gratitude to God for the return of Father Uzhunnalil and let us continue to pray for all who are persecuted throughout the world, especially our brothers and sisters in religious life.  Click here for more information.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Prayer and Fasting on 9/11

For several years, we have prayed and fasted for peace on the 11th of each month.  Today, we also pause to remember the anniversary of the terror attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001.  The SCC Western Region has prepared a prayer service ("A Prayer of Remembrance, Comfort and Hope," available here) to help us in our commitment toward non-violence in our world.

Friday, September 8, 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.

Our Congregation took various means to acquaint young women with religious life.  These varied according to country.  In 1946, the Western Province opened a so-called Juniorate in Wilmette with seven girls, who could become more acquainted with the community and, at the same time, continue or complete their high school education. . . . About the same time (1947), a Juniorate was established in San Bernardo, Chile with five girls from the colegio.  The Uruguay/Argentina Province opened a Juniorate in Montevideo, Uruguay, and in Martinez, Argentina. "Because relations between the Motherhouse and the Argentine houses was getting more and more difficult due to political opposition, the Province also created a Postulancy in Martinez for Argentine applicants that same year. . . . The Juniorate, which had been begun in Paderborn in 1925, was first moved to Wiedenbrück and later to Soest, but was discontinued in 1936 due to unfavorable circumstances.

In order to further the education of the young women in formation the Eastern Province opened a Junior College in Mendham, Assumption College.  Young girls from the schools where our Sisters taught were invited to visit Mendham.  They were hosted by the Aspirants and participated in vocation assemblies.

The lace of personnel led the Chilean Province to introduce five Cooperadoras for the first time in 1950.  Thus the foundation was laid for a project that had been in the planning for some time already: "to gain young women who felt drawn to religious life, but who were unable to follow their desire for whatever reason, to become fellow workers in building up the kingdom of God in the Chilean Province."

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

DACA Explained

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is on the minds and hearts of many today. Hopefully, this article (written before the administration's announcement yesterday) will help us to have a greater understanding of DACA.

Especially during the next six months, let's continue to pray for immigrants -- especially those who are most affected by the decisions being made -- and those who make the decisions.

"God of the journey, God of the traveler, We pray for those who leave their homes in search of new beginnings and possibilities.  May they know your presence with them. We pray that those who seek to make a home in this country may find us welcoming and willing to help them find a path toward citizenship.  We pray that our legislators may find the wisdom and courage to enact new policies that do justice for our country and for those who would immigrate here.  We pray for those who fan the flames of fear and discrimination against the undocumented; may they be touched with your divine compassion. Amen" (from Collected Prayers for Immigrants, by Interfaith Worker Justice).

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

September Issue of Stop Trafficking

Click here to access the September 2017 issue of  the Stop Trafficking! Anti-Human Trafficking newsletter.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Labor Day Statement: Adopting God's Gaze of Love

Please click here for the Labor Day Statement of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).  Adopting the language of Pope Francis, the statement urges us to take on God's "gaze of love," concluding:  "On this Labor Day, then, let us give thanks to God present to us in the Eucharist as we toil for our heavenly reward. Let us give thanks for the human vocation to work, and strive to make our businesses, our communities, our nation, and our world places where the human person can fully thrive.  And let us give thanks, finally, for the opportunity to encounter Christ present in those in need, along with the great gifts that come in demonstrating care and concern for our most vulnerable brothers and sisters, including those experiencing great poverty in the area of work.  May we all earnestly seek to adopt God's "gaze of love" as our own, to envision and make real a world of work restored "in deed and in truth."

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Assisting Storm Victims

Please click here to read Dan Stockman's article in Global Sisters Report about members of religious communities assisting victims of Hurricane Harvey in the Texas area.  Please continue to pray for the victims and those who assist them.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

From Denville to Uganda

Please take a moment to read this touchingly beautiful article in  The Beacon about Morris Catholic senior, Ben Duphiney, Assumption College for Sisters student Sister Mary Cecilia Akol and their mission of mercy from Denville to Uganda.  Because both Morris Catholic and ACS are very "near and dear" to the Sisters of Christian Charity, we are happy to share this story with you.  Thanks to Beacon reporter, Cecile Pagliarulo, for the article, "Cultivating Friendships."

Friday, September 1, 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 years from 1945 until the Second Vatican Council -- Anxious holding on and cautious setting out"

The topic "Lack of Sisters" or "Lack of Personnel" is nothing new in our time.  It is a common theme throughout the Chronicles. Even in the 1950's when there was still a steady growth in the Congregation, there is mention of the small number.  How often the various places which had to be refused for that reason are listed with regret.  The main objective always remained, to further the religious spiritual education and stability of the Sisters, "because all effectiveness will remain fruitless, if it is not the fruit of the inner spirit."  While, during these years the regret was usually that further houses or activities could not be accepted, later on, the regret is more often expressed over relinquishing of foundations or apostolic activities.  Countermeasures to this development were undertaken by easing workloads with the help of technical advances and the gradual employment of lay co-workers.  In the Western Province (USA), e.g., with the agreement of parishes, a lay person was employed for every sixth Sister.  In this way, the Province was able to take on two new schools.  In the 1956 Chronicles of the German Province this revealing sentence is recorded:  "With this pressing need for personnel, we Sisters cannot remain in activities which can be carried out just as well by the laity."  The Church urged the Congregations to combine smaller communities while maintaining their apostolic activities.