100 years ago, the sisters of st. Francis in fourteen saints found land as the basis for their existence and a mission to serve pilgrims and retreatants. "We have every reason to thank god for this 100-year presence here at this place of pilgrimage", emphasized superior general sister regina prols at a thanksgiving service on sunday in the basilica. During the pontifical mass with archbishop ludwig schick, seven sisters celebrated their 50th anniversary of profession.
From a small beginning in existentially difficult times, a network has developed into the wider world. "In this hour we are gathered to thank god, to ask god and also to be sent anew with impulses", said the superior general.
In the middle of the festive service there is a professed memorial. The sisters hildegard, henrika, reinhilde, engelharda, monika, caroline and annuntiata had made their first official promise – the profession – 50 years ago. "The professed commemoration takes on a very special breadth through its placement within the rough historical framework", said sister regina.
A relationship with god needs liveliness, a living relationship with god increasingly gains in depth. "You have learned to spell out anew the form of life lived voluntarily in ever-changing life situations, said the superior general and added: "you have shared with us the reflection on the deeper reason of your existence. It invites us to reflect on our own personal life project".
The superior general thanked the rector of the basilica, father heribert arens. The date of this weekend in the time of the pilgrimage is a great sign of appreciation. The staff had decorated the basilica not only with hard work, but also with great passion. Organist georg hagel, supported by flotist susi schliefer, gave the celebration a special glamor with his brilliant organ playing. Sister regina also thanked those responsible for politics; without them, her existence in vierzehnheiligen would not be possible. She and the franciscan sisters were especially pleased with the many people who joined in the celebrations. "Your sign of appreciation is so great. They are connected to us in very different ways. Our network is so rich – the foundation on which the present generation stands and may continue to build is so valuable", she put her thanks into words. It enlivens the community because it counteracts the tendency to see only one's own sensitivities.
Thanks from the archbishop
Also archbishop ludwig schick paid high respect to the franciscan sisters of fourteen saints for a century of love of god and of the neighbor, according to the gospel in the spirit of saint franciscus. "I thank you, dear franciscan sisters of fourteen saints, on behalf of the whole church for your service to the glory of god and the salvation of many people", said the archbishop. At the same time, he congratulated the seven female professors.
The archbishop explained that the sisters of vierzehnheiligen had worked beneficially in the archdiocese of bamberg and other german dioceses as well as in the mission in peru, india and croatia. "I thank you for the children you raised and educated in kindergarten and schools. I thank them for the sick who received their help, for the competent care and the human attention in the home care, in hospitals and nursing homes." In peru, india and croatia, the sisters were concerned about education, but also about nursing.
It is good and necessary that the orders have schools, hospitals, retreat houses, social stations and counseling centers. "But jesus christ and his gospel is the ground on which we stand, the vine on which we grow, the body of which we are members", underlined the archbishop. The church is not about whether this or that was built, but "whether we serve people and bring them closer to god and to each other. The works of the orders, as well as of the whole church, are not buildings and institutions, but the sisters and brothers are living stones in the house of god for the people.
Seven sisters – the professed jubilarians
Hildegard braun, born in roth, diocese of eichstatt; as deputy director of the facility, she was active in the specialist clinic for women in family responsibility in wertach.
Henrika fohrweiber, born in neukenroth, archdiocese of bamberg; she had various tasks at the vocational school "st. Kunigund" in vierzehnheiligen, volunteering in the hospice and at the "tafel".
Reinhilde sumbauer, born in tann, diocese of passau; voluntary work in the forest hospital st. St. Mary's in erlangen.
Engelharda braun, born in roth, diocese of eichstatt; currently she moved from obertrubach to the motherhouse in vierzehnheiligen and is always used for voluntary tasks.
Monika kirzinger, born in oberwiesenacker, diocese of eichstatt; volunteer visitation service including pastoral care at the senior care center marienhospital in erlangen.
Caroline prommersberger, born in haidhof, diocese of regensburg; nurse, kneipp and medical bath attendant, works in the specialist clinic for women in family responsibility in wertach.
Annuntiata gartner, born in rachelsberg, archdiocese of munich-frising; nurse, after five years of reconstruction work in india now in the convent in bad feilnbach
district curator of local history praises the courage and dedication of the franciscan sisters
The jubilee celebration of the franciscan sisters took place after the service in the basilica in a tent in the garden of the motherhouse. The motherhouse kitchen offered for lunch venison stew with french dumplings and pork neck steak with vegetables from the monastery garden. For dessert there was a cantuccini cream. The organization under the leadership of the house superior sister claudia hink took over employees of the mutterhau.
The transverse flute quartet flauto con brio offered a feast for the ears, and keynote speaker gunter dippold loved to review 100 years of the sisters of franciscus in vierzehnheiligen. As usual, the district curator of local history punctuated his history lecture with humorous remarks and anecdotes. He made the difficult years transparent, when the sisters went to the "holy mountain" and turned their backs on their homeland in munich and later in landshut. Dippold admired the courage of the sisters who undertook major building projects and led the congregation to a flock of up to 500 nuns. Since then, the number of sisters has decreased, the number of branches has become smaller. "But the energy has grown, as well as the spatial expansion."
Globalization and continuities
Globalization did not stop at the franciscan sisters either. After peru in the 1930s, they have been active in india since 2002, and since 2006 there has been a branch in croatia. The tasks had changed in these 100 years, but there were continuities: the care for the sick, the care for pilgrims, the care for the well-being of those who sought edification or education here. But nursing care had changed, and the walls, the retreats and the educational work had changed.
Changes could be verstorend. "He who has a foothold in a world of change is well off! He who has a home in times of upheaval is fortunate. They, I believe, have found a home here in vierzehnheiligen, this is their home", underlined the keynote speaker. Here, on this ground, stands the community that was not overcome by the internal strife of the 1920s, not by the brown violence of the 1930s, and it will also stand against the economism and doctrinaire individualism of our day, dippold was convinced.
"The country made richer"
"But you have given something back to your home town of vierzehnheiligen: you make the people who visit this place richer, and through your efforts you have made the country richer, namely the country here on the obermain", summed up the district curator of local history.
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