The Pallottine Sisters of the German Province had the great joy of looking back with gratitude on the lives of ten jubilarians - 70, 65, 60 and 50 years of profession, a celebration for our community. The Solemn Mass was celebrated in the Provincial Chapel on Saturday Evening, 14 August by Auxiliary Bishop of Limburg Dr. Thomas Löhr, who is very attached to the Pallottine Family. His sermon encouraged us to never stop contributing our charism to the Church. The festivity was heightened by the wonderful singing of an ensemble of eight singers from the Limburg Cathedral Choir. And the fact that the Jubilee celebrations fell during the time of the visitation of our Superior General Sr. Izabela Świerad and her General Vicar Sr. Josephina D'Souza was another highlight and joy. All together we honored the Jubilarians and, looking at their biographies, joyfully thanked God for calling them to be missionaries in our Congregation.
70th anniversary of religious profession
Sr. Bonifazis Kress:
Therese, called Resi, was born in Fulda as the youngest of eight children. Three siblings died in the war. After her school years, she completed a domestic science training and then cared for her sick mother, and after her mother's death she stayed with her father. When she sent her request for admission to Limburg, she wrote: "I feel called to help spread the Kingdom of God on earth." This calling was also shared by the family. Her father gave his daughter, then still a minor, his consent to enter, and a sister took over their father's care. Trained as a home economist, nurse and dietary kitchen manager, she served as dietary assistant and kitchen manager for many years in various houses of our Congregation. Until the closing of our convent at St. Anna Hospital in Hadamar in 2004, she was the local superior there for 17 years. Before that, she had already been local superior at Pallotti House in Vallendar for six years Thank you Sr. Bonifazis for listening to your heart and remaining faithful throughout your life to what you expressed in 1948: "I have an ardent desire to enter the missionary service of the Pallottine Sisters."
Sr. Irmgard Beck:
Irmgard grew up with her three sisters and her brother in a family that "enjoys the very best reputation in the whole parish and local community", as the parish priest of her home parish wrote. Irmgard felt a deep calling to missionary service and to our Congregation. Her heart was filled with love for God, to whose call she gladly responded. As a graduate surgery nurse she worked for 25 years at the Vinzenz Pallotti Hospital in Bensberg. Afterwards she lived for a long time in our local community in Refrath and is now in House Felizitas since 2014. Thank you, Sr. Irmgard, for your inner depth and your care for the sick and for all your fellow sisters. We know that you always take us into your prayers.
65 years of profession
Sr. Concordia George:
Marianne grew up as the third of eight children in a family that took an active and leading part in church life. Despite the loss of her homeland and her experiences while fleeing, her deep roots in faith helped her to never doubt that God sustains the lives of all people. Already as a young girl, the desire to become a missionary matured in Marianne. And indeed, she was sent to our mission in South Africa during her junior year in 1957. She stayed there until 2008, working in nursing and pastoral care of the sick. After her return to Germany, she served as sacristan in our Provincial House Chapel until she moved to House Felizitas. Thank you, Sr. Concordia, for realising what you wrote as your heart's desire in your letter of request for admission to our Congregation in 1947: You wanted to go into the mission to tell of God's love and kindness to those who did not know the Lord yet.
60th anniversary of profession
Sr. Annemarie Niessen:
Annemarie and her three siblings, who survived infancy, were lovingly accompanied by their parents as they grew into the faith. Her father lively signed the permission for Annemarie to become a religious according to her own free wish. She herself answered to the question why she wanted to enter missionary service by saying that she wanted to work with God's grace in the service of the poor and the sick. She was able to put this into practice as a graduate nurse and surgery nurse. When Sr. Annemarie was sent to South Africa in 1970, she practised her ministry in various places. Among others, she was involved in our St. Joseph`s Home for disabled children, at the Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Pinelands and in setting up an outpatient clinic for destitute patients. Before Sr. Annemarie returned to Germany in 2020, she was Provincial Superior of the South African Province for five years. Thank you, Sr. Annemarie, for allowing God to take you into service in our Congregation for the poor and the sick. And also a heartfelt thanks that you were willing to bear great responsibility in the Congregation. Keep your South Africa in your heart and let the southern sun continue to shine here in Limburg with your smile.
Sr. Editha Franz:
Helga grew up with her three siblings in her birthplace of Emsdetten. Her family also had to cope with strokes of fate – her sister Hildegard died at the age of three and her father was killed in the war – Helga was only four at the time. Helga's mother found stability in her faith, which she passed on to her children. How important the sacraments were to Helga at an early age is shown by the fact that she named the dates of baptism, first communion and confirmation as cornerstones in her curriculum vitae. She was convinced that God was calling her to the Pallottine Congregation and she gladly followed this call. As a graduate nurse and hospital chaplain, Sr. Editha worked at the hospital in Erlenbach for a total of 44 years. After her return to Limburg, she was first entrusted with the pastoral care of our elderly sisters in House Felizitas and then took over the management of the social service until the end of 2019. From 2007 to 2010, she was superior for House Felizitas. Up to today, she continues to work tirelessly for the sisters there. Thank you, Sr. Editha, for your commitment. You listen to the many small and larger wishes of your fellow sisters and also refresh them every now and then with a cool ice cream on hot summer evenings.
Sr. Bernita Rothenberger:
Rita was born in Baden-Baden, as the middle of three children. She was only six years old when her father died in the war. After her school days she was already working in a kindergarten and her talent for guide children was noticed. So Sr. Bernita was trained as a kindergarten teacher at the Marienschule here in Limburg. In this role and as principal of the kindergarten, Sr. Bernita was employed in various kindergartens, including Limburg, Eddersheim, Obertiefenbach and Arfurt. For 21 years she lived in the community in Munich and innumerable people bought her products at the bazaars and thus supported our mission in Brazil. Today Sr. Bernita lives in House Felizitas. Thank you, Sr. Bernita, for following what you sensed before you entered – it was God's will that led you to contribute as a Pallottine Sister to the salvation of others. Before your final profession, you asked the then Provincial Government to pray for you and all those of your class, that you may maintain your decision every day anew and faithfully. Today you are here – faithful for 60 years.
Sr. Ephrem Else Lau:
Else was born in Frankfurt on the Main. During the war, she lived with her mother and two younger brothers in Lower Franconia for a while. When she was eight years old, her father was killed in the war. In the application documents for admission, there is a testimony from the parish priest of her home parish in Frankfurt. He emphasises that Else was always loyal to her family and a good help to her mother. In her application for admission she wrote that she wanted to go into mission service out of love for Christ and for the people waiting for His message. After studying sociology, Sr. Ephrem completed her doctorate at the University of Munich, where she worked as an assistant Professor and held teaching positions at other universities. Internally, she later served as Provincial Vicar and Provincial Superior. In 1985 she went to our mission in Brazil and was involved in the pastoral care of the parish there and was the mistress of our Brazilian junior sisters for five years. After 20 years in Brazil, she returned to the Marienborn community in 2015. Thank you Sr. Ephrem for living every day what you have described as your motivation – the love for Christ and for people urges you on. Your faithfulness in prayer and your care for all your fellow sisters are a great gift for our Congregation. Whether in Brazil or in Germany, you have never lost your focus on the needs of others – whether in real or spiritual poverty. We are all indebted to you for always being ready to take on services. You never refused a request for help.
Sr. Marie Luise Braun:
Marie Luise grew up with her four siblings in her birthplace Merchweiler in Saarland. Even before joining, she attended a school for childcare workers. Marie Luise, who was only seventeen years old, noted on the questionnaire for her entry that she wanted to help the Lord save souls. It was a great blessing for many children that Sr. Marie Luise worked as a graduate nursery nurse in kindergartens in Hangelar, Wehrden, Eddersheim and Obertiefenbach. Intuitively she encouraged those entrusted to her and her musical talent was also a great fortune for the children. She shared her love of music with us as an organist, flautist and singer in the Schola. For a long time she held our media archive. Thank you, Sr. Marie Luise, that although you were still so young, you remained faithful on the path. You had the very special gift of accompanying the youngest in such a way that they could discover and develop their very own talents. You were able to do this because you yourself had many talents. You did not keep them for yourself, but shared them.
Sr. Regina Hollingshaus:
Irmgard was born in Cologne as the only child of her parents. When she was one year old, the family moved to Erbach in the Taunus. Like all the other applicants, Irmgard had sent a testimony from her home parish to Limburg and with very sensitive words the parish priest wrote that it was very difficult for the parents to accept their daughter's step. He went on to write that her decision to become a religious did not come suddenly, but matured gradually over a long period of time. Irmgard wanted to participate in the spreading of the faith and she felt that God was directing her into the Pallottine Congregation. Sr. Regina has graduated in nursing and children's nursing and worked in our hospitals in Hadamar and Bensberg in nursing and in the hospice. For 23 years she worked as a nurse in palliative care in our St. Josefshaus in Refrath. For the local community there she was assigned as superior for six years. And from 1980 to 1986 she was a member of the Provincial Council. Thank you, Sr. Regina, for your loving attendance to so many people who went their last way. You showed them heaven as their goal. In St. Josefshaus you and your fellow Sisters keep our Pallottine charism alive. You left your mother and father to follow Christ – we are grateful for your courage to radically listen to your heart.
The golden profession of 50 years
Sr. Gertrud Meiser:
Together with her two older sisters, Gertrud grew up in Merchweiler. The family was rooted in the faith and the aunts also urged their nieces to pray diligently. The home parish priest wrote about Gertrud before she entered: "Anything negative could not be put forward, on the contrary, according to human judgement, all the prerequisites for a vocation should be given." In many words he expressed that Gertrud gladly followed the call of her Lord. In preparation for the admission to the Congregation, Sr. Rosa wrote: "Each postulant should bring her own black dress, simple and not really too short, a little below the knees. The pelerine is no longer worn by the postulants." Sr. Gertrud studied business administration at the University of Applied Sciences in Koblenz. This was followed by various further training courses in guiding retreats and adult education and finally the theological Würzburg correspondence course. She was employed as an administrative manager in various institutions of our Congregation. In the service of the diocese of Limburg she worked as a parish worker in Taunusstein-Wehen and as a prison chaplain in the prison in Limburg. Internally, she was in charge of our retreat house in Limburg and worked for our Congregation as novice mistress, provincial vicar, provincial councillor and local superior. Thank you, Sr. Gertrud, for listening when God enticed you to follow Him in our Congregation. Again and again you were ready to take on new tasks – externally and internally. You touched many people and saw Christ in them – yes, you even visited him in prison. When you left Wehen, you wrote to the parish that life was calling you to go your way step by step. It is good for us that your path is the path with us.
Dear jubilarians, all of you have enriched and shaped our community. For this we all thank you so much. When we renew our profession during the Pontifical High Mass this afternoon, I am sure that you will go back in your thoughts 50, 60, 65 and 70 years. May the first love fill your heart again and may the Lord give all of you many more years and with it strength and health.
Sr. Astrid Meinert SAC