On the occasion of the 181st anniversary of the foundation of our congregation, we send you warm festive greetings.
In our international congregation the past few months have been marked by the provincial and regional chapters and have presented us with many challenges and choices. In addition, there will be the chapter on the unification of the four provinces into one province in Latin America in January 2024.
Therefore, at this important moment in our history, we would like to remind you of our origins with the beautiful stained-glass window that depicts Eduard Michelis and strengthen our bond with each other.
The stained-glass window has a long history. It comes from the Netherlands and was designed by Sr. Gotharde Geuer (1886 – 1981). In 1948 this window was installed as an exterior window at St. Joseph's Monastery in Steyl. After the sale of St. Joseph's Monastery in Steyl, it was 1994 installed as an interior window in St. Anne's Monastery in Tegelen. In 2015, the German Province took over the stained-glass window because the St. Anne's Monastery in Tegelen was also sold. Finally, during the renovation of the Generalate, the stained-glass window received its place in the exhibition room of the Generalate.
We are deeply grateful to the Dutch community for this beautiful legacy.
With the design of this window, Sr. Gotharde Geuer has tried to express some of what characterizes us Sisters of Divine Providence.
In the center is a tree that has grown from a seed into a large tree. Its branches have spread so that the birds can nest in it. Sr. Gotharde reminds us of the expansion of the kingdom of God and at the same time of the Bible text that the foxes have their dens..., but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. (cf. Mtt. 8:20). For at the very bottom of the glass window we can see the foxes.
We can also discover the birds in the sky and the lilies in the field which remind us of God's Providence: "Look at the birds of the air: they do not sow, they do not reap, nor gather provisions in barns; your heavenly Father feeds them. /.../ And why do you worry about your clothes. Learn from the lilies of the field how they grow: they do not work or spin." (Mtt. 6:26-28)
In the crown of the tree there is a blue triangle with the hand of God reaching out of a red circle with rays. These various signs symbolize our faith in Divine Providence, in the love and fidelity of the Triune God.
Eduard Michelis writes the words "DEUS PRO VIDEBIT" on a ribbon in Latin, i.e. "God will provide", "He is Providence".
Dear Sisters, our founder Eduard Michelis has entrusted us with trust in God and Divine Providence and has already left it as his legacy in the original Rule of 1844.
Trust in God's Providence is the common thread that runs through our history. It is the trust that God leads our lives down to the smallest things in our lives. Yes, it is the deep belief that everything will be fine because God has promised us: "Be strong and of good courage! be not frightened neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9)
From this confidence, may we bring the good news of God's redeeming love, of light and warmth, of reconciliation and peace through Jesus Christ to our torn world. Let us allow ourselves to be seized and inspired again and again by Jesus Christ in order to bear witness of God's love and Christian hope with the people, especially with the poor.
Dear sisters, on the foundation day, we wish you much joy, hope and trust! We send each and every one of you a warm hug.
Sr. Lydia, Sr. Maria Rita, Sr. Christa, Sr. Prisca, Sr. Maria Beatriz