to our 178th foundation day we sent you very warm wishes and blessings.
On this foundation feast, we would like to remember special events and commemorations in our Congregation, which fill us with confidence and gratitude.
Let us remember:
On February 9, 2020, we have finished our 29th General Chapter. It is with great joy that, on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus – on 19 June 2020 – we received the decree from the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life, approving our updated constitutions. We look forward to holding this treasure in our hands soon and to align our lives with it.
This year we are looking at three important anniversaries through which our Congregation has grown. We celebrate the 125th anniversary of the presence of our congregation in Latin America! In gratitude we remember Mother Bertha and Director Wienken, who were open to the missionary call and were able to inspire sisters from Germany. Accompanied by Padre Topp and Chaplain Tombrock, the first six sisters left for Brazil on February 11, 1895. After about six weeks of seafaring, the travellers arrived on 27 March 1895 in the port of Desterro, now Florianopolis. Dear Sisters, the 125th anniversary in Brazil is a memorable event. From the small seed that the German sisters have sown, it has become a large tree. We thank the God of Providence and the many sisters who testify to God's love.
On July 6, 1960, 60 years ago, four sisters from the Netherlands and Germany made their way to Muona in Malawi. Dutch Monfortans, who had a mission station in Muona/Malawi, realized at the time that they lacked nuns for the hospital and for the school. Thus, they asked our congregation for sisters. So our mission in Malawi began with caring for children, the poor and the sick.
Another reason for joy is the 25th anniversary of our mission in Mozambique. Some sisters from Brazil and Malawi addressed the plight of the people who had fled to Malawi during the Mozambican civil war. After the end of the civil war, the refugees returned to their homeland. The sisters went with them and accompanied their new beginning. In this way the mission developed in Mozambique.
We see that the prophetic words of Franz Spiegel have reverberated again and again in our congregational history: "The sisters are not only there for the orphans of the Mauritz orphanage, they should form a kind of mission and go far out to seek everywhere for what is lost".
It is enriching to look in our chronicle at the missionary history of our international congregation. The cry of the people, the reality today, the urgent invitation of Pope Francis to be on the rise of the Church, touches our missionary spirit and motivates us to venture new beginnings.
Our anniversaries celebrate our missionary work in Latin America and Africa. We are grateful to the sisters who dared to go out and meet other peoples and cultures. - In the coming days, let us include in our prayers the sisters of the German province who will hold their provincial chapter in Haus Mariengrund in Münster from 6 to 13 November.
A big thank you also goes to the sisters in Asia, - Indonesia - who are already present on three islands and are a blessing for the people there. Together we bear witness to the love of God and Christian hope. Yes, we are witnesses of God's Providence.
On our feast day, let us be re-infected by the courage and enthusiasm of our first missionaries, by the countless witnesses who have followed them and are already in eternity. Let us ignite the flame of our calling together with our fellow-sisters with whom we live. Thus we can be women of hope on our four continents and testify to God's tenderness and mercy in the joy of the Gospel. Let us move forward with confidence towards our Horizon.
On the Foundation day, we wish you much joy, hope and confidence! We send to each and every one of you a warm hug.
Sr. Lydia Liong, Sr. Maria Rita Xavier Mendes, Sr. Maria Beatriz Mohr, Sr. Christa Brünen, Sr. Prisca Phwandaphwanda