In Germany from 1915 until today
The founding of the first house of the Missionary sisters in Germany takes place at the time of World War I (1914-1918). Mother Immaculata, who was in Germany at the beginning of the war, could not return to Brazil as planned. All country borders were closed. She used this time to look for housing for the German candidates who were entering the Congregation. Until this time the Poor Clares in Muenster prepared the young women for the mission in Brazil.
On March 1, 1915 the candidates were able to relocate to small living quarters and finally on April 1, 1915 they moved to a large house. In remembrance of Sr. Immaculata's miraculous cure, the house was named LOURDESKLOSTER.
On November 23, 1915, Mother Immaculata was able to return to Brazil via Amsterdam. This was possible because the Netherlands kept their neutrality during World War I.
Despite the need caused by war, the number of candidates entering the Lourdeskloster convent grew but they were unable to leave the country for Brazil due to the dangers caused by the sharp U-boat war. Unable to predict how long the war would last, on November 11, 1918 Bishop Johannes Poggenburg – Bishop of Muenster –officially approved the establishment of the novitiate house at the Lourdeskloster Convent. On this same day, World War I ended !
When Germany turned to politically quiet times, 12 Missionary Sisters were able to begin their journey to Brazil on January 6, 1920. The community in Germany grew. Consequently, a new novitiate house was built in1928 outside the city: the "MISSIONSKLOSTER ST. JOSEPH" in Muenster-Wilkinghege. Here the Missionary Sisters were prepared for their missionary work in Brazil, China and the USA.
In January 1933 the Nationalistic German Workers Party built a fascist organization with a claim of World power which made Germany a dictatorship. The Nationalists persecuted and murdered political and ideological persons of different opinions and sent Jewish, Sinti and Roman as well as handicapped persons to prisons and concentration camps to systematically kill them.
The Nazi regime hated the Catholic Church, especially religious communities. Hostile laws against religious communities and unannounced searching of the houses became the rule, followed by arrests and even assassination of religious.
In 1941 the Nationalists took over the "Lourdeskloster" and the "Missionskloster St. Josef" and expelled all sisters from Muenster with the order to not settle in Rheinland and Westfalen. With the help of the bishop of Muenster, Clemens August von Galen, they found help in the "Oldenburger Land" and were split in pairs to different sisters' communities, where they worked in their hospitals, as well as in parish communities etc. to help the people.
The Nazis started World War II on September 1, 1939, creating another obstacle for the sisters: there were no contacts allowed between the sisters in Germany with our sisters in Brazil, USA and China. Especially painful was that Nazi Germany was in state of war with the USA and Brazil. Nevertheless the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception built a spiritual bond, which could not be cut.
After the end of World War II, our sisters were able to return to Munster by the end of 1945, but some Sisters remained for a longer time in their place of exile helping the people as needed. Germany itself became a missionary country. Our sisters extended their work in Germany in the care for the sick and elderly, in kindergartens and daycare centers, in pastoral and parishes ministries etc.
From 1949 until 1954 some sisters were sent to Brazil, Taiwan and the USA.
In 1962 the German Province started a new mission in Southwest Africa, the country became independent in 1990 and was named Namibia. The mission area of our sisters with four locations became independent in 1990. It was called the REGION of the Epiphany of the Lord having both German and African sisters. The Sisters celebrated the official beginning on January 1st, 1991. In 1996, the Region became a PROVINCE.
The German Province always saw their missionary task as one of solidarity with the other provinces offering support to them as necessary. Still today this task is carried out by the Mission Office in the Provincialate located in Muenster.
Today most of our sisters in Germany are elderly sisters who see serving their community as their mission. Each sister shares her capabilities and receives the same from the community. Deepening one's spiritual life and prayer for the congregation, the church and all those in need is the province's main mission today.
Our Vision as a German Province
Province of St. Joseph – Germany
Leadership Team: Srs. Rita, Andrea, Franziska
We just completed the writing of our German Province History or even more the writing of our German involvement during the 100years of our Congregation. At the reflection of our 100 years history, our view was guided from the distance to the vision of our sisters in the past ages. From all chronicles and reports of our sisters, the ardent love of their missionary vocation is shining through. This call let them step into the shoes of our founders. They took over Mother Immaculata words and vision, to help "saving souls for God". At that time, the sisters saw themselves send into a huge harvest. With heroic courage – from our view today we have to say this – they immersed into her mission. Their firm faith, their confidence in God's goodness, which everything can direct and guide, their prayer and love to Jesus, which were given them through Mr. Immaculata, carried them over precipices of disappointments and despairs. They experienced also that they were supported by their prayers and the material support of many good people, especially their families supported them in many ways.
And today? Where is our vision in our today's situation, in this time of lack of vocations, where faith seems to vanish, in times where our own faith is threatened?
We believe that God, who called our sisters in former times, is calling also today and is going with us, too. Also as we go through a valley, we do believe in his guidance.
To live our congregational vision today in our small German Province we see it as follows: To live as believers in a praying, loving community, helping each other in our daily lives and bringing the church, the whole world and creation before the Lord. In particular, we bring our congregation, its progress and difficulties and especially our young sisters and all this petitions for prayer which people entrust to us before the Lord. We hope and believe that our sisters, like our former sisters will continue to be true missionaries for the church and world.
Follow the SMIC German Sisters on their website: http://www.missionsschwestern-muenster.de