Wartime Labors



When war broke out in northern Germany, The Knights of Malta and Queen Augusta implored Mother Frances to send the Sisters to care for the wounded soldiers.  The concerns of Mother Frances were numerous:  this was a largely Protestant area and there would be little spiritual support; the Sisters would be working in makeshift military hospitals, and Germany was in the midst of a brutal winter.

lazarRealistic as well as prayerful, Mother Frances made the decision to send the Sisters – and accompanied them in their hardships.  Prayer, mutual support and humor helped them to cope with the challenging circumstances.  

When war erupted again, this time between Prussia and Austria, the Sisters were again called to the battlefield and responded generously.  Cholera and typhoid fever were a constant danger, and another epidemic broke out and claimed the lives of soldiers, Sisters and people in the villages and cities.
The simplicity, humility and austerity of Mother Frances continued to shine throughout these years, and impressed and inspired the Sisters.  The new bishop of Cologne, Paul Melchers, advised Mother to ease her strict fasting and that of her sisters, so they would be able to keep up their strength amid the strenuous work they did.  She eased restrictions for the Sisters, but not for herself.

For Silent Reflection and Journaling:

How do you approach times of great sacrifice and inconvenience?

What is your response when your efforts are recognized – and when they are not recognized?

What role do penance and fasting play in your own life?


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