Today, July 2, 2019, in all our provinces around the world, we celebrate the 175th anniversary of the foundation of our Congregation. On this day we are united in our thoughts and prayers - across all borders: In Germany, Poland, America, Japan, India, the Netherlands, Korea, Kazakhstan and Vietnam.
By the grace of God and through the devotion and sacrifice of Father Christopher Bernsmeyer, on 2 July 1844, the Feast of the Visitation of Mary, our Franciscan Congregation was founded.
Our founder, Father Christopher Bernsmeyer and our first sisters are an everlasting sign that God is present in the life story of every human being. For centuries, countless people have experienced the healing presence of Jesus Christ through the dedicated service of our sisters. No one can know exactly how Father Bernsmeyer thought of the life and work of the community he had founded. But we are convinced that Father Christopher trusted in the enduring, saving goodness and power of God that enabled him, in the adverse circumstances of his time to faithfully walk the challenging path with God.
The history of our Congregation from 1844 to 2019 is a history of faith and prayer in a constantly changing world. In the German Liturgy Book of Prayer, we read in the introduction to the Psalms: "Praise is an attitude that wants to change the world, but God has the last word. Who asks, begins with himself and his world; who praises, goes out of God, to a future, which is HIS future. So we leave the last word to Him and trust Him to lead us with HOPE into HIS future!
Our Jubilee is a time of grace; the personal dedication of each sister has given life to these years and has shaped the 175-year history of our Congregation. This story also includes all of our sisters who have preceded us in death and now intercede for us before God. We think of all those sisters who have left our community - for whatever reason. God has called us to be his healing presence to unite, to heal, to reconcile and to give life at the place that God gave us - in every phase of our lives.
We remember gratefully in this jubilee year all our predecessors, our spiritual directors, our employees, our benefactors and family members for accompanying us in our journey of life.
On our Jubilee Day, July 2, 2019, we prayed in the Chapel of Grace in Telgte and asked Mary our Mother for her intercession. Our charism, our being is important - whether old or young, sick or healthy, powerful, or frail, with trembling hands - God's grace and vocation remain, "wherever we are and whatever we do."
Sister M. Margarete Ulager, O.S.F.