Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis
I, Sister M. Evelyn, was born in 1948 in Lüsche, district of Vechta in northern Germany, as the seventh of nine children and was baptized with the name Monika. As regards their resources, my parents had to be very thrifty and had to work hard to feed us children: five boys and four girls. Their daily work was in agriculture and the cultivation of the highmoor where our house stood. We helped with the household chores and each child had its own duties.
As regards my school-time, I remember several changes of schools. When I left school, I went to work in the Cloppenburg hospital, as a helper in the wards at the beginning, followed by a stint in the hospital kitchen being a precondition for the nurse training. Sr. M. Erphonis, who was head of the school of nursing at the time, accepted me to the school and trained me as a nurse
My first notion of becoming a nun was aroused in me already during my childhood by a father from the mission field. He always approached me directly and asked me whether I didn’t want to become a nun. When I got older I tended to avoid him when he came. Still, a seed was sown in my subconscious. When I came to Cloppenburg and got to know our Sisters, the conviction grew within me that I wanted to become a nun and join the Franciscan Sisters. I wanted to venture into being God’s own fully in the community of the Sisters. Although, at the time, I realized that relations between the Sisters were not always and only pure harmony.
Nonetheless, I joined the Franciscan Sisters in Münster in 1968. Even today, I know that this was the right decision. The Novitiate years were rigorous, just like my experience at nursing school. At the time of my first profession, I had a choice between making a promise and professing vows. However, I knew I could not make my vows to Christ for a limited period of time but only belong to him wholly. And so I made my vows to cover all the years till my final profession and then to dedicate my life once and for all through my perpetual vows.
Since the time as a Juniorate Sister, I have had the privilege of serving the sick in various hospitals and even as a staff nurse. My fondest memories go back to the near 19 years at the hospital and in the Convent in Wilhelmshaven. There, I was personally involved with the homeless and learned about their worries and problems. This planted the seed for my present job. For nearly nine years, I have now been working in a residential home for elderly, homeless, single men in Münster, many of whom suffer from an addiction and with complications (sequelae). These institutions for the homeless are sponsored by a foundation.
My job responsibilities include nursing and housekeeping. I also function as hairdresser, pedicurist and many other things. All these activities give me great joy, and I take great pleasure in working with these people.
In 2009, I had the privilege of attending a seminar under the International Spiritual Renewal and Cultural Exchange Program (ISRCEP) of our community which took place in the USA. I still like to share my experiences in the USA with my Sisters, especially our travels in the footsteps of St. Francis. I also have pictures to show and illustrate my stories. May everything bear fruit!
I like to say good-bye with the words of St. Francis:
“Let us begin, for up to now we have done nothing.”
Peace and all good!