Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis

Sr. M. Gertrud Smitmans

Beyond everything and all - there must be more!?  

At the age of 19, I wanted to do something for my general education and I knew that the most widely read book in the world is the bible. What is it? I started to read the book from the beginning. Oh my goodness, what is that for a language?

Despite all motivation, it was not possible to read a chapter every day. So half a chapter.. No, still less. Sometimes, I read only three sentences a day, because so much happened between the text and myself.

Someone did not allow me not to read faster and I encountered him in these words and sentences. When I arrived at Abram and Sara in Genesis, chapter 12, the text again became intense. I lived every day from the few lines that I read. Interiorly, I was filled from what I had read.

I went to Taizé in Southern France. Many young people from all nations gather there and peacefully discuss, reflect and share about the world, the Bible and God. I wanted to try to find connections there. It was a wonderful experience, to dialogue with other young people, to participate in simple and intense prayer three times a day with the brothers and the youth. My search for God was ignited, God addressed me personally, I personally was of God –and how to continuing praying at home? Was God only to be found by me in Taizé? I did not want to avoid Him! I did not want to miss something. I am seeking God personally.


I wanted to study after high school - but what? 

I did not want to study theology, because if my experiences have something to do with faith, then I wanted to protect the little plant and not to overload it with knowledge and science methods.

I enjoyed juggling numbers too- so I studied economics, so that in the future I could have a great variety of professional opportunities. During my studies, I found a Taizé prayer group near my home and with others sang international chants and hymns.  They are often of biblical origin. I got to know myself better and learned to practise caring for own desires.


At the time of the undergraduate studies, I noticed, that I was looking intensively for convinced Christians. I saw religious communities and visited some at the weekends - "but wait, what are you doing, Gertrude?  If you actually are looking for a religious community because of lived Christianity, then you can give up your previous studies. I do not want to enter a community and - after finishing the period of formation - continue my business studies at the level I am at now. Therefore, I would have studied for nothing. If religious life were not my life, I would have to begin again with my professional studies. 

"Jesus, what do you think? My idea is with your help, I will finish my studies. You can show yourself to me as God, not only when human resources and marketing are the main study contents, but the difficult courses in taxation and company audit too. If I manage my studies and I am able to engage myself in the parish, then I will plan a time that I prove calmly with you, if you are luring me into religious life. Well, Jesus, is that an offer for you and for me? Shall we both manage it, to shape a win-win situation? "

With Jesus, I could study well, experienced many everyday occurrences as surprises and as a preparation: In part, I could rely on the Holy Spirit in the German tax law study, even until the last outstanding exam. For this, I would still have to waste another semester, although I had already heard the lecture.   

In prayer, I experienced “humming” in my bones that my life moves on to the next station.

I asked the religious community, chosen with Jesus, as a good friend and Groom – for a catalogue of clear criteria, for transparent information document, [if case any of these existed ;)]. Finally, it was about my life and this step Jesus and I should take further.  

Yes, I was allowed to come to Münster, to introduce myself, to get to know the congregation - to look behind the scenes ... four months later I wrote the Foreign Transaction Tax-Exam, later on, I passed my colloquium - and with pleasure I drove readily back to the religious community in Münster.

Now I am celebrating my silver Jubilee with Jesus and my religious community and the journey with Abraham and Sara continues to be essential for me: "I am God the Almighty. Walk in my presence and be blameless."(Gen 17:1). I like to think back to the beginning of my vocation, because that is the vigor and resilience of my motivation and my expectations of Jesus - and his expectations of me. With Jesus, there must be more than anything else!?

Which word shows me the way?

What traces can I see?

What is the goal in front of me?

I'm looking for more.


Looking for what is of worth,

I'm wide awake on the way.

I trust the promise:

"Behold, I make all things new."


What makes my life bright?

What will come true?

What desire grows in me?

I am looking for more.


Looking for what is of worth

I'm wide awake on the way.

I trust the promise:

"Behold, I make all things new."


Text und music from Katja Orthues,

youth church effata [!], Münster



After 25 years, I am not tired of being a religious sister….

My longing for more ... is often the content of my prayers to Jesus.

Probably, I am fascinated furthermore by the boundlessness of life scripted in poverty, obedience and celibate chastity.

Emotive words? Key words? ….more...?

Searching for a contact and writing ;)