Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis

Sister M. Adelharda Sieve

On November 19, 1936 I was born in a village in the "Oldenburger Land". Before everyone starts to count, about 3 months ago I have turned 80 years of age.

After a joyful, lively time in my parents home - we were 10 children, 4 girls and 6 boys - the first step into life started by visiting the primary school in Lüsche and the secondary commercial school in Quakenbrück.

After this, the serious side of life began. I got my first "job" at “St. Willehad-Hospital” in Wilhelmshaven as a medical secretary. It was a huge change, far away from my parents house, in a city where I always searched for the overview of my hometown.

I was soon to learn in my daily work in the hospital, how people committed themselves to others, to the sick people and those in need. The Mauritzer Franciscan Sisters served in the hospital and their lifestyle simply attracted me.

Open-minded, joyful, God-connected and eager to work, we met again and again. These experiences over several years caused me to recognize my vocation to religious life. My "head" always told me, "this is nothing for you" - but my heart went the way.

In 1957, I entered the Congregation in Münster. With me, 38 young women went this way. In this large crowd we quickly found and encouraged each other, went over heights and through flatland. Gladly, I remember the sisters who introduced us into religious life.

After a time of preparation I took the habit and two years later I made my first profession of vows, I placed myself totally at the disposition of God in this community.

Then my professional career started: After completing my nursing exam I worked at St. Rochus Hospital in Telgte in the administration. The situation was quite different than today. Once a week Mr. Pesenacker, from the Motherhouse, who was greatly valued by all of us, came to us and enquired about our condition. There was not first the balance!!  But just through this I always gained strength and courage. The comprehensive and holistic way of life - I would like to say - the combination of work and prayer - gave my life a meaning and confidence.

Volunteer duties were done by the way without saying.

The St. Rochus Hospital, specialist clinic for psychiatry and neurology, had a great agricultural section. As an occupational therapy, patients were also for example active in this sector.

Amongst the many activities there, is particularly one in my memory:

At potato harvest time, it was a very nice custom that the hardworking helpers were picked up with music by the Sisters on the last day of the harvest with music. The helpers wore clogs (wooden shoes) and a work apron. A Thanksgiving in advance was celebrated with a prayer service in the church, thanks to God for the good and abundant harvest. The ending with fresh fried potatoes and fried eggs rounded off the day and ensured that the work remained in good memory.

After 8 years of religious life filled with joy in Telgte, I was trained as a nursing instructor in Cologne-Hohenlind. Subsequently, I worked as head of three different nursing schools. In  one of them I was allowed to set up as a new facility. With joy and motivation I accompanied the path of many young people to the exam. Relations which have remained to this day remind me gratefully of this time.

Important for me was the further training and continuing education - also for me personally. From 1980 to 1983 I visited the university in Osnabrück and studied the course "Continuing Education for Teachers in Schools for Health Care".

What happened next?

On October 1, 1983, I was asked by the Provincial Leadership to establish the internal training for the hospital company. At that time, five hospitals belonged to this group.

The start was not easy. I had no possibility to "look at others". In the church ministry declaration from 1983 (revised 22.09.93), the bishops had asked the institutions to meet the demands of the staff for further education. These should not only correspond to professional requirements but also contain ethical and religious aspects of the service.

By then, only a few employees have been "sent" for further training. The desired penetration in the institutions failed. Here began for us the venture, the challenge of reversing the system. Speakers were invited for lectures. So many people were able to participate in this continuing education. This had the expected success, that topics were discussed and passed on.

From the first invitation of an educational measure  I still have the cost arrangement: Smiles are permitted, you were literally "carried on your hands".

113 persons participated, the costs amounted to a total of 1,100.00 DM: 113 persons = 9.73 DM p.P.

With the advent of the vocabulary "flat-rate payments, DRGS, budgeting" I withdrew on March 31, 2000 in guarded fields of the Motherhouse.  My age gave me legitimacy to do so. But the pensioner existence in an Order is different. Each sister can serve to the best of her abilities.  So I took over the training sector for our retirement homes. Here are some tasks:

·    Hygiene representative, hygiene workgroups

·    advanced training offers, pilgrimages, days of
     reflection .

·    Training referring occupational safety such as fire
     protection, first aid, professional topics of the
     elderly care ...

·         ….

In my work I have time for my religious life, for contemplative times. Here I draw strength for everyday life. The encounter with the older religious Sisters in our retirement homes shows me, that quality of life at old age is possible. Role models inspire me to go courageously the way into the last stage of life. GOD promises not only, He also gives.

From my memories, which fill me with joy, I would like to name two examples: During the training I only became calmer, when the announced speaker arrived on schedule. I still see fresh before me, that a speaker did not appear for a further training for the employee representatives of our hospitals. 60 members sat in the “Marienhaus”. The situation was saved by our esteemed personnel manager, Mr. Robert Sand, who knew, of course, which contents he could convey.

It was also not easy to offer ethical and religious aspects. Here I remember very vividly our former deceased spiritual director, Prelate Geelink, who gave us very comprehensible impulses for mastering the private and professional life through days of reflection and on trips to Assisi and elsewhere.

Vacation on my favorite island Rügen or in the mountains gives me time and again the joy in the ability of "activity". The creative power for this is a great gift, for which I am very grateful.

Pst !! FOOTBALL - BAYERN - MUNICH is still my favorite. (Hopefully I have not lost all friends now! ??)

So I continue my journey with the creative power; currently given to me and with the thought of Rainer Maria-Rilke:

I live my life in widening circles,
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one,
but I give myself to it.

In this spirit, Sister M. Adelharda Sieve