Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis

Sister M. Verelda Tepe

Christ my hope, and Christ my joy, Christ my strength, and my ligh,
Christ my confidence alone (Taize)

This song has become my own in the course of my life. This song has shaped my life.
I was born in Münster in St. Francis Hospital in 1948. In the chapel of the hospital I was baptized together with 10 other children. The then Hospital Priest was Father Dormann.
My father was a master mason and my mother was an embroiderer. I had a brother who was one and a half year older.
I grew up in a Christian Catholic home. Our whole family was engaged in church and parish. The Sunday Eucharistic Mass naturally belonged to our life and was never questioned. It was the strength we lived from.
My grandmother was of great importance to my religious life. She was a deeply pious woman.
She went to all workday Eucharistic Masses and Services and naturally, I accompanied her. There was no telephone but we could make arrangements through our kitchen windows. I am convinced that my grandmother has prayed a lot for me and she has accompanied my path. When I visited my grandma, which was almost daily, I was impressed by the great picture with the "Perpetual Help", which was impossible to overlook.
I met the 'Mauritzer Franciscans' at the age of 13 as a Sunday helper at St. Francis Hospital. As a girl, it was important for my mother, that I acquired domestic skills, so my path led to ‚Hildegardis-school’ in Münster, runned by the Sisters of Divine Providence. Despite acting out time of adolescence, I was able to get a degree, but without domestic skills. My further path took me to Datteln to the the nursing pre-school. Here I met again the 'Mauritzer Franciscans'. Sister Ludovika watched over us schoolgirls with heart and understanding. She was the resting pole. First, I very much enjoyed, getting an insight into the nursing care. Even outside my parents' house, it was still important for me to attend the Eucharistic celebrations in the hospital chapel and in the parish church. 
Here I thought more and more about entering religious life. In 1966 I decided to learn nursing. Once again the path led me to the ‘Mauritzer Franciscans’ in Stadtlohn. Here the idea of entering religious life grew more and more. Connected with this but also always the questions "Shall I, shall I not, can I, can I not!” 
At this time my mother died, which did not make things easier for my question of entering religious life. At that time, I was living in Stadtlohn for two years, away from my parents’ home. My father and my brother were able to deal with everything without me. After many struggles in prayer and doubt, my decision was taken to enter the Congregation of the ‘Mauritzer Franciscans’. Everything else were at first several formalities.
Now I have been walking the path for almost 50 years and I have never regretted a day. I would go the way again and again. In retrospect I have to say: "God wants the best for us.”.

I face the future with confidence and want to conclude with a quotation from our Seraphic Father St. Francis:

"We cannot stave off the night, but we can kindle a light."