Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis

Sister M. Agnelda Schulenkorf

I am born in the 'Münsterland' as the sixth of ten children. We lived on a small farm. It was not so easy for my parents in the post-war period. Father occasionally went peat cutting, or he was helping on other farms.

Since mother fell ill at an early age, we girls did not learn a profession, but instead worked in the household. After completing school, I lived for a few years on a large farm. There I learned the housekeeping. When my sister joined the Hiltruper Missionary Sisters, I had to work at home on our farm, to take care of the household, because my mother was ill and my sisters and brothers were still at school. Mother's health deteriorated so much that she regularly had to spend several weeks in the hospital.

Despite all the work, I had a good time of youth.  With neighbors and friends, we made small trips and went to festivals and celebrations in the surrounding area. I felt called to religious life at a very early age. The big question for me was ‘where to go?’. I put forward some insignificant reasons why I did not choose the Missionary Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Hiltrup.The Franciscan Sisters were active in our hospital and I did not want to become a missionary Sisters in any circumstances. Although only one of the five religious sisters in the hospital was sympathetic to me, I decided to join the Franciscan Sisters. I knew nothing about Franciscan life at that time. Only later, I realized that I had been praying St. Francis ‘Canticle of the Sun‘ every Sunday after Mass. It was in the prayer book called ‘Laudate’ and I liked it very much - Coincidence or providence?.

In 1965, my eldest brother married, that opend the way for my entry into the congregation.   Mother was already very ill at that time.  She died during my pre-noviciate. I entered our congregation in August 1965, and was trained as a dietician from 1970 - 1972. After that, I worked for 15 years in different houses as head of the kitchen.

In 1987, the Provincial Leadership offered me training in nursing care for the elderly.  It gave me a lot of joy. I especially enjoyed hearing the experiences, adventures and stories from the lives of the elderly. Those were years full of blessings. A vacation in Esterwegen made me curious about the history of the concentration camp and the history of that time. I felt called to live here. Now I am indeed living here since November 2015, and it is a wonderful task for me. Here I have time for meeting people, conversations and prayer and  I find it particularly beneficial that I can still work as far as my strength allows. I have many enriching encounters, but I do not have to provide any performance. I hope that this will continue for a long time.