Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis

Sister M. Herbertis Lubek

Vocation Story
By Sister M. Herbertis Lubeck, written in May 2023

The present political situation reminds me strongly of my family's history and my shaping by it. I was born during the Second World War. My father was at the front. My mother lived with my brother, who was six years older, in Krappitz /Oberchlesien. My maternal grandparents and aunts lived in Opole.

I was born there on October 29, 1944, in the women's clinic where our sisters worked, and was baptized in the Peter Paul Church in Opole with the name Jutta.

In February 1945 my uncle took us to his relatives in Wallisfurth/County of Glatz to protect our family, especially the women, from the attacks of the invading soldiers of the occupying forces. Later we were housed with other refugee families in the castle in Altheide/County Glatz, where a doctor also took care of us. My grandparents, who spoke a so-called "water Polish" were a great help and protection for the women, who were also no longer safe here and had to hide repeatedly with their children.

In the spring of 1946 we had to leave the place and were "loaded" into a freight train and nobody knew whether we were going to "forced labor" or to "freedom". In March 1946, we arrived in a small town in northern Germany, near the North Sea. The displaced persons were distributed among the villages and we were lucky that our family stayed together. My mother was assigned a room in a family with us children. We had it good; they were nice people. Our family stuck together and we helped each other. And even though I know many things only from recounting them, they still left a strong impression on me: caring for each other, sharing, being able to do without, being content with what little there is, and enjoying small comforts and gifts. I loved to hear my grandparents praying together and singing church songs .They had such a pleasant everyday piety that I was able to grow into. Since we came from mainly Catholic Silesia to the North German diaspora, we experienced the church services as a great gift, especially when native songs and prayers found space in the services. That also touched me very much.

I don't remember my father's return from French captivity, but I do remember that our living space - we now had a two-room apartment - was too small for us. My father had a job and wanted to build a future for us, while my mother hoped to return to her Silesian homeland. In 1950, with the help of my mother, my father was able to start his own business as a merchant in a neighboring village, and my brother and I were involved in the tasks that had to be done. This was a matter of course for us.

The center of our family remained our maternal grandparents, our kind, understanding grandmother and our somewhat cantankerous grandfather, both my role models in prayer and faith. My father's family was separated from us by the war. They lived behind the 11 "iron curtains" in what later became East Germany. Despite support through regular food parcels and letter contacts, they remained strangers to us.

This is the background on which my life of faith developed: my grandmother's simple, convincingly lived faith, her heartfelt prayers, my grandparents' praying the rosary together, and the religious songs they sang heartfelt, opened my heart to God's love and call. My grandmother understood wonderfully how to bring my religious desires to a normal, healthy level and to keep my longing for the good awake. My mother, too, although she did not have much time for us, guided me to a good combination of school and work obligations and church commitment. She helped me to deal with injustices in the church context and to stick more to God than to his "11 ground staff. It still does me good today.

The preparation for the celebration of my First Communion further strengthened my love for God. The older I became the more consciously I experienced God's work in my life and bound myself ever more firmly to HIM. The beginning of my religious life on February 11, 1964 was the grateful answer to God, who first loved me and has not let me go in HIS love until today. So I am grateful for 59 years of life in our community, for all the good things and also for the difficult things that have made me mature in the various ministries in our community together with the Sisters with whom I was allowed to live and work and for all those with whom I am united by our Franciscan spirituality and our prayer life. I thank God for the journey of my life, for all that I have experienced in my life. I thank God for my life's journey, for all the good I have been able to do for others, and I trust that HE will continue to guide me until one day I will be able to see HIM face to face and meet again all my dear companions in heaven.

May we always carry our goal of glorifying and proclaiming God in our hearts and realize it in our lives.

Sister M. Herbertis Lubeck