Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis
My name is Sister Maria Engratia Stratmann. I was born in 1941 in Oer-Erkenschwick. My parents gave me the name Margarethe. The childhood and youth I spent with my three siblings in Oer-Erkenschwick, Ostbevern and Münster. From 1947 to 1955, I attended the catholic elementary school in Ostbevern. After my school days, I started working in a private household and attended the school for home economics. From 1957 to 1962, I worked in the kitchen of St. Francis Hospital together with religious sisters. Until then, I did not know any religious sisters.
I was interested in the life of the sisters and tried to learn as much as possible. By the life story and the way of life of St. Francis, I became more familiar with them. I felt: I also wanted to live like them. When I talked to my family about this desire, my mother said, that I am still too young, and my siblings did not thought me capable for this decision.
In 1963, I entered our Congregation. After I professed my religious vows in 1965, I committed myself in several ways in the household. My hobby has been and continues to be the garden with its many birds in it. Sometimes it happened that I was able to plant a small flower garden or to take care for the flower beds near the house. That filled me with happiness. In my free time or on vacation I made long cycling tours and like St. Francis, I enjoyed God\'s creation. Each year - as far as my physical strength would allow it - I participated in the "Osnabrücker pilgrimage" to the shrine of "Our Sorrowful Mother of God" in Telgte. This was repeatedly a special joy for me.
Now, at old age, I am living in our Nursing Home in Lüdinghausen-Seppenrade. We have a small wood here, a fruit meadow and magnificent flower beds around the house. Many different birds nest here and hot air balloon ride over our house. Enjoying these gladdens my heart. Of course, I still help in the kitchen, or in the laundry, as it needs to do.
Now, 50 years have passed since my first profession of vows. I am looking back in gratitude. In May, I celebrated the Golden Jubilee of religious profession. It was for my guests - relatives and sisters - and for me a beautiful celebration.
Personal prayer and the participation in liturgical services have always been important in my life. I always entrusted my life and my family to the Blessed Mother. So I was very pleased that I could make a pilgrimage to Fatima, which started on October 4, 2015.
I firmly believe, that God has called me to this path of a disciple of Christ and that he still accompanies this way.