Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis

Sr. M. Ecclesis

How to discern vocation

December 6th 1918 I was born as the 7th child in a tailor’s family. My father was a self-employed master in ladies and gentlemen tailoring. Times weren’t rosy those days, and there was not much money. Sometimes you were happy just to have enough to live (for life). Being 8 or 9 years old, we children raised the budget of our mother by earning some pennies doing little jobs like tending cattle or taking care of children.

All together we were a merry family. Some of my fife brothers had musical talents, and they played different instruments. They taught us girls how to dance, and our father liked to sing with us. Especially dancing was my great passion and festivities my gladness (delight, joy). There was much singing and laughing. But also quarrels occurred when we had different opinions. But a strong word of my father soon restored peace again.

A sister of my mother was a religious and a nurse of St. Francis. Once a year she came to the motherhouse in Münster, and we could visit her there; that was something quite special for us. Once, all of us 5 girls visited her. She invited us to go with her to the Sister’s graveyard. Opening the gate she sternly looked at us saying: “I am quite disappointed about you. Can none of you image to become a religious sister?” My spontaneous answer: “Wait and see” (spoken in a local dialect). But I was far away to think that I could be one to go this way. Later my aunt told me that she was sure I would follow her.

May 1st 1939 I started a job as housemaid. But already at the end of the month I got a message from my mother to come home because of my father seriously sick. I got 3 days off, and after 1 hour cycle drive I was at my father’s bedside. I could see that he wasn’t good at all. Because of a severe pneumonia and a stroke he had difficulties to breathe. He couldn’t speak. Again and again he lifted his coverlet as if it was too heavy for him. An idea flashed through my mind. I went up to the attic, took my new coverlet, thought for my trousseau, warmed it and exchanged it with my father’s. His grateful look and his effort to smile have accompanied me for a long time. From this time I was sure: nursing is my vocation as a religious woman.

My heart had realized it and said yes. By head didn’t want to admit it. Questions over questions – who will answer them?

After having worked in a hospital with sisters for one year I knew this could be the right way for me. So, in 1942, I asked for being admitted, and studied nursing and religious life.
Now, I already reached the 90th year of my life, and I wouldn’t like to miss one day. Still every day is a new gift for me.