Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis
My name is Sister M. Irmtruda Cygan. In August this year, I will celebrate my 94th birthday. In the same month 75 years have passed, since I started the religious life in our Franciscan community. Time flies so fast.
I grew up in a very happy family. My parents taught us to believe in God and to thank Him for all his gifts. I can still well remember with pride, inner joy and a little emotion that every Sunday after lunch, the whole family, my parents, my sisters and I knelt down and prayed the rosary and other prayers. Only then, we were allowed to play. We were six girls. I was the youngest one. Three of us chose the religious life and three got married.
Before the Second World War, several girls from our village entered our Congregation. My home village, Wresken (Polish: Wrzoski), is located near Opole. St. Adalbert Hospital was located there. Our sisters had been there since 1849, serving the sick with love and success. We had close contact with the sisters, because they were well known and appreciated, even in the surrounding villages.
My oldest sister Thekla (1907-1996) entered our congregation in 1927 and went to America, to live and to serve in our American Province for almost 70 years. Here she received the name Sister M. Sulpitia.
Later, in 1938, my older sister Martha (1918-2007) entered the Congregation. During the investiture ceremony, she received the name Sister M. Ursina.
As the last of our family, I decided in August 1940 that I also want to be a religious sister. I received the name Sister M. Irmtruda which sounds similar to my Christian name Gertuda. It was not an easy time in those days. In Europe, the war raged. For us sisters, for us nurses, it was a time with joyful and less joyful events. Yet, almost every day, we could personally experience God\'s providence at work.
After the war, as one of the consequences of the new order in Europe, the Polish Province established its own novitiate. If I remember well, I was one of the last Silesian sisters, who were allowed to take her final vows in the Motherhouse in Münster (May 3, 1948).
For the longest period of time, almost 40 years, I worked in St. Hedwig Hospital in Cieplice as a nurse. The postwar period was very difficult for the Catholic Church and its institutions in Poland. Religous sisters were expelled from the hospitals and from the kindergartens. In Cieplice, the doctors supported us and thanks to their intercession, we were allowed to stay there. The state simply did not have enough qualified free staff.
When I retired, I worked in several of our homes especially in the housekeeping service. Currently I live in Groß Döbern and do what I am best at: I practice the apostolate of prayer for all the needs of the Church, the world and our Congregation.I place them all in God's hands.