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Sr. M.Emilie Engel, 1893 - 1955
Born in 1893, Emilie Engel grew up in the little village of Husten in the Sauerland, Germany, as the fourth of twelve children in a large farm family. After finishing her training as a teacher she moved to the Ruhr area and there be acquainted with the manifold social problems and poverty of the miner families. Her greatest goal in these conditions was to love the poorest the most warmly and to lighten their difficult burdens.
She got to know the Schoenstatt Movement and placed herself at the disposal of Father Kentenich for the founding of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary. Already as a young sister, she offered her life to God so that the community would bring forth saints. God took her offer seriously.
An obstinate case of tuberculosis ended her active work in the service of the community. A long period of sickness with painful operations and times of isolation followed. She accepted all of this as part of her vocation. In 1946 Father Kentenich entrusted the leadership of one of the German provinces of the community to Sr. M. Emilie. However, an advancing paralysis increasingly limited her activity. Despite intense pain Sr. M. Emilie radiated joy, benevolence, and unshakeable faith. On November 20, 1955, she died at the age of 62.
In Sr. M. Emilie we encounter a woman who in the course of her life grew to personal maturity. In her tendencies and the history of her life many things appeared which made her growth in strength and maturity difficult: anxiety beyond a normal level,decades-long serious illness and consequently increasing limitations. But in her encounter with Father Kentenich she found her way to a mature self-esteem and a deeper experience of being sheltered in God.
Sr. M. Emilie feared neither to live nor to die. Many who experienced her remember the radiant look in her eyes. A young woman who got to know Sr. M. Emilie shortly before her death said afterwards: “It seemed as if she made the whole room light up. The deep radiance of her souls was expressed in her features even though she almost disappeared behind her utter physical frailty remains unforgettable for me.”
Sr. M. Emilie’s canonization process is underway and we hope that soon she will be come the first officially - canonized saint of our community.
“I have come to Schoenstatt to love!”
Sr. M. Emilie
A young woman who encountered Sr. M. Emilie once wrote:
“My first thought was: Here is a person who radiates God’s love, kindness, and beauty. Here is a new person who is natural and supernatural at the same time, a complete person whom you can love and revere. The longing to belong to this community was strengthened in me. I certainly wanted to become such a happy, relaxed, and deep person myself.”
Wouldn’t you also like to have such an encounter? We invite you to do so! A little booklet entitled “Sr. M. Emilie Engel, Schoenstatt Sister of Mary,” which includes a short biography and a novena to her, can be just such an opportunity for you. If you would like a copy, we will be glad to send you one! For now, we include a day of this novena as a short ‘encounter’ with Sr. M. Emilie.
Ninth Day: To be a Path
God, what do you expect of me? What is the meaning of my life? Often I simply can’t find the road Are you the only one who can ultimately give meaning to anything because you have called me? Would you show me the path on which I will reach my goal?”
“God calls and attracts us. A free ‘Ita Pater,’ ‘Yes, Father,’ must be the human response; then we must courageously and energetically take the path shown us by God.” (Sr. M. Emilie)
Every person has a task to fulfill in the world. To some, the saints in particular, God gives a special mission. They become paths for others.
The founder of Schoenstatt was convinced of Sr. M. Emilie’s mission particularly for the people of today . . . God had given her superabundant gifts. She found her way out of fear and compulsion into the father heart of God. However, the great gift she had received became a task: to lead others out of distress and fear and give them a home in the father heart of God. Her path should also become a path for others.
Fr. Kentenich had given her the task to embody “a very simple path to holiness” for her community. Her path to sanctity was actually a very simple one. She knew she was living under God’s loving eyes, she heeded his call, his invitation, and in the light of his love, was able to make everything transparent: people and things, happenings and suffering, and even her limits. And then she answered with a heartfelt, courageous “Yes, Father.” That was, so said the founder, the secret of her life. It was a secret in which the person no longer longs to do anything but answer the call of love every moment, sanctify the simple things through love, and please God . . .
Heavenly Father, give me an alert heart so that I can hear your call in the little things of everyday life and give you my answer of love. Let me take this simple path with Sr. M. Emilie and through her intercession so that I too will be led out of fear and distress and be deeply at home in your father heart.