Schönstatt - Begegnungen

Her Life of Service and Commitment – a Testimony of God's Merciful Love

Sr. Emilie Engel: Process of Beatification Closed on the Diocesan Level on February 26, 2002

Auxiliary Bishop Leo Schwarz, Trier, highlighted Sr. Emilie's commitment to the poor, and the dedication of her life for the Sisters' family.
Weihbischof Leo Schwarz, Trier, betonte Schw. Emilies soziales Engagement und den Einsatz für die Schwesternfamilie.
The Schoenstatt Sisters' choir was formed by sisters from various provinces.
Marienschwestern aus verschiedenen Provinzen formten den Chor.
Presentation of Sister Emilie's life in the Holy Cross Church, Trier.
Darbietung über das Leben von Sr. Emilie in der Heilig-Kreuz-Kirche
At the beginning of the presentation, songs were sung, accompanied by guitar and flutes.
Am Anfang wurden Lieder gesungen, begleitet mit Gitarren und Querflöte.
Sr.M. Jacoba Kesselheim, Superior General of the Schoenstatt Sisters, thanked all for the support of the process.
Sr. M. Jacoba Kesselheim, Generaloberin der Marienschwestern, dankte allen für die Unterstützung.
Sr. M. Vita knew Sr. Emilie personally:"This is one of the highlights of my life!"
Sr. M. Vita hat Sr. Emilie persönlich gekannt_: "Einer der Höhepunkte meines Lebens!"
Elisabeth Rudel, Salzgitter: "I discovered a real treasure today!"
Elisabeth Rudel, Salzgitter: "Ich habe heute wirklich einen Schatz entdeckt!"
Frau Schneider: "I owe my inner security and inner freedom to Sr. Emilie!"
Mrs. Schneider: "Schwester Emilie verdanke ich, dass ich innerlich sicher und frei geworden bin!"
Cousett Ruelas, Austin, Texas, at the moment working in PressOffice Schoenstatt: "One day I want to be able to read this biography on Sr. Emilie in German, I try already now!"
Cousett Ruelas, Austin, Texas, zur Zeit im PressOffice: "Eines Tages kann ich diese Biographie über Schwester Emilie in deutsch lesen, ich versuche schon mal!"
Fotos: PressOffice Schönstatt, Fischer© 2002
Sr. M. Emilie Engel (1893 - 1955): Her life shows that sanctitiy, as each Christian's vocation and goal, does not mean to be perfect, but to experience God's merciful father love.
Sr.M. Emilie Engel (1893 - 1955): Ihr Leben zeigt, dass Heiligkeit als Berufung jedes Christen, nicht Perfektsein bedeutet, sondern das Erleben der barmherzigen Vaterliebe Gottes.
Foto: Schönstätter Marienschwestern, Archiv © 2002

(mkf) Sr. Emilie’s process of beatification on the diocesan level was closed with a festive Holy Mass in the crowded Church of Our Lady in Trier. The process will be forwarded to the respective authorities in Rome on February 26, 2002. The Diocesan administrator, Auxiliary Bishop Leo Schwarz, highlighted many aspects of the social commitment of Sr. Emilie and her unconditional dedication to the Schoenstatt Movement and the Secular Institute of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary. Sr. Emilie is the first of several spiritual sons and daughters of Father Kentenich "in processes for beatification" whose process has been closed on the diocesan level and is moving to Rome.

Heavy rains, thick gray clouds, gray skies, and wind gusts – the weather did not make for festive feelings as hundreds of Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, Schoenstatt members, friends and admirers of Sr. Emilie, and parishioners from her home town were heading towards the Church of Our Lady in Trier, the "sister church" of the Diocesan Cathedral. Two and a half years ago, the process for beatification for Sr. Emilie Engel was opened at the same place. After a relatively short time, the diocesan phase of the process is finished, closed with Holy Mass and a final session on the morning of February 26, 2002.

"I Have Found a Treasure Today"

"I have found a treasure today," said Elisabeth Rudel from Salzgitter, diocese of Hildesheim, after the Mass. Together with a group of Schoenstatt Mothers from this diocese she had come from Schoenstatt, where they took part in a retreat. "This Holy Mass in the crammed church, the words of the Auxiliary Bishop and the idea that I got about Sr. Emilie's life and mission moved me profoundly and gave me a new motivation for my every day life!" – "It's one of the highlights of my life," said Sr. M. Vita, who knew Sr. Emilie personally. "Looking back to the years of my own experience with her, I can only say that I can confirm all that the church said about her." – "Congratulations!" is the spontaneous remark of a Lady of Schoenstatt who came out of the church and saw a Schoenstatt Sister. "I have a deep relationship to her," said a Schoenstatt Mother. "I trust her. She was born on my birthday, maybe that brings me closer to her. I was always a shy and anxious person, and when I discovered that Sr. Emilie was as well, I turned to her – and she helped me to gain the inner freedom that I enjoy now! She often helped me in difficult situations…" Sr. Emilie Engel (1893 – 1955) is one of the co-founders of the Secular Institute of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary; her life is, according to the Founder, Father Kentenich, a testimony of God's merciful love and the validity of Schoenstatt's spirituality that is able to form strong, free personalities. Her mission is to show the people of our modern times that sanctity and a fruitful apostolic life are possible despite, or, better, because of many limitations, shortcomings, and broken pieces; that it is possible to experience limitations as the reason for the Father's love.

Sr. Emilie was the haert and soul of the comunity.
Schwester Emilie war die Seele der Gemeinschaft
Foto: Schönstätter Marienschwestern, Archiv © 2002

A Life in Service of the Needy and of God – a Life dedicated to Schoenstatt

Auxiliary Bishop Leo Schwarz, the diocesan administrator, in his sermon spoke about the "honor and joy" that the research on Sr. Emilie's life has meant for the church of Trier.

Together with Auxiliary Bishop Schwarz, over 10 priests concelebrated – among them the two representatives of the court for beatification, Dr. Holkenbrink and Fr.Hommes, Monsignor Zimmerer, Director General of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, Monsignor Wolf representing the General Presidium of the Schoenstatt Movement, Fr. Ángel Strada, postulator in the process for Fr. Kentenich, Fr. Kaiser, parish priest of the home town of Sr. Emilie, and Fr. Otto Maurer who had brought a busload of pilgrims from Kösching/Ingolstadt, Bavaria.

The General Council of the Schoenstatt Sisters, and several members of the General Presidium, were present.

Auxiliary Bishop Schwarz specially pointed at the fact that Sr. Emilie led a life in service of children, of the poor and those affected by social problems; a life in service of the Blessed Mother and of God who she more and more knew and loved as a loving and endlessly merciful Father; a life in service of Schoenstatt - offering her talents and energy and finally her sickness and suffering for this work. "God is sitting at the loom of our life, and he is weaving the threads of our life" –this quote from Sr. Emilie, in the context of the readings of the day, were the leitmotif of his meditation on some aspects of her life.

Her Social Work Brought her to Schoenstatt

With special emphasis, Auxiliary Bishop Schwarz shared about the social commitment of the young teacher Emilie Engel in the aftermath of World War I, in a region marked by poverty, immigration, and the physical devastation caused by the work in the coal mines and by the wide-spread tuberculosis. Her service to a woman dying of tuberculosis and her care for the children of this woman, he said, maybe brought her also the initial infection, but surely brought her to Schoenstatt – as her first visit to Schoenstatt was when she brought the eldest son of this family to a Pallottine brother who worked as a gardener in Vallendar – Schoenstatt.

This first contact, he said, was made in 1918, in the year when Joseph Engling died in Cambrai, having offered his life for the spread of Schoenstatt.

Her social and educational work – in the Schoenstatt Sisters' community, she introduced over 300 novices – continued until the period of passion started. Sheltered in the suffering and death of Christ, she could find the sense in her severe sickness and face death: in the light of God's love her passion radiated the bright light of Resurrection.

The process of beatification will now be forwarded to Rome, but what will remain are the impulses given by this life:

- to see the need of the others and act

- to see the love of God and be grateful for the love received by him

- and to do this by faithfully professing one's faith in God and by serving the others.

A Rainbow Crowning the Day

The Schoenstatt Sisters formed a choir, that, accompanied by organ, trumpet and violins, provided festive songs, among them one with the text of a prayer written by Sr. Emilie. At the end of the Mass, those privileged to join the final session of the tribunal were invited to the "Gothic hall" by the cathedral, while Sr. Helrike invited all to have a snack, tea and coffee in the rooms of the Holy Cross Parish near the Schoenstatt Center of Trier.

At noon, a presentation on the life of Sr. Emilie began in the Holy Cross Church. After some initial songs and a slide show that highlighted important moments of her life, four speakers read texts, testimonies and letters on central aspects of the spiritual dimension of her life. At the end, Sr. Jacoba, the Superior General, shared that in the final session, the documents of the process, 10,000 pages, had been packed and sealed to be taken to Rome. She thanked all for coming, for supporting the process in any way, and asked them to go on to visit the tomb of Sr. Emilie, to spread the novena and other publications, and to let her life inspire them. The second phase of the process, she added, would now be in the hands of the Roman authorities, the third one in the hands of God, who would seal the human work of investigation by a miracle worked through the intercession of Sr. Emilie. "And if he does it quickly, we'll all soon see each other again in Rome!"

Due to the bad weather and the time delay, the benediction planned to take place by the Schoenstatt Shrine was "transferred" to the Holy Cross Church. The sun broke through during the prayer service! Afterwards, many still paid a visit to the Schoenstatt Shrine, and while they were enjoying the only moment of sunshine of this day, those who had left earlier witnessed a beautiful rainbow somewhere between Trier and Schoenstatt!

English edition: Cousett Ruelas, Austin, Texas, USA

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