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On Pilgrimage-4

by Maresa Lilley, SND on June 20, 2013 · 0 comments

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Yesterday, we had planned to take the rail train to Bremerhaven and there visit the port where our first Sisters from Germany left to go to America as missionaries, most never to return to their native land. However, something happened to the cables of the tracks and no trains could get as far as the port. So we spent the day in historic Bremen. Awed by the beauty and the 1000 year old buildings still in use, we absorbed what we could of the lovely town. From Bremen came the children’s story of The Bremen Town Musicians, memorialized in the square in bronze.

Hilligonde and her friend Elisabeth were invited by Father Theodore Elting to consider consecrating their work and themselves in vowed life as religious women.The call answered the greatest desires of their young hearts, and so began the founding of the Sisters of Notre Dame.

Father Elting invited the young women, Hilligonde and Elisabeth to consider consecrating their lives and work to God.

Father Elting invited the young women, Hilligonde and Elisabeth, to consider consecrating their lives and work to God.

 

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On Pilgrimage-3

by Maresa Lilley, SND on June 19, 2013 · 2 comments

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Yesterday, we pilgrims visited the oldest institution in our congregation, dating back to 1858. The Liebfrauenschule in Vechta has educated young women since the days of our foundress, Hilligonde Wolbring, and is still doing the same excellent work today. Sadly our Sisters can no longer maintain this valued ministry, and so this August it will go to the diocese…very sad for us. It spans nearly all of our history.

Hilligonde, having completed her teacher training, was advised to seek her mission, not in far away lands, but right in Catholic Germany where there was also great need. Mission work in foreign lands was seen as far too dangerous for young women at that time, and so Hilligonde gave her heart to teaching and to the young ones in her care. She found those without food or parents, and they caught her compassion. Her companion in teaching, Elisabeth Kuhling joined her in finding a home for the orphaned children.

 

Hilligonde and Elisabeth found a home for the orphans as they began their teaching careers; they became their caretakers and guides.

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On Pilgrimage-2

by Maresa Lilley, SND on June 18, 2013 · 0 comments

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Today in Vechta, we who are visitors are drinking in some Westphalian beauty, and seeing the schools and children’s home that our Sisters have here. They are of excellent calibre and true descendents of our foundress’s heart that was so turned toward children and their education.

As Hilligonde grew into a young adult in this region of Germany, she dreamed of giving her life to serve in far away lands as a missionary. It was the beginning of a dream God had for her beyond her greatest imaginings.

Hiligonde Wolbring dreampt of serving people in far away places.

Hilligonde Wolbring dreamt of serving people in far away places.

 

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On Pilgrimage-1

by Maresa Lilley, SND on June 17, 2013 · 0 comments

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Yesterday, June 16th, some of my fellow Sisters of Notre Dame and I embarked on a pilgrimage tour of our places of origin in Europe, dear to the history of our Congregation. So I am not able to paint in my usual mode, but I thought instead that I would share some images along with some of our story, as we travel through these days. These images were painted for a simple, childlike booklet called “Hilligonde’s Dream,” written by Sister Valerie Schneider, SND.

Having lost both her parents by age seven, young Hilligonde Wolbring (b. 1828), the future foundress of the Coesfeld Sisters of Notre Dame, went to live with her loving Aunt, Uncle, and cousins in Westphalia, Germany. Her attitude upon arrival needed some adjusting, since she did not think she should have to do farmwork. The loving tact of her Aunt helped redirect her strong will and form her generous character.

Hilligonde thinks she does not need to work since she has her father's inheritance.

Hilligonde thinks she does not need to work since she has her father’s inheritance.

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Win A Painting from Grace to Paint

by Maresa Lilley, SND on April 6, 2013 · 0 comments

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Bottle and Blossom

This oil painting of mine (5×5 inches on stretched canvas) will be given to the winner of the Sisters of Notre Dame Easter Season Free Sweepstakes which is taking place on their Facebook page.  Enter for a chance to win.  Good luck!

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