April 15, 2023

At A Second Glance- 02

Sister M. Anrika Dold; Susanna Denkinger; Illustration: Sister Francine-Marie Cooper

“Let us take every created thing as a great picture book of God,

As a book of readings about him.”

J. Kentenich

Vacuum Cleaner

And then it happened again: In the middle of Holy Mass, she felt everything slipping from under her feet and she slumped to the side. When asked what it’s like to suddenly faint, the young woman said: “It’s like a suction that you feel, but you can’t fight it any longer –it’s like a vacuum cleaner that sucks you up.” For years she has been living with a pacemaker and experiencing fainting.

Gertraud von Bullion,* one of the first women to join Schoenstatt, who contracted tuberculosis, once said:

“I wouldn’t want to give up any of the days that I have been ill even though they have robbed me of so much …
They have brought me  much better things—closeness to God. Not always, but often.”

 My helplessness in everyday life: Is it like a vacuum cleaner that despite all my efforts wants to pull me or is it a learning experience? Experiences of helplessness that bring much better things to us; experiences from which I suddenly feel God present. Have I experienced that at some time? God’s nearness. Perhaps not always, but sometimes, again and again.


It is not easy to cope with weaknesses. But you tell me: Trust—God is near. Entrust yourself to him! He is only a prayer away from you! If you find yourself in a situation in your life, where you really lose control and need help, invite God!


Today I will trustingly place something that is burdening me into the hands of God and I will ask him to allow me to experience his nearness.


*   Gertraud von Bullion

Her full name was Gertraud Graefin von Bullion. She was born on September 11, 1891 in Wuerzburg. She died on June 11, 1930 in Isny. During the First World War she volunteered as a Red Cross nurse in hospitals in France and Belgium. She had her first encounter with the Schoenstatt Movement and Father Kentenich in 1917.

On December 8, 1920, she and her cousin Marie Christmann were the first women accepted into the Schoenstatt Movement. That was the foundation of the Schoenstatt Women’s Federation. In the beginning of January 1921, she was diagnosed with tuberculosis. She died in a hospital in Isny and was buried in the cemetery in Kempten in the vault of the Bullion family.