November 1, 2023

Walk on All Souls Day

Sr. M. Deanne Niehaus

Thank you for each of our co-sisters


The sky is grey, and the colored leaves are falling. Come join me as I walk to our sisters’ cemetery to give thanks for the lives that have blessed mine.

See here the ones who are your own!
The small! The pure!
Graciously unite them to yourself,
revealing yourself to the world anew.

Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary ran a hospital and nursing home in the town where I grew up. Two of my deceased co-sisters held my younger brothers just after they were born. Then there is the sister who had a May crowning celebration each May, as children, my siblings and I participated in the procession holding our lilac branches, our flowers for the Queen. There is the marker of two sisters who made sure we had cookies whenever we visited the shrine. Grace builds on nature.

In them you may suffer,
go to battle, care for souls.
Through them you prepare for yourself again
the joys of the resurrection.

Look there is the marker for my German teacher who patiently tried to teach me German grammar before I spent four years in Germany. Over here are the markers of my co-sisters who knew our Father and Founder and shared their stories with us: the simple beginnings with his  encouragement to dare conquering a new people for Schoenstatt, the jokes told of learning a new language, the daring to build the Schoenstatt Shrines in the countries of our province, etc.

Through them build
the city of heavenly meadows
so that all people can look up to it
full of confidence.

Here is the marker of the pioneer sisters who gave their life for building up Schoenstatt in our country. It seems that their first words off the plane were: We want to build a shrine! There is the sister who raised the funds for the land and Retreat Center where our provincial center exists today. Over here are the markers of the sisters who gave their life for new beginnings in the Philippines.

You may send them forth
to the very ends of the earth.
They pledge themselves to you today
to complete your kingdom on earth.

Once I thought about the top 25 people that I had met in my life. I came up with 30 Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary. Some are buried in this cemetery and others are buried in cemeteries in Germany where I was blessed to visit this past summer.

Thank you, Mother Thrice Admirable, for each of our co-sisters as we pray this day and each day of November for the eternal rest of our beloved deceased.

Mary, take this offering
into your faithful, motherly hands
so that until our final breath
this song of thanksgiving may never end.

Prayer by J. Kentenich, Hymn of Thanksgiving, Heavenwards, 621-625