March 3, 2024

A Motherly Heart for the House,
A “Mother for the World”

Sr. M. Siglinde Hilser

“The most important thing is to always be

where God wants us to be.” G. Bernanos

On Saturday, January 27, 2024, the Triune God took our dear

Sister Marie-Gudrun Glückert

into His eternal home.

On January 13, 2024, Sister Marie-Gudrun felt so ill that she had to be brought to the hospital in Timisoara, Romania. It was learned that she had cancer at an advanced stage and that it was no longer operable. In order to receive good palliative care, the superior dared to fly with her to Germany on January 16. After that, she was in a hospital in Tuebingen. There she received the Anointing of the Sick. Her health deteriorated rapidly, and we could no longer leave her alone. Late in the afternoon of January 27, she silently went home.

It shook us and very many other people that Sister Marie-Gudrun had to leave us so quickly. And yet her death on precisely this day was also like a promise to us.

Because on January 27, in Schoenstatt, Germany, nine young women from six different countries received the dress of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary as a sign of their acceptance into the community. Hence, we are confident that from eternity Sister Marie-Gudrun will support our great concern for vocations to our sisters’ family and to all of the Schoenstatt communities.

In an interview that the Press Office of the Diocese of Timisoara conducted with her in December 2020, she shared the following about her life.

“I was born on October 5, 1945, in Uechtelhausen, Germany–a village near the industrial city of Schweinfurt, Lower Franconia/Bavaria.  I grew up in a Catholic family with two brothers and a sister. At the time, our surroundings were still characterized by strong Catholic traditions. A priest who belonged to the Schoenstatt Movement introduced us to this ecclesial movement. I joined a Schoenstatt group because the spirituality and goals [of the Movement] appealed to me inwardly. After attending elementary school, I attended the municipal secondary school in Schweinfurt and graduated with the Mittlere Reife.
At about the age of 14 or 15, I began to think about what direction my life should take—apart from a career. Then, one day I received a card with a text that has become like a red thread through my life. It said:

 “The most important thing is to always be where

God wants us to be.” G. Bernanos

 Until I started my training as a kindergarten teacher, I worked as a commercial clerk, then as a judicial clerk at the Schweinfurt Regional Court in order to create a financial basis for my later training.

From 1966 to 1968, I attended the Seminar for Social Pedagagy of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary on the Liebfrauenhoehe near Rottenburg/Neckar. The following year I was in Bamberg in a transitional home for children of ethnic German repatriates from Poland, Hungary, the former Yugoslavia, and Russia. Most importantly, the children and young people were to learn the German language and become familiar with the culture of the western world … This year was a valuable experience for me and gave me an insight into the Communist way of education and influence. I experienced what it means to start over in a foreign country, not to understand the language, and to be homesick. It was a first encounter with people from countries of Eastern Europe.

In September 1969, Sister Marie-Gudrun joined our community at the Liebfrauenhoehe. On March 1, 1970, she and her course sisters received the dress of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, and on December 10, 1970, the course consecrated itself to the Blessed Mother in the covenant of love. She made her perpetual consecration December 8, 1978.

After the time of closed novitiate, she served the guests in the dining room for pilgrims at the Liebfrauenhoehe. She was also a kindergarten teacher in Ergenzingen, Munich, and Karlsruhe, and later was educator at the Liebfrauenschule. In the beginning of September 1977, she was transferred to the dynamic province of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary and worked in the Family Movement of Schoenstatt in the Dioceses of Wuerzburg and Eichstaett. From May 1982 to December 1989, she also worked in the Diocese of Augsburg. From 1989-1991, she was the leader of the Family Movement and served as the provisional head. Beginning in 1986, she was a council member of the province council of the dynamic province for twelve years. In 1993, she retired from work in the Schoenstatt Movement and served the sisters of the Marienland provincial house filiation for six years as superior. Then she spent four and one half years as director of the Marienland Convention Center.

On November 16, 2003, there was another turning point in Sister Marie-Gudrun’s life. In the above-mentioned interview she said the following:

“My superiors asked me to take up the office of provincial superior for Bavaria and the Danube countries of Austria and Romania. “How is that supposed to happen?” I asked as the Blessed Mother did at the hour of the Annunciation. I remembered again the sentence: “The most important thing is to always be where God wants us to be!

In the twelve years that followed, Sister traveled to Romania several times to initiate contact with the Bishop and to get to know the homes and families of our sisters from Romania. Father Kapor, one of the first Schoenstatt priests in Romania, recalled at the Holy Mass on January 16, before she flew to Germany, “We thank you that when you were provincial superior for twelve years you traveled to Sathmar, in Oradea, in Arad, and in Timisoara to prepare a home for your co-sisters!

After her term of office as provincial superior, she took over the leadership of the house at the Schoenstatt Center in Walkstetten in the Diocese of Freiburg and she was responsible for the pilgrims.

Her joy was great when in the spring of 2019, the first house for three Schoenstatt Sisters was established in Timisoara. Early in the summer of the same year the angel of the Lord brought a new message to her. She was asked if she could go to Romania to help and support the sisters in Timisoara. She noted:

Despite all my attachment to Romania, I never thought of a specific assignment there. But then I thought of “my sentence.” The most important thing is to always be where God wants us to be!”   Father Kentenich once told a sister: “God’s blessing will now reach you where you are supposed to go. So, not where you would like to stay–if it is not God’s will.”

Although it was not a question for me to say yes to God’s will, there was still a time of weighing up the pros and cons, especially in view of my advanced age. The decisive factor in my decision for Romania was the fact that I already had a relationship to this country and that I knew the sisters who are there. The fact that these sisters would be happy for me to come also motivated me and made the new step easier.”

 Since October 23, 2019, Sister Marie-Gudrun belonged to the house community there. She was the soul, the motherly heart of the house–a mother for the world—for the sisters of the house and the many guests who came in increasing numbers. In November 2023, many were still able to experience this during the “Together for Europe” meeting in Timisoara.

Now heaven has asked of us such a quick farewell. In the aforementioned interview, she explained:

“To summarize my experiences, I can say that my stay in Romania … has given me a certain breadth to my life’s horizon and that getting older can offer opportunities for new perspectives, new “joie de vivre” and a certain touch of youthful exhilaration.

 It’s also nice to still be able to fulfill a task that contributes to inner and outer growth. I am grateful that I can use my strength to help the Schoenstatt Movement in Romania to become a blessing for the Diocese of Timisoara and for the whole country.

With great joy she supported the Schoenstatt stays of the Family Group, the Pilgrim Shrine Group and the first Romanian-Hungarian pilgrimage group of students from Timisoara with her prayers. Thus we are convinced that from eternity, Sister Marie-Gudrun continues to accompany the further development of Schoenstatt in Romania.

We thank Sister Marie-Gudrun from the bottom of our hearts

for her motherly serving love, her courage, her sacrificial spirit,

her steadfast yes to the places and tasks where God wanted her to be!