Sturdy Roots

Living Under Communism in Europe


The story of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in the Berlin Province is a journey of following their patroness, Our Lady of Sorrows. They were founded in 1851 when Bishop Melchior von Diepenbrock asked Mother Theresa to provide sisters to care for neglected youth. Mother Theresa answered the call and took over the orphanage “Ad Matrem Dolorosam,” (To the Sorrowful Mother) as the first educational institution in Breslau . (now Wroclaw , Poland ) By 1870 the Silesian Province already had 13 missions, where the sisters were respected educators in many schools. The Kulturkampf in Prussia brought this amazing growth to an end when in 1875 all teaching orders were disbanded. The sisters found a new home in neighboring Austria-Silesia. Their home was an old empty convent in Weisswasser. ( Bila Voda , Czechoslovakia now) This was the motherhouse of the Silesian Province for the next 20 years. The charred cross from their motherhouse was brought to Berlin where it hangs in their chapel today. Consider the resiliency of these sisters by reflecting on their history.

Living under Communism taught sisters how to deal with their political situation. Reflect on one experience by remembering their determination in receiving the statue of Mother Theresa given to them by the Polish province.

The experience of living in a divided Berlin is brought home by the faces and voices of those challenging times.
Extended Family
Final Vows

Berlin Collage

© Judith Best, SSND - 2010 - School Sisters of Notre Dame
Layout Development: BraeRex Communications

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