Sturdy Roots

The Founding Mothers and Fathers of The School Sisters of Notre Dame

Bishop Michael Wittman
(January 22, 1763 - March 8, 1833)

"Held Christian education for girls as their special concern, understanding what woman must be if the human family were to improve."

Prologue, You Are Sent, p. 18.

Both Bishop Michael Wittman and Father Francis Sebastian Job were dedicated pastors in early 19th century Bavaria. The Canonesses of Notre Dame taught at Stadtamhof and Bishop Wittmann was their confessor and knew their Rule. He had studied the life of Peter Fourier and patterned his life on the great founder. It was only natural that he would give a copy of the Rule of the Canonesses to Caroline Gerhardinger (future foundress of the school Sisters of Notre Dame) upon which to base her Rule. Today in Stadtamhof and Regensburg there is a deep devotion especially to Bishop Wittmann. He lived very simply, was a mystic, and a devoted pastor.

The Cause for Bishop Wittmann's canonization is currently underway in Regensburg. His love for God's Word prompted this seminary Professor of Oriental Languages to translate the New Testament into German. He encouraged both parishioners and seminarians to study the Word in their own language. This was widely read in the German-speaking countries of Europe. He passed on this love for the Word of God to Caroline Gerhardinger.

From a German biographer (2005) of Wittmann, it seems that he knew Aramaic, Syrian, Samaritan, Chaldean, Arabic, and Turkish in addition to his extraordinary command of Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Whether he actually taught all of these is uncertain, but he made use of them in his classes on Scripture.

Francis Sebastian Job
(Died - February 13, 1834)

Father Job was Bishop Wittman's dear friend and was confessor to the Empress Caroline, of Vienna. It was Fr. Job's salary that had been promised to Caroline as a means to help the young SSND community begin. Both Bishop Wittman and Father Job were considered "friends of children." They worked closely with the Canonesses of Notre Dame who staffed the parish school where Caroline Gerhardinger was educated.

The SSND Family Tree
The Holy Trinity
St. Anthony of the Desert
St. Augustine
St. Peter Fourier
Blessed Alix LeClerc
Bishop Michael Wittmann
Fr. Francis Sebastian Job
Blessed Mary Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger
Mother Caroline Friess
The Living Coomunity
The SSND Family Tree in Artistic Form

List of works by Bishop Wittmann

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

Sturdy Roots Home Page