Is There a Jubilee for 19 Years?

You may know that Sisters celebrate the special anniversaries of their years in religious life. You may have congratulated Sisters on the 25th, 50th, 60th anniversary, usually called Silver, Golden, and Diamond Jubilees. Maybe you’ve even celebrated Iron Jubilees with Sisters having spent 65 years in religious life or the Jubilee of Grace for Sisters in vowed life 70 years. Back in the early years of the Notre Dame Congregation few sisters had such longevity. After all the congregation had just been founded.

 One of the founding Sisters, Sister Maria Ignatia lived only 19 years after her profession of vows. Her wisdom and spirit have lived on, blessing the Sisters of Notre Dame for 150 years. What would have been remembered and celebrated had there been a 19th jubilee?

Elisabeth Kühling became an assistant teacher at St. Lambert School in Coesfeld in 1840. Within three years she became the director of the upper girls’ classes. Five years later Hilligonde Wolbring came to St. Lambert School. At the suggestion of the pastor Father Elting, Elisabeth and Hilligonde decided to be instructed in religious life by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur from Holland. They began their Postulancy in June 1850 and were invested in the habit and received their religious names within a few months on October 1, 1850. Eight years later Sister Maria Ignatia was appointed Novice Directress. In eleven years of fulfilling her office as Novice Directress she prepared 117 novices to make religious vows. She died in 1869. One of our loved songs says it well: “Thanks be to God. Two eager hearts with charity burned; their one desire to do God’s Will. . . Their spirit lives now in Notre Dame.”

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  1. Catherine Schneider on June 21, 2024 at 7:59 am

    Love all your relfections on history!