PRAYER OF THE BEATIFICATION OF
MOTHER ALPHONSE MARIE EPPINGER
Lord, our God,
May we be transformed by the love of Christ the Redeemer, even as she was; and may our lives be a witness of your great love to all those we encounter.
Hear the prayers that we present through her intercession ....................... and if it be your will, grant that we may soon venerate Mother Alphonse Marie among the Blessed. Amen.
Please send acknowledgement of answered prayers to:
Postulazione M. A. M.
Imprimatur: + Most Rev. Donald William Wuerl
Was born on September 9, 1814 in Niederbronn in northern Alsace (France) into a simple, peasant family, the first of eleven children. She grew up in the modest surroundings of her family, her parish and her village. Of delicate health, she was afflicted in childhood and youth by various illnesses. Gifted with a strong personality and deep spiritual sensitivity, her desire, above all, was to get to know God, to love Him and to be pleasing to Him.
During the years of her illness, Elizabeth had some deep spiritual experiences, and around the year 1846, her intimacy with God became known in her surroundings. Father David Reichard, who had been parish priest of Niederbronn since 1823, was a direct witness of all that was happening in the life of Elizabeth. Amazed by the events that had occurred during Elizabeth’s illness, he felt obliged to inform his Bishop, the Most Reverend Andre Rass. Bishop of Strassburg from 1842 to 1887, he was greatly interested in all that concerned Elisabeth. In July, 1848, he comes personally to Niederbronn, and is convinced that this young Christian woman has been chosen for a special destiny.
Greatly drawn to the contemplation of Jesus Christ, his life and passion, Elisabeth discovers in this a manifestation of his great love for all people. From her own experience she knows, that suffering can be an obstacle to man’s response to this love. Therefore, she feels urged to dedicate herself to God, in order to help alleviate the physical and spiritual sufferings of those in need.
This intuition that grows in the heart of Elizabeth will become the foundation of her work. During the course of the year 1848, she gradually comes to the realization, that with the help of her parish priest she is being called to establish a Religious Congregation. In a spirit of deep faith, Father Reichard dedicates himself to this project, which the Bishop, too, approves.
In the context of the social and political upheavals of the 19th century, attempting to make people experience God’s love for them, means specifically to be dedicated to assisting people to achieve their aspirations for respect and human dignity, for freedom and happiness. Many religious foundation of this period were urged by these same intentions.
This was also true of the first community formed by Elizabeth Eppinger and several young women in Niederbronn on the 28th of August, 1849. This orientation in the ministry of the religious community was already evident in their very first ministries: care of the sick poor in their homes, availability for all persons, regardless of social status or religious affiliation. Elizabeth Eppinger, now called Mother Alphonse Marie, becomes the first Superior General.
In response to requests from parishes and municipalities, the number of new communities increases in France, Germany, Austria, and Hungary. The Religious communities are open to an increasing variety of social situations, cultures, and needs.
Both Father Reichard and Mother Alphonse Marie die in July, 1867, just a few days apart. The witness of Mother Alphonse Marie remains – fruit of divine grace in a heart open to the love of God.