Planning Committee for: The 200th Jubilee of the Birthday
Dear Sisters and Friends,
With great joy, we received the news that His Holiness Benedict XVI signed the decree about the heroic virtues of our Foundress, Mother Alphonse Marie Eppinger, on December 19, 2011.
This news is timely because we, her Sisters throughout the world, are preparing to celebrate her 200th birthday on September 9, 2014.
This is a great event for all of us, both Sisters and laity, and involves much intense preparation. We believe that the celebration of this great event will bear fruit in us, in the Church, in society, and foremost, in the youth of today.
On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Mother Alphonse Marie’s birthday, the Sisters of three Congregations which originated from Mother Alphonse Marie’s foundation will choose as their theme, the important aspects of the spirituality of Venerable Mother Alphonse Marie. The Sisters will meditate on and try to deepen these aspects within themselves.
A theme of this jubilee is “The Greatness of the Simple Life” and it will be interwoven, like a golden thread, in the preparation and each part of the celebration. During this time, we want to revitalize our charism and identity. May each Sister try to live, with a fresh awareness, her mission and participation in the apostolic involvement of the Congregation.
The First Stage of the Preparation 2012-2013:Getting to know the history and the era of Elizabeth Eppinger – Venerable Mother Alphonse Marie
During this stage, we will concentrate on the life of our Foundress, Venerable Mother Alphonse Marie: her experiences, her personality, and her goals, as well as the social conditions of that time in history.In the first stage of the preparation, we recommend studying her personality. We recognize that presently there is no one who knew Mother Alphonse Marie personally or who had met any of the first Sisters. Therefore, if we want to know and understand her better, we must draw from the sources we have at hand.
A thorough knowledge of Venerable Mother Alphonse Marie is necessary for a deeper understanding of her charism, so that we may live it and show its relevance for today. The aim of our preparation is to gain new knowledge and new insights because by knowing more about her life, her spirituality, and her charism, we will give expression to a growth in love.
The Second Stage of the Preparation 2013-2014:
Getting to know the Spirituality of Venerable Mother Alphonse Marie
We want to enter more deeply into the spirituality of Venerable Mother Alphonse Marie and to give her a greater place in our lives. “The spirit of the Daughters of the Divine Redeemer should be the spirit of Jesus Christ. Their lives should be completely modeled on his and take their direction from his life. His spirit should so totally animate and penetrate them that it becomes apparent in all their words and actions. Each Sister should be able to say with the Apostle, „The life I live now is not my own; Christ is living in me‟ (Gal. 2:20), so that the life of Jesus is evident in her whole being” (cf Original Rule I, III). Mother Alphonse Marie drew her life from this and lived according to this.
She was a woman whose life was shaped by suffering, illness, and work. She did not write any theological reflections or commentaries on her life, and she did not leave a diary. What she truly endeavored to do was to mediate God’s true spirit. She personally accompanied the first Sisters to their new home and introduced them to a new way of life. We want to plan the events of this jubilee on various levels, incorporating the elements of both stages as explained above.
We will continue our interior preparation during the next few years and this will culminate in a jubilee celebration at the Motherhouse in Oberbronn. All Sisters are invited to embark upon a spiritual and apostolic renewal and be inspired by the vital mission of our Foundress. Its timeliness will impel us to put forth our best effort in sharing, with the people of today, what we have received from our Foundress.3. Prayer for the 200th birthday jubilee of Venerable Mother Alphonses Marie
Open to the signs of the time
Jesus, lead us On the way of friendship with You,
Holy Spirit, enliven us
Help us to respond
with generous hearts to the vocation
Grant us the grace of steadfastness
By our intensive preparation for this birthday jubilee of our Foundress, we will become more open to the Mystery of Redemption. May Venerable Mother Alphonse Marie be our model and guide so that by her example we can help all people to experience the redemptive love of Christ (cf M. Nagel, Life Sources of the Congregation).
We also hope to attain a deeper connection with all the Sisters spread throughout the world, so that we can continue in our common mission, be full of joyful hope, and “in everything, always, and everywhere see God, only God alone”(Venerable Mother Alphonse Marie) and bring God, today, to those who suffer and to those who seek.
The vision and example of Venerable Mother Alphonse Marie teach us and impel us to assume responsibility for the Church and for society, using our diversity of gifts.
Sincerely and with Sisterly love,
Rome, January 2, 2012
Sister Katarina Kristofova, SDR
Chairperson of the Jubilee Project
Planning Committee for: The 200th Jubilee of the Birthday of Venerable