Corona can make you creative. So, this year we split the anniversary celebrations - two events in the mother house, the third as the grand finale in the Waldkrankenhaus.
It was a lovely celebration, we felt connected in many ways and enjoyed the special highlights.
Sr Bonifatia (65 years of profession) and Sr Adelgunde (60 years of profession) had worked in the Waldkrankenhaus institution since its opening in 1959. Sr. Bonifatia was in charge of the women's surgical ward until 2008, Sr. Adelgunde lead the cardiology ward. Still today, Sr Adelgunde's voluntary service in the private ward is being appreciated, and Sr Bonifatia continues to help in the convent with small activities in the refectory.
That so many of Sr. Bonifatia's relatives were able to come to the celebration was due Sr. Claudia and one of Sr. Bonifatia's nephews acting “behind the scenes” - and the fact that the sisters in the Waldkrankenhaus can use the cafeteria for celebrations. Sister Adelgunde had invited close family members, Reverend Verena Winkler and a member of staff from the “early days”.
The altar already decorated for Thanksgiving - what a symbolism: the universal church gives thanks for the gifts of nature, two sisters give thanks for their life in the religious order. Fr. John Adapoor OCarm, the hospital chaplain, took up this theme in his address, linking it to the Gospel of the vine and the branches and spoke of the mystery of vocation: "Pray and work" - this can’t be accomplished because a person wants it or chooses it. This can only be accomplished because the ONE calls, someone hears the calling, gets involved and then does one thing above all: connects with the vine and stays with it. That’s all it takes. And yet it’s so much. Nothing less but a mystery. A mystery that makes you grateful! In line with this, the Canticle of the Sun was sung during the offertory ceremony, fitting for the feast of St. Francis. The organist H. Raab accompanied the singing with expertise and enthusiasm.
Sr. Regina continued with the theme of harvest festival, and on behalf of the whole Congregation thanked for this “harvest of life”. At the end of the service - like in the Motherhouse - each jubilarian was given a colourful bouquet of flowers.
Many hands helped to prepare the feast that followed: The table decorations, home-made dishes, a fruit salad from the Indian sisters, cakes baked by the families ... while I was looking at all this, I remembered what Fr. John mentioned jokingly in the introduction: When he first heard "Ora et labora", he assumed – as he didn’t know any Latin - that it could only mean "eat and drink..." ... otherwise the way would be too far for you! Yes, the body was taken care of - the basis for the soul to feel well and for the whole person to be able to pray and work - and to walk this way, all life long!