Emilie Engel (1893 – 1955), Schoenstatt Sister of Mary, grew up in an intact, religious family in rural Sauerland, Germany. As a young teacher in the growing industrial zone of Ruhr, she lives to a high social commitment to the poorest of the poor.
In 1926, she became one of the first members of a then totally new type of religious community, the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary. In the community, she did pedagogical work, first with care services, then within the community. She fell sick with tuberculosis and had to spend several years in hospitals. The operations meant to help with the tuberculosis, caused advancing paralysis that finally brought her to the wheelchair, and robbed her speech ability. In 1946, already severely handicapped, she was appointed as Provincial Superior of the Western German Province of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary.
She proved to be a person who did not give up on herself during severe sickness, a woman, whose life was marked by crisis and emotional pains, and who did not break down but grew from these challenges into a relaxed, free calmness, and childlike shelteredness in God.
Emilie Engel is a person whose life mirrors the typical tension between self-confidence and break-down. Experiencing God’s merciful love, and the fatherly education and guidance of Father Kentenich, she became free, strong, and joyful with her strong limitations. According to Father Kentenich, her life is a testimony of God’s merciful Father love, and a proof for Schoenstatt’s spirituality to be correct and useful to educate free, strong personalities.
Emilie Engel can show to modern people an ideal of holiness that has nothing to do with perfectionism, an ideal that sees limitations, weaknesses and broken pieces not as an obstacle, but as a starting point for a rich, full life, and the experience of God’s endlessly merciful Father love.
- Novena with Sr. Emilie Engel
- Sr. M.Thomasine Treese, Sr. Emilie Engel
- Margareta Wolff: Emilie Engel