Toward the Future with god’s Blessing
Sr. Nepomucena related to Sr. Gertrude Neuwirth and other Sisters:
The school year 1868-1869 had been a very difficult one because of the number of children and the lack of space. It had also been a year of waiting and of hope that many things would change for the better in 1869-1870. Our superior, Sr. Margareta, was so capable and industrious that we admired her and asked her how she was able to manage everything.
In addition, Sr. Nepomucena related the full accord that existed between Bishop Stepisnik of Maribor and Bishop Zwerger of Graz regarding this project. Both Bishops, in conformity with ecclesiastical and civil law and with as little delay as possible, did their part to move along the process of the departure of the sisters from the Algersdorf Community and the founding of the new autonomous Congregation at Maribor.
Nevertheless, the civil government of Graz delayed the approval for some time. This too was settled in the month of June24 of 1869 when the new Congregation was granted permission to establish itself there. The sisters received this communication on the vigil of the feast of the Sacred Heart, and with this permission the last obstacle which impeded the beginning of the new Congregation at Maribor was removed.
In her later years Sr. Nepomucena related to Sr. Gertrude how happy that day was for the young religious community. It was a day of community prayer, of thanksgivings and of promise. The Sisters would entrust to the Sacred Heart of Jesus25a al1 the work which the new Congregation would do and all the children who would be taught by the future Sisters of the Congregation.
After this joyous day it was obvious that the bishop followed Sr. Margareta’s work with interest. Having seen how calmly, prudently and responsibly she resolved some of the difficult problems associated with the administration of the school, the education of the children, and the spiritual life of the sisters, he was convinced that she was capable of establishing and guiding this new diocesan religious Community – the Congregation of the School Sisters of Maribor.
24. Translator’s note: The translations into Italian of the series of letters between Sr. Margareta, Bishop Zwerger of Graz, and Bishop Stepisnik of Maribor date from April until October of 1869. On May 24, 1869 an official request had been sent to the civil government of the Steirmark region requesting the foundation of the new Institute of School Sisters of Maribor. This government was located in Graz and they delayed on giving the permission for over 2 months. The letter of approval from the imperial government for the founding of the new Institute is dated July 5, 1869. Another letter written also on July 5, 1869 comes from the Bishop of Graz stating that he has made it a point to get the dismissal permission from the Superior of Algersdorf who had been away (amount of time not stated). The sisters receive their official notification of this from Bishop Stepisnik in his letter to Sr. Margareta dated July 8, 1869.
25a. Translator’s note: The Feast of the Sacred Heart was extended to the Universal Church in 1856. Its current position in the Church calendar is the Friday following the second Sunday after Pentecost, which could place it as late as July 2. In 1869 it occurred on Friday, June 4th. Since the official approval of the new Congregation by the civil government and the dismissal of the 5 Sisters from the Graz Community occurred in July, not in June, the sisters could not have yet received the “official notification” of the civil government’s permission at this time. Was there some indication of the official notification coming, or were they celebrating something else?
On June 3 Sr. Margareta wrote a letter to Bishop Stepisnik of Maribor asking him to deed the house in the name of the religious community and not to a lay entity. Could this then have been what they were celebrating on that vigil of the feast of the Sacred Heart? Had the Bishop responded positively and thus assured them of his agreement that the new Institute of the School Sisters of Maribor was to be indeed a religious Congregation and not just a religious association?