The Story of Sr. Mary Cornelia
…I who was baptized Martha can hear the Lord saying: “Martha has chosen the better part, and it shall not be taken away from her.”
The first stirrings of my vocation began as a young girl of twelve. My family is from Wiesbach-Saar, in the diocese of Trier, Germany. We had a happy family life, nine children of loving parents.
My older brothers and sisters had already married and left home when my mother died, leaving me, at the age of 16, to take charge of the household. My name of Martha was apropos…as I took care of my father and a younger sister.
Though I often thought of a vocation, it was many years before I could heed the Lord’s summons due to the obligation I felt to my father and family. At one point, one of my older sisters generously took over my duties and care of our father so that I could pursue my desire to be a cloistered contemplative.
In May 1951 I was received into the postulate at our convent in Bad Driburg, Germany. One year later, after entrance into the novitiate and having received the new name of Sister Mary Cornelia, I went to our motherhouse in Steyl, Holland and made first profession. Soon after first profession, I returned to Driburg and four years later was back in Steyl. In 1962 I sailed for my assignment in the U.S.A. and my first mission at the Convent of Divine Love where I stayed for 10 years before being appointed for our Mount Grace Convent in St. Louis, Missouri. After 11 years I was again assigned to the Convent of Divine Love where I have stayed until the present.
Since my first profession 48 years ago, my family experience has helped me to serve our communities in many capacities, in the kitchen, sewing room, garden, laundry and sacristy. Lately as age and some handicap from two hip replacements have kept me from more active work, I help in the treasurer’s office a little time each day and spend my time crocheting and knitting, making rosaries and Agnus Dei.
My day is spent in quiet prayer now, keeping vigil and listening at His feet! It has been a joyful life in the cloister and though now my name is Mary Cornelia, I who was baptized Martha can hear the Lord saying: “Martha has chosen the better part, and it shall not be taken away from her.” May He be praised for His goodness to me these 48 years!