Sunday, 2 March 2014

Sister Maria-Xavier of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, O.SS.R. of the Monastery of Ried (1837 – 1852)

We know nothing of the life that Elisabeth Faust led in the world, except that she was pious and a source of edification for others.

Elisabeth was born on 5th March 1813 at Duren Protring Niedersheim (Prussia). On 19th October 1837, she entered the Redemptoristine Monastery of Vienna, received the holy habit on 7th January 1839, with the beautiful name of Sister Maria-Xavier of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and made her profession on 9th January 1840.

She had spent eight years in the exercise of the virtues of her state when the Revolution of 1848 drove her from her convent. This was on 6th April. On the 15th, she arrived at Aix-la-Chapelle with several of her Sisters and stayed there for some years. On 26th June 1851 we find her at Marienthal, and finally, in October 1852, she was sent with three other Sisters to Ried, in Austria, to establish a foundation there. Six other Sisters soon came there to join her.

It was in this Convent of Saint Anne that the cross of Our Lord especially came to visit our good Sister. With the others, Sister Maria-Xavier happily and joyfully endured the privations of the poverty and inconveniences at the beginning, but a short while afterwards a mysterious dream warned her unawares to the approaching arrival of her heavenly Spouse.

In her dream she saw Our Lord weighed down with His Cross. He was in the street and making His way to the Monastery. Seeing Him at the end of His strength, Sister Maria-Xavier said to Him: “Lord, come in here!” and the Lord asked her: “Do you love Me?” She replied immediately: “Oh, yes, we love you.” And the Lord replied: “Do you also love My Cross?” “Yes, we love it” replied the Sister.

Jesus (we soon saw Him) accepted the invitation that had been given Him. A Sister had caught smallpox in Vienna and was cured of it, but Sister Maria-Xavier then caught the illness and died of it. It was in a matter of three days. On 18th November at one o’clock in the morning, she died quite resigned to the holy will of God and all aflame with the desire to see Him whose cross she loved.

“On Friday,” says the Monastery Chronicle, “she was buried.” Some young ladies in white carried her coffin. On the following Sunday, the Reverend Father gave a sermon in our little church that impressed everyone. “Sister Maria-Xavier was a generous religious, humble and devout, and having in mind only the glory of God. After her several Sisters and the Superior fell ill, but they all recovered. Our Lord had judged Sister Maria-Xavier worthy to be the first victim of the new foundation and to be the first to receive the wonderful hospitality of Paradise.”

This necrology is translated from Fleurs de l'Institut des Rédemptoristines by Mr John R. Bradbury. The copyright of this translation is the property of the Redemptoristine Nuns of Maitland, Australia. The integral version of the translated book will be posted here as the necrologies appear.

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