Since last Friday, the 21st, we have been in Coesfeld where our German Sisters of Notre Dame still pray, celebrate, and minister. Our first convent from the 1850’s was called St. Annathal’s, (St. Ann’s Valley) but badly damaged in World War II, it was rebuilt on the same landsite (early 1950’s). I was so happy to stand on this property, our birthplace as a religious order, now belonging to the city. After the city bought our original property, the Sisters built the third Coesfeld home for the Sisters of Notre Dame (1970’s), just outside the heart of the town. Since there could really be no true replicating of our historic first foundation, this newest building was named St. Annenthal’s, shifting the name just a little. So I am happily residing in beautiful light and airy surroundings of St. Annenthal’s while visiting Coesfeld.
We count our foundation from the date October 1, 1850, when Hilligonde Wolbring became Schwester Maria Aloysia, and her companion and co-foundress Elisabeth Kuhling, became Schwester Maria Ignatia, and the Sisters of Our Lady (Schwestern Unserer Lieben Frau) were established in Coesfeld. The rule of life they followed came from St. Julie Billiart who founded the Sisters of Notre Dame of Namur in Belgium.