Our weekend was spent soaking in the rich history of our beginnings in Coesfeld. We spent time walking the places our first sisters walked from Suring Street where the first house for the neglected children was situated, to the famous Way of the Cross that circles 10km from St. Lambert’s Church. After 160 some years, it is not difficult to find the markers or the unchanged structures. Our good Father Theodore Elting, whom we consider our third founder, walked all over the same roads tending the flock of St. Lambert’s, and also leading the Way of the Cross. This devotion is still celebrated today, and still today, our Sisters participate in it. I was happy to stand and pray on a little mound where Father Elting would have said Mass in the course of the long outdoor Way of the Cross.
From the first years of Notre Dame in Coesfeld, our foundress Sister Maria Aloysia gathered, taught, and nurtured children, especially the neglected ones. Having been orphaned at an early age herself, she had a mother’s heart for them. So the first buildings ever obtained or constructed for the Sisters of Notre Dame included either a way to house the children or to provide schools for them. Father Elting directed and celebrated it all.