Our Founders The Sisters of Charity Schwarzach

In the same way that in the seventeenth century St Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac had felt themselves called by God to serve the needs of the poor at the same time, so in the mid-nineteenth century Cardinal Schwarzenberg and the young bourgoise woman Magdalena Preisinger felt a similar call. While listening to a sermon Magdalena felt herself called to devote her life to the service of the suffering  poor. Cardinal Schwarzenberg decided to set up an institution called Inner Gebirg (Inner Rock or Refuge) to be a refuge for the elderly and the sick. He therefore sent Magdalena Preisinger with five companions to the Mother house of the Sisters of Charity in Munich for vocational and spiritual training. They returned to Salzburg in 1844 accompanied by an experienced sister from Munich, Sister Aloisa Aigner. In the meantime the Cardinal had renovated the Benedictine Mission House in Schwarzach for their use.

On the 20th August 1844 the Sisters began their work following the example of St Vincent de Paul.  The small Vincentian community soon began to grow and people with similar gifts joined in the work of serving the needs of the poor. The sisters honoured St Vincent as the patron saint of their order. When they learnt of another community of sisters in Paris which had been founded by St Vincent de Paul together with St Louise de Marillac they entered into contact with the worldwide community of the Daughters of Christian Charity. In 1882 the community was united with the mother community in Paris. Since then the sisters at Schwarach have formed one of the more than 70 Provinces of the Order throughout the world.

We are a small community here in Schwarzach and we constantly strive to follow the spirit of St Vincent de Paul in the work which we are called to do, in the running of our community and hospital, in our service and care of others and in our silence.

In order to follow the demands of our vocation as religous sisters properly, prayer is extremely important to us. In our daily routine we therefore have regular periods of community when we all come together. We have communal meals and meetings in a very relaxed atmosphere. We call this “recreation.” Our times of prayer form the cornerstone of our day. We begin the day with communal morning praise and the Eucharist. We end the day with vespers where we present our days work to God.

“God asks everyone to serve the poor. They are our masters. We must therefore treat them with gentleness and warmth of heart. Try as hard as you are able to see that they lack nothing, neither for their body nor for their soul. Greet them with great respect as you would Our Lord who said to us, “What you do for the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.” It is therefore really the Lord who accepts the service which you offer a sick person. You must therefore never treat the sick coarsely or with impatience and must always strive to serve the sick with cheerfulness.”
St Vincent de Paul.

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