Foundation on 19 September 2010, Feast of St Joseph – Foster and Nursing Father of JESUS CHRIST
My parents were to me a good example of the veneration of St Joseph. As a mountain farmer my father often had to take a rather long and difficult road to get to his livestock. Usually, there was still much snow in March, it was also cold and everything was covered with ice. Because St Joseph was his patron saint, he wanted to honour this Saint on his festival day in a special way and give him pleasure. My father went to his animals very early in the morning, and then he set off for a rough road walking for 1½ hours on an empty stomach – first going downhill into the valley and then at the other side of the valley uphill in order to reach the church at 7.00 am. On this festival day, which meant a lot to him, he received the Sacraments. Then, a good hour later, he would take the same way back again. I thought, what a tremendous Saint this must be because it was so important to my father and because he took such great pains. Already as a child, it made such a deep impression on me and stayed deep in my heart.
When I was 15 or 16 years old, I was determined to enter a cloistered convent. Such was my desire that I often wept silently seeing no chance of succeeding. – My mother died at the age of 41 (1951), 14 days after giving birth to her ninth child. I was 13 years old, two brothers and one sister were older than I. At a very early age, my sister and I picked up many things about housekeeping from our mother and we learnt to take responsibility. Besides school, many duties were waiting for us. Our father was a role model and an all-rounder. These years were hard for him beyond all telling.
In this situation and as life showed the way and the responsibilities, I learnt a trade (domestic economy) later on, when the younger siblings grew up, and I married the now Sword-Bishop. GOD granted us four children.
On 15 August 1985 I was given the consecration of my right hand by the Sword-Bishop in Rehetobel in order to impart the blessing of St Joseph. To me it was like a bolt from the blue. I thought, if this happens on the Sword-Bishop’s instructions, then it is all right. I myself could not understand or grasp it. I often thought: “St Joseph, why do you have to give your blessing through me? After all, you do this much better yourself.” Of course, it is St Joseph himself who blesses, I simply put my hand in his. Each time I felt so terribly unworthy. Well, I did it out of obedience.
When my husband had become a Bishop, I sometimes told him that the idea of founding an order somewhere in the future continually crosses my mind. He answered me: “I know.” Then again I swept aside such thoughts as my imagination running wild. These thoughts returned regularly and each time I have waved them aside – for years and years. Between 2008 and 2010 they constantly haunted me. I often talked about it with the Sword-Bishop and I asked myself if I had lost my mind. He hardly commented on it. “Oh GOD!” I said, “How is this supposed to be? If it be Your will, You have to tell me clear enough – let me know clear enough.” I myself came to a dead end and I was afraid to be just imagining things.
The Sword-Bishop had dedicated the year 2010 to St Joseph. During the summer months these thoughts haunted me daily and I felt depressed to think I could lead people astray or to think I was not equal to the responsibility, among many other things. I often asked St Joseph to give me clarity. One day, I sat there alone, helpless and at a loss, thinking about St Joseph. I heard a quiet invitation and had a clear view of founding a “Lay Community of St Joseph.” Without further ado I sat down and wrote down the articles – the whole purpose – it just poured forth from my pen, and I immediately made preparations.
On 19 September 2010 – the solemn feast of the Nursing and Foster Father of JESUS CHRIST – I set the date of the foundation.
This mission was spread among the people by flyers and by word of mouth. A foundation requires at least three persons. My thoughts were: “If I had only four or five, I would be satisfied.” Receiving 67 registrations was to me a clear sign of the working of St Joseph.
To this day the community is constantly growing – though with many difficulties, which is obviously a part of it and a positive sign to me.