Last week, Msgr. Vetter had to miss having Mass for us one of his regularly scheduled days because he was off to Wishek for their “Sauerkraut Days.” He told me in advance so I was able to find a sub.
I have been involved in sauerkraut-making on a couple occasions. One was when I served in Rugby and the CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) had a lot of leftover cabbage, which ended up at the convent after their fish fry one March.
Another Sister and myself had a fun time chopping up and processing the kraut. She visited with one of the ladies of the parish as to how to properly jar it, and was told to seal the jars with potatoes. As the kraut aged, it pushed up a bit on the potatoes. Oops! My memory is a bit foggy on all the details, though.
As we worked, we had fun joking about our Sisters back in Germany in 1241, when our Community was founded. At that time, Count Hartmann IV of Dillingen (the town in Germany) and his son, Hartmann V, Bishop of Augsburg, donated to the Community of Ladies in Dillingen a house near the parish church and with it one lot of land, a cabbage patch and a meadow” where they could live a life of work and prayer. We joked that they must have made sauerkraut, too, to preserve the cabbage they grew.
A beautiful statement, which I believe sums up our mission, follows in our historical record: “According to the intention of the founders, the Ladies should serve God, their Creator, peacefully, devoutly, and zealously for the benefit of all the faithful, giving praise and honor to the Blessed Trinity.”
The “Community of Ladies” in Dillingen became affiliated with the Franciscan Order about sixty years later.
The history of the community of Franciscan Sisters of Dillingen is a very interesting one, complete with fire, plague and war. One of the readers of Our Franciscan Fiat expressed interest in learning more about our history on this blog. Anyone with similar wishes is encouraged to read an account available online at: dillingenfranciscansusa.org.
Sr. Christina M. Neumann