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"Omni in re, semper, et ubique tantum Deum video, ipsum Deum." MAM

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Foundress of the Congregation of the Divine Redeemer Sisters –

Venerable Servant of God MOTHER ALPHONSE-MARIE (MAM)

Elizabeth EPPINGER

9. 9. 1814 – 31. 7. 1867

 

Spiritual experience

 

Elizabeth Eppinger was born on September 9, 1814 in Niederbronn in northern Alsace (France) into a simple, peasant family, the first of eleven children. She grew up in the modest surroundings of her family, her parish and her village. Of delicate health, she was afflicted in childhood and youth by various illnesses. Gifted with a strong personality and deep spiritual sensitivity, her desire, above all, was to get to know God, to love Him and to be pleasing to Him

During the years of her illness, Elizabeth had some deep spiritual experiences, and around the year 1846, her intimacy with God became known in her surroundings. Father John David Reichard, who had been parish priest of Niederbronn since 1823, was a direct witness of all that was happening in the life of Elizabeth.  Amazed by the events that had occurred during Elizabeth’s illness, he felt obliged to inform his Bishop, the Most Reverend Andre Rass. Bishop of Strassburg from 1842 to 1887, he was greatly interested in all that concerned Elisabeth. In July, 1848, he comes personally to Niederbronn, and is convinced that this young Christian woman has been chosen for a special destiny.

Greatly drawn to the contemplation of Jesus Christ, his life and passion, Elisabeth discovers in this a manifestation of his great love for all people. From her own experience she knows, that suffering can be an obstacle to man’s response to this love. Therefore, she feels urged to dedicate herself to God, in order to help alleviate the physical and spiritual sufferings of those in need.

This intuition that grows in the heart of Elizabeth will become the foundation of her work. During the course of the year 1848, she gradually comes to the realization, that with the help of her parish priest she is being called to establish a Religious Congregation. In a spirit of deep faith, Father Reichard dedicates himself to this project, which the Bishop, too, approves.

 

 The Foundation


In the context of the social and political upheavals of the 19th century, attempting to make people experience God’s love for them, means specifically to be dedicated to assisting people to achieve their aspirations for respect and human dignity, for freedom and happiness. Many religious foundation of this period were urged by these same intentions.

This was also true of the first community formed by Elizabeth Eppinger and several young women in Niederbronn on the 28th of August, 1849. This orientation in the ministry of the religious community was already evident in their very first ministries: care of the sick poor in their homes, availability for all persons, regardless of social status or religious affiliation. Elizabeth Eppinger, now called Mother Alphonse Marie, becomes the first Superior General.

In response to requests from parishes and municipalities, the number of new communities increases in France, Germany, Austria, and Hungary. The Religious communities are open to an increasing variety of social situations, cultures, and needs.

In the course of 18 years, young women from various countries and nationalities are drawn by Mother Alphonse Marie’s deep longing to make all people experience the love of Christ through various services, alleviating their sufferings and giving them hope. The mission of „the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer“is approved by the Church in 1866.

Both Father Reichard and Mother Alphonse Marie die in July, 1867, just a few days apart. The witness of Mother Alphonse Marie remains – fruit of divine grace in a heart open to the love of God.


Current state of the Beatification Process: On December 19th 2011, Pope Benedict XVI promulgated a decree that officially recognized the heroic virtues practiced by Elizabeth Eppinger – Mother Alphonse Marie. She now bears the sweet title of “Venerable Servant of God“.

 

More about MAM: http://www.alfonzamariaeppinger.com/

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