Convent Fire

One of the earliest letters from Mother Theresa relates an incident that must have caused her great pain. The fire was related to the care given to some very poor children. Through her direct communication, Mother Theresa gives specific details to those who are accusing her sisters of negligence.

As you read the letter consider her love for the poor children entrusted to the sisters as well as her philosophy of education. She defends her sisters and risks the ridicule of those who had accused them.


Excerpt from a letter of Blessed Mary Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger

October 12, 1842

Letter #369

The Royal Government of the Upper Palatinate
Department of the Interior

The city council also continues to refer to the so-called convent fire that happened a year ago and recently brought it up again to the royal government in order to withdraw from us the royal government’s goodwill whenever possible. Through the city council’s contrived presentation of the case, the sister, who was always considered to be outstanding, is now supposedly bereft of all common sense, as if she did not know that, in such cases, necessity knows no law.

Therefore, I consider it my duty to submit a truthful presentation of what really happened so that the royal government can judge the case for itself.

We accepted from the council for the guardianship of poor people and the city council a few neglected children so that we could care for them and give them an education for a very small fee. Some of these children are afflicted with physical weaknesses so that they wet their beds nightly, even though the sister sleeping near them wakes them and helps them get up during the night so that they will break this habit.

Continue reading...

Printable version available (PDF)



To learn more about Then and Now, explore the following options.

Love for ChildrenHoly Work of EducationAmerican ChildrenConvent FireReturn to Then and Now


Resources | Site Map | Credits | Contact Us

© Copyright 2022 Sturdy Roots - School Sisters of Notre Dame

The work of more than 200 sisters, associates, and professional staff.