Canadian Expansion to England

Victoria Wiethaler, SSND, 2003.
Foundations of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in England, and “Enlarge the Space of Your Tent”

Mother Theresa began the SSND foundation in England in 1864. At that time the pastor of a small St. Boniface church in England was studying in Munich. He became acquainted with the SSNDs and appealed to Mother Theresa for sisters. She responded with characteristic generosity and six sisters left for London to teach the poor children. Actually, Mother Theresa was going to accompany the sisters to England but because of sickness she was unable to go; instead, the motherhouse chaplain, Father Mathias Siegert, went with the sisters whose first mission was an orphanage. During her term in office, Mother Theresa opened six houses in England and sent fifty letters to that country.

About eighty thousand people had immigrated from Germany to England during the middle of the 19th century. They sought employment in the cities’ large factories. Many were Catholic and many were very poor. The children were not always admitted to public schools. Through many hardships, through successes and failures, the sisters helped the children through elementary and secondary schools and they conducted night classes for factory girls.

Sister Gisela Waffler, SSND
Sister Giesela Waffler, SSND
Sister Arimathea Kreidl, SSND
Sister Arimathea Kreidl, SSND

In 1934, Mother General Mary Almeda passed on the jurisdiction of the houses in England to the Commissariat in America; and in 1935, the Canadian province accepted the responsibility. The Canadian Province had been founded in 1927. Sisters from Germany, from the United States, and from Canada have experienced God’s blessing working in England. Because of Hitler’s expulsion of the sisters from teaching in Germany, England gained new forces.

Become familiar with the lives of two German sisters, Gisela Waffler and Arimathea Kreidl, who made England their home.


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