Sisters Survival During Turbulent Times

The School Sisters of Notre Dame were founded in 1833 near Munich, Germany. Throughout the next century, Mother Theresa and her successors wrote to the sisters about how to survive during wartime.

Mother Almeda Schricker
Mother Almeda Schricker, SSND

One hundred years after the congregation’s founding, Adolf Hitler was gaining even more power in Germany and the Nazi nightmare was beginning.

Mother Almeda Schricker, who was the general superior from 1928 until 1955, came from the Munich Motherhouse to North America in 1933. She visited as many SSND convents as possible. Her desire was not only to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the congregation, but also to solidify the bonds of unity between sisters in Europe and North America. Her recognition of Hitler’s intentions was evident in 1933 with the general council’s decision that the sisters would not teach the Aryan paragraph which denied Jews a role in civil life. For this “non-cooperation” with Hitler, more than 650 School Sisters of Notre Dame serving in Germany lost salaried positions.

This overview of living in wartime is told primarily through the example of Mother Almeda, other German sisters’ stories and other primary resources. As Germany surrendered in May 1945, communism marched into the devastated nations of Eastern Europe where School Sisters of Notre Dame were hoping for a time of peace in which to rebuild their lives and ministries. Just the opposite happened. Schools and other institutions were taken from them and they were not allowed to teach, practice their faith publicly, meet together in community, etc. This sorrowful period is recorded briefly and allows the viewer to look inside the hearts and spirituality that kept sisters faithful through a very difficult forty plus years.

Thus Living in Wartime includes both pre-Nazi times, as well as the modern era of Hitler’s Germany and communism.


Learn more about how sisters survived during wartime.

Life in Hitler's Germany Living Under Communism

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