Memories of War

Mother Theresa, Mother Caroline, and Memories of War

Regensburg burning
  1. "As a child Caroline (Gerhardinger) would accompany her mother as they visited prisoners of war in the hospital. She had kept special food for them and was delighted to share with them." Mutter Theresia by S. Liobgid Ziegler, SSND, c.1949, p.8)
  2. "At 10 she stood by her father's side watching as shells burst over her beloved Regensburg, she shuddered at the reality of war. In her later years, she recalled her father lifting her up on his shoulders to get a better view. She remembered 'his pleasure at my courage.'" Ibid. p. 10
  3. "Things relative to the community, accounts, bills, etc., the Sisters should have ready to take with them at a moment's notice, so that they can carry them to a safe place. They should also have in readiness a traveling bag with sufficient clothing and linens to take along with them. The Sisters who are carrying money or bonds, in case these latter should be in our hands, should be extremely careful, and take them with them as God's property." (Entire Congregation, #3007, 1859)
  4. "I have still to express my sorrow on account of the Civil War in which our America is involved. Hitherto, neither side has gained a decisive advantage in the 31 battles fought, besides some minor engagements and skirmishes. It is deplorable that so many lives are being sacrificed without achieving notable success. The southerners fight with utmost determination and a thirst for freedom. Patriotism ranks high among them. The ladies offer their jewels to contribute to the equipment of battleships, and the bells of the cathedrals of New Orleans and Charleston have already been turned into cannons. The north has many soldiers but they are not of the best quality. It costs daily more than a million dollars, thus creating a heavy national debt which is to be canceled by raising the taxes. Catholic institutions, churches, schools, and convents must pay high taxes. I was appalled by the announcement that our taxes for the ensuing year will be $500. New laws make it obligatory to pay taxes on the most necessary articles worn about the person, such as watches, glasses and walking canes. It is very painful to be entirely separated from our Sisters in the South because all channels of communication have been closed. (From Mother Caroline to the Louis Mission Society, # 28, April 1862)
  5. "It is really a great source of anxiety because the war has interrupted communications, that the sisters in the West are still cut off from the Motherhouse. This is hard on the sisters, even though we place our trust in God's fatherly care, who will surely continue to protect them." (To Mother Caroline, #3614, Dec. 10, 1863, Civil War)
  6. "ALLELUIA! The rule of our order has been approved. So reads the telegram we have just received from Rome. As a mark of his special favor our Holy Father (Pius IX), fearing an impending war, called a special session for the Sacred Congregation in his palace on June 5. (#2912, June 9, 1859)
  7. "For a number of sisters who have been professed seven years, the time is approaching when they may pronounce Perpetual Vows, and consecrate themselves to the Lord forever. Because of the distressing conditions of war, these sisters should renew their vows privately on the next communion day until God gives us sweet peace again, and permits us to celebrate this important religious ceremony in our main Motherhouse. When this will be depends upon our good God." (Entire Congregation, #3209, 1860)
  8. "As in Obernberg, our Order's candidates were followed by six or seven soldiers as they were going home from church. In the convent, we make it clear to the soldiers that they could not stay there. However, they begged with upraised hands to rest awhile; they had already been four days and nights on the march, and it was impossible for them to go any farther. They desired only rest and a little water. Room was made for them in the workroom, and meat and soup given to them, as well as some salad from the garden. They left the house with tears of gratitude after a short rest." (#4202)


  1. As you reflect on these situations which one would you consider the most difficult and why?
  2. Do you know anyone who has lived in a "war zone?" Tell us about it.

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