Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December 6, 1875: Bismarck's Kulturkampf in Action

Sister, a sister calling
A master, her master and mine! –
And the inboard seas run swirling and hawling;
The rash smart slogging brine
Blinds her; but she that weather sees one thing, one;
Has one fetch in her: she rears herself to divine
Ears, and the call of the tall nun
To the men in the tops and the tackle rode over the storm’s brawling.

She was first of a five and came
Of a coifed sisterhood….
Loathed for a love men knew in them,
Banned by the land of their birth,
Rhine refused them. Thames would ruin them….
Five! The finding and sake
And cipher of suffering Christ.
Mark, the mark is of man’s make
And the word of it Sacrificed….

She to the black-about air, to the breaker, the thickly
Falling flakes, to the throng that catches and quails
Was calling ‘O Christ, Christ, come quickly’:
The cross to her she calls Christ to her, christens her wild-worst Best.

--excerpts from Gerard Manley Hopkins' "The Wreck of the Deutschland" from the website for the Franciscan Sisters, Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

My husband just finished reading Ron Hansen's book Exiles about Gerard Manley Hopkins and the Franciscan nuns fleeing Bismarck's Kulturkampf and he pointed this site out to me. It includes lots of detail about the wreck, the sisters, and even a photo of four of them in their coffins.

The five sisters were
Sr M. Henrica Fassbänder
Sr M. Barbara Hültenschmidt
Sr M. Norberta Reinkober
Sr M. Brigitta Damhorst
Sr M. Aurea Badziura

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