Nourished by the past
Recently, I gave a lecture during the cultural day of the Austrian Conference of Religious on the piety of our foundress, Venerable Maria Hueber and the spiritual establishment of our community. The discussion was so exciting that it continued at home. After the event, there were lively discussions with fellow sisters about our spiritual heritage during which it became very clear that it is important to nourish the historical roots of our spirituality. The ideals of our religious life, which have been handed down through the centuries, enrich life and give it depth, colour and balance. The values that Maria Hueber and her companions upheld and fought for provoke and challenge us to an intensive debate. Maria Hueber wanted not only to run an innovative, creative school for girls, but also to lead a traditional, contemplative religious life. Community prayer, silence and retreat were important to her. Later, the sisters asked for permission to profess the evangelical counsels and to wear the religious habit.
Sustained by the present.
How do we view ourselves as Maria Hueber's sisters in the 21st century? Some Tertiary Sisters feel strengthened and are delighted to know that what is helpful and meaningful to them as religious was also precious to Maria Hueber.
However, some sisters are skeptical and afraid that the study of the old rites or even relics from the Middle Ages could be exaggerated and adopted without reflection. Most Tertiary Sisters, however, intuitively know how to carefully crack the shell of historical timeconditioning and bring out the nourishing precious core. It is clear that knowledge alone does not offer a quick solution and that our spiritual heritage is not and should not be a patent recipe for all kinds of everyday problems. Every true spirituality has contradictions and knows how to deal with them. But above all it wants to be developed further. Our historical heritage can give us strength, support, courage and sustain us in the present moment. However, this cannot be done without an honest examination of our own spiritual needs, the longing for God, and the energysapping effort to orient our everyday life according to these values and let them change us for the better. The root can only nourish us if we connect with it.
Safe in the future
Below are some of the sisters' reflections shared in this context to show how vibrant and diverse we are in translating our historical heritage into our time.
The lecture in German language can be listened to here: