Congregational pilgrimage 2023

 Finding the roots in Germany

We began our pilgrim journey on 4th September, in Cosefeld, Nordrheinwestfalen, Germany, and place of our foundation. During those 12 days we were privileged to visit important historical sites of our congregation. As we visited the various places where our foundresses Sister M. Aloysia and Sister M. Ignatia lived and ministered. What we have learned and read became alive and became part of our being.


The Heritage centre at Annenthal gave us a brief overview of the congregation and the world history. Our visit to Emigration Centre in Bremerhaven gave us the idea of how our sisters had to migrate to the US to spread the reign of God in an unknown land. How God had prepared them to learn English even before the “Kulturkampf”.  God seemed to have kept an invitation letter on the table of mother Cicilia to make their transition and that was the beginning of their missionary journey to spread our congregation to various parts of the globe.

Holy Masses and interactions with Sisters at Annanthal community filled our hearts with joy and became a means to listen to the sisters who ministered various parts of Germany. While visiting the oldest school of our congregation at Vechta and the big chapel that was built because the membership had increased at a rate faster than what they anticipated.   We reflected on God’s ways, how he make us renounce all that we hold dear as part of our being in our journey as Notre Dames. We vested Tegelen and had Holy Mass in their chapel and enjoyed a delicious meal with Indian pickles ordered online. We visited the Sisters in Mulhausen on our way back and had tea and sharing with the Sisters and saw the convent chapel which had been rebuilt thrice to accommodate the increasing members of our congregation.  We walked along the roads in Coesfeld imagining that we are following the footprints of our   pioneer sisters and Fr Elting.Since we couldn’t visit Namur we went to Cologne and saw the great cathedral and the reliquary which had parts of Magai’s representation at Bethlehem. We cannot explain the mixed feelings we experienced when we walked along the Great Way of the Cross with our early sisters who prayed there on many occasions. We concluded our visit in Germany at St Lambert Church and stood under the Coesfeld Crucifix on the Feast of the exhalation of the Holy Cross.

We are proud to be part of this great legacy which was handed over to Notre Dame Sisters by our zealous foundresses. We are grateful to the provincial, Sister Mary Paula, Secretary Sister Mary Josepha and Sister Mary Almuth who organized and arranged everything to make our visit a very memorable one. 

A big thank you to Sister MuYoung who accompanied us with gentleness and patience!  During our 12 days of stay in Germany the love, care and hospitality of our Sisters nourished us and we gratefully acknowledge it.  

On September 15th we arrived at the Mother House. We visited the holy city of Rome where a band of fishermen became fishers of men and spread the word of God throughout the world. We saw St Peters Basilica and the churches, the New Jerusalem, standing in great splendour where once it was crushed to the ground in order to give birth to many saints and martyrs. Many of us experienced physical healing as we climbed the holy steps. We were part of a General Audience and were able to see Pope Francis very close and some of us shook hands with him.

In Rome we visited the ‘Four Major Basilicas’ and especially the place where St Paul was beheaded and saw the three fountains which sprang up when his head bounced thrice.

Our eyes were filled with tears when we visited the Coliseum where many of our early Christians had laid down their life for Christ. “The Last Judgement” Paintings in the Sistine Chapel inspired us to live a life of perfection.

Our visit to Assisi was very inspiring. The life of St Francis and St Clare was a witness of the power of radical following of Jesus and how their congregations continue to support the Church as strong pillars.

We got a chance to celebrate Holy Mass in the room where St Ignatius breathed his last. God enriched our heart with lots of inspirations as we visited all the holy places. We got much time to offer prayers for our congregation, our provinces, for the sick members of our provinces and for the Church, for the leaders of the nations and especially for the Synod.   

We are grateful to all the Sisters who organised our pilgrimage and for the small and big sacrifices of our sisters to support the financing  part of our pilgrimage. Sister Mary Ann and the Mother House community’s love, openness, simplicity and thoughtfulness exhibited how truly we make our spirituality alive. We experienced God’s provident care throughout our pilgrimage, “My heart glorifies the Lord who has done great things and Holy is his name. “

With our faces lit up with joy and gratitude we returned to our home land on 28th September.  We thank all of you who supported us with your prayers, messages and good

Sister M. Jessy Jacob

For the Congregational Pilgrimage group- 2023

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