As a young person, Emilie had high aspirations. She wanted to be a saint. She longed to love God with her whole heart. She desired to serve.
No doubt, it was the Holy Spirit who stirred these noble longings in her soul. Others saw something special in her. She was thoughtful, kind, and understanding. She was hard-working and responsible. She was a quiet leader who influenced others by her example.
Eventually, her aspiration to greatness would motivate her to give up everything and consecrate her life to God for the mission of Schoenstatt. This same desire would inspire her to declare her readiness to suffer so that this new community of sisters would become a community of saints. It would strengthen her to bear the cross of debilitating illness with childlike courage and radiant joy.
But there was something else, too. From her childhood and youth, and also for many years as a Sister of Mary, Emilie struggled with anxiety and fear. If to the outside she seemed secure, self-confident, and courageous, on the inside she felt insecure, unfree, and helpless. Her fears made her restless. She didn’t know how to relate to God as a merciful, loving Father. For her, God was a good but demanding God of justice.
In Schoenstatt, through the covenant of love with Mary, and with Father Kentenich’s guidance, Emilie learned to become a child before God. She learned to trust. She learned to accept her weaknesses and limitations. She learned to surrender to a Father who loved her first.
God’s light of grace worked a miracle of transformation in Emilie. In the final years of her life, she possessed a unique radiance in body and soul that captivated all who knew her. It was the glow of the true freedom of the children of God that shone on her face and in her eyes. Although she considered herself only a little soul in God’s kingdom, it was clear to those who knew and loved her: Emilie was a holy sister. The Holy Spirit had completed the work he had begun in her. Her noblest aspirations were fulfilled.
In May 2012, Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed Sister M. Emilie venerable, affirming and publicly declaring her life of heroic virtue. In times of tremendous uncertainty and fear, she intercedes trust, childlike surrender, and courage for many. Sister M. Emilie tells all of us what she once wrote to a candidate preparing to enter our community:
“Our dear God leads you through a meaningful school of trust. Do not become discouraged but pass the test of trust. Just when it is the darkest, can we best prove the genuineness of our faith and confidence.” (1949)
Sister M. Emilie lived and died by these words. After her death, our founder, Father Kentenich, said of her:
“It is her mission to lead people out of the prison of fear and anxiety and to give them a home in the father heart of God.”
Various materials on the life of Venerable Emilie, including newsletters, biographies, novenas, and prayers of Emilie, are available upon request. Please contact us if you are interested.