Austria

Nine years after the foundation of the congregation in Rome, Mother Frances Streitel, wishing to alleviate some of the needs in other European countries, sent five sisters to Vienna. They arrived on November 24, 1892. To their surprise they learned that the Austrian government would not allow the establishment of any additional congregations because there were already too many in Austria.

Following this unexpected refusal an accident occurred in the household of Emperor Franz Joseph I. Despite an intensive search for assistance, they were unable to find any available sisters to provide the necessary nursing care. Consequently, the offer of the SSM´s from Rome was gladly accepted.

As a result of this experience, Emperor Franz Josef gave the sisters permission to establish a mission in Austria. In appreciation for their nursing care, he, personally, gave them part of the purchase price for a house on Simmeringer Hauptstrasse. The sisters offered their services in home nursing, child care and held sewing classes for women.  Until 1914 they also devoted themselves to the sick children on the Peninsula of Istria in the Adriatic Sea.  From Vienna new missions were established in smaller villages, but, in time, had to be closed.

Today, the sisters serve in Vienna and in Bruck-Leitha in the following ministries:

Healthcare

  • Marienheim – a nursing home in which during the years many people were cared for lovingly by the sisters in cooperation with the laity.

Education

  • Kindergarten and Day care (sponsorship of the school by the School Sisters of St. Francis)
  • Teaching at a high school
  • Work with families and young adults in parishes

Evangelization

  • In the Franciscan Center of Encounter people come to find silence, prayer and dialogue; they can also participate in Bible sharing, courses for biblical figures, meditative dances, spiritual direction, meditation and spiritual retreats.

Social Justice

  • Support of families that need help, especially in regards to education of their children
  • Support and help with a food program for homeless people in a parish
  • Financial support of organizations that provide alternative investments to enable the needy (OIKOCREDIT)
  • Support and promotion of organizations that help identify the causes of violation and disregard of human rights in the world
  • Work with refugees
  • Support of our congregational missions by collecting funds and materials for different projects

 

Link:

www.ssm-austria.at