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Apostolic Movement

Sister Emilie: we can’t be perfect but we can shine

By: Sr. M. Cacilda Becker

11 years since recognition of the degree of heroic virtue for Sister Emilie Engel

A diamond, or better yet, a brilliant-cut diamond, is valued according to various properties: Hardness, color, clarity, and size. The clearer a diamond, the purer it is, the larger it is, the more valuable it is. An important factor is its clear color. If a diamond is completely transparent, colorless and has no imperfections, it is more valuable and more coveted.

She herself experienced what she expected from others

Isn’t it the same for us human beings? Sister Emilie was a totally authentic person in whom there were no imperfections, i.e., self-centeredness, selfishness, or falsehood. At least, that is how other people felt about her. What she said, what she expected from others, she personally lived it. In any case, the verdict of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on her heroic degree of virtue allows us to say this about her, after eight theological consultants have formed a framework of her life.

“There is certainty of the heroic degree of the divine virtues of faith, hope and love of God and neighbor, and of the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude associated with these, all possessed by the Servant of God Emilie Engel of the Secular Institute of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary…”

A Diamond, polished by Father Kentenich himself

This is how those responsible in Rome judged the person of Sister Emilie Engel 10 years ago. Sister Emilie is a true diamond, polished by Father Kentenich. Sister Emilie was not perfect; she had the human need for love and security as each one of us has. Perfect is only Mary, the Mother of God, conceived without original sin, whom Sister Emilie imitated. Father Kentenich formed her through the Schoenstatt spirituality, and in the Covenant of Love she grew into the model she has become for many people, even after many years of having returned home to God: a true role model, a motherly person whose life inspires and motivates others to imitate her in faith, hope and love. Through Schoenstatt’s founder she has gained prestige, so that people go on pilgrimage again and again to her tomb and invoke her in their needs and concerns with the confidence that she will intercede with God.



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