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Apostolic Movement

Sister M. Emilie’s secret: small and steady steps. To trust and take a leap

Sister Theres-Marie Mayer, Germany

Those who have a birthday like to celebrate it with friends or family. This is a nice tradition. Sister M. Emilie’s birthday is February 6, but more than her birthday, she celebrated the day of her Baptism, February 8, with the Sisters of her Province. For Sister M. Emilie this was the perfect day to pause, get inspired and grow in her vocation.

Sister M. Emilie described Baptism day as the best day of her life. She saw it as a precious mystery for which she could not be thankful enough. With the sisters of her Province, she renewed her baptismal vows on the day of her Baptism.

In her diary notes she records:

“Day of my Baptism. The mystery of this day is so great, so indescribable; I cannot comprehend it in its fullness. How can I give thanks? With all my heart, with all my soul, I renew today my baptismal vows. Glory be to the Father in me, the Son in me, the Holy Spirit in me. Amen.” [1]

Sister M. Emilie’s words are a prayer: “Glory to the Father in me, the Son in me, the Holy Spirit in me! Amen.” A powerful prayer.

Baptism Sr. M. Emilie

Being Church of the Trinity

Sister M. Emilie calls it God’s gift on this day: God gives himself in Baptism. St. Paul once asked Christians, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in you?” [2] – Not only the Holy Spirit, but the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are embedded in us in Baptism. Father Kentenich, founder of the Schoenstatt Movement, speaks of the “small church of the Trinity” that we are. It is essential to him that we become aware of this tremendous dignity.

Awareness of dignity

Becoming aware of this dignity and living it is especially important for every Christian today. People live in unworthy circumstances, degraded by others, and sometimes also behave in unworthy ways.

Do we sometimes have the urge to ask ourselves “who am I”? It is not uncommon for me to meet people who feel they are worthless, unimportant, or insignificant to others. This is sad.

Mural painting in the baptistery dedicated to Sr. M. Emilie
Mural painting in the baptistery dedicated to Sr. Emilie

Sister M. Emilie knew that we all have the desire to be different from what we are. It happens to all of us; no one is exempt. Where does it come from? In Holy Baptism, with the sanctifying grace, divine graces were infused and implanted in us, which motivate us to be better, to change for the better. They are the theological virtues, the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the cardinal virtues. Despite all the transgressions and zigzags in our lives, we have not let these divine virtues die. Christ has drawn us to a new life. In Baptism we are stamped with the seal that no one can take away: I am a temple of God, God dwells in me!

My dignity does not depend on how others treat me, what they say or how they portray me, even if they slander me. I receive my indelible dignity from the fact that Christ died and rose again for me and I have been baptized in his death and resurrection. Neither origin nor position among men, neither wealth nor poverty, nor whether I am old or young, healthy or in as many health perils as Sister Emilie, nothing diminishes or increases God’s gift. God dwells in every baptized person. God dwells in me and is with me.

Sister M. Emilie

Do you have any idea of the place you occupy in my heart?

Whoever met Sister Emilie Engel experienced heaven. God lived and acted in her. It was not unusual for people who came into contact with Emilie Engel to feel greater than they thought they were. Emilie saw the divine in others. She once said: “To see and worship God in a person is the original form of Christian worship.” That is why she was able to treat others with reverence, because she saw God in people and looked at people with God’s eyes. To a Sister who had many sorrows, who did not value herself, she offered these words of consolation:  “Do you have any idea what place you occupy in my heart?”

“God dwells in me! – That means…,” writes one woman, “that others have to perceive by the way I behave, the way I interact with them, that God is in me and acts through me. We are called as Christians to transmit God’s glory.”

This is truly missionary service. Through our lives, our actions and our words, we can bear witness to God’s presence in our souls. The Covenant of Love with the Mother Thrice Admirable of Schoenstatt is a renewal of our Baptism and wants to help us in our daily life to trust fully in the Blessed Mother and in our Heavenly Father.

Small and steady steps: trusting and taking a leap

To live more deeply from the dignity of Baptism, to put all our trust in God and in the Blessed Mother requires many small and steady steps. The novena “Trust and Leap” can be of help in this regard, guiding us to live our daily life with its concerns and difficulties according to the example of Sister M. Emilie. And especially now, in the time of the pandemic, in the loneliness and restrictions imposed on us, we can learn from Emilie what is really important. The steps of the novena describe those of trapeze artists applying them to our own life and to Sister M. Emilie’s life in various situations:

“climb higher – pause – become essential – trust – dare – let go – jump – catch – trust”.

These steps are meant to inspire us to solidify our faith, which is what the grace of Holy Baptism instills in us.


Click here to download or pray the novena

The novenas are available in three languages and can be requested from: Sekretariat Emilie Engel, Trierer Str. 388, 56070 Koblenz, Germany. Tel. +49 261 2701 161, Mail:


[1]Diary Notes, 8.2.1939

[2] 1 Cor 6,19


with your loved ones

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