Women Of Faith

This morning I was thumbing through some of my old journals when I came across this entry in one dated 1986.Years ago I was introduced to a group of women called The Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary. They were amazing women with a rich heritage.

I had noted down a number of quotes written by one of the founders called Mother Basilea.

The Founders and Mothers of the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary, Darmstadt, Germany were:

Mother Basilea (Dr. Klara Schlink, 1904 – 2001) – social welfare training and practice – teaching experience – doctorate in psychology in 1934 in Hamburg – leader of the Women’s Division of the German Student Christian Movement.


Mother Martyria (Erika Madauss, 1904-1999) – also social welfare training and practice, in Hamburg and London.

Here are some of the quotes written by Mother Basilea that I had in my journal…

  • Believe that there is a meaning to meaningless paths.
  • In the smallest most insignificant things, learn to see the great outcome God’s prepared.
  • If God did not help visibly, trust that invisibly He did send help and was at work.
  • Most disappointments come from wanting to see that which, for the time being, we are meant to claim by faith.
  • Do not try to understand God’s ways – just follow them, trusting in His love,
  • During times of humiliation, put your mouth in the dust and say, ‘Down, down ever deeper – that’s where I belong’.
  • Easy days, ‘successful days’, have never produced fruit of eternal worth – only hard days.
  • Perseverance is what counts.
  • God never gives a commission without guaranteeing to carry it out.

And for your interest here is some further information about this wonderful group of faith-filled women…

Years before the Sisterhood of Mary began, God prepared our founding mothers for their future ministry, leading them to do without any earthly security and to rely completely upon Him. Making God alone their help and refuge in every situation, they grew strong in faith, and thus were enabled later to lead our entire community along the same path.

Mother Basilea and Mother Martyria made a brave Christian stand during the Hitler regime. As national president of the Women’s Division of the German Student Christian Movement (1933-35), Mother Basilea refused to comply with Nazi policy, which would bar Jewish Christians from the meetings.

During World War II she risked her life and career by speaking publicly on the unique destiny of God’s people, Israel. Summoned twice before the Gestapo for proclaiming the lordship of Jesus Christ, she was allowed to go free in spite of her uncompromising stand. Mother Martyria held Bible studies for young people, even teaching them the Old Testament, which was forbidden under Hitler.

How It All Began


September 11, 1944: Darmstadt is destroyed in an air-raid; over 12,000 are dead … For years our mothers had prayed for revival in the girls’ Bible study groups they led; now their prayers were answered – far differently than they had ever expected. That night the girls encountered God in His holiness as Judge and Lord over life and death. Nothing could be hidden, no lukewarm Christianity could stand in His holy presence.Following that night of terror, there was a move among those young girls to bring sin into the light and receive forgiveness. ‘Where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation’ (Martin Luther). God’s moment had come. Out of the ashes emerged new life.

A New Sisterhood Begins

March 30, 1947: Inaugural ceremony of the Sisterhood of Mary in the home of Mother Basilea’s parents, Steinberg House, which had largely escaped the bombing. Co-founder Paul Riedinger, a Methodist church leader (d.1949), gave the sisterhood its name after Mary, the mother of Jesus, who exemplified faith and dedication to God’s will, following Jesus to the cross.

Built Alone with the Help of the Lord

In May 1949 Mother Basilea was inwardly directed to build a chapel for the Lord Jesus, where He would receive adoration. With Steinberg House bursting at the seams, no new sisters could join, so a Mother House had also to be built.

All we had was 30 Marks. But our financial backer was the Lord – as even the building authorities came to accept! ‘Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth’ (Psalm 124:8) was the scripture He had given us.

To this day visitors arriving at the Mother House are greeted by a banner proclaiming, ‘Built alone with the help of the Lord, who made heaven and earth – by faith in Jesus Christ’. Our Mother House Chapel is a testimony to the Lord whose name is Yes and Amen and who can create something new out of ruins, for this building was literally made with bricks salvaged from the ruins of our city.

The Prayer Tent

‘Every event in the Bible should be expressed in the present tense,’ said Mother Martyria, ‘because the laws of Scripture are also valid today.’ This comment on the story of Nehemiah building Jerusalem’s walls, with its parallels for our building project, was the inspiration for a prayer tent next to the building site.

It symbolized our desire to build the house of the Lord with prayer as well as with the trowel. We took turns in the prayer tent for quarter-hour shifts, in order to bring before the Lord – like the Israelites of old – all our needs. And God provided the building materials hard to come by in post-war Germany.

Any mishap on the building site, like the time the dump-cart was repeatedly derailed, would bring the entire building crew of sisters into the prayer tent to ask the Lord why He had withheld His blessing. The Bible tells us not to let the sun go down on our wrath and first to remove the log in our own eye before seeking to remove the speck in our brother’s eye. As unspoken tensions and irritations were brought into the light, we asked forgiveness of one another and of the Lord. Afterwards the dump-cart was not derailed again.

Although the prayer tent no longer exists, the lessons we learnt about answered prayer, walking in the light and living by faith were unforgettable.

Trusting God for Our Daily Needs

Praying for building materials and funds was then extended to trusting God for our daily bread. Completely dependent on the goodness of our heavenly Father, we have never been disappointed. Today, whether stationed overseas in twos or cooking like our kitchen sisters at Kanaan for approximately 200 daily, each one of us could relate how lovingly and personally the Father has provided — sometimes in highly original ways.

Source: http://www.kanaan.org/international/sisterhood/default.htm

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