March 25, 2014

⛪ Blessed Margaretha Flesch - Religious

Saint of the Day : March 25
Blessed Margaretha Flesch,
Pray for us !

 Other Names : Margaret •  Maria Rosa

 Born :
• 24 February 1826 in Schönstatt bei Vallendar,  Mayen-Koblenz, Germany

 Died :
• 25 March 1906 in Waldbreitbach, Neuwied,  Germany 

Blessed Margaretha Flesch (24 February 1826 - 25 March 1906) was a German Roman Catholic professed religious who established the Franciscan Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Angels. Flesch assumed the new religious name of "Maria Rosa" after she made her profession into her own order and was its first Mother Superior. 

She tended to the poor and to the ill as well as orphaned children before becoming a nun and also oversaw the construction of both an orphanage and a hospital. Flesch also had practical experience in nursing and worked as a home nurse and a nurse to children.

Her beatification was celebrated on 4 May 2008 after Pope Benedict XVI approved a singular miracle attributed to her; Cardinal Joachim Meisner presided on the pope's behalf. Her feast is set for 19 June - the date of her solemn profession - rather than the date of her death.

Margaretha Flesch was born in 1826 in the German Confederation to Johann Georg Flesch. Her mother died in 1832 and her father re-married not long after this. She also had seven siblings after her (thus was the oldest) and had three half-siblings from her father's second marriage; one sibling was Maria Anna while one stepbrother was Giles. The death of her mother saw them move elsewhere to Niederbreitbach as a chance to improve their economic fortunes. The death of her father in 1842 forced her to work hard in order to provide for her stepmother and her siblings. It was around that time she self-taught herself nursing.  

In the autumn of 1851 she moved in with her sister Maria Anna. Between 1852 until 1863 she worked in sewing in different schools but also worked as a nurse at the homes of clients and worked with orphans. In 1850 she met the pastor Jakob Gomm and had her first contacts with the Franciscans around this time. Her devotion to Saint Francis of Assisi was quite strong since her childhood. In 1862 she first met James Wirth and soon after built an orphanage and a hospital. Flesch also attempted to establish her own group of Franciscans - Gomm was hesitant and rejected this. 

Flesch's half-brother Giles assisted her in establishing a simple residence that had connected to it a small hospital. Their first home was constructed in the spring of 1861 and Flesch and her sister moved into it on 11 November 1861. Flesch established her own Franciscan-branched order on 13 March 1863 and on 19 June 1863 she made her solemn profession into her own order and assumed the religious name of "Maria Rosa". The approval of the order's statutes on 21 October 1869 saw her elected as the first Mother Superior and she kept her office until 1878 in which she did not want to run for re-election. At the time she stepped down there were 100 sisters in a total of 21 branches. 

Flesch died on 25 March 1906. Her order received the decree of praise of Pope Pius X on 12 December 1912 - after her death - and later received the full papal approval of Pope Pius XI on 30 April 1928. As of 2005 there were 392 religious in 39 houses operating in places such as Brazil and the Netherlands. 

The beatification process commenced in Trier on 18 March 1957 - under Pope Pius XII - and witnessed an intensive diocesan process tasked with compiling information regarding her life and her work as a professed religious. The commencement of this process also accorded her the title of Servant of God which marked the first stage of the process. The investigation concluded in 1972.

The decree on her writings was approved on 21 November 1980 and was placed under the care of theologians so that the latter could investigate her written works in order to ensure that each of them adhered to Church doctrine and did not contradict or oppose it. Following this the diocesan process received ratification from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in 1999; this meant that Roman officials could begin their own investigations. It also allowed for those overseeing the process to compile and submit the Positio to Rome not long after - still in 1999 - to further the cause.

The Rome-based theologians approved the cause on 19 April 2005 while the C.C.S. followed this and also approved it on 6 December 2005. This allowed for Pope Benedict XVI to proclaim Flesch to be Venerable on 28 April 2006 upon recognizing her life heroic virtue.

The miracle needed for her beatification was investigated from 1998 until 1999 in Trier and involved the healing of Monica Schneider in the evenings of 5 and 6 September 1986. The C.C.S. approved the process of completing its work in 2001 and took possession of the boxes of documents for their own evaluation. It did not receive the approval of the pontiff until 2007. Cardinal Joachim Meisner presided over the beatification on 4 May 2008 on the behalf of Benedict XVI.

The current postulator assigned to the cause is the Franciscan Giovangiuseppe Califano.

Related Post