Sisters of Notre Dame…Missioned to Incarnate the Love of our good and provident God

Sister Maria Bonifaza

Sister Maria Bonifaza                       ND 3973                     
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Luise Brimmers

Maria Regina Province, Coesfeld, Germany

Date and Place of Birth: 30 January 1927 Straelen, Niederrhein
Date and Place of Profession: 25 March 1950 Mülhausen
Date and Place of Death: 08 January 2020 Mülhausen, Haus Salus
Date and Place of Funeral: 14 January 2020 Mülhausen, Convent Cemetery

Sister Maria Bonifaza loved her hometown until her old age and was strongly marked by it. She enjyed talking about the public spirit and business acumen of the people there. – The members of the extended Brimmers family, who were widely spread in the Lower Rhine area, were deeply rooted in the Christian faith regarding their everyday life: They helped people in need, enjoyed life with a good sense of humor, and in regard to politics, bravely resisted National Socialism. Sister Maria Bonifaza had inherited this courage and business acumen from her father. Her mother was deeply religious and created an atmosphere of security in the family with five children.

Sister Maria Bonifaza bore witness of how to cope with the dictatorship of National Socialism, the misery of the war, the time of occupation, and the difficult new start on the ruins of the past: The source of her strength was the hope that the gospel offers us.

Sister Maria Bonifaza belonged to a small group called “housekeeping trainees”, who made the boarding school, which had been closed by the Nazis, and the Liebfrauenschule in Kloster Mülhausen come alive again as early as May 1945. It was a vibrant emergency community between women religious and students who were very thankful for surviving the war and for being able to contribute to the new start of the school. 

This experience obviously motivated Sister Maria Bonifaza to begin her religious formation as a novice in Mülhausen on 10 September 1947, only six months after she had passed her Abitur examination. After her first profession, she studied in Aachen to become an elementary and secondary teacher. Then she taught for 7 years at the Liebfrauenschule in Cologne. In 1960, she was assigned the task to run the middle school for girls in Ratingen. Sister Maria Bonifaza used all her strength and her manifold organizational skills. Besides that, she always found time to indulge in her passion for gardening.

After her retirement in 1993, Sister Maria Bonifaza moved to the community in Rheinbach. Here, too, her great talent for growing flowers and vegetables became obvious. For the benefit and for the amusement of the community, Sister Maria Bonifaza assumed many services and organized the programs on feast days with creative ideas and a lot of humor.

As far as her strength allowed it, she was also actively involved in Haus Salus, our home for elderly sisters, where she moved in 2007. For many years, she took care of her greenhouse and her vegetable beds with great dedication. Gradually, her strength deteriorated. If asked about her ability to ‘let it all go’, she answered in the dialect of her hometown, “So what? We are alive! And our Lord does nothing but turning everything to good”! With this calm serenity, Sister Maria Bonifaza lived the last phase of her life on earth; and on 8 January 2020, she gave her life back into the hands of the “great gardener”, who has prepared the garden for each of us so that it will be in full bloom (Is 35: 10). We firmly believe that she has now returned home to this garden – full of joy and gladness.

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