The servant of God Fr. Johannes Schneider, Founder of the Congregation
“I bless you with all my heart, I will always be with you.”
[Servant of God, Fr. Johannes Schneider]
The Congregation of the Sisters of Mary Immaculate was established in Wrocław, thanks to the initiative of Fr. Johannes Schneider. He was one of those who, by engaging socially, wanted to measurably prevent the growing problems of a system conducive to the depravity of the weak. His contemporaries include Adolf Kolping in Cologne, Eduard Mueller in Berlin, and Wilhelm Ketteler in Mainz.
Fr. Schneider came from Mieszkowice in Silesia; he was born on January 11, 1824. in a poor peasant family. After the parish priest allowed him to complete high school in Nysa, Johannes Schneider wanted to become a priest, which, after completing his theological studies in Wrocław, was culminated in the receipt of priestly ordination. His social openness and sensitivity to poverty led the bishop to entrust him with the task of creating an association that would care for girls, often very young and inexperienced, threatened with violence and demoralization. The Association of the Blessed Virgin Mary founded by him developed over time in to a congregation of the Sisters of Mary Immaculate.
The high demands placed on his sisters and colleagues, and the still unstable legal situation of association, introduced a lot of uncertainty to the tiny community. However, miraculously, even before the death of Fr. Schneider, i.e. 7.12.1876, the Association was given permission by the authorities to continue its activities, which protected them from the caste during the Kulturkampf period.
The founder left a community of only nine sisters, and from these humble beginnings our Congregation was born. Our founder had to overcome many difficulties. By enduring slander and inscense with heroic love, he never let himself be discouraged. His life was marked by great simplicity, poverty and, above all, unwavering trust in God.
His will, the promise of “I will always be with you”, is felt clearly to this day.
On May 16, 2001, the beatification process of our Founder Johannes Schneider, the Servant of God, began in Wrocław.