Novena – Week 9
The Lord Jesus turned to two true brothers: Peter and Andrew at the Lake of Gennesaret. Follow me and I will make you fishers of men. And they followed him and fulfilled their calling to the end
The Servant of God, Fr. John as a vicar, chaplain of female youth, founder of a charity foundation for morally endangered girls and women, founder of the religious Congregation of the Sisters of Mary Immaculate, handed over organizational matters to Sister Matylda, chosen by the religious community, and he himself supervised the spiritual development of the sisters. He did not accept candidates who were not able to be guided in their lives by generosity, humility and merciful love to the new religious family.
Father John Schneider had serious health problems from his youth. On the eve of the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle in the year 1876, his health deteriorated. He knew it. He asked for the Anointing of the Sick to be administered to him. On December 7, all the sisters gathered at the bedside of the Founder and wept bitterly. Father John spoke the last words to them: I bless you with all my heart. I will always be there for you. Strive for unity. Sister Matylda, let Sister take care of the maintenance of the Institution. At 2 p.m. while the church bells were ringing, inviting the faithful to the first vespers of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at that time the Servant of God, Father John Schneider, departed to the Father’s house. It happened on Thursday, the day dedicated to the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
The funeral took place on Monday, December 11, 1876. Holy Mass was celebrated by a friend and founder of the Jadwiżanki Sisters, Father Robert Spiske. The preacher was the parish priest of Saint Michael, father Gustaw Haucke. About our founding father, he said: “What he boldly planned and began in the Name of God in 1854, he did it at the cost of unspeakable sacrifices, torments and worries. And here look – since 1858 the Foundation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is ready, equipped with state rights. Who is able to count the blessings that this godly work has already brought? Who can measure the yield that he will produce someday in heaven? At present, the foundation has 9 sisters and 45 rooms for the sick and unemployed girls. For this house, John was everything: the founder, manager and protector. He made his way to this house almost every day. His worries and struggles were for this home. He looked for a respite in it and found it there. (J.Scchweter, History of the Congregation …, vol. 1 pp. 108-109)
And further in the sermon he addressed directly to the deceased: May the Advent call be fulfilled for your soul now, Behold, the Lord is coming, who will repay you! You will be followed by tears of gratitude and prayers of your parish, your relatives and those under your care. There will be a memento to your brothers who have decided to once again stand firm and faithfully in their positions in these very serious and hard times, your good deeds and merits will follow, for which our Lord and Judge Jesus Christ will reward you with joy and happiness in heaven (J. Scchweter, History of the Congregation …, vol. 1 p. 109)
The huge crowd went deeply excited, escorting their shepherd to the Osobowice cemetery.
All priests who knew the late Father John Schneider, were of the opinion that he was the pride of the priests in Silesia because of his extraordinary zeal, extraordinary willpower and deep inner life. (J. Scchweter, History of the Congregation …, vol. 1 p. 109)
On the first Friday of December 1944, the mortal remains of our Founder were transferred to the cemetery of St. Lawrence and laid among the tombs of his Sisters of Mary Immaculate.
Does the Advent call “Here the Lord God is coming” shape the interior of my heart today, now?
S.M. Elżbieta Cińcio