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Netherlands: Who Is the New Blessed?

From Radio Vatikan (German Section), 27 June 2008

n Sunday, June 29, a religious woman from the diocese of Münster has been beatified in Tegelen near Venlo Netherlands: Hendrina Stenmanns (1852 – 1903), co-foundress of the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit, known in her congregation as "Mother Josepha", born in Issum, Lower Rhenania, Germany.

Mother Josepha was just 51 years old when she died of an attack of asthma. But this unassuming, lively woman in her short life nevertheless touched the lives of many people and made a decisive contribution to the foundation of the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit at Steyl in 1889. Sr. Miriam Altenhofen SSpS, provincial superior of the German Province says: "Mother Josepha was a very simple woman from the Lower Rhine area. She did not attract attention by any special qualities. But precisely her simplicity is typical of her. In her youth she was very committed to her family and to her own village. She was something like the "living social service center of the villages" and visited and helped old and sick persons where there was a need. She took along this simplicity of hers when she came to Steyl and put her mark on our religious congregation." Till this day the new Blessed inspires the spirit and life of the 3.500 sisters all over the world.

On the day of the beatification
Pope Benedict in Rome made a reference
to the Beatification that took place in Tegelen
in his Angelus address.
He called on all Dutch Catholics to participate
in the missionary calling and task of the Church
in imitation of Blessed Mother Josepha.

"It is precisely in this simplicity or ordinary every day life that people can recognize themselves. I don’t need special capacities and talents, I don’t have to write books or achieve something unique, but in the ordinariness of every day I can open myself to God and can allow God to be at work. Thus it will become clear to us, too, what happens when a person is open to God in all simplicity and sincerity and cooperates with God: That small seed of the beginnings has become today a worldwide community; this is the marvelous aspect of this woman’s life and personality."

In the name of Pope Benedict XVI. Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Beatifications and Canonizations solemnly proclaimed Mother Josepha Blessed. The celebrant of the Eucharist was the Bishop of Roermond, Frans Wiertz. (rv/kna)

4.000 people attend
the Beatification of Mother Josepha, Hendrina Stenmanns
in Tegelen, Holland on June 29, 2008

endrina Stenmanns, known in religious life as Mother Josepha SSpS, the co-foundress of the Mission Congregation of the Servants the Holy Spirit of Steyl, was declared Blessed on Sunday (June 29 ) in Tegelen. The beatification took place during a solemn eucharistic celebration in the open air theater “De Doolhof” which was presided over by bishop Frans Wiertz of Roermond. The document of beatification was read by the Papal Representative Cardinal José Saraiva Martins. Some 4.000 faithful attended the solemn celebration; there were hundreds of religious sisters, dozens of priests and some ten bishops. Several members of parliament, governor Frissen and mayor Bruls were likewise in attendance.

For the full report – in Dutch – and photos of the celebration, visit:

bullet the website of the diocese of Roermond, Holland