Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Triennial Meeting of The Conference on the History of Women Religious


Scranton, PA

Publication Date



Religion and Philosophy


Wars past, present, and future have shaped the development of the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary. Mother Basilea Schlink wrote that her sisterhood was “a child of the last war,” referring to the Second World War. Her vision for her sisterhood was equally shaped by the Cold War and by her expectations of the imminent nuclear world war that would usher in the Apocalypse. To these wars Mother Basilea and her sisterhood responded with a radical trust in God, daily individual and corporate repentance, and unwavering support for God’s Old Testament people, the Jews, and, by extension, the State of Israel.

The sisters’ radical trust in God first manifested itself in the events leading up to the founding of the sisterhood. On September 11, 1944, Allied bombers destroyed most of the city of Darmstadt, near Frankfurt in west-central Germany. Among the survivors were the young women of a Lutheran Bible study led by the future Mother Basilea Schlink and Mother Martyria Madauss. Both the leaders and the members of the Bible study saw themselves as gripped by God’s judgment and spared only by his mercy. Their reaction was one of repentance – a central theme in the life of the sisterhood which I will analyze shortly – and of trusting God with the entirety of their lives, depending on him in all things and following his perceived call, whatever the cost.

~Presentation excerpt~