At first Margretchen went into violent tantrums; she would thrash her arms from side to side and ward off anyone who tried to get near her. And yet she had to be cared for like a little child. Paulinesucceeded in winning her confidence. How? The poetess ChristaPeikert-Flaspöhler expresses that in Mother Pauline's song to Margaretha Feichtler:

I take you as you are
There is only one of you in the world
I know that your life is worthwhile
I seek you behind fear and night
You awake in me love and patience
I hear your life laugh softly
God accepts you as you are
There is only one of you in the world
You sense that your life is worthwhile.

Hour after hour, day and night TantePauline,as Margaretha called her, personally devoted herself to this "unhappy creature." She cleaned her up and taught her the simplest, most essential habits of daily personal hygiene: washing and dressing herself, eating properly. And so Pauline's unfailing patience and kindness accomplished what no one would have thought possible. Not only did Margretchen carry out these routine actions with eagerness; she also learned to associate with others, to tell a story, to spell, to knit. Paulineattempted even more: she spared no effort to prepare Margretchen for her first Holy Communion. People who knew the girl advised Paulineagainst it, for they thought it would be wasted effort; but Paulinewould say: "Must a person be regarded as an imbecile just because she has never been taught or even been in contact with human kindness? This child, too, has a soul, and I trust that grace can work powerfully even in the soul of a retarded person." And againPaulinesucceeded in doing what even the pastor had deemed impossible; she awakened the girl's desire to receive her first Holy Communion. During the time of preparation, Margretchen would kneel in bed at night, praying again and again: "That I may get there!" And she really did "get there": she received Jesus Christ under the form of bread.

Margretchen always remained Pauline's favorite. Even when the foundress, whom the bishop had appointed superior of her congregation, could no longer devote herself exclusively to the blind children, Margretchen always had free access to "her mother, who is so good."

The depths of Margretchen's love for Mother Paulinemanifested itself particularly during the short fatal illness before Mother Pauline's death. During these days of alternating fear and hope, Margretchen was almost constantly praying her rosary. And when she learned that Mother Paulinehad died, she was well-nigh inconsolable. "She whom we loved so much has left us; she who did so much good is no longer with us. And she was so gentle. Sunday after Sunday, for fifteen years, she would visit Mother Pauline's grave to pray there and so be close to "her mother."

Love never counts…” Mother Pauline’s unfailing patience and loving devotion brought light into a life that had been spent in the confines of darkness for twenty-six years. Margretchen learned from experience that love never counts, keeps no record of its gifts: love simply exits for others. The love that Mother Pauline had lavished on Margretchen remained a living thing all her life.

Love never counts – Love alone counts!” This is not only a play of words, not just a paradoxical saying, but that it reduces to a common denominator the many facets of Pauline von Mallinckrodt’s distinguishing trait: “… an inexpressibly large heart with nothing but love in it.”

Introduction to the biography “Love never counts – Love alone counts” from Sr. Adalberta Mette


Gut zu wissen / Good to know

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