Sister Maria Olivia
September 6, 2013
SISTER MARIA OLIVIA ND 4269 ⇒ PDF Download
Maria Regina Province, Coesfeld / Germany
Date and Place of Birth: November 9, 1926 Groß-Stavern, Kr. Meppen, Germany
Date and Place of Profession: August 15, 1951 Ahlen
Date and Place of Death: September 6, 2013 Coesfeld
Date and Place of Funeral: September 11, 2013 Coesfeld
Sr. Maria Olivia, Maria Baalmann, daughter of the farmer Heinrich Baalmann and his wife Maria, born Gerdes, grew up with two brothers and a sister on her parents’ farm in Groß-Stavern, County Meppen on the river Ems. She was baptized in the parish church St. Michael. Later she also received her first communion and the sacrament of confirmation in the same church.
In her curriculum vitae, she stresses that it had been very important to her parents to teach their children to become “real Catholics“. That meant for example to assume little duties in the house and to help with the work.
From 1933 on, Maria attended the primary and secondary school in Groß-Stavern, and she completed her school education eight years later, in 1941. Looking back, she realized that her experiences with her siblings had helped her to get on well with her classmates. She also remembered that there had been regular religious education during the first years of her school time. Later religious education happened only outside the school lessons because of the restrictions of the Nazi regime. Retired teachers or priests were in charge of religious education. According to Maria, however, the religious education by her parents completely compensated for the missing religious education at school.
From 1941-46, Maria Baalmann worked on her parents’ farm. She remembered that life in her family had been determined by her mother’s guiding principle “pray and work”. Encouraged by a friend who became a nun, Maria also felt a growing attraction to religious life. According to her own saying, that corresponded to her “childlike, devout heart“ and to her hope of becoming happy in a life closely connected with God. Since she was still a little unsure regarding her vocation, her parents advised her to attend a cookery course with the Sisters of Notre Dame in Kempen on the Lower Rhine, which she completed very successfully. During that time, her vocation became more obvious so that she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame in Mülhausen in 1949 to start her religious formation with the novitiate. In 1956, she took her final vows in our Congregation.
During her religous life, Sr. M. Olivia was mainly committed to practical work, to the care of the children in our homes and to the elderly. For many years, she looked after children and young people in various homes, boarding schools and student hostels. From 1970 – 1996, she took care of elderly women at Marienstift in Gescher.
Even after her official retirement, she continued ministering there as long as her physical strength allowed it. In 2005, at the age of 79, with her strength failing and Marienstift being reorganized, she moved to our community of elderly sisters here in Kloster Annenthal.
By her simple devoutness and her true faith, Sr. M. Olivia has supported and enriched our life in community and our ministry. Her loving and friendly readiness to help was and inspiration for us even when she could no longer be active herself but had to accept the help of others.
On September 6, 2013, she went home to our good God to whom she has been so faithful all her life. We are grateful for her life and for her witness.