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Portrait of A Dedicated Woman Hendrina Stenmanns Co-Foundress of the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit

Author: Mechtilde Berger, SSpS
Subject: Hendrina Stenmanns – Mother Josepha
Language: English
Publisher: Mission Congregation of the Servants of the Holy Spirit
Year: 2007
Available in .pdf

When we look back and remember people who lived before us, persons who were loved by others and whose life interests us, we would like to know what they looked like and how they changed. Hendrina Stenmanns, known to the Missionary Sisters of Steyl and in her hometown of Issum as Mother Josepha, was described by Arnold Janssen after her death as “co-foundress” and “our good Mother”.  That is how she is known in the religious family of Steyl, in her home town and among the many who love and venerate her.

The following compilation is a survey of the photos we have of M. Josepha, Hendrina Stenmanns.  Photos and representations found in the Motherhouse in Steyl, in the pilgrimage town of Kevelaer, and in the home town of Issum are described and interpreted in the following for those who are interested. This selection of pictures shows that, for over a century, modest Hendrina Stenmanns, who preferred the background, constantly and repeatedly interested and fascinated many different persons.

If we allow her image to speak to us, be it a photo, painting, or another portrayal, we can still encounter Hendrina Stenmanns, M. Josepha, today. Her friendly face-expression smile at everyone sustained by her encouraging words: “Stay cheerful, be of good heart and never lose your trust; then God will help”; or “Let us strive to accomplish everything with love and through love; then the Holy Spirit will give his blessing on it”. St. Paul’s words, referring to Jesus Christ: “The grace of God has appeared”, can be read in M. Josepha’s face: she lived God’s goodness among the people and still wants to pass it on and share it with us today.

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