Mother Frances Streitel

Foundress

Amalia Streitel was born in Mellrichstadt, Germany on November 24, 1844, the first of four children. Nurtured in Catholicism by reverent parents and educated to be a teacher of music and languages, Amalia felt called to religious life when she was seventeen. Almost four years passed before she was able to persuade her parents that religious life, rather than marriage, was her vocation.

At the age of twenty-one she joined the nearby teaching congregation, the Franciscan Sisters of Maria Stern in Augsburg. Wholehearted generosity, simplicity, and prayerfulness characterized the way she lived religious life within the community but she struggled for years with the growing desire to give herself more completely to the Lord. In order to fulfill that desire and to seek God in deeper solitude and contemplation, Amalia transferred from the Convent of Maria Stern to the Carmelite Monastery, Himmelspforten, in Wuerzburg in 1882. Here she intended to spend the rest of her life. Here also in the austerity of Carmel a totally unexpected development in her vocation took place. In prayer she was given to understand that her life mission would not be to live in solitude but rather to bring about a renewed form of religious life, a form that would unite the contemplative life with the active life of ministry. Trusting that this vision was from God and was to be developed for the service of the Church, Amalia left the cloister to begin again.

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