On this day we celebrate the feast of Bl. Regina Protmann, Founder of the Sisters of St. Catherine of Alexandria.
"Do not flee from the world, but instead confront, engage and embrace it, constantly. Service to the needy and sick humanity shall have precedent over any formal regulation."
Regina Protmann was born in 1552 in Braunsberg, Warmia, today's Braniewo, Poland.
At the age of nineteen she informed her parents that she would not be marrying, as they had intended she should. Instead, she left her family and moved into a house with two other young women with the intention of living a religious life and going out to nurse the sick in their homes. Soon other women joined the little congregation, and by 1602 they received papal approbation.
In addition to her pioneer work in community health, Mother Regina established schools for girls, another unusual endeavor for the time and place. The congregation grew, and today the sisters work in Belarus, Brazil, Finland, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, and Togo.
Mother Regina Protmann died on January 18, 1613. She was beatified in 1999 by Pope John Paul II.
Click here to read the "Address of John Paul II to the Congregation of the Devout Virgins of St Catherine, Virgin and Martyr", delivered at the Apostolic Palace on the 400th anniversary of the papal approval of the order and the 450th anniversary of Bl. Regina Protmann's birth.
Click here for You Tube videos about Blessed Regina and her congregation.
Click here for images of Bl. Regina Protmann. (The two young men in the picture in the top row were switched at birth in Madre Regina Protmann Hospital in Sao Paolo. Their solution to the problem is interesting.)