Necrology for Sr Maria Xaveria Bachmann

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(05.07.1931 – 11.01.2024)

Sr Maria Xaveria Bachmann CJ has passed away on the 11 January 2024. She was the first Regional Superior of our congregation in Zimbabwe and also served as Provincial Superior and General Assistant. May her soul rest in eternal peace.

We are thankful that we can share the necrology that the Middleeuropean Province, she belonged to, has published:

Sr Maria Xaveria Bachmann CJ was born on 5 July 1931 as the ninth and last child in Neuses im Spessart. Her parents ran a farm. She kept in good contact with her family throughout her life and, after the death of her siblings, also with nieces, nephews and their children.

After completing her secondary education at the Marienschule in Fulda, she joined the Institute in Mainz, followed by a 2-year novitiate. She then attended a housekeeping course before beginning explicit training for a mission in England. This included the internationally recognised ‘General Certificate of Education’ in Ascot and then the ‘Junior Teachers Diploma’ in London, which corresponded to training as a primary school teacher.

At the age of 26, in July 1957, Sr Xaveria was sent to the mission in Southern Rhodesia. She was introduced to missionary work at St Anthony’s Mission in Zaka. From 1958 to 1967 she was class teacher and headmistress of the school in Serima. This was followed by a further year at St Ignatius College in Chishawasha, where she taught English and Latin.

But then she was needed again in Germany. She was appointed Provincial Superior of the Rhenish Province for 12 years. In this capacity she remained responsible for Zimbabwe, as this foundation belonged to the Rhenish Province.

After her time as Provincial Superior, she had a few years dedicated to the inner formation of the African sisters. Sr Xaveria lived in Bensheim and flew to Zimbabwe from time to time, where she introduced the constitutions and took over the accompaniment of sisters in the novitiate and tertianship. At the same time, she worked for the missionary department of the diocese of Mainz.

At the General Congregation in 1984, she was elected General Assistant. This meant that she spent the next 9 years in Rome, from where she was able to further promote development in Zimbabwe. After her time in Rome, she spent a sabbatical in Israel. There she took part in a Bible seminar. And finally, in 1994, she returned to her beloved African country, which was now called Zimbabwe. Once again, she was responsible for the formation of the young sisters. “On the side”, she was initially the local superior in Kwekwe. When the foundation in Zimbabwe had grown into greater independence, she became the first regional superior of the Zimbabwe region.

She returned from Africa for good in 2003. She supported the small community in Velbert-Langenberg for two years. Like the mission in Africa, this children’s and youth centre was founded on the basis of a vow made during the Second World War.

Sister Xaveria eagerly continued to maintain her missionary contacts, initially from Mainz again from 2005 and, when the branch in Mainz was closed, from the nursing home in Bensheim from 2017. Computers and printers remained standard equipment until the last day of her life. Eventually, the community in Bensheim was also dissolved. Sister Xaveria moved to Augsburg to the nursing home of the Sisters of Mercy of St Vincent. She had no fear of contact with sisters of a different spirituality. She immediately made contacts. Her interest in people was unbroken. She visited the sisters of the Congregatio Jesu, who were in the nursing home with her, every day, exchanging news and health concerns. She also joined the playgroup. And “on the side” there was the PC. She immediately devoured newsletters from Zimbabwe, letters were answered, visits were arranged …

In the last six months, her strength waned. She herself felt that she was getting weaker. She accepted this, but made nothing of it. She did what she could, and it was still a lot.

Sr Xaveria was a full-blooded missionary and a sister of the Congregatio Jesu who was enthusiastic about Christ. Her keen interest in all the concerns of the people she dealt with, her (world) wide horizon, her spiritual agility and inner freedom fascinated many people. They were an incentive for her own commitment. We, her fellow sisters, thank her from the bottom of our hearts for her testimony of faith, her energy and her tireless commitment to a fairer world.

CJ Generalate