St. Caroline (Mother
Mary Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger)
St. Caroline Gerhardinger, devoted her life to teaching
and to Jesus.
She once said, "Follow the star in your heart.
It will surely lead you to Jesus."
St. Caroline was so devoted to Jesus Christ that she
became known as Mother Mary Theresa of Jesus. St. Caroline
started the religious order of the School Sisters of
Notre Dame during a time of upheaval in Bavaria in 1833.
Her convent lived in poverty in order to teach and empathize
with the poor people of the area.
St. Caroline's sisters were the first order of sisters
that the Pope allowed to be governed by a woman. In
this way, St. Caroline and her successors were able
to hasten the growth of the School Sisters of Notre
Dame and the order spread throughout the world.
St. Caroline Travels to America
St. Caroline traveled to America in 1847 when she heard
the call of Jesus telling her to go and help the German
families who had settled in Pennsylvania. St. Caroline
(Mother Theresa) went to Pennsylvania with five other
sisters. When they arrived, they were told to return
to Germany because they were not invited by the Bishop.
St. Caroline did not turn around and leave but went
to Baltimore and was offered assistance by the Redemptorists.
St. Caroline then traveled by stagecoach and steamboat
over 2000 miles to the Mississippi River. After setting
up the convent and schools, St. Caroline returned to
Bavaria and left the school in America in the charge
of another sister.
Prayer to St. Caroline(Mother Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger)
The following excerpt is from the 175th Anniversary
Novena of the School Sisters of Notre Dame:
Mother Theresa, our foundress, was ready to risk
all she was and all she had for the mission of Jesus
Christ. She heard in the call of others - laity, priests,
and bishops - the call of God and answered in solidarity
to the needs of her time. She was ready to call the
sisters of her young congregation to serve in other
parts of the world, to give themselves unconditionally
and always treasure unity as the foundation of the congregation.
Blessed Caroline Honored
St. Caroline Gerhardinger is still honored today every
time a school child wears a St. Caroline medal of a
St. Caroline charm and enters the door to a Parochial
School taught by the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Wearing
a St. Caroline pendant reminds all Catholics who have
benefited from a Catholic education of St. Caroline's
hard work and sacrifices. She unselfishly devoted her
life so all Catholic children could have an exceptional
education and learn a way of life with Jesus.