Our Foundress

 

Mother Margareta, Maria Pucher, was born on March 6, 1818 in Kapela near Radgona at the Slovenian-Austrian border. She spoke both Slovenian and German since as a child she often stayed with her uncle who was a brewer in Germany.

 

Little more is known of her early life. On July 1, 1844, at the age of 26, she went to the convent of the School Sisters in Eggenberg in Graz. On August 22, of that year she entered the novitiate where she received a thorough religious training. She professed her first vows the following year. Sister Margareta lived her calling faithfully as a member of the community and a dedicated teacher.

 

When in October of 1864 the School Sisters were called to Maribor, Sister Margareta was one of the four sisters who were sent. There she served as the local superior and as an instructor for the young girls. God moved her heart, and Sister Margareta felt compelled to dedicate herself to serving God through the care and education of Maribor’s street children and Christian youth.

 

There was much that needed to be done in Maribor and few Sisters to accomplish this good work. After discussions with the community in Graz, it was decided that the community from Graz could not fulfill what was needed in Maribor and a new Congregation was needed. With much prayerful thought, Sister Margareta approached the Bishop of Maribor. On September 13, 1869, Sister Margareta was appointed by the Bishop to serve as the superior and a new congregation was born.

 

With her small group of Sisters, she worked for the greater glory of God. Serving as both superior and novice directress (1875 – 1881) she strongly influenced the growing community, “uniting the good with the strict as she sought to put into practice the various requirements of religious observance.”

 

Mother Margareta knew how to faithfully guide the Sisters during times of trials which every religious house experiences during the first years that follow its foundation. More, she knew how to love in times of suffering, as well as the time of harvest and joy.   

 

An expert in stitchery and in the sewing of sacred vestments, Mother Margareta passed on to the members of her new Congregation this knowledge and her love of this activity. She guided the Sisters by her words and example, always encouraging them to be comforted in thinking that after this short life another would begin for them, a life that was eternal and blessed. 

 

Faithful to Franciscan ideals and deeply steeped in prayer, Mother Margareta led her Sisters until age and health prevented her from this role.

 

When dark clouds gathered above her head, when spiritual and physical obstacles of various degrees threatened her with ruin, Mother Margareta’s courage became her strength. Every trial overcome was a precious stone in the building of God’s Kingdom and the perfection of her virtue, another step towards joy and eternal glory.

 

In her later years, Mother Margareta patiently bore the suffering of a long illness and peacefully passed in the Lord at Maribor on her 83rd birthday, March 6, 1901.