A Life that went beyond all Borders

1956 In her van the Shooting Star1956 In her van the Shooting Star

Throughout the life of Little Sister Magdeleine, a number of themes recur somewhat like leitmotifs. In a way, they confirm the fidelity with which she followed her vocation. As far as I am concerned, it is the leitmotif of the 'border' that impressed me the most.

For most of us, a border is an ambivalent place that inspires both fear and fascination. The experience of limits, either in the literal or the figurative sense, is one of the most important things in our lives.

The experience of borders that marked me deeply was that which I had when Germany was still divided. For me, crossing border points always involved a threatening atmosphere, a kind of desolation, something almost inhuman. Barbed wire, walls, no man's land, nothing of daily life except for the border guards frozen in their duties. Danger hung in the air. You were afraid of making a wrong move thus awakening the suspicion of the agent on duty.

A border is not a place where we tarry willingly. In itself it is precisely that which we leave behind, that which we cross in order to get somewhere else. It is a place full of the unforeseen, uninhabited, perhaps even dangerous, and at the same time the fascinating passage place from one country to another, from one world to another. Borders exclude, repel all that is foreign. And at the same time they protect their own domain.

Little Sister Magdeleine knew about borders from personal experience. And she knew them by the suffering they could cause. Her life was a confrontation with limits and borders - and that is what marked the trajectory of her life in a special way. Her whole being was aimed at meeting others, at openness towards others. And so she suffered from borders that close, separate and divide.