Mother Anna Huberta
She came from a small town ‘Mechernich’ in the hilly country west of the river Rhine which is called the Eifel” close to Cologne. Her father was an engineer, production manager of a rail carriage factory. He was highly educated with wide interests in literature, history and religion, with a rich library which was also open to the children. Her mother was the daughter of an architect. Both families of her parents were well-to-do, but the first world war 1914 – 18 ruined their fortune; all financial assets were lost in the catastrophic inflation which followed the war, and the family had to go through hard times.
She was one of those persons in whom they realised what this world of ours could be, very different from what it actually is: to her our life must break out of narrow self-interest, self-concern, self-pity, of all petty prisons of our self, into the wide open world in a spirit of caring, sharing, loving, so that we can become a new family of brothers and sisters, so that joy may return into our valleys of so many tears, and peace into our broken, strife-ridden society.
People who entered the gates of St. Catherine’s Home were welcomed with warm greetings, the love in her words and the atmosphere of joy and confidence. This cordial openness to all people, her readiness to receive all, and mostly the poor, to welcome every child and to go out to all who were in need was more than a natural gift. It came from the depth of her person, from an inner wellspring that never dried up and allowed her to spend herself day and night in the service of others. It gave her the strength to attract so many more and inspire them to the generous service of the poor.
She was able to do all this because she had love for the poor and boundless confidence in the creator. This confidence was linked with an iron-will of giving every ounce of her strength and every of her time for the children. She loved everyone without expecting any reward, she said, “I love them, many times, I love them also when I receive nothing but ingratitude”.
When all was quiet in the evening she retired to her room to write letters – she loved to feel the silent presence of her friends. To her mother’s sister Klara she wrote: “It is so beautiful after all the rush of a full day to sit down for a short while with you. During the day I could not even dream of writing. Prayer was more for her than one of the daily duties. It was the core of her life. She saw all her work as her share in saving the downtrodden.
She communicated to the children the spirit of love and service to all with whom they lived. It was her great joy to see their work and their ever new readiness to share in the manifold tasks in the Home. The atmosphere of shared joy and love struck all the visitors of the Home.
She was able to make her benefactors feel that it was a privilege to share in the love of God. Her letters are not just appeals for help: she wants to make others happy also through her letters and to make them feel members of the large family, in a community of loving, sharing, serving. But it was more than merely human affection. She saw in each child, the beauty of God.
Fr Joseph Neuner S.J.
Our Co-founder – Fr. Joseph Neuner s.j was well acquainted with us, and knew our congregation from its early beingings. He was a friend, philosopher and guide of the Helpers of Mary. He sketched the life of Mother Anna Huberta and personality in his two ‘Mother Anna Huberta’ in 1986 and ‘Ripples of Love’ on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of the Congregation in 1992.