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THE HEART OF THE MAN…

VIEWS: 72 PAGES: 11

									Introduction:
I would like to acknowledge our MSC Sisters who have done extensive research on our
Founder Fr. Hubert Linckens; especially Srs. Klara Sietmann, Francis Baum and Mary
Drum. This for me therefore, is a personal reflective presentation drawn from some of
their work.
                            MY PERSONAL REFLECTION
                                  HUBERT LINCKENS
                WALKING IN THE SPIRIT OF JULES CHEVALIER
                           THREE HEARTS ONE MISSION


The motto of our Congregation corresponds, at the same time, to our name and aim, of
our chief obligation: May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be loved everywhere.1


It is always hard to compile the life of one person into a short space of time – especially
when that person is one’s Founder. Various articles, writings, letters and retreats have
enabled us to develop a deeper insight and appreciation of this special MSC man –
Fr. Hubert Linckens who was, as it has been written;
                       “Called for a work of God as a man of God”
Therefore in this time together I would like to use a few of his words, sayings, quotations
and life experiences as starting points for my personal reflections on the qualities and
deep spirituality of this significant man for us who founded our Congregation and sowed
in us the seed of an MSC spirituality that was for him the source, purpose and sole
meaning of life – the Spirituality of the Heart.
One needs to dwell on his words and experiences and to listen deeply to them, in order to
allow the spirit within them to penetrate us, so that we then in our time can continue to
live this same spirit in our hearts and in our world, as Fr. Linckens did in his. The
foundation, identity and core root of our MSC Congregation has fundamentally remained
the same; namely to give witness, to reflect and to teach the truth of God’s Unconditional
Love - through, with and within human hearts today.


Our three Congregations weave together a spirituality with perhaps some different
emphasis. However although our threads may contain variations of color, together we are
weaving a tapestry that reveals the depth, richness and beauty of the Spirituality of the
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Heart – a spirituality which has stood the test of time and continues to be a great need and
cry in our globalized world today.


To speak of our Founder Fr. Linckens is to ‘Come Home’ to our identity as MSC Sisters
and to touch again our deepest longings and yearnings of being women who are called to
be ‘on fire’ with God’s Love. This symbol of ‘fire’ was often reflected upon in Fr.
Linckens’ writings as he spoke on our charism. So as we take time now to pause, depth
and grow a little more in the knowledge of this man, we will also hopefully re-enkindle at
the same time some of his spirit, his fire and his love for our charism within ourselves.


THE MAN AND THE JOURNEY….. HUBERT LINCKENS – MSC STORY


   •   1861 born in Wylre, Netherlands January 29
   •   1875 joined MSC in Issoudun. Apostolic School in Chezal Benoit
   •   1880 began Novitiate. In November MSC driven out of France
   •   1881 First Profession in Haaren, Holland
   •   1884 Final Profession
   •   1886 Ordained a Priest in Herzogenbusch
   •   1891 Director of Apostolic School at Antwerp, Belgium
   •   1894 Procurator for the Mission in New Britain
   •   1896 First Provincial & ‘Founder’ of the German Province
   •   1897 Canonical establishment of the first community in the Mission House at
       Hiltrup
       The formation of German Missionary Sisters was entrusted to him.


In 1900 our Congregation was officially founded by Fr. Hubert Linckens MSC
He gave us the spirit of his own Congregation, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of
Jesus founded by Jules Chevalier.2
It was said of him on that day that: Fr. Linckens did not easily reveal his innermost
feelings. But when he spoke on this important day, March 25th 1900, he could hardly talk.
Deep emotion and sincere thanks filled him visibly. 3




                                                                                            2
   •   1904 First journey to the South Sea Missions (New Britain & Marshall
       Islands)
   •   1907 Accompanied Superior General, Fr. Eugene Meyer, to Australia for
       Visitation
       Attended Mission Conference in Sydney
   •   1909 First journey to America
   •   1910 Second journey to America
   •   1911 Second journey to the South Sea Missions
       Elected First Assistant to Superior General, Fr. Eugene Meyer
       Third journey to North America
   •   1912 – 1913 Journeys to England, Ireland & Germany
   •   1914 Visitation to Australia. Interned during the war because of his German
       nationality. Forced to remain in Australia until 1920.
   •   1920 Returned to Rome for General Chapter & diagnosed with cancer.
       Died at Hiltrup on October 5 1922.


HUBERT LINCKENS AND JULES CHEVALIER


Hubert Linckens would have first met Jules Chevalier in 1875 at the age of 14 when he
came to the Apostolic School in Chezal Benoit to begin his studies as an MSC.


During Hubert Linckens’ formation years in Issoudun his relationship with Jules
Chevalier would have grown and developed.


Hubert Linckens’ vows as an MSC would have been approved by Jules Chevalier.


His appointments as Director of the Apostolic School in Belgium; Procurator for the
Missions & First Provincial and ‘Founder’ of the German Province would have been
affirmed, if not made, by Jules Chevalier himself as the Superior General.


Jules Chevalier delegated and entrusted to Hubert Linckens the task of founding a
German Congregation of Missionary Sisters according to the needs and circumstances of
the times.
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What an awesome task!
Jules Chevalier must have held Hubert Linckens in high esteem!


Hubert Linckens was unquestionably a true MSC who had the heart, the mind and the
spirit of his Founder, Jules Chevalier.
*(See section on MSC Sisters pg 150 -155, Man with a Mission Jules Chevalier,
E.J. Cuskelly MSC 1975 for an accurate historical account)


THE HEART OF THE MAN


He was and is admired for his dedication to the Congregation and his total selflessness.
It is very obvious from his writings that his life was one lived in harmony with the Gospel.
He often quoted scripture and encouraged the Sisters to integrate the scripture within the
living of their own lives.
He was a true and zealous MSC himself who deeply loved his own MSC Congregation
and the Congregation of MSC Sisters whom he founded.
He was known for his special organizational abilities.
He was a man who desired always to fulfill God’s will as he handled concrete, and at
times, very difficult situations with consistency, far-sightedness and loyalty.


THE LIFE LIVED


To truly appreciate the journey of his story we need to pause and not only see the
chronological years but also the events, responsibilities, challenges, demands and huge
obstacles that are hidden between the lines.


His lectures, talks, encounters and writings through the years, reveal a man with:
    A sparkle and fire within.
    A total and all consuming commitment of love for Christ lived through the
       Gospels - especially through the letters of St. Paul.
    A man who through his deep faith embraced much suffering and hardship as
       reflected in a life filled with many difficult and challenging obstacles.
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     A man who gave of himself in total service of love to others, often at great
        personal cost.
     A man of total faithfulness and dedication in fulfilling the duties presented to him
        in his life’s mission.
     A Founder and leader with great warmth, love and fatherly affection for us his
        MSC Sisters.


Fr. Linckens wanted us ‘to be big hearted women, open hearted women – women whose
hearts are expanded by love, consumed with love, aflame with love, open to God’s Love,
ready to be sent so that God can love and work through us.4


1. A MAN… … FILLED WITH THE FIRE OF GOD’S LOVE WITHIN HIS HEART.
Love must urge us on. This love must inflame and enkindle us; it must inflame
everything that comes in contact with us. Love is stronger than death. It is creative to
reach its goal.5
I aim and will always try to work for God alone; to love only God and everything else for
love of God. 6


2. A MAN … … WHO PRACTISED THIS ‘LOVE’ IN SERVICE.
Christ has filled our hearts with the holy fire of His Love. It is His desire that it burn and
the blaze spread everywhere. If a heart is filled with love for Christ it will automatically
share this heart with others; the love of our own hearts is a fire.7
For this heart you are in the midst of the world. We have experienced God’s love and are
called to share it through our being and our actions, in all circumstances, at all times. 8


3. A MAN … … FAITHFUL IN FOLLOWING GOD’S CALL.
I aim and will always try to work for God alone, to love only God and everything else for
love of him. 9


4. A MAN… … OF PRAYER.
As God is the origin and final goal of our life’s pilgrimage, so he must be the centre
around which alone we circle during our wandering from origin to our final goal.


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God penetrates the whole universe. He has created everything. As St. Paul preached: It is
in him that we live and move and exist (Acts 17:28) 10
A Missionary Sister who knows how to pray, knows also how to live well, how to work
and how to die.11


5. A MAN … … PERSISTENT - STRONG & FIRM - A LEADER
In 1904 at the Death of Mother Servatia; ‘The sad news from the motherhouse hit the
unsuspecting Founder like a ‘bolt from the blue’, as he said later.
The Baining Martyrs; When Fr. Linckens after this terrible ‘massacre’ in St. Paul’s in
1904 returned home, his hair was bleached. His eyes often looked like lost into the
distance. Fr Linckens could understand properly this ‘baptism of blood’ which had
struck his young Congregation only before the tabernacle. The holy sacrifice was always
again his source of strength. 12


6. A MAN… … TOTALLY COMMITTED - AT THE COST OF SELF
                         - SELF DENIAL
The self-denial which Christ asks of us consists therefore, in the faithful fulfillment of
these duties (the duties of our state of life). 13
What God wills! How God wills! How long God wills! 14
It is my only wish in everything to help the missions and our works.15


7. A MAN… … ADAPTABLE TO THE CHANGING CIRCUMSTANCES
                        OF HIS TIME.
Jesus calls us to learn from Him. He challenges us to model our hearts according to His
Heart. He gives these teachings from the first to the last moment of His life, through
word and work. Whatever situations we may be in, the Heart of Jesus is our model and
example.16
Times change, but wise are those who go along with the present, evaluate it, understand it
                  17
and utilize it.


8. A MAN … … CONFIDENT IN GOD AT ALL TIMES
                  ESPECIALLY AMIDST HUGE OBSTACLES.


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It sometimes may seem that the necessary means are lacking, either to move ahead
ourselves or to help others to do so. If we really trust in God, He will help us. We need
to examine ourselves (to see) if we have the disposition of the Heart of Jesus; and if we
do, what is necessary. 18
An outstanding virtue of our late Founder was unshakable confidence in God. Sometimes
he told us about the many difficulties and the great obstacles which the foundation of our
Congregation met with. 19


9. A MAN … … A PRUDENT ORGANIZER - WISE -
                  UNDERSTANDING & INTELLIGENT
In the talent, to adjust to others, was surely – at least partly or from a human point of
view – the rich success of his many works. Fr. Linckens was known as intelligent, a
prudent organizer. And still with all this he was so humble and unassuming. It was a
habit with him to listen to the opinion of others before he said the last word himself. 20


10. A MAN … … WHO LOVED MUSIC
Fr. Linckens was a great friend of good music. The fine arts had to be used especially for
the divine service. He was very keen that all Sisters had a very good training in singing.21


11. A MAN … … WITH A SENSE OF HUMOUR
In the Missionary Sisters of the future, the spirit of inexhaustible love and strength shall
be awakened; the spirit of sincere humility and true gentleness; the spirit of self-denial; of
simplicity. In all troubles, difficulties and suffering, the Sisters shall maintain a cheerful
disposition. 22
Fr Linckens told us occasionally of his own Novitiate time. We Novices were most
interested to hear that he ‘laughed so much’ that each little thing provoked him to
laughter. We were a happy crowd in the Lord; he liked to say at the end of his joyful
jokes ‘God loves a cheerful giver’. 23


12. A MAN … … A FATHER
True love knows no envy, no jealousy, and excludes no one; especially when it concerns
spiritual children of the same Congregation, of which the Lord, in His goodness, chose
me as ‘Father’.24
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Fr. Linckens was totally ‘father’ in the missions. It was even said; if one wanted to come
to know Fr. Linckens s/he would have to meet him in the mission.25


Foreign Mission is a strong element within our story. ‘The special purpose of the
Congregation is to assist missioners in the foreign missions‟.
However Fr. Linckens also wrote at length in varying contexts on his understanding of
mission. He advocated that mission should first and foremost be understood in the broad
sense; to be sent by God, to continue the work of Christ on earth. He seems to have quite
early in the life of our Congregation discerned that we were being called to a much wider
understanding of mission, in being called Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, than
that of simply being called in order to be sent abroad.26
He wrote: Hence we are sent for missionary work in the fullest sense of the word; in
ourselves, at home and abroad, in developed countries, in any place where we are or
where obedience may call us. We can be missionaries in all our activities, whatever they
may be, in health and in illness, through work, recreation, rest, through desires and
prayers, through the activities of the mind and of the heart, through physical labor and
trials of the soul.27
It is with these qualities, with this heart and with this deep faith, courage and trust that we
inherited and were gifted with the Spirituality of the Heart from our Founder Fr. Linckens
– a spirituality which we live and share with our Chevalier Family.


If St. Francis is known through his famous prayer as an instrument of God’s peace; I
would say that for us, Fr. Linckens is known as an instrument of God’s love; for from the
very beginning he passed onto us that which most drew him to his own Congregation –
the Spirituality of the Heart.
His prayer was that:
    For this Heart you are in the midst of this world 28
        To be the Heart of God in the world      or To be on earth the Heart of God.




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SPIRITUALITY OF THE HEART- TODAY


To be faithful to the heart of our Founder:
       Love must urge us on.
       Love must inflame and enkindle us.
       Love must inflame everything that comes in contact with us.


A passion also expressed in the Encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI – Deus Caritas Est.
Love is the light - and in the end, the only light - that can always illuminate a world
grown dim and give us the courage needed to keep living and working.
Love is possible and we are able to practice it because we are created in the image of God.
To experience love and in this way to cause the light of God to enter into the world.


This is the invitation I would like to extend.
We the MSC Sisters are challenged to immerse ourselves into the spirit of our Founder
and in doing so we embrace the invitation of Pope Benedict XVI to be the light of love
that our present world hungers so much for today.


I conclude with the words of our Founder:
       „What God wills! How God wills! How long God wills!
       May this be so for our MSC Sisters everywhere.
       May this be so for our three Congregations and Associates.


Theresia Veenker MSC
Chevalier Centennial Congress
Issoudun 2007




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Sources Cited
1. Retreat by Fr Linckens given in the Motherhouse of the MSC Sisters in Hiltrup
       Sept 1913
2. Constitutions of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart
       of Jesus (Of Hiltrup) 2000 No.2
3. Biography of our Founder Father H. Linckens MSC by Mother Dominica MSC,
       Archives MSC Sisters Rome
4. Reflections on Being Missionary: from Fr. Linckens Perspective, Mary Drum MSC
5. Fr Linckens Retreat 1913 5th Talk
6. Fr Hubert Linckens: Founder of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the
       Sacred Heart of Jesus of Hiltrup – Notes on his life by Sr. M. Hilsindis MSC 1986
       Hiltrup pg 8
7 - 8 Hubert Linckens MSC – Selected Texts
       Circulated by Sr. Mary Anne Bigos MSC 1998 pg 10
9. Fr Hubert Linckens: Founder of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the
       Sacred Heart of Jesus of Hiltrup – Notes on his life by Sr. M. Hilsindis MSC 1986
       Hiltrup pg 8
10. Fr. Linckens Retreat 1913
11 - 12 Biography of our Founder Father H. Linckens MSC by Mother Dominica MSC,
       Archives MSC Sisters Rome
13. What Does Father Linckens Say
       Edited by Sr. M. Hilsindis MSC 1970/71 Hiltrup pg 26
14. Biography of our Founder Father H. Linckens MSC by Mother Dominica MSC,
       Archives MSC Sisters Rome
15. History of the Congregation, German pg 5
16. Fr Linckens Retreat 1913 7th Talk
17. Fr. Linckens Tilburg 1900
18. Fr Linckens Retreat 1913 5th Talk
19 – 21 Biography of our Founder Father H. Linckens MSC by Mother Dominica MSC,
       Archives MSC Sisters Rome
22. The Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Hubert Linckens 1921 (German)
23. Biography of our Founder Father H. Linckens MSC by Mother Dominica MSC,
       Archives MSC Sisters Rome
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24. Fr Linckens letter to Sr. Edeltrudis MSC, Sydney, March 21, 1911
25. Biography of our Founder Father H. Linckens MSC by Mother Dominica MSC,
       Archives MSC Sisters Rome
26. Reflections on Being Missionary: from Fr. Linckens Perspective, Mary Drum MSC
27. Fr Linckens Retreat 1913 5th Talk
28. Fr Linckens letter to Sisters in Reading PA Nov 5 1913




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