Stadler’s spiritual heritage in the Congregation of Sisters the Servants of the Infant Jesus
Based on archival material, published and unpublished sources, their re-examination and relevant literature, this article deals with the first Archbishop of Vrhbosna, Josip Stadler, as the founder of the Congregation of Sisters the Servants of the Infant Jesus, focusing on his spiritual heritage in the Congregation. Documents that were consulted are those related to Stadler and the Congregation stored in the archives of the Congregation of Sisters the Servants of the Infant Jesus and in the Provincial Archives of the Congregation, as well as the Episcopal Ordinariates in Sarajevo, Split and Kotor. The testimony of the faithful Stadler associate, the Mother Superior, Sr. Krescencija Zwiefelhofer, and testimonies of the first sisters about the saintly founder, Archbishop Stadler, were also used, as were those of his close associates in the affairs of the Congregation. Stadler’s role as a man of God, enlightened and guided by God’s spirit, found a way to witness the love of God for his people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, abandoned and poor children, and neglected old people. He did this by founding a domestic congregation, the Congregation of Sisters the Servants of the Infant Jesus. Highlighted in the article is Stadler’s commitment and his spirituality woven into the founding and shaping of the Congregation as a religious community, in its charism, in the religious rules he wrote for the sisters, in letters, written and oral spiritual instructions to the sisters, and in his life example. All this permeates and inspires the devotion of the sisters to God through religious vows, through prayer life, through life in the religious community, and through joyful service to God and humanity. It is noticeable that the sisters inherited spiritually from the founder, Archbishop Stadler, and that the sisters are witnesses to the sanctity of Stadler’s life.
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