Helena Stollenwerk

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Helena Stollenwerk
Helena Maria Stollenwerk b.jpg
Born(1852-11-28)28 November 1852
Rollesbroich, Simmerath, Aachen, German Confederation
Died3 February 1900(1900-02-03) (aged 47)
Steyl, Limburg, Netherlands
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
Beatified17 May 1995, Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City by Pope John Paul II
  • 3 February
  • 28 November (Roermond)
AttributesReligious habit

Blessed Helena Stollenwerk (28 November 1852 - 3 February 1900) was a German Roman Catholic and a professed member of the Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration in the religious name of "Maria Virgo".[1][2] Stollenwerk collaborated with Saint Arnold Janssen and Blessed Hendrina Stenmanns and co-founded the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit with the two of them.[3]

Pope John Paul II presided over the beatification celebration for Stollenwerk in 1995 after naming her a Servant of God on 2 April 1982 and as Venerable in 1991.[4]


Helena Stollenwerk was born on 28 November 1852 to Hans Peter Stollenwerk and his third wife Anna Bongard (b. 1827). Her sole sibling was Caroline (1855 - 13 August 1859).[4] Her father died - on 27 May 1859 - which left her mother widowed; she instead married on 24 November 1860 to Hans Peter Breuer - his second marriage. Breuer had three daughters and the final daughter became a close friend of hers.[4]

Stollenwerk grew ill in 1856 but rallied quick.[4] Her childhood saw her occupied with the thought of joining the missions. She wanted to go to China for the missions and tried to find a convent that sent missionaries around the world: her search was in vain.[2]

In 1882 she met Saint Arnold Janssen who was in the Netherlands at the time and he supported her idea of the establishment of a new religious congregation dedicated to women. But she instead served for a brief period of time in a kitchen for Janssen's Divine Word Missionaries and worked alongside Blessed Hendrina Stenmanns when she arrived in 1884.[1][2] On 8 December 1889 Janssen established a religious order for women that saw Stollenwerk enter it - on 17 January 1892 - and assume her religious name of "Maria Virgo". She made her vows on 12 March 1894 and later became its abbess on 12 August 1898. Stollenwerk also had a hand in preparing sisters that went out on missions across the globe; she sent the first missionaries in 1895 to Argentina and others to Togo in 1897. At Janssen's request she resigned from being Superior General on 8 December 1898 having been in that position since 1890.[1][4]

In autumn 1899 she was diagnosed with meningitis. She died of it in 1900 and her final words were "Jesus: I die for You".[1][2] Her remains were transferred on two occasions in 1907 and 1915 and for a final time in September 1934.[4]


The beatification process commenced in 1950 in Roermond in an informative process that had been assigned the task of collecting available documents and interrogatories - if available - pertaining to her life and her time as a religious. Her writings received theological approval while a second process later opened - these processes received official validation - on 28 February 1983 - from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The official start of the cause came on 2 April 1982 after Stollenwerk was titled as a Servant of God.

The Positio was submitted to Rome for their assessment in 1985 and the theologians voted in favor of the continuation of the cause on 23 October 1990 while the C.C.S. themselves likewise approved the cause on 26 March 1991 - this allowed for Pope John Paul II to confirm her life of heroic virtue on 14 May 1991 and name Stollenwerk as being Venerable.

The miracle required for her beatification occurred in 1962 and was investigated before being sent to Rome for greater examination; the C.C.S. validated the diocesan process of the alleged miracle on 31 May 1991 and passed it to a team of medical experts for their approval on 17 June 1993. A group of theologians also approved the cause on 26 November 1993 and the C.C.S. gave their assent as well on 18 January 1994. John Paul II approved it on 26 March 1994 and beatified Stollenwerk on 17 May 1995.

The current postulator for this cause is Sister Ortrud Stegmaier.


  1. ^ a b c d "Blessed Helena Stollenwerk". Saints SQPN. 16 May 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d "Helena Stollenwerk". Holy Spirit Academy of Malolos. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  3. ^ "Mother Maria Helena - Helena Stollenwerk". Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters in the USA. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Blessed Maria Helena Stollenwerk". Santi e Beati. Retrieved 20 July 2016.

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