Hildegard Burjan

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Blessed Hildegard Burjan
Memorial plaque in Vienna.
Born (1883-01-30)January 30, 1883
Died June 11, 1933(1933-06-11) (aged 50)
Venerated in Catholic Church
Beatified January 29, 2012, Vienna, Austria by Cardinal Angelo Amato, acting for Pope Benedict XVI
Feast June 12

Hildegard Burjan, born Hildegard Freund (January 30, 1883 in Görlitz, Germany – June 11, 1933, in Vienna, Austria) was the founder of a Catholic religious congregation for women and an Austrian politician. She was beatified by the Catholic Church in 2012.

Early life[edit]

Hildegard Freund was born into a liberal Jewish family in Germany. She studied literature, philosophy and sociology in Switzerland and Berlin and obtained a Ph.D. in 1908. In 1907, she married the Hungarian entrepreneur Alexander Burjan.

In 1909 she was surprisingly healed from a grave sickness, which prompted her conversion to Catholicism. She moved with her husband to Vienna, where she bore her only daughter Elisabeth, even though the pregnancy had at times threatened her life.

Interest in social issues[edit]

The industrialist's wife soon started to interest herself in the social issues of the day, especially concerning the working conditions and spiritual welfare of the poor.[citation needed] In 1912, she founded theSociety of Christian Women Working at Home and in 1918 the Society for Social Help.

The Caritas Socialis[edit]

Her main achievement however remains the founding of a religious congregation for serving the poor. On October 4, 1919, Hildegard Burjan founded the congregation of sisters named Caritas Socialis. The order cares especially for women and children in difficult conditions and also for the elderly and terminally ill people, also playing a pioneer role in the hospice movement in Austria.

Activities as a politician[edit]

Beginning in 1918, Hildegard Burjan was also politically active in the Christian-Social Party. In 1919, she became one of the first female members of the Parliament of Austria. She concerned herself especially with issues such as equal wages for men and women and social security for the working class as well as social and spiritual care for poor families.


The beatification process for Hildegard Burjan was initiated in 1963 by Cardinal Franz König, then Archbishop of Vienna. On July 6, 2007, she was declared a Venerable, and on January 29, 2012, she was proclaimed blessed in St. Stephen's cathedral in Vienna, Austria.[1]

On Thursday 11 June, 2015, a memorial was official revealed and blessed at a special Mass held at St. Stephan's cathedral. The blessing was conducted by Weihbischof DDr. Helmut Krätzl and Erzbischof Dr. Peter Zurbriggen.[2][3]

A memorial to Hildegard Burjan, installed in St Stephan's Cathedral, Vienna.



  • Irmgard Burjan-Domanig: Hildegard Burjan, eine Frau der sozialen Tat. 3rd ed. Caritas Socialis, Vienna, 1976
  • Hanna-Barbara Gerl-Falkovitz: Mystik, Emanzipation und Politik: Hildegard Burjan (1883–1933). Caritas Socialis, Vienna, 2004
  • Alfred Koblbauer: Spiritualität. 2nd vol.: Hildegard Burjan. Missionsdruckerei St. Gabriel, Mödling, 1976
  • Michaela Kronthaler: Hildegard Burjan (1883–1933). Katholische Arbeiterinnenführerin und christliche Sozialpolitikerin. Dr.-Karl-Kummer-Institut f. Sozialpolitik u. Sozialreform in Steiermark, Graz, 1995
  • Michaela Kronthaler: Die Frauenfrage als treibende Kraft: Hildegard Burjans innovative Rolle im Sozialkatholizismus und Politischen Katholizismus vom Ende der Monarchie bis zur 'Selbstausschaltung' des Parlaments (= Grazer Beiträge zur Theologiegeschichte und Kirchlichen Zeitgeschichte, Bd. 8). Verlag Styria, Graz-Vienna-Cologne, 1995, ISBN 3-222-12358-6
  • Ingeborg Schödl (ed.): Hoffnung hat einen Namen. Hildegard Burjan und die Caritas Socialis. Tyrolia, Innsbruck-Vienna, 1995, ISBN 3-7022-1980-3

External links[edit]