Pauline Mallinckrodt

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Pauline von Mallinckrodt
Pauline mallinckrodt.jpg
Born(1817-06-03)3 June 1817
Minden, North Rhine-Westphalia, German Confederation
Died30 April 1881(1881-04-30) (aged 63)
Paderborn, North Rhine-Westphalia, German Empire
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
Beatified14 April 1985, Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City by Pope John Paul II
Feast30 April
AttributesReligious habit
PatronageSisters of Christian Charity

Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt (3 June 1817 - 30 April 1881) was a German Roman Catholic professed religious and the foundress of the Sisters of Christian Charity.[1][2] Mallinckrodt was born into an aristocratic household as the daughter of a Lutheran father and Catholic mother and from her adolescence began to tend to the blind and sick. This venture expanded into what became her religious order which spread at a rapid pace; she herself travelled to a range of places to oversee the growth and development of her order.[3][4]

Her beatification cause opened in 1958 and she later was beatified on 14 April 1985.


Pauline von Mallinckrodt was born in Minden on 3 June 1817 as the eldest of four children to the politician Christian Detmar Karl von Mallinckrodt (04.12.1769-04.04.1842) and Marianna Bernhardina Katharina von Mallinckrodt (23.03-1787-17.08.1834). The distinguished parliamentarian Hermann Josef Christian von Mallinckrodt (05.02.1821-26.05.1874) was her little brother as was Georg Detmar Ignaz Franz Daniel Wilhem von Mallinckrodt (c.1819-21.03.1881) and sister Bertha von Mallinckrodt.[4] Her father was Lutheran; her mother a devout Catholic; Pauline was baptized as "Maria Bernardine Sophia Pauline".[2]

In 1826 her father was transferred to Aix-la-Chapelle where Pauline attended Saint Leonard's school. Her classmates included Clara Fey and Blessed Maria Franciscka Schervier; one of her teachers were Luise Hensel. In the fall of 1832 she continued her studies at a French school in Liege. Following a tour through Switzerland in 1833 with her parents she returned to Aix-la-Chapelle.[4][2] Mallinckrodt received her Confirmation in August 1835. Upon her return from Switzerland her parents wanted her to integrate into aristocratic circles and, despite finding social functions a distasteful affair, she did so in obedience to her parents. Her mother grew ill to the point where Pauline accompanied her to a health resort in Schwalbach.

Upon her mother's death from typhus in 1834 Pauline, at seventeen, took over the management of her father's household and the education of her three little siblings. In 1840 her father retired from public service to his manor at Boeddekken near Paderborn and it was at this stage she entertained notions of becoming a Vincentian Sister.[2][4] In 1835 her father paid for her to have a trip to Paris and in 1836 she accompanied Bernard von Hartmann and his wife (her paternal uncle and his wife) on a trip across Belgium in places such as Louvain and Brussels; she also visited the site of the Waterloo battle. The poor of the village would ask her to tend the sick. In winter she and her father lived in Paderborn where there was a women's group that tended the sick in their homes and she soon joined this group. In 1840 the group opened a kindergarten to provide safekeeping and care for neglected children and placed it in her charge.[1] From this developed an institution for blind children who were provided a home in a former Capuchin convent where she took up residence after the death of her father in 1842; she was at his bedside as he died.[3] In 1842 she did the Spiritual Exercises for the first time.

In 1846 she went to Paris to induce Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat to place the Paderborn institution for the blind under the care of Barat's congregation. However because the Prussian government would not permit a French-run religious order to operate in Prussia she found it prudent to establish her own order - the Sisters of Christian Charity - on 21 August 1849 and she was vested in the habit. Mallinckrodt was chosen as the order's first Mother Superior.[1] Her profession was held on 4 November 1850. It spread at a rapid pace that in the time before the Kulturkampf (1871-78) - which saw a brief suspension of its growth - it ran 20 establishments and had 250 members in various parts of the nation. In 1867 she fell ill and was directed to refrain from work prompting the religious to keep her workload limited.[2] The order soon spread in the United States of America and first settled in New Orleans; she arrived in the United States herself on 7 June 1873 to open their motherhouse and oversee further expansion. In 1874 she was at her brother Hermann's bedside as he died.

For a long time she wanted to visit Rome to see the pope and to visit the tombs of the Apostles; she left on 27 April 1876 and at the end of the month met Pope Pius IX during a public audience; he stopped to speak with her for a minute. She also visited the tomb of Saint Peter and attended a Mass in Saint Peter's Basilica before leaving. En route back home she stopped off in Loreto and also went to the Italian cities of Bologna, Padua, Venice and Trieste while also stopping off in Vienna and Prague.[2]

In 1875, the government passed a law authorizing the government to take over administration of land and other properties that religious communities possessed. Therefore she moved the motherhouse to Belgium. In 1875 Bishop Konrad Martin was incarcerated in the Wesel fortress because of the Falk Laws. A few months later he succeeded in escaping and found refuge with the order at the new motherhouse in Mont St. Guibert. Upon his death in 1879 she accompanied his remains in secret across the border to Paderborn where the bishop was buried with full solemn honors. On 1 October 1879 she traveled to Chile and was suffering from poor health at the time which made the trip hard; she left Chile on 19 February 1880. From there she travelled via Panama to the United States to New York to visit new houses that had opened and arrived on 26 March 1880 - Good Friday - with Sister Christostoma before leaving on 21 August and arriving home on 3 September.[1][3]

On 25 April 1881 she caught a chill and a fever as her condition grew worse - her sisters confined her to bed but she preferred to rest on a sofa. The fever increased and she became restless in the night.[2] Mallinckrodt died from pneumonia on 30 April 1881 at 9:00am in Paderborn. In 1951 her order had 2300 religious and this expanded in 1960 to 2654 still operating across Europe and other continents.[4]


Her religious order owns and operates the "Haus Pauline von Mallinckrodt" retirement home in Paderborn.

The "Mallinckrodt Scholars Program" for undergraduates at the Loyola University Chicago is named in her honor and aims at developing leadership reflecting Mallinckrodt's spirit of compassion and action in its students.


The beatification cause started in an informative process in Paderborn that spanned from 1926 until 1933 while her writings received theological approval on two occasions on 6 December 1942 and a decade later on 23 December 1952; the formal introduction to the cause came on 29 May 1958 under Pope Pius XII and she became titled as a Servant of God. An apostolic process was held from 1961 to 1963 and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints validated the previous two processes on 6 March 1970. The C.C.S. officials and their consultants approved the cause on 2 December 1981 and the C.C.S. alone later approved it on 14 December 1982. Pope John Paul II approved her life of heroic virtue and named her as Venerable on 13 January 1983.

The miracle for beatification was investigated on a diocesan level and it received C.C.S. validation sometime later. Medical experts approved this miracle on 8 March 1994 and theologians likewise approved it on 26 June 1984 as did the C.C.S. on 6 November 1984. John Paul II approved this miracle on 14 December 1984 and beatified her several months later on 14 April 1985.[5] The second miracle for her to be sainted was investigated in Detroit from April to 30 May 2006 and was validated on 12 January 2007.

The current postulator for this cause is Dr. Andrea Ambrosi.


  1. ^ a b c d "Pauline Mallinckrodt". New Advent. 1910. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "The Life of Mother Pauline von Mallinckrodt". 25 June 1917. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt". Immaculate Conception and Saint Luke Church. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt". Santi e Beati. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  5. ^ "Blessed Pauline", SCC East

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