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Bl. Maria Euthymia (Emma) Üffing 


Sr Maria Euthymia (in the world:  Emma Üffing) was born on 8 April 1914 in Halverde, Germany. She was the daughter of August Üffing and Maria Schmidt, and grew up with 10 brothers and sisters in a small town environment. Her large and religious family and the life of the parish were the environment of her childhood. She was afflicted at 18 months with a form of rickets that left her with poor health for the rest of her life; it also slowed her physical development. In spite of this, she never complained but dedicated herself to helping on the farm; she did not become indignant when she was wronged and, whenever she could, she spared her brothers and sisters any unpleasant work.

On 27 April 1924 Emma made her First Communion and on 3 September 1924 the Sacrament of Confirmation. At the age of 14, Emma expressed the desire to become a religious sister. On 1 November 1931, she began her formation as an apprentice of household management at the nearby hospital of St Ann in Hopsten, which she completed in May 1933. Here she got to know the Sisters of Charity of Münster, the Clemens Schwestern or Barmherzige Schwestern. The Mother Superior of the house, Sr Euthymia Linnenkämper, appreciated Emma's attitude of constant service and availability. Shortly before her father's death in 1932, she returned home to take care of him. With her mother's permission, in March 1934, Emma sent a letter to the Mother House in Münster asking to be admitted to the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity. After an initial hesitation by the Superiors of the Order, due to her delicate constitution, the Superiors accepted Emma's request. On 23 July, Emma Üffing entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity in Münster as one of 47 postulants. She took the name "Euthymia", as she had strongly desired in memory of the Mother Superior in Hopsten, Euthymia Linnenkämper.

During her formation, she prepared intensely and conscientiously to fulfil her great desire to be at the service of God and mankind, which was fulfilled on 11 October 1936 when she made her simple vows. In a letter to her mother she happily wrote, "I found Him who my heart loves; I want to hold Him and never let Him go" (cf. Song 3,4).

In October 1936 Sr M. Euthymia was appointed to St Vincent's Hospital in Dinslaken. On 3 September 1939, after passing her exams with distinction, she received a nursing diploma. One year later, on 15 September 1940, Sr M. Euthymia made her final profession.

During wartime, poverty made the work of assisting the sick more difficult. In 1943, Sr M. Euthymia was entrusted with assisting the sick prisoners of war and foreign workers, especially those of British, French, Russian, Polish and Ukrainian nationality who had infectious diseases. She devoted herself to them with untiring care and cordiality. The French priest, Fr Emile Esche, who lived as a prisoner of war at the hospital in Dinslaken for several years, provided an extraordinary witness:  When in contact with the sick (Sr M. Euthymia) was full of a charity and kindness which came from her heart, nothing was too much for her. She knew that the sick prisoners did not have to contend with physical sufferings alone. Through her warm sympathy and nearness, she instilled in them a feeling of being safe and at home. She prayed with the sick and made sure that they could receive the Holy Sacraments.... "Sr Euthymia's life was a canticle of hope in the midst of the war", Fr Emile Esche said.

After the war, Sr M. Euthymia, who had previously worked with such dedication to the sick, was entrusted with running the laundry room in Dinslaken and, three years later, the large one of the Mother House and of St Raphael Clinic in Münster. Although she had loved assisting the sick, she adapted to this new task without difficulty. "Everything is for Almighty God", was her response.

Even though there was an enormous amount of work that was extremely demanding, she always remained a kind and available religious, who had a friendly smile and a good word and was ready to help anyone who asked her to. She lived her daily life in an extraordinary way. All of her free time, which was usually little, she spent praying before the tabernacle. Many who knew her, asked her even at that time to intercede for them in her prayers. A serious form of cancer brought Sr M. Euthymia to an untimely death after long weeks of illness. She died on the morning of 9 September 1955.

Homily of John Paul II