Arnold Janssen’s Third Foundation
Sister-Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration
Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters, SSpSAP
Servarum Spiritus Sancti de Adoratione Perpetua
Officially this religious Congregation is called : Sister-Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration. This name clearly and concisely expresses the meaning and mission of this community.
The Sisters are aware of being called to serve the Holy Spirit in a special way. They regard their adoration of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament as their way of contributing to the honor of the most Holy Trinity. Praying in the Holy Spirit, they carry out their service of adoration around the clock, day and night. The Eucharist is the heart of their personal and community life.
This third foundation of Blessed Arnold Janssen is a cloistered contemplative missionary community. This means that the Sisters serve the Church by a hidden life of prayer and sacrifice within the cloister. They do not leave it to engage in active apostolic works of any kind. With the arms of prayer and sacrifice alone, they reach out to all people. As « kneeling missionaries» they offer themselves in a special way for the members of the Society of the Divine Word and of the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters all over the world.
Blessed Arnold entrusted this praying community with the further task of praying for all priests. In the silence and hiddenness of their convents, the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters feel that they one at the very heart of the Church as they intercede for everyone. Seven times a day, they assemble in the chapel to pray together the Church’s official prayer called the Liturgy of the Hours. Here, united with the praying Church, they represent the whole of creation before God.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus and our Mother, who was the first servant of the Holy Spirit, is a model to the Sisters as they faithfully and lovingly listen to God’s word and join in his longing for the salvation of all.
Mother Mary Michael
Mother Mary Michael, Adolfine Tonnies was born on January 7, 1862 in a town in the German province of Westphalia. After graduating from teacher’s college, she became directress of a parish school in Rendsburg, a town in which there were few Catholics.
On May 1, 1891 she entered the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters in Steyl. On January 17, 1892 she received the blue habit of the Sisters and the name, Sister Michael. On March 12, 1894 she made vows, thus committing herself to the Steyl missionary undertaking.
In 1895 Arnold Janssen organized a teaching staff from among and for the members of the communities he had founded. Sister Michael was entrusted with a number of subjects to teach.
Six Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters were chosen to become the first members of a new community, Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters, on December 8, 1896. Sister Michael was among the six who received the rose-colored habit of the new Congregation. From now on, she was called Sister Mary Michael. Soon she was made head of the new community, first as superior and later, when branch houses were opened, as superior general. She knew how to guide the community in the spirit of Arnold Janssen and gradually to find good solutions to the problems that still remained unsolved. Prudently and energetically she dedicated herself to the internal and external growth of the Congregation. The Sisters gratefully remember her as a model religious and real mother. She died on February 25, 1934.