R.I.P Beloved Sister Othmara

Sister M. Othmara Metzger, SAC

Justina Anna Metzger

17 July 1917 – 17 February 2019

21/02/2019: The last remaining member of the ten Pallottine Sisters who started St Joseph’s Home for Chronically Ill Children (SJH) more than 80 years ago, has passed. Sister M. Othmara Metzger, SAC died on Sunday at the age or 101.
Today, many of her previous patients and nursing colleagues joined different Orders at St Joseph’s to celebrate her life. A special Requiem Mass was held, followed by her burial in the Woltemade Cemetery.     
In 1948 she left her homeland and set off to South Africa with nine other Sisters. The ten missionary sisters from the Pallottine Order flew to Johannesburg and travelled to Cape Town by train.  The ten Sisters heeded the call from the late Right Rev. Bishop Hennemann to assist and care for the plight of the poor and vulnerable children, left destitute after the 1930 Great Depression. St Joseph’s Home for Chronically Ill Children was born.

Sister Annemarie Niehsen SAC delivered the eulogy:

“God sent you as workers into his harvest that through your ministry faith may be preserved and love may grow! Vincent Pallotti

With gratitude and sadness, I want to share with you that Sister Othmara Metzger, the oldest member of our congregation was called home to the Eternal Father at 10:55 on 17th February 2019 at the age of 101 years and 7 months.

What a loss for us – such a great, kind and courageous woman.

She was born in Werbachhausen, Germany on 17th July 1917, the youngest of seven children of Karl and Katharina Metzger.  She grew up in a very religious family with her siblings. The Lord granted her a life filled with love. From an early age, it was her deep desire to enter religious life and to dedicate herself to the Lord and his people.

In 1934, Justina applied to be admitted into the Candidature of the Pallottine Sisters in Limburg an der Lahn. She studied there until 1937 when she became a postulant of the Pallottine Missionary Sisters.  In August 1938 she received the name “Sister Othmara”. Her first profession was in 1940.

(In 1946 Sister Othmara’s biological sister, Armella Metzger, joined the Pallottine Missionary Sisters.  Three years later she made her first profession. In April 1952, Armella together with two companions followed her sibling, Sister Othmara, to the South African Mission.)

Sister Othmara served in several places in her homeland. During the 2nd World War she served as a professional nurse in the Military Hospital in Limburg – here she experienced, first-hand, the horrors of war.

After the war, on 15th August 1946 Sister Othmara made her final profession.

In 1948, Sister Othmara was sent to South Africa with nine other sisters. The ten missionaries flew from Europe to Johannesburg on KLM, the Royal Dutch Airlines. They travelled by train from Johannesburg to Cape Town arriving there on 30th March 1948.

Most of her missionary work was performed as a professional nurse caring for the chronically ill children in Saint Joseph’s Home in Cape Town.  She was the matron there for 30 years – a pioneer of the establishment never to be forgotten.

Sister Othmara was well known as a very generous, capable and courageous religious woman and developed a wide network on contacts world-wide.

After her retirement, Sister Othmara came to the Provincial House – Saint Vincent Pallotti Convent in Pinelands.

For some time, Sister continued to visit former children and staff from the Home until she was confined to bed.  During this time her religious sisters remember her as a loving, non-complaining community member.

So, not only has the oldest member of our Pallottine Sisters but a wonderful person has gone home.

We believe the word from the Book of Wisdom – that the soul of the just are in the hands of God and no torment shall touch them.

We believe that Sister Othmara is amongst the just. We believe that God tried her, as he tries all the just and found her worthy of himself. We believe that she and we will meet again in the resurrection on the last day. We will meet again in Christ. We meet again in God’s eternal abode, where there is no more pain and no more tears.

We will meet again where there is endless life, love, joy and bliss and where Sister Othmara’s years of suffering and her death are transformed by Christ’s glorious resurrection.”

Sister Othmara and nine other Pallottine Sisters arriving by plane.

Visit by former (2005) intern Tim Streit

How time has flown

It is always wonderful when former volunteers / interns visit long after their placement. Tim Streit (right) from Germany, had been a Social Work intern during 2005. Here with his partner, Michael, enjoying the interaction with the children and experiencing the many positive changes to the Home.