Apostolic Religious Life

Mother Bernarda felt called by God to begin a new form of religious life in Switzerland. A life in the midst of people. This at a time when an adverse "storm against convents" raged in her own home Canton of Aargau since convents were considered a danger to the state.

Sr Bernarda Heimgartner and her two companions decided with great clarity for an apostolic religious life and declined Father Theodosius' suggestion to join the enclosed Ursulines in Lucerne.


The apostolic religious life suffered a lot of opposition from the liberal government. A great many of the population, especially of the countryside, preferred to remain with the old.

These oppositions did not only come from outside. A Benedictine ex-abbot who was the chaplain of the Motherhouse in Menzingen did not understand the apostolic religious life. He tried to change the new foundation into convent with enclosure. He managed to win the parish priest to support his ideas. Some of the sisters too consented to go along with him.

Sisters who lived in the midst of people and not behind convent walls were incomprehensible for many people in Mother Bernarda's time. They were regarded with mistrust since they did not appear like "church-people".

Again and again sisters were suspected to be affiliated to the Jesuits who were banned in Switzerland.