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The Deutschland


In December 1875 five Sisters ventured from the motherhouse in Salzkotten, Germany, towards St. Louis to lead the new American Province. They were the fifth group of Sisters to journey to American since 1872. Early in their voyage, as the ship moved along the coast of England, they were caught in a terrible winter storm. The Deutschland went aground on a sandbar off the coast. The ship remained lodged with a broken propeller. Calls for help went unheeded due to the howling winds and low visibility. Huge waves crashed across the deck of the doomed ship.

The Deautschland Ship
Photo: courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum


Among the 78 people who drowned in the accident were the five Franciscan Sisters. It was reported they had given up their space in limited lifeboats. The bodies of four Sisters were found, but the body of Sr. Henrica Fassbender (a 28 year old chosen by Mother Clara to lead the American group) was never recovered.


Plate from the Illustrated London News
(Plate from the Illustrated London News)

For more information on the Deutschland, click here.

On December 6, 2012 we remembered our Sisters on the 137th anniversary of their death. S. Margaret Grempka gave a beautiful, rich reflection and also included memories of her visit to our Sisters’ gravesite in Leytonstone, England. Together with the history and background S. Margaret shared with us, it was a lovely memorial. Click here for Reflection.

Pictures of Gravesite, Church, Burial Record, and Harbor.