More on the Deutschland
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Before departing for America, Sr. Henrica left a handwritten note on the desk of Mother Clara Pfaender, her dear friend. It contained a heartfelt poem created by Sr. Henrica, made all the more intense by the tragedy of her death.
Sr. Henrica’s poem, “Farewell!” is translated here. A copy of the original poem in Sr. Henrica's hand can be found here.
Franciscan priests were sent to accompany the remains of the Sisters as they were transported by train to Stratford, England. The Sisters were buried from St. Francis Church in Stratford (picture below) with a Requiem Mass celebrated by Cardinal Henry manning of London. His Eminence offered the eulogy for the Sisters, who had yet to be individually identified. Newspaper accounts estimated more than 40,000 people lined the streets of the village as the funeral processed to St. Patrick Cemetery in nearby Leytonstone.
The newspapers were filled with the grim details of the Deutschland’s loss of life. Many were moved to profound sadness, including Jesuit priest-poet Gerard Manley Hopkins. Deeply touched by the tragedy, Hopkins turned to poetry. His resulting masterpiece, The Wreck of the Deutschland, dedicated to the Sisters, celebrates Hopkin’s deep sense of God’s presence in the face of disaster and memorializes the Sisters.
Gerard Manley Hopkins
July 28, 1844 - June 8, 1889
June 28th is the birth date of Gerard Manley Hopkins, poet, Jesuit priest and author of "The Wreck of the Deutschland." For a short audio retreat utilizing some of Hopkins works, along with more information, please visit this link.
This sketch by artist Wilhelm Foeckersperger was commissioned by the Gerard Manley Hopkins Festival, Monasterevin, Ireland.