The Congregation of Holy Family

The SVD mssionaries had founded a indigenous Sisters Congregation in Yenzhoufu, which rapidly spread over other SVD mission territories in China. When the Communists took over there were about 400 indigenous Sisters. Four Sisters could flee out of China and did mission work in Indonesia. These came from the Xinyang Mission in Henan. Since the Indonesian government made more difficulties for Chinese nationals, the Sisters left Indonesia. Msgr. Riberi, the Internuntius in Formosa, put Fr. Krieftewirth in charge of taking care of the Sisters “rogo te, Rev. Pater, ut tu ipse agas pro dictis sorroribus nomine Sacerdotis, qui in Dioecesi Siniamensi (Xinyang) hic et nunc auctoritatem Ordinarii exercet..” (Quoted from a letter of Fr. Krieftewirth to Fr. General July14,1955). In order that these Sisters would not die out, Fr. Krieftewirth opened a novitiate in Kaohsiung. With help of moneys from Archbishop Buddenbrock, Msgr. Schu, Provicar Schuette and other benefactors Fr. Krieftewirth built a stately and spacey convent, which in 1962 even in a German TV program was reported on. The request of Fr. Krieftewirth to the SVD Generalate to take over the financial guaranty of the Sisters and so also to become owner of the land and buildings, was not clearly decided in a letter from Fr. Kappenberg of June 1, 1957.

However, he was given free hand to continue to personally take care of the Sisters. It was the new Superior General, Fr. Schuette, who gave Fr. Krieftewirth the assurance of financial support for the Sisters. He wrote: “In our session of June 16 the General Council thoroughly discussed this matter and this question and for the reasons mentioned was in agreement, to accept the pastoral, i.e. the religious-ascetical care as well as the financial guaranty of this Sister Congregation.”

(Letter of June 20, 1958). Further in the same letter: “One should now quite soon take steps that this Congregation gets the papal jurisdiction.” In December 1958 the Congregation had already 39 members including the postulants. Nov. 15, 1961 Fr. Krieftewirth could report, that the number of Sisters in the Congregation had risen to 60 members. Of the Sisters in vows 23 were stationed in mission stations where they helped the missionaries in their pastoral work. Through generous support of the German government the Sisters could on many different stations set up sewing centers and in this way help raise the living standard of the people. In the beginning of 1962 the Sisters worked in the Dioceses of Kaohsiung and Tainan and had permission to go to Taipei and Chiayi.