Strasbourg, France (Wednesday, September 12, 2018, Gaudium Press) Elisabeth Eppinger (9 September 1814 – 31 July 1867), in religion “Alphonse Marie”, foundress of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Divine Redeemer, was beatified at the Strasbourg Cathedral by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, on September 9, 2018.
The beatification process opened in Strasbourg in an informative process that commenced on 29 January 1951 and concluded on January 12, 1955 while theologians voiced approval to her spiritual writings on July 6, 1963.
The miracle required for her beatification was scrutinized in the place it occurred in and received C.C.S. validation on October 10, 2008. Pope Francis later confirmed this miracle in 2018. Following her beatification, Pope Francis openly applauded and praised Eppinger’s life during his weekly Sunday Angelus in the Vatican around the same time that the beatification Mass was being celebrated.
It has been over two hundred years since little spa town, Niederbronn in France, witnessed the birth of the precious flower of Alsace. On September 9, 1814 Elizabeth Eppinger, latter Mother Alphonse Marie, saw the light of this world for the first time.
It has been over 170 years since a young Elizabeth felt in her heart God’s call to take care of the sick, especially the poor sick, and to pray for the conversion of sinners. This became her life mission and the inspiration for her charism which she passed on the new Congregation: Alleviate the physical and spiritual misery by practicing the works of mercy; sacrifice for the salvation of the souls; and make people feel God loves them very much.
Led by God’s Spirit Elizabeth was called to found a new Community – the Congregation of the Daughters of the Divine Redeemer. She gave her life, which was filled with love and good works, to the Lord on July 31, 1867.
Presently, three Congregations from Venerable Mother Alphonse Marie’s foundation serve in the world and spread the charism which she bequeathed to them. In 2017, we celebrated the 150th anniversary of her “birth” into heaven.
In 2019, we will celebrate the 170th anniversary of three important events. On August 29th, we will remember the foundation of the Congregation; on September 10th, Elizabeth received her religious habit and religious name-Sister Alphonse Marie, from because of her devotion to St. Alphonsus de Liguori (Father of the Poor).
“Be silent, suffer, and pray!” were the words which characterized her life which was filled with service for others, suffering, and prayer. This is the heritage she bequeathed to her Sisters. Her motto of life was the following: “Everything for God and the salvation of souls.” No one was too insignificant to be helped by her, even though she suffered much.
During his homily at the beatification Mass, Cardinal Becciu mentioned an interesting fact happened during her youth: “When still a child – Elizabeth – seeing one day a way of the Cross, she asked her mother: “Why did they crucified Jesus? Her mother answered: “My little one, he was killed because of our sins.” “But what is a sin? Elizabeth insisted, to what her mother replied: “It’s an offense to God …” The little child exclaimed: “Then I do not want to offend him anymore! From then on,” she wrote later, “in me grew a desire to understand what to do to love God and not to offend Him … This thought bothered me and pushed me to practice obedience.”
On December 19, 2011, by promulgation of the Decree of Heroic Virtues, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, awarded Mother Alphonse Marie the title Venerable Servant of God.