Mystic and Stigmatist
April 8, 1898 -
September 18, 1962
was born on April 8, 1898, during the night of Good Friday/Holy Saturday
in Konnersreuth in Bavaria (Oberpfalz) Germany. She was the first child
of 11 of Ferdinand Neumann, a tailor, and his wife Anna Grillmeier. As
it was the custom, soon after birth, she was baptized, on Easter Sunday,
April 10, 1898, in the parish church St. Laurentius in Konnersreuth.
Therese grew up in a modest home. Work in the house was a main task.
There was not much of an opportunity for children's play, because each
of the children had to do some work on the small farm or in the tailor´s
shop, according to their strength and ability. The parents raised their
children consistently Christian. She attended elementary school from
1904 - 1911. She was known as a diligent and good pupil.
income of the parents made it necessary for the children to earn some
money for the daily living of the family, as soon as possible. For that
reason, Therese worked already in the afternoons during the last half
year of Elementary school (1910-11) in the Castle of Fockenfeld. By
age 14 (1912) she worked full time as a maid on a rather large property
in Konnersreuth. Therefore, during the years 1911 - 1914, she attended
only Sunday school. According to her final report card, she earned good
and very good grades for the subjects of Religion, Science, Reading,
Arithmetic, Essay and Penmanship. Therese was an intelligent and healthy
child. During her school years, nothing extraordinary was noticed. She
was known for her cheerful mind and showed great responsibility at an
early age. On July 12, 1908, she was confirmed by the Bishop Antonius
von Henle in Waldsassen. On April 18, 1909, she received First Holy
At the age of fifteen Therese
began thinking about becoming a missionary Sister to Africa. But in 1914,
the First World War prevented her entry into that Order. When
her father was drafted in 1914, she promised her parents
to postpone entering the convent until her father returned
from the war. Because the owner of the estate was drafted to serve in
World War I, Therese took over the position of the head-servant. Because
she was physically very strong, the work on the farm and in the fields
went well. She loved plants and animals, the change of seasons as well
as natural events. As a soldier on leave in World War I, her father
came home and brought a devotional picture of the French
Therese of Lisieux (Thérèse Martin) of the Carmelite Order for his
daughter. At age 16, Therese Neumann became interested in the biography
of "Little Therese", venerated her and prayed for her beatification.
a tragic injury changed her life. During a fire, Therese was helping to
pass buckets of water to put it out when she injured her back. This
injury led her to fall uncontrollably to the ground on succeeding days.
These falls brought on paralysis and blindness. She developed pneumonia,
digestive problems, abscesses formed in her ears causing a loss of
hearing and bed sores developed. These physical sufferings continued for
six years until she developed appendicitis. Her family and doctors
expected imminent death.
She miraculously regained her
sight in 1923 through prayers to St. Teresa, "The Little Flower." Later
Therese Neumann's limbs were instantaneously healed. From 1923 onward,
Therese has abstained completely from food and drink, except for the
daily swallowing of one small consecrated wafer. February 16, 1926 was a
new decisive turning point in Therese's life. She fell ill again, in
addition, an ear abscess developed, and at times bloody water and pus
trickled out of her eyes. Often the pain gave her sleepless nights, i.e.
on the night of Thursday/Friday March 4/5, 1926 she couldn't
sleep. Suddenly, she had a vision. She saw Jesus kneeling
in the Garden of Gethsemane. At the same time, she experienced a pain on the left
side of her breast, of such intensity that she thought she would
die. Then blood started to run down from this place. The trickling of
blood lasted until the next midday.
The other signs
of illness remained. The ear abscess broke open on Holy Saturday, but
she was bedridden until 1927. On the night of Thursday she had a second vision - substantially the same, yet extended by
the scene of the scourging of Jesus. On the following Friday, March 19,
1926, she saw also the crown of thorns put on, and on Friday, March 26,
1926, the carrying of the Cross and the fall under the Cross. On
Good Friday, April 02, 1926, she saw the complete Passion,
and in the early morning of Easter, the Resurrection of Christ. The
visions were accompanied by blood-wounds, which appeared not only in the
heart area, but by the end of the year, in all places of the wounds of
Christ, the Stigmata.
Therese had this vision of the
Passion again and again until her death, during 36 years each time in
over 30 separate visions every Friday, except on those Fridays from
Christmas to Lent, Easter to the Feast of the Sacred Heart
and on any Fridays which coincided with a high feast or an octave of a
feast. During her visions, her eyes, heart and head bled;
during Lent, her hands, feet, knees and right shoulder also bled...on Good
Friday, bleeding would occur on her chest and back too. The Stigmata on
her heart, hands and feet
stayed visible, but never became inflamed or festering ...unless a
remedy was applied.
All these occurrences around
Therese could not be kept in a private sphere. The interest of the
public was aroused. Especially on Fridays, large crowds of visitors
would come. The Bishop of Regensburg, Antonius von Henle, had been very
cautious concerning the occurrences in Konnersreuth. Public discussions
got stormier all the time, so the Bavarian Conference of Bishops decided
to get a scientific basis for the philosophical-theological examination
of the phenomenon. By order of the Diocesan Authorities, Therese had to
undergo medical observation from July 14 - 28, 1927, headed by Dr. Seidl
from Waldsassen and Prof. Dr. Ewald from Erlangen. Especially the
phenomenon of living without taking any food should be watched and
scrutinized by checking her weight, temperature, pulse frequency, and
laboratory examinations of her secretions and blood. Four sworn in
nurses watched over Therese around the clock, following strict orders of
the two Doctors. To check the process, the Doctors themselves came in
from time to time, without prior notice. The results of the examinations
verified, that "in spite of the intense observation ... not even this
could be observed, that Therese Neumann, who was not a second alone, ate
In October 1927, the Bavarian
Conference of Bishops passed a resolution concerning Therese Neumann, to
admonish the public "not to form a final judgment on the matter of
Konnersreuth, until the Church Authority had decided about this case,
and to refrain from visits." The Diocesan Authorities explained in a
circular letter "Oberhirtliches Verordnungsblatt" for the Diocese of
Regensburg, no. 10, 1927, the necessity for this decision: "This
decision was necessary to prevent something like a pilgrimage, even
before the basis for this has the attestation of the Church; but even
more so, to keep evil-minded people away, who refer to their personal
visit in Konnersreut and disseminate untrue reports,... false
information, blaspheme all that is supernatural and holy". Furthermore,
in this report the process and the results of the fifteen days of strict
watch were made known. Referring to the investigational examination it
was verified, that not the smallest amount of food had been taken. After
this decision of the Diocese, a written permission of the Diocese was
required to enter the house of the Neumann family. But even this step
could not stop the crowds, so it was given up.
When the National Socialists came
to power between 1933 and 1945, a difficult time of plight began for
Therese. The National Socialistic Press published sarcastic articles
about her person all over Germany. State authorities never missed a
chance to put her to shame, cause her inconvenience or
threaten her with prosecution or arrest. However, she never had to take
any physical reprisal. She made no secret of the fact, that she rejected
the political course and the person of Hitler. After Word War II had
ended, crowds of visitors came again, among them many American soldiers.
Over the years, many people received help, advice and comfort. Many
found their faith anew or their faith was strenghtend. Although she
never wanted to be the centre of publicity, she did not withdraw from
visitors. People lusting for sensation, however, met a harsh rejection
from Therese. The visitors were a burden to the Neumann family; it
meant considerable restrictions in their daily life. Despite of all
this, they continued to live a simple life. Also, the place Konnersreuth
was nothing but a village, it did not take advantage of the situation
for a profitable tourist attraction.
Therese died on
September 18, 1962, after she had suffered from Angina Pectoris for some
time. Before she was burried on September 22, 1962, four medical Doctors
examinated the corpse und verified, that, even 4 days after death, no
rigidity of death (rigor mortis) and no cadaverous smell could be
noticed. The corpse was so flexible that some feared an apparent death
(suspended animation). Up to this day, many people honour Therese and
visit her grave. The Rectory of Konnersreuth alone has received over
40.000 motions from around the world, calling for her
venerated since her death, her life was obviously virtuous and many
miracles have occured during her life time and since her death.
Countless people wish her saintliness to be authorized by the Church.
Alone to the Rectory of Konnersreuth, more than 40.000 motions have been
submitted for a process of Beatification, coming from all over the
world. In 2005, Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Bishop of Regensburg, formally
opened the proceedings for her beatification.
Prayer to Therese
Most loving servant of God,
Therese, we humbly ask for many prayers and favors
for ALL of us who are God's little children.
Please ask Jesus, our Most loving Savior, Divine Mercy and
Most Sacred Heart, to hear us crying out in our vale of tears.
We ask you, Therese to pray for spiritual sight, touch, taste, smell
and hearing for us, so that we will desire our God as
He is calling us to Love as He loves us. Please ask for help on our
we who are poor banished children of Eve. Pray for us,
dear sweet sister, Therese, who suffered in joy in Jesus's Name,
while on this earth. We ask you these favors
in the Name of Jesus Christ, our Loving Lord.
For information on joining the
Konnersreuth Circle reg. Assoc. please contact:
Mr. Maximillian Solch
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