bullet Single Sisters' Diary - 1776

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Note: below are selected entries from the Single Sisters' Diary of 1776. The year in its entirety (source documents and German transcriptions) is available for viewing by accessing the link above.

January 1776

1st. We had a blessed entrance into the New Year with the Gemeine. Br. Thrane held our Choir Quarter-hour service over the Loosung: But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create.(1)   What You do with Your People, etc. Sister Susel saw all the sisters in Classes, and chose for each Class a very beautiful and comforting Loosung. In the evening meeting, the communicant members bound themselves together with the cup of the covenant. The Big Girl Cath. Elis. Lemthin had to stay away, because of her bad behavior.
6th. In the Morning Blessing, we sang a verse of blessing to Sister Betsey Leibert for her birthday, and in the afternoon, the Girls had a pleasing Liebesmahl with her. On the 7th Sister Susel held the Girls Classes.
29th. Cath. Kromsern and Marie Lischern moved out of the Children’s House, as there were changes in the rooms again.
30th. Br. Nathanael held a beautiful Choir Sermon over the Chorale of the Loosung: You are the cause of Your people etc. Our Evening Blessings [this month] were held by Sisters Susel, Esther, and Betsey, and the Morning Blessing by Susel, Betsey, Christ, Langley, and Dorel Löfflern.
25th. The Saviour showed himself in a remarkable way to His dear Girls Choir early in the morning, during the Morning Blessing, which the dear Sister. Susel held with a prayer on her knees. At Eight O’clock Br. Thrane held the church services, and also recommended this little Choir to the Savior in prayer. At 10 O’clock, he held a Receiving Sermon for the following six children: Elis. Krogstruff, Elis. Proskin, A. M. Staubern, Sus. Langardt, Sarah Thorp, and Rosine Hubern, all of whom Sister Esther unbound from the Children’s Choir, and Sisters Susel and Betsey accepted [into the Single Sisters Choir] with the laying on of hands. At the same time he held the Festival homily over the Loosung: And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you; and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy on you.(2)   At noon, the whole Choir dined in the Bet-Saal. At 2 O’clock was the Agapen [Lovefeast] where the Psalm from 1774 was held again. Br. Nathanael held it.
Afterwards was the worship service of the Single Sisters, Br. Thrane held it also. In the evening, the communicant Girls bound themselves with the cup of covenant to new faithfulness. Br. Thrane first gave a very beautiful introduction and also ardently led the liturgy. In this way, this Blessed Day, which was particularly outstanding, came thankfully and happily to a close.
31st Sisters Susel and Esther spoke with some Classes for Abendmahl.    

1st The Interviews with the Classes were continued. Sister Susel also held these Classes for the Girls.
19th This was a most sad day for our Choir, when the Savior, who has never yet made a mistake, called home His faithful and blessed Servant, our tenderly beloved Br. Thrane, who will remain with us in unforgettable memory. Many Tears were sent after him.
21st Today was the burial of our dear blessed Br. Thrane. The 23rd, Br. Ettwein read us a Sermon from the Weeks.

3rd Our Sisters from Nazareth came, fourteen in number, with Sister Juliane Wacklern. [Sisters also came] from Gnadenhütten, Emmaus, and Schöneck, who were all spoken to by Sisters Susel and Esther. In the afternoon, Sister Susel held a sinner-like Meeting(3) with the received and unreceived sisters, with a prayer on the knees. At 8 o’clock, the communicant Choir came to the Meeting, when, after a short Sermon, Sister Susel fell on her knees and poured out our request to the Savior, that we be absolved of everything that could be found in us, that was not pleasing to His maiden-like Heart, we find so much that His Blood should wash away, and we would gladly be People of His Heart, in reflection of His bitter Pain, His comforting and Blessed presence was to be felt among us, and then the Washers stood up and attended to the Choir [with footwashing?], under Sister Susel’s Liturgy, and so the comforted sinners laid themselves blessedly to rest.
4th At five-thirty we had a blessed Festival Morning Blessing. Immediately afterwards eighteen workers had a pleasing Liebesmahl together, full of ardent expectation of receiving yet this year the results of the outstandingly beautiful and blessed General Synod, when we hope for new blessings for our Choir, when a Brother from the Unity Elders Conference comes to us. For if one now wanted to judge the future, considering the unrest in the country, one could not hope for much, and be worried that the spirit of freedom seeks to creep in among us; in this we bound ourselves together, to be of one mind, and watch, and to diligently lay it on the heart of the Savior, that he will cut us from all the disturbances in the world, and protect us from everything that could disturb our blessed path. At ten o’clock Br. Nathanael held the Receiving Sermon. The following seven Big Girls were received: A. Krogstrop, Polly Russmeyer, M. V. Vleck, Elis. Hubern, Verone Müllern, A. Schafin, u. A. M. Schleglin. Sister Betsey Leibert released them from their former Choir ribbons, and Sisters Susel and Esther bound the maidens with the laying on of hands. Afterwards he recommended the entire Choir, and particularly the seven sisters, to the Savior, in a heartfelt prayer for blessing. At noon the Choir dined together very gladly in the Bet-Saal. At 2 o’clock Br. Nathanael held the Festival Liebesmahl. We had the Psalm from 74. At 4 o’clock Br. Ettwein spoke over the Loosung and the text. Finally, he briefly repeated the festival sermon in English, because a few individuals from Gnadenhütten understood no German. At 8 o’clock Br. Ettwein held the blessed Abendmahl, under a powerful sense of Grace. The Single Sister A. M. Yarrel remained away. On the morning of the 5th, at eight o’clock, Sister Susel held the Communion Liturgy, and afterwards our Nazareth Sisters and other guests went home pleased.
7th. Sister Susel received a note from Philadelphia from the Commettee of Savety, which read: The Sisterhood of Bethlehem having presented this Board with a quantity of Linnen Rags, for the Benefit of Such as may be Wounded with Service of their Country. Resolved that this Instance of their Humanity be thankfully Acknowledged. Extr. from the Minutes. Wm Govett. Sec:cy
18th In the House Conference the leaders were urgently begged not to let the spirit of division, that can be seen here and there in the town, come among our Sisters, to keep watch over themselves, so that they do not give opportunity. We want to recommend the matter of the War diligently to the Savior, without whom nothing can happen, we want ourselves not to be infested by the affairs of the world, but rather to hold ourselves tight to the Savior, and ever more become more deeply accustomed to communion with Him. They testified with pain that one had already felt such [disturbances] here and there among the sisters.
24th This week Sister Susel visited in the town, and brought the children’s collection around. She asked the sisters not to bring into the House anything that they hear here and there about affairs in the country, as through this disturbances are created, and to let their Souls remain in communion with the Savior.
1st In the House Conference, it was agreed, among other things, about the Harvest, because some sisters, who are accustomed to it, would like to go, and Br. Böckel will otherwise come to hardship, if we do not help him.
3rd The harvesters came together, and were divided up as they will stand in the field. Hädin was the lead-harvester, and M. Böckin with the Girls.
4th At three-thirty Sister Susel held the first Harvest Morning Blessing, and asked the sisters heartily to act and behave in the eyes of the Savior, and to honor Him, and not to permit anything within themselves that could sadden the Savior and was not befitting for maidens; she presented these sisters to the Savior in a prayer for the protection of Body and Soul.
10th In our House Conference one noticed with discomfiture that the feelings of the sisters are more concerned with the circumstances in the land than is good, and we took it particularly to Heart to submit diligently to the Savior in prayer.
13th The Gemeine had a pleasing Liebesmahl and Gemeinstunde.
16th Sisters Susel and Betsey had these days spoken [conducted interviews with the sisters] for the Abendmahl, and Esther with the children.
17th The Little Girls had a blessed Festival. At five o’clock, five hundred soldiers arrived, who were to have their Rest Day here, and in the evening the Gemeine celebrated the Sacrament of the Lord in blessed stillness. The Single Sister M. Clausin participated in it for the first time.
18th [On this day] there could be no Communion Liturgy, Br. Ettwein gave the sermon, and the soldiers all assembled, so that few of our Brethren could come into the Saal. The 19th, Betsey read a sermon to the Girls.
20th Br. Münster held our Choir Liturgy, Betsey Leibert visited this week.
25th On Sunday, Sister Susel held all the Sisters’ Classes, and Betsey held those for the Girls.
14th We had a blessed Abendmahl. Our Big Girls who live in the House have all recently had the mumps, and today go again to the Saal. 16th. Br. Nathanael held a Quarter-hour service for the Girls.
7th The Single Sister Philipina Bömbern, who, through the visit of her mother and bad brother suffered damage to her heart and does not want comply with any discipline any more, and because persuasion did not help any longer, explained that she would rather go to her mother in Philadelphia; one must also worry that she could become detrimental to others in the House, so we released her with the Text of the day: Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up(4).
1st In the last month, Madgl. Peitzlin came into the kitchen again, and Rosel Jungmann. Anna Marie Schleglin and Marie Hirtin came out. The 3rd Br. Denke read us a Choir Sermon from the Weeks. There was much difficulty because of the unreasonable demand that we should take the military hospital. They demanded at first that the largest houses should be emptied for this, and also our Wash Houses. Through much discussion they satisfied themselves finally with only a few Family Houses. Doctor Schippin demanded a sister for the care of the sick, and expected us to wash the laundry of the sick soldiers in our Wash House, all of which, however, the Savior averted. Sister Mauin, with her daughter, took over the laundry. Yet the texts for this day were very remarkable.
4th The first poor people came here to the military hospital, frozen half dead, we sent them warm soup in the evening, and so we continued until the 7th, when they were also cared for from our kitchen.
5th and 6th were interviews for Abendmahl. The 7th we had, for comfort in many cares and needs, the most blessed enjoyment of the body and blood of our Lord in Holy Abendmahl. Regine Fertigin looked on as Confirmante.
9th Sister Susel held the Girls Quarter-hour Service. On the 10th, Br. Denke held our Choir Liturgy.
15th In the evening, just when the sisters wanted to go to supper, a reckless neighbor startled us, whom we did not know. He came into the House with a gun, and, after a long interview, one first heard that he wanted to enlist when Sister Susel showed him the way out. During the Gemeinestunde, people came with much urgency, and took our Flatt [raft] to Istown [Easton], in order to ferry over General Lee’s soldiers, 4,000 men who wanted to come to Bethlehem and have their Rest Day here, and, as we afterwards heard, start all kinds of mischief. We did not know what to do but to recommend our Body and Soul and Town to the blessing of the Eye and Watch of Israel, who can protect us from all damage. On the 16th, right after the Evening Blessing, Jane Burnet began spitting blood. She had changed much from the day before, had to be brought into the sick room immediately, and had several more attacks in the night. On the 17th, at noon, General Gats arrived with 500 men. In the afternoon he visited our House with several officers, when an Express arrived from General Sulivan, with the order to Br. Ettwein to make space for his 4,000 men, who in a couple hours would be there. Br. Ettwein addressed himself to General Gats, who immediately sent his Adjutant from the House with the order, that if they were not already too near to Bethlehem, they should take another path. It was already too late, however. Then at four o’clock, General Sulivan with his 4,000 men were in the town, which in actuality [had been prepared] for General Lee and his men, he [Lee], however, the dear God had allowed to be taken prisoner two days earlier, (which his own Officers had said here in Bethlehem), so that nothing bad happened to us. In this chaos, we asked for two guards, which he immediately granted. We soon made accommodations so that our sisters and girls from outside the town came to sleep in our House. Br. Ettwein soon brought General Sulivan with his nearer Officers to us in the House, at first he appeared very grand, but finally however was very modest. Our sisters had to sing to him, and play on the zither. Our guard rotated every three hours, and after each time they were relieved, they ate in Sister Liesel’s room. At night an English sister always watched, so that she could give them their warm wine or coffee at the window, along with something to eat. They were so faithful for three days and two nights, and behaved themselves so silently and orderly, that we could not thank the Savior enough for them.
18th From early until late in the evening there were continuous visits from officers, which we counted at 300, and thanked the Savior that everything happened in an orderly fashion. The many hundreds of fires that circled Bethlehem made a very wonderful and magnificently beautiful view, and also much concern, because they all burned the fences.
19th Early in the morning, General Sulivan and his men marched away, Sister Susel took the twelve men who had been our guard around the House. They thanked and assured many [that they would] never to forget the good deeds that had been shown to them by our House. Reb. Langley made our compliments to General Gats, and gave him a very beautiful pocketbook as a present, which he gladly accepted. In the afternoon he marched away very pleased towards the Brethren. Our sisters who live outside of the town were very thankful that everything came off without harm.
23rd Sister Susel visited in the whole town. Lissy West, who served with the Lindenmeyers and saw and heard everything that happened in the military hospital, was sick with nausea, and caught the Soldiers’ fever.
Memorabilia of the Single Sisters Choir for the year 1776
At the close of this year, we know nothing other than to praise pure blessing, faithful love, and mercy, and to prostrate ourselves in the dust before Jesus’ feet, give ourselves anew to Him, to do with us what is what is pleasing to Him, and to take from us what saddens him. The beautiful promise which at the beginning of this year was made by Unity Elders Conference, When You Will Call etc, One has Him where man weeps for Him, has certainly been fulfilled for us, as we have always receive comfort, help, and counsel from Him, when we called on Him for them. To Him 1,000 thanks should be said, for all inner and outward mercies shown, for His invaluable dear presence, for the Sacramental embraces, and for His actions in our midst day and night. And so we recommend ourselves to His Soul, and further to his Mercy, that He will protect our Body and Soul from all injury. The following are to be remembered as special days of blessing outside of the Festival Days that we celebrated with the Gemeine with true blessing: The Big Girls in their Choir Festival on March 25 bound themselves to new faithfulness with the cup of the covenant, as the communicant sisters did on their Teaching Day, June 10th. Our Choir Festival on March 4, when we had a blessed Choir Communion; on November 23rd, and on our Teaching Day, June 6th (5), the communicant Sisters shared the cup of the covenant together.
3 Single Sisters have moved into the Single Sisters House: A. M. Fritschin from Nazareth, Juli. Müllern from Litiz, and Barb. Everitt from Gnadenhütten.
3 Single Sisters were received into the Gemeine: Cath. Seyfried, and Reg. Fertigin on April 8, and Christ. Stehlin on September 29.
Participating in Abendmahl for the first time with the Gemeine: 2 Single Sisters: Dorothea Schmidin, June 22; Marie Claussin, Aug. 17. 6 Big Girls: Verone Müllern, Elisabeth Segnern, Christ. Engelhardt and Johanna Schleglin, April 4; A. Ros. Kliestin, May 25; Magdalene Schweishaupt, July 20.
6 Children were received into the Big Girls Choir: Elis. Krogstrup, Georgin Elis. Proskin, Susanne Elis. Langardt, Rosine Hubern, Sarah Thorp, and A. Marie Staubern.
7 Big Girls were received into the Single Sisters Choir: Anna Krogstrup, Marie Russmeyer, Elis. Hubern, Marie Van Vleck, Verone Müllern, Anna Schafin, and Anna Marie Schlegelin.
We have transferred the Single Sister Salome Neissern to Yorktown, to take over the Single People there, and released Philipina Bömbern, Oct. 7.
The Single Sister Jane Burnet went home [to God] on December 22.
At present the Choir includes:
142 Communicant Sisters
6 Received Sisters
2 Unreceived 150
19 Communicant Girls
14 Received
3 Unreceived 36
Both Choirs together: 186
7 More than last year.

1 Isaiah 65:18, translation taken from the King James Version.
2 Isaiah 30:18, translation taken from the King James Version.
3 This seesm to have been a decision-making meeting for all the Single Sisters.
4 Matthew 15:13, translation taken from the King James Version.
5 According to the record of the diary, this should be July 6.

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