bullet Ann Rosina Schlegel (1761-1831)

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Lebenslauf of Sr. Anna Rosina Schlegel

It is regrettable that our dear widowed Sr. Anna Rosina Schlegel, born Mack, who passed away blessedly on the fourth of this month, left behind no record from her own hand of her path through this life, during which she spent her forty-four years serving the Savior in various ways, and in which, as she often took care to tell trusted friends, she had experiences—joyful and blessed to her Heart—of the friendliness and help of the Savior in inward and outward need, through which her faith, her hope, and her love for him was always strengthen anew, and the conviction to dedicate herself to his service was made ever more lively, out for gratitude and love. 

 She was born on August 14, 1761 in Pachgatgoch, in the state of New York, and soon after her birth was baptized in the Death of Jesus by her dear father.  When she was a half-year old, her parents brought her to Bethlehem.  On this trip she was, as were all the other people that found themselves on the ship, in a fierce storm on the North River,  which brought her into great mortal danger.  The Captain and the other ship's people believed their sinking to be inevitable; when they safely reached land to the astonishment of all, the Captain took her in his arms and said, "We certainly owe our rescue to this small child, on her behalf God has saved all our lives."  After they all came safely to Bethlehem, her parents, who had received a further call to the West Indies, gave her over into the special care of a Sister, with whom she stayed until her third year.  She then moved into the Girls School, in which she spent the years of her childhood with childlike pleasure and blessing.  In later years she often took care to remember with gratitude what the Friend of Children did for her even in her childhood, out of undeserved grace and mercy, and how, as a good shepherd, He sought for her, His dearly-purchased little lamb, and mercifully found her.  At the same time, He made a tender and firm covenant of love with her soul, which she might hope, consoled, to find herself someday unwounded in His hands.  In 1774, she came into the Girls Choir, and in the same year, on November 28, she was taken into the Gemeine.  December 23, 1775 she achieved the enjoyment of the Holy Abendmahl.  In 1780, she was taken into the Single Sisters Choir, and in 1784, she entered into her career as a servant [of God] when she was called to Hope, in New Jersey, as a schoolmistress.  She took on this call humbly, but with trust in the help of the Savior.  Hardly a year had passed—a year which was very pleasing for her—when the assignment reached her to enter in to the state of Holy marriage with the Single Brother Johann Friedrich Schlegel, and together with him to serve the Savior among the Negroes in the West Indies.  Because she gave herself to the service of the Savior completely, with body and soul, she also took this call with submission and willingness.  In July 1785, they traveled from here for the West Indies to follow their intended purpose.  She soon received a tender love for the Negro Sisters that were given into her care, and it was her heart's desire and joy when she could show them—whose souls were often severely oppressed in their state of slavery—the source of all comfort, and praise to them the freedom of sin in Jesus' Blood with warm hearts.  But, already in the year 1791, the circumstances of her husband's health required their return to America.  Here her husband recovered quickly, and they both wished to return to their post.  The doctors believed that the West Indian climate would not be conducive to his health, however, and they both willingly took on the call to serve the Gemeine in Bethel on the Swatara as workers.  They served this Gemeine until 1798, when they were called to the same service Graceham in Maryland.  Here it pleased our dear Lord blessedly to end [the life of] her dear husband on May 30, 1805.  He had been a faithful and blessed servant in the vineyards of the Lord, and she been, above all, a faithful and legitimate helpmeet to him.  She felt the pain of separation very deeply, yet her purpose, which was devoted to the will of the Lord, led her like a child in His path, with the firm and clear conviction that the true leader of her life, who had not yet made a mistake in His plan, would not now abandon her in her lonely state.  He was and would remain her comfort and support, would lead her further as before with His eyes, and would order her future life's course according to his blessed will.  With this conviction she came here to Bethlehem, moved into a room in town, in which she lived in calm solitude until 1807, when she was asked to take over the town's Girls' School.  With joy she took on this task once again, which had already become dear to her in earlier years.  She had an excellent love for the children, and was equipped by the Savior with particular talent for this work.  She understood with a gentle spirit and patience how to lead and instruct her charges.  She not only taught them useful knowledge, but also above all acquainted their tender hearts early with the Friend and Lover of their souls, and started them in the ways of true salvation in life and conduct following the Scripture, according to their small capacity.  Without doubt, many among us could be found who are already grown, who gratefully remember her faithful and blessed service and teaching, and now wish and ask a reward of grace from the Lord for her.  For twenty-one years, she directed this service and area with unflagging faith and diligence, until 1828 when she began to feel markedly the weakness of age, and believed that she was no longer in a position to fulfill her duties according to her wishes.  This brought her to the decision to ask for her release.  Her request was granted, and she laid down the teaching and business of raising children—not without deeply felt pain, but with a heart filled with thanks for the Savior who in course of many years, day in and day out, stood by her with his mercy and strength. At the same time, she had a deeply humbling understanding of many mistakes, failings, and disabilities, but also had comforting assurance that everything lacking is covered with Jesus' Blood, and made good once again.  So, on November 1, 1828, she moved into the Widows House together with her Sister Theodora, who had also earned a place of rest through her many faithful years as a teacher in the local Boarding School.  But even here she [Anna Rosina] was still always ready and willing to help and to serve with the talents granted to her by the Lord.  Her undemanding, loving, and peaceful character and conduct earned for her the general love and respect of all the Sisters, so that now many tears of love and pain are wept for her.  The course of her entire life, even without having said much about it, gave witness to what a child of the spirit she was; her company was pleasant and edifying.  The Savior's suffering and sense of dying on the cross was the element on which her blessed soul fed daily.  She spent her retirement blessed and cheerful, until it pleased the Savior to perfect her for His arms and laps.  On November 26, in the evening, she was overcome by cold and a severe headache, tied to this ailment was a pain in the right side of her chest the likes of which she had never felt before.  All useful means were immediately used by the doctor, but without the desired effect.  With calm and composure she spent the days and nights in silent devotion to the will of the Lord.  When, on December 3, a dear friend visited her, she requested that he might hold a prayer by her sickbed, which then happened to her edification and the edification of those surrounding her.  After the completion of the prayer, she thanked [them] warmly for this refreshment.  The last night was hard for her, yet she remained fully conscious most of the time.  In the morning it was clear that the Savior hurried her end, and she asked to receive the last blessing for her homeward journey.  This request was granted to her as soon as possible; in ardent prayer her dearly-purchased soul was recommended to the Savior, and He thanked for all the blessings and mercy which He had given to this His maid during her whole life, and in which He honored Himself by using her in His service.  As the Blessing was spoken over her, she joined in, with folded hands and a clear voice, in the Amen. The peace of God now powerfully surrounded the deathbed of the dear patient in this festive moment.  After that she lay mostly in slumber until midday, around noon her breath stood still.
 Her age was seventy years, three months, and twenty days.

What beautiful fate did she receive
How wonderfully will she now there display
In praise for the perfect flock!
How marvelously did it happen to her
Now she will see from near
He that was her consolation here below.

She is now the Lord's joy
Enjoys free from all suffering
That bliss, inexpressibly great
Oh! lead us too, full of blessing and mercy
You, Faithful Friend, on our path
To the imagined Goal!

Transcription and translation by Katherine E. Carté

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