“You did not choose me, no, I chose you; and I commissioned you
to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last“ (John 15:16)
In the afternoon of March 23rd, 2022, our dear Sr. Hedwig Kaiser passed away peacefully at our Convent in Macclesfield. She was diagnosed with terminal cancer three weeks earlier. For her last nine days, she was lovingly cared for by the Staff of Park Mount Care Home for the Elderly. She endured her illness with great courage, patience and dignity, and in complete acceptance of God’s holy will. Sr. Hedwig was 93 years old and a valued and much-loved member of the Pallottine Missionary Sisters for nearly 73 years.
Hedwig was born in Limburg, Germany on August 3rd, 1928, to Karl Kaiser, a railway worker and Elizabeth Rudolphi who came from a farming background, she was the fifth in a family of eight. Two children died before Hedwig was born, and another contacted TB Meningitis. Tragically her father also got infected, and both died in March 1939. Her father was only 46 years old. During the war years her mother struggled to care for her young family. When Hedwig was two years old, she had a severe ear infection, which left her hard of hearing. This impacted her whole life and gave her great compassion for those with a hearing loss.
From 1935 to 1942 Hedwig attended Limburg Elementary School. Then she worked for a year on her uncle’s farm, obligatory service (Pflichtjahr) for all school-leavers. For the next three years she did a training course in Administration at the National Insurance Office in Limburg. In September 1946 she joined our congregation. On entering the Noviciate, she received the religious name Sr. M. Lidwina. Later she returned to her Baptismal name. Hedwig made her First Profession on August 15th, 1949, and her Final Profession on August 15th, 1955.
After her profession Sr Hedwig worked in Marienborn for three years. In 1952 she was sent to Pallotti Hall in Macclesfield, where she served for ten years. Here the Sisters cared for about fifty children under the age of five. She enjoyed working with the little ones and talked with great fondness about her experiences there. For the next twenty years she served in Facit, the old Noviciate until it closed in May 1963, in Myddleton Square, London, (1963 – 1966), and for the next five years she assisted the Rector at the Pallottine Fathers College in Thurles, Ireland. She was the local Superior in the last two communities.
In 1972 she returned to London to Milner Place where she lived for eleven years and did the housekeeping and a Correspondence Course in Bookkeeping at Pitman’s College. For five years (1978 – 1983) she worked with the Diocesan Service for the Deaf in Westminster Diocese and did a part-time course in deafness studies at North London College and received a Grade A Certificate. Wherever Sr Hedwig went she took opportunities to learn new skills so that she would be better equipped to carry out her apostolate. In London she attended evening classes in cooking, baking, First Aid and Home Nursing and when she was in Thurles, she attended lectures at the Diocesan Seminary in Theology and Philosophy.
Sr Hedwig began a new apostolate in 1983 when she did a course of training in Residential Care for Elderly in Suffolk College of Higher and Further Education. In 1984 Park Mount Home for the Elderly was officially opened in Macclesfield and for the next six years she assisted in the management of the Home.
At the age of 62, Sr Hedwig began another apostolate, she was one of the pioneers who opened a mission in Tanzania in 1990. Undaunted by the challenges she embraced missionary life and laboured with great love, commitment and enthusiasm for the next 23 years. Her knowledge and expertise in administration were invaluable in establishing our mission. She had a welcoming smile for all and treated them with respect. Her legacy will never be forgotten. Sr Hedwig was a humble, hardworking and dedicated religious. Her commitment and work ethic were an example and encouragement to all. She enjoyed being with the young formees and willingly joined in their activities. She loved Tanzania and hoped to die there, but in 2013 she accepted the call to returned to London to support the elderly community there.
In November 2018 Sr Hedwig moved into our new convent in Macclesfield where she where she began a new apostolate visiting the residents in Park Mount and happily taking part in events in the Home and the parish. She appreciated her new environment and enjoyed leisurely strolls in the garden admiring the flowers and plants. Her latest hobby was collecting pretty flowers and leaves to make greetings cards which she offered to those she visited and to all who provided any service to her.
Sr. Hedwig was content and grateful for life and her vocation and was always at the service of others. She was a prayerful Sister, much loved and respected. She will be sadly missed by her congregation, the local community, and her friends and relatives.
We thank God for Sr Hedwig, for her long life and faithful service to our Congregation and the Church. May God grant her eternal rest in His Heavenly Home.
Requiem Mass to celebrate the life of Sr. Hedwig will be on Thursday April 7th, 2022
at 12 o’clock in St Alban’s Parish Church. Burial afterwards in Macclesfield Cemetery.
Sr Mary McNulty SAC