Modern Day Mother Brunner
by Jenna Legg
One hundred and eighty-six years ago, our beloved Mother Maria Anna Brunner passed from this earthly life into eternal life. Records indicate she was surrounded by companions, who were praying with and for her as she passed. As we continue to celebrate her life and legacy as Sisters of the Precious Blood, we wondered who Mother Brunner would be today. At a presentation given last fall, our archivist and I brainstormed what kind of person Mother Brunner would be today.
BREAD FOR OTHERS
As a swiss single mother, Mother Brunner baked a lot of bread. When she made long pilgrimages, she brought bread with her and passed it out to the needy children along the way. We imagine that if she were alive in today's modern world, Mother Brunner would still bake, but she would also go to bakeries every evening and collect the bread that didn't sell. She'd would drive around the city and drop off this bread to the hungry and needy. Not only would she give bread, she would give herself. She would know the people, ask about their families or job prospects and more. She would be invested in who they are.
Mother Brunner was a rule-breaker. Similar to Jesus, she realized the purpose of the rules was to help us love one another. When a rule did not help us accomplish the task of love, she would find a way to love more. Today, this might mean she would find ways to slip extra goodies to children, finding loopholes that would allow her to house the homeless somewhere or sneaking into a closed chapel for adoration.
I mentioned that Mother Brunner took frequent pilgrimages to holy sites. She knew the blessing in a long journey and appreciated a holy place. Today, Mother Brunner would likely trek across the US (and probably the world) to visit holy grounds and also to help those along the way. She wouldn't be afraid to leave home; she would welcome opportunities to meet those from other cultures and would greet them with a humble heart.
Mother Brunner would be and do many other things in this present age. After all, she never meant to found a religious community; she was simply a woman living out God's call. God first called her to be a wife and mother. Once her children were raised, she took the opportunity to serve in other ways. Many were attracted to her way of life and wanted to be near her - thus the beginning of the Sisters of the Precious Blood. What do you think Mother Brunner would be like today?