Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Short Cuts

Facts

Feastday: February 27

Birth: 1860

Death: 1943

Beatified By: Pope John Paul II


Caritas Brader (Mary Josephine Caroline) (1860-1943), Foundress of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate. Mary Josephine Caroline was born in Kaltbrunn, St Gallen, Switzerland, on 14 August 1860 and was baptized the next day.

She was an unusually intelligent child. Her mother raised this child with loving care, giving her a sound Christian faith. She received an intense love for Jesus Christ and devotion to Our Lady. Aware of her daughter's talents and ability, her mother took pains to give her a good education. At school in Kaltbrunn she shone in the elementary grades. At the Maria Hilf Institute in Alstätten, run by Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St Francis, she was the first of the intermediate classes.
When all the world lay at her feet, to entice her, she followed Christ's call and decided to embrace the religious life. At first, her mother predictably opposed this decision, since she was a widow and Mary Josephine was her only child.

On 1 October 1880 she entered the enclosed Franciscan convent of Maria Hilf. On 1 March 1881 she was clothed with the Franciscan habit and was given the name of "Mary Charity of the Love of the Holy Spirit". On 22 August 1882, she professed her religious vows. Because of the high standard of her education, she was designated to teach at the convent school.

At the end of the 19th century, it became possible for cloistered nuns to engage in apostolic activity outside their monastery so that they could undertake missionary work. Missionary bishops visited convents in search of sisters who felt called to work in mission lands.

Bishop Pietro Schumacher of Portoviejo, Ecuador, a zealous missionary of St Vincent de Paul, wrote to the religious of Maria Hilf, asking for volunteers to work as missionaries in his diocese. The religious replied enthusiastically, and one of those most eager to be a missionary was Sr Caritas Brader. Blessed Maria Bernarda Bütler, superior of the convent, who was to head the group of six missionaries, chose Sr Caritas as one of them, saying: "Sr Caritas will go to the missionary foundation; she is supremely generous, shows no reluctance to any sacrifice, and with her extraordinary practical sense and education will be able to render great services to the mission".

On 19 June 1888 Sr Caritas and her companions set out for Chone, Ecuador. In 1893, after catechizing countless groups of children, she was sent to the foundation in Tùquerres, Colombia.
There she showed her missionary zeal: she loved the locals and spared no efforts to reach them, braving the wild breakers of the ocean, the tangled undergrowth of the jungle, and the intense cold of the high plateaux. Her zeal knew no bounds. She was concerned above all with the poor, the outcast and those who did not yet know the Gospel.

To face the urgent need for more missionaries in the vast field of the apostolate, with the backing of the Geman Fr Reinaldo Herbrand, she founded the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate. The Congregation was first made up of young Swiss girls who followed the example of Mother Caritas. They were immediately joined by local vocations, above all from Colombia, who swelled the ranks of the new Congregation and allowed it to spread to several countries.

In her apostolic activity, Mother Caritas took care to combine contemplation and action. She encouraged her daughters to acquire effective academic qualifications, but without permitting the spirit of holy prayer and devotion to be extinguished, "Do not forget", she told them, "that the better educated, the greater the skills the educator possesses, the more she will be able to do for our holy religion and the glory of God, especially when virtue is the vanguard of her knowledge. The more intense and visible her external activity, the deeper and more fervent her interior life must be".

She focused the apostolate mainly on the education of the poor and the marginalized, wherever need called.

Her great love for Jesus in the Eucharist prompted her to ask and obtain permission for Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the convent. She left this most sacred treasure to the Congregation along with great respect for priests. During adoration, Mother Caritas received light and strength for the apostolate. She taught the sisters to "see God's will in everything, and to do His will with joy, out of love of Him", hence the motto of her life : "It is His will".

She was Superior General of the Congregation from 1893-1919 and from 1928-1940. In 1933, she had the joy of receiving pontifical approval of the Congregation.

On 27 February 1943, she died in Pasto, Colombia. As soon as her death became known, people streamed to venerate her mortal remains, asking for her intercession and hoping for some relic. Her grave has become the destination of constant pilgrimages. The most precious relic she left to her daughters was Franciscan poverty, a constant in her governance. As a missionary in Chone, she lived the same poverty as the people she had gone there to evangelize and instruct. Indeed, she was determined that the Congregation always preserve this poverty and trust in divine providence.

Biography Provided By: The Vatican


Bl. Maria Caridad Brader Comments




More Saints





Browse Saints by Category


Popular Saints

Rank

Saint

8.

Image of St. Lucy

St. Lucy

Lucy's name means "light", with the same root as "lucid" which means "clear, radiant, understandable." Unfortunately for us, Lucy's history does not match her ... continue reading | shop

9.

Image of St. Anthony of Padua

St. Anthony of Padua

Saint Anthony was canonized (declared a saint) less than one year after his death. There is perhaps no more loved and admired saint in the Catholic Church than Saint Anthony of Padua, a ... continue reading | shop

10.

Image of St. Sebastian

St. Sebastian

According to his legend, Sebastian was born at Narbonne, Gaul. He became a soldier in the Roman army at Rome in about 283, and encouraged Marcellian and Marcus, under sentence of death, to ... continue reading | shop

All Popular Saints

Saint of the Day

Image of St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor of the Church, patron of all universities and of students. His feast day is January 28th. He was born toward the end of the year 1226. He was the son of ... continue reading

More Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day by E-Mail

Saint of the Day newsletter icon

Learn about the lives of the saints and other saint resources, including a calendar, over 5,000 saint biographies, our most popular saints, and a list of patron saints. 7 days / week. See Sample


Required


Female Saints

Image of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Elizabeth Bayley Seton was the first native born American to be canonized by the Catholic Church. Born two years before the American Revolution, Elizabeth grew up in the "cream" of New York society. She was a prolific reader, and read everything from the ... continue reading

More Female Saints



Saint Calendar
Saint Feast Days
Saint Fun Facts

Angels

Image of St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel - Feast day - September 29th The name Michael signifies "Who is like to God?" and was the warcry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against satan and his followers. Holy Scripture describes St. Michael as "one of the chief ... continue reading


Image of St. Gabriel, the Archangel

St. Gabriel, the Archangel

The name Gabriel means "man of God," or "God has shown himself mighty." It appears first in the prophesies of Daniel in the Old Testament. The angel announced to Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks. His name also occurs in the apocryphal book of Henoch. He was the ... continue reading



Saints Fun Facts

Saints Fun Facts for St. Bertin

St. Bertin

St. Bertin was born about the beginning of the 7th century near Constance, France, and received his religious formation at the abbey of Luxeuil, at that time, the model abbey for the rather strict ... continue reading

Saints Fun Facts for St. Nicholas of Tolentino

St. Nicholas of Tolentino

Born in 1245 in Sant'Angelo, St. Nicholas of Tolentino took his name from St. Nicholas of Myra, at whose shrine his parents prayed to have a child. Nicholas became a monk at 18, and seven years ... continue reading



Christian Saints & Heroes

Image of Irenaeus of Lyon wrote these words - The glory of God gives life; those who see God receive life. For this reason, God-who cannot be grasped, comprehended, or seen-allows Himself to be seen, comprehended, and grasped by men, that He may give life to those who see and receive Him. It is impossible to live without life, and the actualization of life comes from participation in God, while participation in God is to see God and enjoy His goodness.

Learning from St Irenaeus How to Know God

By Deacon Keith Fournier

This great defender of the faith insisted on the central claim of Christianity: God can be known and loved-indeed, that is why He came into our midst in the person of His Son; so that through a  relationship with Jesus Christ, man could participate in the ... continue reading

More Christian Saints & Heroes


Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 10:11-18
11 Every priest stands at his duties every day, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 110:1, 2, 3, 4
1 [Of David Psalm] Yahweh declared to my Lord, 'Take ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 4:1-20
1 Again he began to teach them by the lakeside, but ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 28th, 2015 Image

St. Thomas Aquinas
January 28: St. Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor of the Church, patron of ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter