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 Tůquerres, 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

39.

Image of St. Padre Pio

St. Padre Pio

Francesco, named in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, was born to Giuseppa and Grazio Forgione, peasant farmers, in the small Italian village of Pietrelcina on May 25, 1887. From his ... continue reading

40.

Image of St. Blaise

St. Blaise

Many Catholics might remember Saint Blaise's feast day because of the Blessing of the Throats that took place on this day. Two candles are blessed, held slightly open, and pressed against ... continue reading | shop

41.

Image of St. Maximilian Kolbe

St. Maximilian Kolbe

Maximilian was born in 1894 in Poland and became a Franciscan. He contracted tuberculosis and, though he recovered, he remained frail all his life. Before his ordination as a priest, ... continue reading | shop

All Popular Saints

Saint of the Day

Image of St. Martha

St. Martha

"Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus." This unique statement in John's gospel tells us of the special relationship Jesus had with Martha, her sister, and her brother. Apparently ... 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. Faustina Kowalska

St. Faustina Kowalska

Saint Faustina was born Helena Kowalska in a small village west of Lodz, Poland on August 25, 1905. She was the third of ten children. When she was almost twenty, she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, whose members devote themselves to 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. Jude Thaddaeus

St. Jude Thaddaeus

St. Jude, known as Thaddaeus, was a brother of St. James the Less, and a relative of Our Saviour. St. Jude was one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus. Ancient writers tell us that he preached the Gospel ... continue reading

Saints Fun Facts for St. Maria Josefa Sancho de Guerra

St. Maria Josefa Sancho de Guerra

Maria Josefa Sancho de Guerra (Maria Josefa of the Heart of Jesus, September 7, 1842 - March 20, 1912) was a Spanish nun, founder of the Institute of the Servants of Jesus charity and declared a ... continue reading



Christian Saints & Heroes

Image of Bonaventure was a friend and a disciple of Francis. When he looked at Francis he saw Jesus Christ. Bonaventure, like his friend Francis, was also a mystic. To him the Spirit of Francis is the Spirit of Jesus and

St. Bonaventure Points us to St Francis and the Lord Jesus Christ

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

On July 15th in the Liturgical Calendar of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, we commemorate the life, holiness, work and death of a great Bishop and Doctor named Bonaventure. He was born in 1218, became a Franciscan Friar in 1243, and died in 1274. A friend ... 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

Gospel, John 11:19-27
19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 29th, 2015 Image

St. Martha
July 29: "Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus." This unique ... 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