Nisch, Ulrika Franziska, Bl.

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Baptized Francizka, also called Francizka of Hegne, virgin of the Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross of Ingenbohl (Barmherzigen Schwestern vom Heiligen Kreuz ); b. Oberdorf-Mittelbiberarch (on the Ress River near Württemberg), Schwabia, Germany, Sept. 18, 1882; d. Hegne near Rorschach am Bodensee, May 8, 1913.

Franziska was born into extreme poverty and neglected by her parents until she was seven. Her grandmother and aunt or godmother raised her until her parents took her home to assume the household duties. She became a farm servant at age twelve and in 1901 was sent to Rorschach, Switzerland, as a domestic servant. There she fell ill, was hospitalized, and was nursed by sisters of the Holy Cross of Ingenbohl, the Swiss congregation founded by Maria Theresia Scherer.

Upon her recovery and despite having no dowry, she was accepted into the order at the German provincial house at Hegne (Oct. 17, 1904), where she was professed (April 24, 1907). She served the order as cook at Bühl, then at Saint Vincent's in Baden-Baden, but later returned to Hegne. Sister Ulrika, known for her simplicity and joy, was gifted with profound mystical experiences, especially visions of the angels and saints, until 1912.

Following her death from tuberculosis at age thirty, her grave at Hegne became a pilgrimage site. Since 1991, her mortal remains have been housed in the convent church crypt at Hegne. She was beatified on Nov. 1, 1987 by Pope John Paul II.

Feast: May 8.

Bibliography: b. baur, Kein Maß kennt die Liebe. Ulrika Nisch, Kreuzschwester von Hegne (Constance 1963). w. bÜhlmann, Er hat auf meine Niedrigkeit geschaut: der Weg von Schwester Ulrika Nisch Kreuzschwester von Hegne, Mutterhaus Ingenbohl/Schweiz (Beuron 1987). k. hemmerle, Die leise Stimme: Ulrika Nisch ihr Weg und ihre Botschaft (Freiburg 1987). g. moser, Aus unserer Mitte: Rupert Mayer, Ulrika Nisch, Edith Stein (Rottenburg, 1988). Acta Apostolicae Sedis (1987): 1117. L'Osservatore Romano, Eng. ed. 47 (1987): 78.

[k. i. rabenstein]