Catherine Kasper, foundress of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, was born May 26, 1820 in Dernbach, Germany to her parents Henry Kasper and Katherine (Fassel). Her father had four daughters from his first marriage and he and Katherine had four children: Peter, Christian, Catherine, and Joseph. As a young child, Catherine attended school in her village, helped in the family's potato patch, enjoyed reading, and did household chores like spinning and weaving fabric.
Catherine and her peers often walked to a Marian shrine near their village, singing songs while Catherine told stories about God and Mary. When she was 21, Catherine's father died, with the law dictating his property bequeathed to his first wife, (to the exclusion of the second Mrs. Kasper and her children). Consequently, Catherine and her 56-year old mother "lived in rent" with the Matthias Müller family, with Catherine working the land as a farm hand.
Because of her reputation for helping others, young girls gathered around Catherine. Together she and four other women formed the religious community called "The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ" and pronounced vows of poverty, chastity and obedience on August 15, 1851. Their ministry continued throughout Germany and spread to England, the Netherlands, India, Mexico, Brazil, Kenya, Nigeria, and the United States (in 1868).
Catherine Kasper, known as Mother Mary, died on February 2, 1898. In acknowledgment of her good works, the Catholic Church named her Blessed Catherine Kasper on April 16, 1978.
To find out more about Catherine Kasper or the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, visit their website at https://www.poorhandmaids.org.
For more information, please contact:
Catherine Kasper Life Center Inc
P.O. Box 1; 9601 Union Road
Donaldson, IN 46513