Sister M. Antonia with little Theo and dad.

Sister M. Antonia with little Theo and dad.

by Kurt Haspel

Two-year-old Theo is a bright little boy. He likes farm animals and is very eager to build things with his Duplo building blocks. But Theo does not laugh as much as other children, and he seeks the secure arms of his father. What Theo misses most, however, is his mother. She left and will come back someday, at least that’s what the adults let him believe. But everyone – except Theo – knows full well that the young woman will never come back.  Theo’s mother recently died of cancer. Since then, Theo and his father have been completely on their own.

Students of the SSND school in Freistadt, Austria learned about this sad fate and, of course, wanted to help immediately. As part of a class project, they baked fragrant biscuits and prepared regional delicacies. Thanks to the dedication of the students, this charity project generated a sizeable sum of money, money that Theo’s father needed.

After all the biscuits and delicacies were sold, the students invited Theo and his father to the school. Sister M. Antonia Pichlbauer, the site manager in Freistadt, Austria, also actively supported this project. She, too, was visibly touched and made friends very quickly with little Theo, “a dear boy, you simply must love.” The afternoon spent with little Theo was a very touching experience for everyone present. Theo, who had first sought protection in the arms of his daddy, soon felt at home among the students. He was especially happy about the new Duplo building blocks which he received from the class. It was a great opportunity for everyone involved to get to know Theo, and also to feel the joy of giving. This feeling will remain in the memories of the students of our SSND school for a long time.

Sister M. Antonia observed, “As our founder Blessed M. Theresa Gerhardinger said: ‘The little that you have, share freely with hungry and freezing children.’  We School Sisters are still following this advice today.”

Photo Credit: Teacher Monika Hons, the SSND High School in Freistadt (HLW Freistadt), Austria