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Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, an Australian community, in a worldwide religious congregation.

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Jesus loved with a human heart: with him we proclaim his love to the world.

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FR HUBERT LINCKENS MSC

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Excerpts from To the Ends of the Earth by Francis Baum MSC

Born in Wijlre, Holland, on 29th January, 1861, Peter Joseph Hubert Linckens was the second child of his fathers second marriage. His father, John Martin, had four children by his first wife, who died at the age of thirty-one. Hubert, as he was called, had three younger siblings. He was only eight when his mother died. So the father was assisted in his care of the family by a housekeeper, who wasnt very popular with the children. After some years, Huberts younger, fourteen year old sister took over the household.

John was a strict but faith-filled father and obviously did the best he could do for his children. One of his daughters, from his first marriage, became an Ursuline Sister at Sittard. It was from her that Hubert first heard about devotion to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. It was she who became his confidante when he was trying toexpress his desire to become a priest. She told him about theSociety of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart at Issoudun in France and also the Apostolic School nearby. She spoke to their father about Huberts desire. Consequently, at age fourteen in 1875, he was allowed to travel to Issoudun and join the Apostolic School at Chezal Benoit.

He started his novitiate at St. Gerand le Puy, France in 1880 and there experienced with his confrères the expulsion of all clerics from their monasteries. With Fr. Piperon, he was one of those entrusted to make, in haste, a place liveable for the students and some priests.

The place was Tilburg, Holland and the building, an old warehouse. Life there was spartan and hard and the students suffered from cold and hunger. Huberts cousin, Henry Kicken, became so ill with TB that he had to return home and died soon after. Besides studies for the priesthood, Hubert also gave lessons himself and assisted in all the manual work. This experience, while harsh, stood him in good stead for the future.

As soon as he was ordained in 1886, Hubert continued in his role as work. In 1887 he transferred from Tilburg in Holland to Antwerp in Belgium with the German and Belgian students. Antwerp was the German Colonial Port. From 1884 on, the presence of students who were being prepared to go to the German Colonies was acceptable to the German Government.

One needs here to interrupt this story to briefly explain that

Germany, too, had its anti-Clerical and anti-Church stance. This had happened after the Franco-Prussian war of 1870/71, when Bismarck

Many other repressive laws were enacted and no Religious Institu-tion could be established. After some years these laws became less stringent. We see in the many writings of this time that Fr. Linckens could only carry out the mandate of his Congregation to establish the North German Province with the express request and permission of the German Government in Berlin and its approval at all stages.

Negotiating with the German Government was intense, hard work, requiring skilful diplomacy, even acceding to the demand that he take on German Citizenship. His Superiors in Issoudun knew that Hubert Linckens could be relied upon to carry these negotiations through to a successful conclusion. After the dispersion of religious from France, the MSC Congregation needed to establish some centrality. This could come about because the German Colonial Office wanted Missionaries as cultural ambassadors in the German South Seas Colonies. They also saw the advantage of havingGerman missionary sisters in the Colonies. Bishop Couppé also was pressing Fr. Linckens to send sisters urgently to the South Seas. Hence the establishment of our Congregation, the Missionary Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Fr. Hubert Linckens was entrusted with the task of establishing the North German Province of the Fathers and Brothers in 1896 and chose Hiltrup Münster as the most appropriate place. He had already been appointed as Mission Procurator for the “South Seas Mission” as it was called, in 1894. The idea of establishing a sister Congregation, originally proposed to be a branch of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, did not eventuate. The German Government would allow no French sisters, missionaries or edu-cators. Correspondence on the matter took time but eventually ceased.

There was only one other solution. Linckens now had to face a new reality. He would have to found an entirely new Congregation. The purpose was to parallel the spirit, life and mission of the MSC Fathers and Brothers and to minister with them in the German Colonies, namely what was known as Melanesia and Micronesia or „The South Seas. This Mission had been entrusted to the pastoral care of the MSCs by Leo XIII in 1881.

Frustrated at not being able to establish a branch of the Daughters, Hubert Linckens now saw as the Will of God that he set about the onerous task of dealing once again with the German Colonial Office so as to establish our MSC Sisters Congregation. Once Linckens realized in his life that God was calling him to something, he set about fulfilling this task with deep conviction, prayer and trust in God. The Divine Will and trust in the Providence of God were two attitudes which accompanied his whole life. He wanted the new Congre-gation to carry the same name, motto and mission as his own.