The town councilor withdrew, very satisfied with the turn this fatal matter had taken for the sack of a highly commendable municipal poor administration.

Dr. Schlueter accompanied him to the door and then checked the clock. The two visits had held him up longer than he had thought. The Section was on at ten o’clock and he barely had time to change.

The head of the clinic gave a lecture on the corpse to a large group of young mediciners. Because of the deformity of the back, the naked body lay on its side. The secretary table was scuffed and cold. The corpse looked dreadfully green by the electric light that fell on it, with gray-black death spots all over its body. The shaved head with the ignoble profile and the open mouth made a grimy impression.

Flashing and icy, the professor’s instrument drove into the body and made the first cut. The assistants and servants did the rest of the anatomical work, but the professor explained, showed, spoke and taught. The lecture was extremely ingenious, the subject extremely interesting.

The university coffers did not ruin itself with the funeral expenses of these dead; the internal organs, all of which were misshapen and unusual, came almost without exception in alcohol. The bones of the whole body including the head were taken from the Meat freed, prepared, boiled, rubbed with chlorine, connected with wire, and the most beautiful abnormal sceleton arose from them that a medical college had ever possessed.

Late in the evening, the anatomy servant carried a screwed-on box with human remains to the grave-digger.

Early in the morning, before the churchyard was livened up, a hole was dug there and filled up. But the winds of heaven bore seeds of herbs and grass thereon. Strangely lush grass grows everywhere in the most forgotten corners of the churchyards.

The police made tireless inquiries after those vagabonds who had abandoned a dying woman helplessly and alone in a dilapidated barn.

The culprits were found and interrogated for negligent homicide, but could not be proven and let them go.

A police superintendent appeared in the clinic to subsequently enter the name of the dead person who had ended up here without anyone knowing who she was on the institute’s papers. Her name was Karoline Schwarz; the official informed the ward doctor, who shrugged his shoulders indifferently.

“By the way, I can show them to you,” said Dr. Schlüter and led the gentleman into the lecture hall in front of a splendid female skeleton. You saw the mistakes that nature made in education he had made bones, and that struck the gentlemen as extremely interesting.

For Sister Clarissa, the preparation of this preparation was “a challenge” – as the ecclesiastical expression for it is.

She was unable to ignore it as she did the other anatomical objects around her. She couldn’t see those grayish-yellow bones without thinking about the gruesome agony she’d witnessed. She ceaselessly imagined how the soul, after it had left the body, had slipped through the cold, scary, endless nothingness of the hereafter, in vain to seek the Lord and his grace.

She believed she suspected or almost knew how the devils would then have seized the soul and thrown it into the eternal pool of purgatory. And she, in the holy poverty she had vowed, did not have the means to have soul masses read for her salvation.

The dogmatic faith, which until then had been the support and support of the virgin in her difficult profession, now also caused her pain for the first time.

Had she been to the Dr. Entrusted to Schlueter the restlessness that consumed her inwardly, he would probably have said that she had come into a pathologically nervous state through overstrain. He would facilitate her service and remedy for nervous ailments and may have regretted her with all my heart.

The nun, however, did not confide her suffering to the doctor, but to the confessor. The priest did not have the insight to refer her in turn to a doctor, but told her that she slept only two nights out of three anyway – she should chaste her body and of the hours she was allowed to sleep one more night dedicate to intercession.

So the tender young girl prayed and watched, hoping to redeem a damned woman with it. But the chaplain had done the right thing to restore her calm. He knew very well the compulsion to believe that is exercised on the souls of novices.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they will see God.” He treated his confessors according to this principle, provided they were religious.

Sister Clarissa believed that she was doing a work of bliss and felt happy doing it. Physically, however, the matter was decidedly beyond her strength.

Her delicate face took on a transparent pallor, her hands came out wax-white from her black sleeves, and her large gray eyes shone with transfigured gaze under the dark nun’s veil that lay over the white forehead band.

Dr. Schlueter saw the change that was going on with her. He tried to gain her trust, but it was all in vain.

She shyly and embarrassed avoided all his participating medical questions about her condition. He got nothing out of her and therefore turned to the sister Domina.

The superior immediately ordered that Sister Clarissa should be dispensed from all night watch for a month because of the nervous consequences of excessive exertion. She was also allowed to spend an hour in the garden of the asylum each afternoon.

These measures were extremely uncomfortable for the young sister, but the feelings of the religious are so constrained and screwed in by the spiritual tutelage that is given to them at all times that a nun suppresses every expression of her feelings once and for all and submits in silence.

It was just midsummer, and being in the open air really seemed to conjure a trace of rosy color on the white face in the gloomy frame. Dr. Schlueter saw her with satisfaction sitting on a bench under a flowering linden tree. The narrow white hands held a book. Heavy tears dropped from under the lowered eyelashes and fell on the leaves.

The doctor saw the lovely creature from his room. He noticed that she was crying and went out into the garden to sit down unabashedly on the bench next to her.

“Why are you crying, sister?” He asked gently. “You are dead to the world. How is it possible that earthly grief can disturb the peace you have found? ”

“I have a doubt.” Hesitantly, the confession writhed from her trembling lips. The doubt must have worried her very much, that she decided to let it be heard in front of a child of the world.

“You – a doubt?” He was more than astonished. “Of course you mean a religious doubt, don’t you?”

“Not quite,” she replied anxiously, “it’s actually a historical doubt.”

“How – what?”

She quickly explained what she meant. “You see, I read the life of the h. Agathe. The book is published with high archiepiscopal approval and is intended especially for women religious to read. You know how the saint was mutilated because she did not want to be attached to the emperor Diocletian as a pagan.

After her torture, the emperor left her, and she was left dying in the arms of hers. There – there the Virgin Mary walked across the market. «….

“Well and what next?”

“Herr Doctor, the Virgin Mary was dead long when the Emperor Diocletian was alive.”

The doctor was pleased to discover that the only nurse he was interested in seemed to come from an educated background.

He smiled. “But Sister Clarissa, that’s where world history would end.”

“Please read.”

She handed him the book and the free-spirited young scholar read the passage.

He returned the book. “Calm down, dear sister,” said he, “such an apparition after a hundred years does not cause the Blessed Virgin any trouble.” It has appeared several times since then, and it will appear further afield if necessary. ”

“So you explain that by an apparition?” She asked happily. He wondered why she didn’t notice the irony of his tone.

“Yes, I think that’s what that’s meant here. The Mother of God is risen in the flesh. That means you do believe in the resurrection of the flesh, don’t you? ”


She said it so solemnly, so firmly; in her deep eyes shone the fire of such a true asceticism that he suddenly began to feel insecure about her. It was a good thing that she had been satisfied with his explanation of the subject that had made her so unhappy.

He did not want to blur the favorable impression again and rather tried to determine how far this brooding, fanatically influenced mind was actually endowed with real education.

Without a transition, he suddenly asked her whether she had ever read Faust.

She looked at him in amazement. “Oh yes, in the world before I entered the novitiate.”

“How old were you when you entered?”

“Eighteen years.”

“What have you read since then?”

“Only religious books, everything else is forbidden to us.”

“And is that enough for you once and for all?”

“It must be enough for me.”

This energetic discipline which the Church exercises on the spirit of those who devote themselves entirely to her impressed him.

He asked her about this and that, and came to the conclusion that she had had a good schooling such as that only daughters of the higher classes receive. When he asked about her previous circumstances, she was silent.

Once she smiled too and said, “Oh yes, back when I was still alive; but you see, I am now dead to the world. ”

He looked at her lovely lips and her little white teeth, as she said it so smilingly, and the meaning of her words was foreign to him at that moment. He saw in it a somewhat exaggerated, girlish view of the monastic profession, not a confirmation of the terrible command that the church calls out to its disciples: You should be like a corpse.

School education was there, but then nothing was added except one-sided medical knowledge, ecclesiastical training of all emotions and a certain bleak life experience, the sole focus of which was the sick bed. No social forms, no ability to chat and joke.

And this girl was so wonderfully beautiful! For the sake of a charming face he had never before undertaken such a spiritual research journey into heart and culture as here, with this pious, capable, intelligent girl.

In his heart he regretted that she was a nun, not because she interested him so much personally, but because he was sorry that the wings of this spirit were tied once and for all.

And like this one, think thousands of girls who wear the veil. They serve the general public quietly and renouncing. Nobody pays attention to them, nobody cares about them. Psychology in modern art penetrates deep into the heart of the world’s children, but overlooks the children of the Church.

»World ladies, actresses, peasant girls, waitresses, even prostitutes are noticed, drawn to light and made interesting by the interest that art and science take in them. Its outward appearance as well as its soul life is described, studied, and is ultimately influenced retrospectively by the attention it receives. – Who pays attention, who describes the soul life of modern nuns? ”

The young clinician made a weak attempt at this. He couldn’t be convinced forbid that the pious sisters also progress outwardly with the times. As he saw every day, they have great surgical skill and so much medical and even anatomical knowledge that they are the best and most popular assistants of doctors in the exercise of their profession. But still, Dr. Schlueter is of the opinion that most of the sisters remained behind in thinking and feeling, in believing and praying in the deepest, darkest Middle Ages.

He would have been very interested in the life of the h. Agathe or that of the h. To be able to read Elisabeth through once. He knew that Sister Clarissa sometimes gave these books to read to the sick who were of her faith. Before daring to ask for these books, he scrutinized the face of those sitting next to him.

There was nothing on the pure, lovely features but the expression of heavenly peace. Her thoughts seemed so far from him, so far from all earthly things, that he dared not start a conversation with her again. How innocently pure it was that she sat so calmly next to him and did not take the slightest offense that he had gone to see her.

He said goodbye in a friendly manner and returned to his room without having asked for the books which interested him. –

During the night a newborn died in the institution Child. It had only lived a few hours, and the mother, seriously ill with a typhoid fever, was removed from the maternity room and taken to the isolation room of the third ward.

Sister Clarissa cared for the patient with self-sacrificing loyalty to her duty, but without personal interest. If the unhappy girl had died in her hands, she would have taken care of the timely delivery of the Sacraments, had said the prescribed prayers for her person and otherwise had not thought about the case any further.

But the unfortunate woman did not die. The nursing sister saw, how quietly, almost overwhelmed by weakness, that life and reflection were returning.

Dr. Schlueter looked down at the patient in a friendly manner, as she straightened up and asked him to stay with her for a few minutes.

“Gladly Barbara” – he avoided calling her Fraulein – “why shouldn’t I have a few minutes for you now? Don’t you know you’ve cost me hours of my time? ”

“Herr Doctor,” stuttered the girl, deeply embarrassed, and a glow of blushing flickered over her sunken cheeks. “You were Herr Doctor – you were there too?”

“You mean when you gave birth, Barbara?”

She nodded and looked down at her skinny hands with deeply unhappy expressions.

“Well, my God, what’s wrong with it, I’ve seen it many times, so don’t worry.”

She looked up at him fearfully. “Was the child alive?” She breathed.

“Yes, it was alive, but it wasn’t viable yet, it died after a few hours. Don’t worry, the misfortune would be greater if you had the child now. ”

“For this life, yes,” replied the patient, “but Sister Clarissa says the misfortune in this life is a sign of the Lord’s love.”

“Oh, you misunderstood that,” he tried to console, “the sister said you didn’t want to mourn the child any longer, did you Sister Clarissa?”

“I mean, this life is only one stop on the pilgrimage home. What we endure here is transitory; immortal suffering or eternal joy begins only after death, “she replied.

The doctor looked at her disapprovingly. “Sister, I must tell you, as your ward chief, whose assistant you are, that it is detrimental to the sick if you talk to them about death.”