Keep St. Gabriel monastery in Berlin as a place of spirituality and worship
Until a few days ago, the monastery of St. Gabriel with its church of St. Annunciation in Berlin's West End was a special spiritual gem in the diverse and creative religious life of Berlin, which is considered one of the most open and innovative capitals in Europe.
The monastery of St. Gabriel was founded by Bernhard Lichtenberg, then provost of the cathedral. In 1936, he brought the Steyl Adoration Sisters, affectionately known as the "Pink Sisters" because of their habit, to Berlin because he felt it was important to have a place of "perpetual adoration" in Berlin to pray against misanthropy, oppression and the Nazi regime.
During the war, the sisters prayed hidden in a cellar. Bernhard Lichtenberg himself was arrested for his sermons against the Nazis and met his death on the way to Dachau concentration camp. He is now venerated as a martyr and blessed of the Catholic Church.
After the war, the present monastery building with church, which is a listed monument, was built, where "Perpetual Adoration" was held without interruption until the end. On January 29, 2022, the church and monastery were closed.
The continued existence of the St. Gabriel Monastery and its future use represent a great responsibility, task and opportunity for both the city and the church.
After all, these are not only listed buildings, but also a spiritually significant intangible cultural heritage. Especially as a result of its foundation by Bernhard Lichtenberg, who was one of the clearest ecclesiastical critics of Nazi rule and who took the risk of death for his convictions and resistance against the Nazis.
Following the founding impulse, St. Gabriel's has always acted not only as a place of prayer but also as a shelter for the persecuted and marginalized.
All this is now at stake as long as the Order of the Steyl Adoration Sisters want to sell the monastery of St. Gabriel and the church belonging to it without the competent authorities of Berlin clearly committing themselves to the preservation of the spiritual place of St. Gabriel with a special history and obligation.
Please support the attached petition to Berlin's governing mayor Franziska Giffey, asking her to fulfill the obligation for the future that comes from the history of the monastery of St. Gabriel.
Information about the initiators of the petition:
The initiative "Pro Monastery St. Gabriel" was founded in October 2021. More than 200 people of different backgrounds and denominations are committed to the cause of preserving the monastery. As a result, the transfer of the monastery to a retirement home operator, which was imminent at that time at short notice, did not take place. This encourages us and also grants us the time to commit ourselves to a spiritual and charitable revival and revitalization of this unique place. For the people of Berlin and beyond.