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Austria: celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Little Servants of Christ the King, at the service of the outcasts

These days, the Austrian Church is celebrating the 90th anniversary of the secular institute “Ancillae Christi Regis”, a diocesan women’s community founded on 16th December 1926 by Vienna-born priest Leopold Engelhart. The institute was born after the First World War to engage in pastoral care and assistance. The life and the events, including some heroic ones, of the Ancillae Christi Regis have been recently commemorated in a communal week in Vöcklabruck, with many leaders of the Austrian dioceses. The founder of the “Ancillae” has been considered one of the pioneers of pastoral care in Vienna and boosted home care to the sick, the poor and the destitute. To do this, he held special courses to train young women from the local Marian Congregation. Six of them took private vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and devoted themselves full time in their pastoral mission in town, while working. In 1930, the community took the name it has now, and the “Little Servants of Christ The King” were widespread in Tyrol and Silesia even as early as 1935. Today they are 70 and live in Austria, Germany and Brixen, Italy. Some of them have been on a mission to Tanzania and in the leper colony of Sorok, in South Korea: to coincide with the 40th anniversary of nursing in the “Leper Colony”, the Little Servants Marianne Stoeger and Margit Pissarek received the “Manhae” prize for social service from the Republic of South Korea.

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