Littlemore Oxford

Book Launch: She served the Church

The book by Fr Hermann Geissler FSO, She Served the Church - Mother Julia Verhaeghe and the Development of The Spiritual Family The Work, was presented to the public in the parish hall of Bl. Dominic Barberi Church at Littlemore, Oxford on September 17, 2022. It is the English translation of the original book which was published in the German language in 2020 as the second volume on the life of Mother Julia and the community of The Work and its charism, covering the period from 1950 and 2001.

During the book launch a talk about the content of the book as well as the spiritual kinship between Mother Julia and St John Henry Newman was given. The part of the book which describes the arrival of the sisters of The Work at The College in Littlemore was read to all present. Here is an excerpt from the passage of the book:

Because of the excellent cooperation with Sr. Lutgart Govaert in Birmingham, in 1986 the Oratorians who worked there asked the leadership of the Sisters’ Community to take over the management of The College in Littlemore Oxford. This was where John Henry Newman had been accepted into the Catholic Church on October 9, 1845. Because of Newman’s importance to Mother Julia, Sr. Angelika Sprissler was sent to Littlemore on June 14, 1986. She was soon followed by Sr. Brigitte Högemann, who was given local responsibility.

Around the 100th anniversary of Newman’s death in August 1990, Mother Julia wrote to the sisters: “May Cardinal Newman take us under his protection during these days of remembrance and commitment of our family The Work, for his beatification process! May The Work, with all its might, work to appease the struggles of consciences and hearts and to direct them towards him who is the light and who drives away all darkness and confusion!”

Three persons also gave a witness about their impressions of Mother Julia when they first encountered her. The book launch was followed by a Mass of Thanksgiving for the life of Mother Julia to mark the 25th anniversary of her death which occurred on 29th August 1997.