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Founder

 

LIFE SKETCH OF Bro. PAULUS MORITZ , FOUNDER & FIRST SUPERIOR GENERAL (1869-1942)

Bro. Paulus Moritz, alias Heymann Moritz was born on 29 June 1869 at koengisberg of east Prussia (kaliningrad in the Russia Federation) of Jewish parents. He received his Jewish and primary education in Koengisberg itself.

With regard to his  conversion to Catholicism there is hardly any traceable record. It could have taken place around his 16th or 17th year of his life. After this period, one sees him in the West German city of cologne. Here, he became a close associate of the veteran Jesuit missionary to India, Rev. Fr. Anthonius bodewig. Bro. Paulus joined the missionary society of the Immaculate Conception founded by Fr. Bodewig as one of its first member. This missionary society never took off the ground. A group of its member sent to the Belgian capuchin mission of Lahore in 1895 was stranded there. Its leader was one Nicholas Ludwig John, a close friend of Bro. Paulus, from Bonn, Germany. The Belgian capuchin Bishop of Lahore constituted the stranded group of Germany youths in his diocese into a congregation of Franciscan tertiary Brother whose services he hoped to enlist for the diocese.

Bro. Paulus Broke company with Fr. Bodewig by the year 1899 and associated himself with the new diocesan congregation of Lahore. Around this time, he had also knit a firm relationship with the French fransalian Bishop of Nagpur, Mgr. Pelvat. In November 1900, Bro. Paulus himself arrived in India with a few associations. He went to Nagpur from where he, in January 1901, proceeded to Lahore where Bishop Pelkmans vested him with the Franciscan habit of penance by Bishop Pelkmans. He was appointed procurator of the new congregation. 

 


Bro. Paulus Moritz,
Founder

He then returned to the Nagpur group of his Brothers. His relationship with Bishop Pelkmans of Lahore had been a very stormy one and in early 1901 he finally Broke off with him and constituted themselves into a separate congregation under the Fransalian Bishop John Marry crochet of Nagpur. This happened on 21 February 1901. Bro. Paulus Moritz was chosen as the superior general of the congregation and Bro. Nicholas Ludwig john as the asst. Superior general. They chose to retain their Franciscan character. In 1920 the Nimar mission with Khandwa as its head quarters was assigned to the Brother’s congregation. 

Between this period and outbreak of 1 world war the young congregation has made rapid and impressive strides in its expansion and development. They had expanded to places like Agra, Krishnagar and Daman on the Indian sub- continent and to Maslianico (n. Italy) in Europe. At the outbreak of 1 world war (1914-1919) Bro. Paulus and his German confreres were interned. Towards the close of war, while his confreres were deported, Bro. Paulus and three of his companions were allowed to stay back. The future of his congregation hanged on the thread of uncertainty. By 1921 first of the deportees began to return to India and the congregation began to regain its lost ground. In the first-ever general chapter of1930 (arranged by propaganda fide) Bro. Paulus was elected as superior general. 

In the second general chapter of the congregation in 1973 he was re-confirmed in his office. At the outbreak of 2 world war, he was briefly detained by the British but owing to his ill health and advanced age, he was set free on 19 November 1941, he resigned his post as the superior general and exactly one year thereafter, i.e., on 19 November 1942, he berated his last in Mt. Poinsur, Bombay. His mortal remain are laid to rest in the monastery cemetery at Mt. Poinsur. He was a missionary at the very core of his being. His Franciscan credentials and love and commitment to the missionary charisma of the religious institute are noteworthy. May his ideals inspire all his followers.