On February 2, 2021, the Province of St. Elizabeth in Germany erected a new friary in Lage-Rieste. On Sunday, February 7, the Most Reverend Franz-Josef BODE, Bishop of Osnabrück, Germany was supposed to preside over a Mass to welcome the friars, however, a violent wind and snow storm struck northern Germany and the bishop was unable to participate.

The Minister Provincial, Friar Andreas MURK, stepped in as the principal celebrant and expressed his joy over the presence of some friars from Würzburg, Schwarzenberg and Gelsenkirchen, who, despite the storm, had already arrived the day before.
In his homily, Friar Andreas reflected on the short passage in the Gospel of the day, where Jesus—after healing numerous people —says to his disciples: “Let us go on to the nearby villages…” (Mark 1:38). The Province, together with other Jurisdictions, has dared to take this step and erect a new friary in northern Germany. It has been more than sixty years since a new community was opened. Equally important to the external going forth is the internal going forth: “We must continue to move so that life may flourish! Above all, as friars of St. Francis, we must not close ourselves off and be satisfied, but always face the challenges of the moment.” Friar Andreas also stated that this was the attitude of the friars eight hundred years ago when they arrived in Germany in 1221.
Osnabrück is one of the German dioceses where religious life is highly valued. The bishop believes it is important that the friars bring this traditional spiritual place back to life. The pilgrimage to the “Cross of Lage” is to be resumed; in addition, the friars will work in the parishes. Their main service will consist of the sacrament of Confession and pastoral ministry. In addition, the friary will have six guest rooms and two vacation apartments available; people will be able to spend their vacations here or go on retreat.
The friary was previously occupied by Dominican sisters, so, to make the friars feel at home, some renovations have been carried out in recent months. Friar Andreas laid 400 square meters [4305 sq. ft.] of new flooring, Friar Mateusz KOTYŁO (Vicar Provincial) together with three volunteers, painted nearly 900 square meters [9687 sq. ft.] of walls, and the Provincial Secretary, Friar Konrad SCHLATTMANN, was particularly active in helping with the final cleaning. The friars did this work not only to save money, but also to make it clear before the opening, that the friars do not want to live an exclusive and isolated life in a beautiful building; rather, they want to be engaged in everyday problems.
Brother Andreas also expressed his gratitude because other provinces are supporting the new project with solidarity of personnel. This is based on long standing international collaboration in Germany, particularly with the friars of the three Polish Provinces who have collaborated well for decades. A friar of the Province of Cracow is the current Vicar Provincial, a friar of the Province of Gdansk is the Guardian of the largest friary of the Province in Würzburg.
In addition to the Minister Provincial of the German Province, Friar Bernhardin M. SEITHER, three other friars will be living in the new friary in Lage, namely Friar Jesmond PANAPPARAMBIL (India) who has already moved in, Friar Iosif-Mihai SABĂU (Romania) who is learning the German language in Würzburg, and Friar Richard Francis CHIMFWEMBE (Zambia) who is awaiting a visa to enter Germany.
A small commemorative publication was produced to celebrate the move and can be found at:


May the Spirit of God guide our brothers’ ministry in Lage and grant them courage and openness to bear witness to the Good News as an international community, during this very special historical time.

Press Release / Province of St. Elisabeth