Abbot Francis Pfanner
The Trappist Prior, Father Francis (Wendolin) Pfanner, founded a monastery during the Christmas season of 1882 in the English colony of Natal in South Africa. He called it Mary-Anne-Hill (Mariannhill). The energetic son of a farmer, he was born in 1825 at Langen in the Austrian Vorarlberg. Later after entering the Trappist order he got the necessary experience for his future life by founding Mariastern in the then Turkish Bosnia. A forceful speaker and writer, he inspired many young people for the austere life in mission land.
In those early days the conflict between mission activity and the Trappist rule with its long prayers in choir (even during the night), its absolute silence and rigorous fasting became a great problem. This conflict became so acute under his successors that the Trappists saw the separation of its greatest abbey from the order as the only solution. Pope Pius X made the separation in February of 1909, shortly before its founder, Abbot Francis Pfanner, died. Then Mariannhill developed step by step into a new mission congregation. It then branched out, erecting places of formation in Europe and America.
Now available the Novena to Abbot Francis Pfanner
Abbot Francis Pfanner founded the Congregation of Missionaries of Mariannhill
100 years ago. Abbot Francis was not only a great missionary, but also a holy man.
The cause for his beatification has begun. You may receive a free copy of his novena by sending a stamped (postage for one ounce, currently 55 cents), self-addressed envelope to us at:
PO Box 87
Dearborn MI 48121-0087
Already in 1885 the monastery of Mary-Anne-Hill (Mariannhill), was made an abbey. Francis Pfanner, its first abbot, chose as his motto the words of St. Paul: “So run that you may obtain the prize!”. He spread a network of mission stations over the southern part of Natal and beyond, with his monks and with the assistance of the community of the Sisters of the Precious Blood, which he founded.