On 25th May 2021, Esharelife Think Tank & San Marino Think Tank, in collaboration with the Medical Missionary Sisters (MMS), have organised a webinar dedicated to the extraordinary legacy of Dr. Anna Dengel, founder of the MMS, and her “Pioneering Spirit, Healing Presence”.
The webinar was led by Ph.D Professor Emerita of Transformative Leadership and Spirituality at Hartford Seminary, Sister Miriam Theresa Winter, who had the honour to create a strong bond with Anna Dangel and was able to share her fascinating story with us.
Dr Winter retraced the main stages of Anna Dengel’s life, from her mother’s death to her German teaching experience in France, and all her travels. In particular, she underlined the conflict between Anna’s endless desire to help those less fortunate and her struggle as a woman in religion to practice medicine and fully assist those in need. However, the former prevailed, and Anna managed not only to raise money to establish the organization of the Medical Missionary Sisters, but also to lobby at the Vatican to change the law and allow women to practice the full scope of medicine whilst still being religious.
Although Anna Dengel was a remarkable surgeon and midwife, as Dr Winter repeatedly remarked throughout the webinar, she helped in many other ways through her “Healing Presence”: Anna was also a great listener, and was able to heal by compassionately listening to the suffering of others. As for her “Pioneering Spirit”, Dr Winter highlighted Anna Dengel’s continuous need to start over and push beyond her limits with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Overall, Dr Winter described Anna Dengel as a “Transformative Leader”: all of her actions were guided by intuition and instinct, and their objective was an internal transformation, personal growth, and encouraging something within her to substantially change forever.
During the animated Q & A, Dr. Winter talked about what Anna Dengel would stimulate the sisters to do today and what she would say to all the younger sisters who recently joined the Medical Missionary Sisters. Dr. Winter stated that Anna would strongly advocate for a systemic change in the US, “making the dream of equality holistically true”, and create a framework for the younger sisters to allow them to be themselves and be attracted to others for all the incredible and inspiring missions they undertake.