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Erdmuthe: The Beloved and Blest “Lady Mother”

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FROM THE MEMOIR OF ERDMUTHE ZINZENDORF |

 

Erdmuthe

Erdmuthe Dorthea von Zinzendorf, also know as “Lady Mother” and the respected foster-mother of the Church

Bringing Herrnhut Into a Flourishing Condition

During the years, the heavenly Father had blessed and prospered our “Lady Mother” in every way, especially in this country, so that everybody watched it with amazement. He gave success to the service of her business assistants, especially the Brethren von Peistel and Sigmund von Gersdorf; and brought her beloved Herrnhut into a flourishing condition, useful to the Lord and to the country.

He also permitted her, and her son-in-law, and her husband to plan for the internal financial affairs of the Unity, so that when the Ordinarius of the Unitas Fratrum (Count Zinzendorf, and his son (Bishop John von Watteville) had effected the sacrifices undertaken for the people, the financial affairs of the Unity were brought into proper order and were conducted with blessing. These plans were so wonderfully supported and brought to pass that not only was the necessary fund fairly well established during the past years, but the current expenses, on a yearly average, were reduced by a ton of gold ($100,000.000).

Count Zinzendorf, perhaps the most instantly recognizable leader of the Moravian Church. He was married to Erdmuthe from 1722 until her death in 1756 | Photo by Mike Riess/IBOC

She spent more than 750,000 Reichstahaler for building and farming respectively, which was carefully used; and like the Unity debts, she not only paid the interest but reduced the five percent or six percent debts by over 600,000 Reichsthaler within a period of ten years.

Herrnhut, Germany - looking at the church | Photo by Mike Riess/IBOC

Herrnhut, Germany – looking at the church | Photo by Mike Riess/IBOC

For the large sums which she lent to the Unity, she never charged more than 1/8%, and that more as a matter of recognition than that she expected to collect it. In order to further this matter, she set aside so little for the support of herself and her children that it was hardly worth mentioning in view of her large possessions and many enterprises. Until her blessed home-going, that is for nearly thirty years, she was the benefactress of Herrnhut.

Page 12, paragraphs one through three 

Last Year of Life: 1755-1756

In short, her grace spent this last year with her family, as contentedly and as blessedly as any of her life. Moreover, according to her custom, she slept little, rising early. And though she was busy all day with others, for all had free access to her, and her room was always full of high and humble until late at night, yet by her activity in the early morning hours, she found sufficient time for consideration of the holy humanity of the Head of the Church. Then she offered her prayers for all the congregations; then she had the so-called Gemein Wochen and the Nachrichten read aloud in the room; and so she remained in uninterrupted touch with the entire Unity.

She had intended, after the Synod, to visit her 81 year old mother-in-law, who was ill, but was prevented by her own weakness. The Creator of her soul, and the Director of her breath, who had arranged that it should go well with her on earth, was now to make good His promise to make her a soft bed at the end.

She attended the first session of Synod as usual, and intended to spend several days there, which she did in alternating good spirits and weariness, looking to others more ill than she felt. No special symptom manifested itself in her illness, except the extraordinary weakness.

Anna Nitschmann

Anna Nitschmann, a leader of the Moravian Church in her own right. She would later marry Count Zinzendorf in 1757. | Image: Anna Nitchsmann painting. The Unity Archives Herrnhut: GS.67

Two days before her end, Anna Nitschmann, who had been her assistant for twenty years, paid her a quite ordinary visit, neither being conscious that it would be the last. The Countess kissed Anna’s hand tenderly many times during the visit, and continued to throw kisses to her as long as she was in sight. Then she continued in her usual routine of life until one hour before her release. Suddenly, in the presence of a large group of people, who had come as usual to visit her, she gently bowed her head and passed away.

Fortunately, it was Communion day, when the countless tears shed by the congregation over their loss could be mixed with tears of love and joy in their Redeemer; and truly this lessened a thousand-fold the pain, and enabled the congregation to take a share in the blessedness of their beloved and blest “Lady Mother.”

Page 13, paragraphs one through three

Herrnhut, Germany – God’s Acre | Photo by Mike Riess/IBOC

 


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Erdmuthe picture

The above blog content is comprised of excerpts from the Memoir of the respected foster-mother of the Church Erdmuth Dorothea, who passed blessedly into the arms and bosom of Jesus at Herrnhut, June 19th, 1756 

Questions? Comments? Contact the BCM at BCM@MCSP.org


Read and/or download the full memoir here, courtesy the Moravian Archives, Southern Province: download [LINK]

Visit the Moravian Archives, Southern Province online at MoravianArchives.org


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