In the affluent yet spiritually seeking Nordic countries, Sister Anna Mirijam Kaschner, CPS, serves as a testament to the vibrant mission field that thrives beyond traditional borders. Born in Germany to a Protestant family, Sister Anna’s journey to the Catholic faith and religious life is a narrative of divine call and unexpected paths.
“I was certain I wanted a family, to travel the world,” Sister Anna recalls. “But the idea of religious life kept returning, especially when I encountered nuns.” Her resolve to dismiss this calling led her to Zimbabwe with a program aimed at providing missionary experience. “I thought it would rid me of these thoughts,” she admits. Instead, it confirmed her vocation.
In Zimbabwe, Sister Anna realized that God’s presence was not a European import but an enduring truth. “We were simply following his footprints,” she says. Her search for an active congregation led her to the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood, marking the beginning of her 22-year commitment to God’s work.
Her mission took an unexpected turn when she was sent to Denmark, a country rich in resources but a “mission country” in spiritual terms. “Some 70 percent are baptized in the Lutheran Church, with a 4 percent attendance.
Catholics are less than 1 percent, but we have a 20 percent Church attendance,” she notes, highlighting the fertile ground for evangelization. Sister Anna’s ministry extends beyond the church walls, engaging with a population largely unfamiliar with religious life. “People in Denmark know little about faith,”she shares. “They’re curious, often asking if I’m married or have children.” Her habit often sparks conversations, opening doors to discuss faith and life’s deeper questions.Living in a small community with sisters from Austria and Zimbabwe, Sister Anna serves as the Secretary General of the Nordic Bishops Conference.
Their lives are a blend of prayer and work, embodying St. Benedict’s ethos of balance. “Our daily activities are a mission,” she says. “Grocery shopping or simply being present in public can lead to profound exchanges about life and faith.”
Sister Anna firmly believes in the visibility of her vocation. “Wearing the habit is essential. It’s a sign that invites people to approach, to inquire, and often, to seek help,” she asserts. Her presence in the community is a beacon of service and a bridge to understanding the Catholic faith.
The missionary work in the Nordic countries is as crucial as it is unique. “Consider coming to the Nordic countries,” Sister Anna urges. “In Finland, Catholics make up 0.2 percent of the population. The mission field is vast, and the need for the Gospel is palpable.” Through Sister Anna Mirijam Kaschner’s narrative, we see the diverse faces of missionary work and the profound impact of living one’s faith aloud. The Nordic countries, with their small Catholic populations and vast spiritual hunger, remind us that mission territories are not just geographical but are found wherever hearts are seeking meaning.
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