VERY REV. BRO. PAULUS MORITZ, CMSF Founder of the Congregation of the Missionary Brothers of St. Francis of Assisi

Born on 29th June 1869 in Koengsberg, East Prussia of Jewish parents, Brother Paulus became a Catholic during his time of studies. He was one of the first followers and an enthusiastic disciple of Fr. Anthony Maria Bodewig, a Jesuit Priest. He was studying at the University of Bonn when he and his friend Nicholas Hohn of Cologne were so much taken up by the fiery speeches of Fr.Bodewig, who expounded the need of missionaries for India, he felt God wanted him to go to India as a missionary. Later on helping Fr. Bodewig in the propaganda work with lecturing in Germany, Brother Paulus Moritz came to India with the second batch of Volunteers in 1900. Here he took the leading part in founding a Congregation and having it canonically erected by Bishop Crochet of Nagpur in 1901. Incidentally it was the first official act of the Bishop after his consecration. He appointed Bro.Paulus Moritz as the first Superior General of the Congregation of the Missionary Brothers of Saint Francis of Assisi.

He worked tirelessly for the welfare of the Brothers and the missions. He had an immense trust in God, which he used to translate into these words: “As long as we look after the poor, God will look after us!” Bro. Paulus was a man with deep spiritual conviction; he was a man of prayer. He knew that only a deeply religious person could become a great missionary. His formation of the Brothers was patterned accordingly. If he had a weakness it was his soft heart for the poor.

Bro. Paulus was just like his name Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles, burning with zeal for the missions. He influenced all his companions with love for the mission. For him no sacrifice was too great, no effort too much and simplicity was his code word. He insisted that the Brothers preach by their example of a simple life, that they live like the villagers, to win their confidence more easily, who like Christ, although he was rich, became poor, the Brothers were to serve the people rather than be served. Personally, Bro.Paulus was frugal, hardworking, yet always cheerful. A filial love of the heavenly Mother was the reason why he made Immaculate Conception, as the patron of the Congregation. Having started missions all over India, guiding the Brothers through many vicissitudes and storms for more than four decades Bro.Paulus Moritz relinquished the office as Superior General in 1941. He was called for his eternal reward on 19th November 1942.