Remember those little figurines that every grandma had a collection of? Usually cute little kids in winter clothes in cute poses? They are called Hummels. Well the lady behind them was Sister Maria. Sister Maria was a famous artist in Germany and made her little figurines based off her paintings.
Sister Maria Hummel was born on May 21st in 1909, so today, Sister Maria Hummel Day, honors her on her birthday.
Hummel was a devout Catholic and instead of the standard student housing, she chose to live in a Catholic residence run by religious sisters. Sadly though, in 1940, the Nazi government closed all religious schools and it seized the convent she lived in, forcing most people from the community to leave.
About 40 sisters out of the 230, were allowed to remain but were confined to a small section of the convent, living there without heat or any means to support themselves. So Hummel decided to return to her family at this time, but within three months went back because she missed her community with the sisters.
Hummel was given a small cell which she used for both sleeping quarters and her studio. The Nazis took half of the money generated by her work, but the remaining funds were the main source of income of the sisters there. Food was scarce and the living conditions were very cold.
In 1944 Hummel was diagnosed with tuberculosis and was sent twice to a sanatorium in Isny im Allgäu. She returned to the convent after five months, just before the region was liberated by the Free French Forces. Tragically she did not recover, and died on November 6th, 1946, at 37 years old. She was buried in the convent cemetery.
Learn more about the holidays and observances of May 21st here: