THE PROTESTANT CHURCH, ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST
Elizabeth knew only the Protestant church, St. John the Baptist in Niederbronn. From 1691 to 1886, it served Catholics as well as Protestants. According to a survey of 1802, Niederbronn had 3120 inhabitants – 1218 of them Catholics (39%) and 1729 Protestants (55%), plus a small Jewish community.
Elizabeth was baptized in this church on September 10, 1814, the day after her birth. She also had her First Communion here at the age of 13 ½. For her, it was the time to choose her own way. Trusting in the presence of Jesus, Elizabeth resolutely fulfilled her baptismal promises.
“After the first communion, my confessor had allowed me to receive Holy Communion every fortnight. But my desire for the Holy Communion was already so strong that this time was too long for me. So after a week I went again to my confessor… he posed some questions as to how I pray, how I behave with regard to obedience towards my parents, how I behave in the church during Mass. I answered him that in all these things I desire to please God through my behavior. Then my confessor told me: “Go now, my child, to Holy Communion and ask our loving God that He may increase this desire in you.” (Autobiography 6)
Since the decision to follow Jesus is an act of liberty/freedom, this has to be made again and again during one’s whole life. Therefore, Elizabeth took up the struggle every day and searched for the necessary aids, in order to be able to respond to the grace of God.