Atonement | Courage | Gift | Giving | Love | Risk | Sacrifice | Salvation

There is an incident set in the Ravensbruck concentration camp where 92,000 women and children died. It was Good Friday and a group of women were lined up for the gas chamber. One of them became hysterical. From the crowd of other women not chosen for death that day a figure emerged and approached the woman broken by fear and hysteria and said, “It’s all right. It’s all right. I’ll take your place.” That woman was Elizabeth Pilenko. She came from a wealthy family in the south of Russia and eventually became a nun and worked among the poor. During the war the convent became a haven for Jews. When the Gestapo came to the convent, Mother Maria (as Elizabeth Pilenko was called) was arrested and sent to Ravensbruck. There she made a lasting impression, and even the guards spoke of her as “that wonderful Russian nun.” I do not understand how one human being can go up to…

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