Original Document
Original Document
Memoirs of Three Moravian Women, 1770s-1880.

Memoir # 1: *Maria Barbara Horn (1729-1797) SINGLE

I was born on February 5, 1729, near Werthheim, in the village of Eichel. My father was Johann Heinrich Horn and my mother Anna Catherina, nee Diemern. My mother, who was a very God-fearing woman, was very concerned about bringing her children up in the name of our dear Lord. She often told us that, if we did not love the Saviour and give ourselves up to him completely, we would be lost. This often confused me and caused me to pray to the Saviour as well as I knew how.

In my 13th year, I went to Holy Communion for the first time, at which I felt an inner contentment. I promised the Saviour that from now on I would lead a life pleasing to him. But, all too soon, both this resolution and the feeling that I had from Him were lost again, and I began to love the world. When my mother noticed this, she sent me to a God-fearing woman in the town, who accepted me as her own child and attempted to keep me safe from the world. She often fell with me to her knees and begged the Saviour to bring me to a knowledge of my lost state. This prayer was heard. I began to become aware of my unhappy state and feel painfully my deep sorrow and my corruption, which disconcerted me greatly, and yet at the same time I wanted to appear better than I was. The faithful Saviour soon made me recognize that I had no strength in my self to be good through my own efforts. He made me into a true poor sinner and I laid myself at His feet as lost and as damned as I felt myself to be. I begged him for the sight of His grace and for the forgiveness of all my sins, which He granted me by His grace. I will never forget the feeling that I had then, and the Saviour, through his grace, has preserved this for me until now.

Soon after this, I heard of the Congregation in Herrnhaag, and it seemed to me as though I belonged to them. I went to my parents, told them of my intention, and that I had a longing to go to the Congregation. They were very pleased about this and gave me their parental blessing to do so. When I told my cousin, she was very unwilling to allow me to leave her (because she had no children) and promised me that if I stayed with her, she would leave me an ample fortune so that I would never be in need. However, I thought, I would rather have nothing temporal in this world if only I can achieve my eternal salvation. Therefore, I put together just a small bundle because I had to go most of the way on foot, and I arrived in Herrnhaag on March 31, 1749, where I asked for and, to my joy also, received permission to stay. Although I did not have it as good here in material things as I was used to, I soon became accustomed to my surrounding and was childlikely content in my poverty. In 1749, on August 3rd, to my great shame I was received into the Congregation and, in 1751, on May 12th, I was allowed to go to Holy Communion with the Congregation. With each act of grace that the Saviour allowed me to experience, I felt myself ashamed and thankful, and I asked Him to keep me with Him by His grade. ...

In 1763, I received a call to America, along with several other Single Sisters, and I arrived in Bethlehem on November 4th of the same year. This change was somewhat hard for me but, because I had once given myself up to the dear Saviour completely, to want nothing but what is His will. He also helped me there. In addition, He wanted to direct all my actions and endeavours to His honour.

Note: She served loyally in our kitchen here fore some years; ten years ago, she started to become sickly, which weakened her memory greatly, so that one occasionally had to bear with her with patience. When one spoke with her about her heart, however, one saw clearly that she had a tender love for the Saviour. Finally, tuberculosis set in and she had to suffer a great deal in the final days with shortness of breath. On the last day, she was especially cheerful and very desirous that the dear Saviour bring an end to her suffering. And in the afternoon at 4 o'clock the blessed moment came when she went over into the arms of her Redeemer softly and happily with the blessing of the Congregation and her Choir, amidst a truly blessed feeling. She achieved an age of 68 years, 2 months, and 11 days."

Memoir # 2: Martha Buninger, nee Marriner (1723-1773) MARRIED

I was born in Rhode Island. My father's name was John Marriner, my mother's Elizabeth, born in New England, my father, however, in Old England; I never knew my father. I was baptized by a Presbyterian minister. When I was a small child, I went with my mother to Jamaica in the West Indies. My mother went there in the hope of seeing my father but could learn nothing about him. He is probably buried at sea. When I was 7 1/2 years old, my mother indentured me until the age of eighteen to a Quaker Augustus Hix, on Long Island. I was with him on Long Island for four years, when he moved to New York I stayed with him until my time was up. He is a good master and looked after me like his own child. When I was released from him, I stayed in New York for a while, after which I went to Brunswick. Here I came upon the awakened people and was awakened by them and stayed with them for three months. The first feeling that I had of the Saviour and His bloody wounds and that he had died for me too was in a Bible class, which Brother Noble held in New York. ...

I came to the congregation in Bethlehem on March 26, 1745. I stayed there until the Single Sisters went to Nazareth. In Nazareth, many things happened to me, such as I wanted to leave several times. The dear Saviour, however, made it so that I received a blessed and contented heart with the Single Sisters. ...

On October 1, my dear mother Spangenberg spoke and proposed my marriage to my dear husband. I immediately gave myself up to the will of the dear Saviour. On October 5/16 I was married. On October 11 I went to Communion with the Congregation for the first time.

This is all I have been able to write about us poor children. Our goal and purpose is to belong completely to the Saviour and to live for Him and His dear Congregation. We are grateful that right up to this day they have loved us poor children and carried us with patience. May the Lamb keep us in His bloody wounds, that no harm come to us until we can see Him and kiss the wounds in His hands and feet. Until the kiss of His side wound."

Note: Martha's memoir is the first in the Moravian collection of memoirs. She and her husband Abraham worked with the Indians in Pennsylvania as well as in the West Indies. She died in 1812, a year after her husband.

Memoir # 3 : *Magdalene Beulah Brockden (1731-1820) WIDOWED

I was, as is known, a slave or the property of the late Mr. Brockden who bought me from another master, when I was ten years old and from then on I served his family until I was grown. Because my master was much concerned about the salvation of my soul and he saw that it was high time that I was protected from the temptations of the world and brought to a religious society, so he suggested to me that I should go to Bethlehem.

Because I had no desire to do so, I asked him rather to sell me to someone else, for at that time I still loved the world and desired to enjoy it fully. However, my master said to me lovingly that I should go to Bethlehem and at least try it. He knew that I would be well treated there. And if it did not suit me there he would take me back at any time. When I arrived here I was received with much love and friendship by the official workers and all the Brethren that I was much ashamed. (She arrived on November 23, 1743) in Bethlehem). I soon received permission to remain there. My behaviour in the beginning was so bad; I really tried to be sent away again, which did not happen. The love of the Brethren, however, and in particular the great mercy of the Saviour that I came to feel at this time moved me to stay here. Some time after, my master came here and gave me his permission and blessing, and I became content and happy.

The Saviour showed great mercy to my poor soul, which was so deeply sunk in the slavery of sin that I never thought that I would be free from these chains and could receive grace. How happy I was for the words, "Also for you did Jesus die on the stem of the cross so that you may be redeemed and eternally blessed." I understood this in faith and received forgiveness for my sins.

Note: "In 1748 on the 19th May she was baptized in the death of Jesus and on the 26th January 1749 she attained the pleasure of Holy Communion with the congregation. On 21st January 1762 she entered into matrimony with the Negro Brother Andrew, and this marriage was blessed with two sons who have both gone home. In 1779 on March 30th she became a widow. She enjoyed lasting health until her old age. About fourteen days ago she became seriously ill, and it soon became clear that this illness was to be her end, and this became clear to her also. She fell asleep the above day in the 89th year of her life."

Credit: Moravian Women's Memoirs: Their Related Lives, 1750-1820, translated and with an Introduction by Katherine M. Faull (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1997), 10-11, 30-32, 77-78.
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