Biographical data on Sr. Margareta Puhar
Maria Margareta Puhar was born on March 6, 1818, in Kapela near Radgona14. As related by M. Angelina Krizanic, after a few years her father died and Maria had a stepfather. She attended school at Kapela and was a very good student. On one occasion an uncle, a beer dealer in Deutschlandberg15, came to visit the family. He wished to take Maria with him and she would be able to continue her studies there. Maria and her family were agreeable with this decision. That same day Maria left with her uncle.
Maria was received with joy into her uncle’s family and immediately accepted as one of the family. She attended school with the other children and helped with the chores. In a house with many children, there was always much to do.
Her aunt, a hardworking woman of fragile health, taught in the country school as an assistant teacher of needlework. In addition, she gladly accepted work on sacred vestments for poor churches. She soon realized that her niece was very talented with needlework and often requested Maria to do some of the embroidery.
Later, when she had completed her schooling, her uncle employed her in his business. She was gifted by nature, had a beautiful handwriting, and was capable of assuming many different tasks in his brewery.
She remained with her uncle’s family until she was 24, that is, until she entered the convent at Algersdorf.16 At her investiture she received the name Margaritha17. Mother Angelina Krizanic used to recount that her uncle had truly been very good. He had procured for his niece Maria everything that was required at that time for entry into the convent.
When Sr. Margareta came to Maribor she was 46 years old. Being a wise and capable sister with a great spirit of sacrifice, the major superiors at Algersdorf nominated her as superior of the new religious house in Maribor and of the orphanage of the Association of Catholic Women.
In the years after 1869 when Sr. Nepomucena Ziggal was living at Maribor, Celje, Repnje and at St. Paul in Carinthia, she recounted to the sisters who were entering the new Congregation of the School Sisters of Maribor how the sisters lived at the beginning and how they carried on their work. In this way many memories were handed down. I remember them with pleasure, thanks especially to Sr. Jerica - Gertrude Neuwirth, who lived with Sr. Nepomucena at Repnje. Thanks also to Sr. Fabijana Neuwirth, the sister of Sr. Gertrude and at one time my local Superior.
14. Translator’s note: Kapela at that time was part of Austria and the province of Steirmark (also called Stiria). It was about 6 miles south of the present day city of Radkersberg and about 25 miles east of Maribor, which was also in Steirmark.
15. Translator’s note: Deutschlandsberg at that time was called Landsberg. It was located about 70 miles from Maria’s birthplace in Kapela. Landsberg, however, was only about 40 miles from Graz and close to the train line into Graz. Landsberg was also only about 10 miles from Schwanberg where Sr. Margareta would be superior from 1860-1864.
16. Translator’s note: Maria Puhar was already an aspirant in the Graz community in July of 1842. That was about a year after the five teachers had requested to change their Teaching Institute into a Religious Institute. It was over a year before Antonia Lampel and five others were invested as the first novices in 1843.
17. Translator’s note: In our present day European provinces this name is translated as Margareta. In English we say Margareta, but in the original German registry she is called “Margaritha.” The German form of the Slovenian last name “Puhar” is “Pucher.”