Bernadette Ruppaner

Age: 22; Education: Health and nursing, study “dual care” (7th semester) in Munich; Special features of my biography: raised on an organic farm in the beautiful Allgäu and moved to Munich 3 years ago. Large family with 6 siblings; Current occupation: Part-time position in a neurological early rehabilitation, youth work with the Schoenstatt Girls and Young Women of Augsburg

“Hello there.” That is how my conversations often start. This word has almost become a kind of trademark of mine. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who uses it. It seems too simple in combination for that. But my family and friends can still tell that it’s me who is coming in the door or writing in the chat. That’s because my voice has a unique melody, a unique way of emphasizing or using words. And I am sure that this is not only true for language, word usage and voice, but for everything in my life. I have a unique way of evaluating situations, executing movements, perceiving feelings, arranging my clothes, being a woman.

What experiences have formed you as a woman?

Thought of by God and shaped by my environment, I am the woman I am today. In this context, it is not easy to pick out and name the most formative experiences.
But I think that one of them – one that took not just a moment, but years – is the upbringing of my parents. Over the years, they have created a place that I call home and where I know that I am always welcome here. They have given me confidence and a “you can do this” mentality.
But another important experience was also moving away from home and standing on my own two feet. All of a sudden, I had to deal with what I buy and cook, how to set up my own system of filing insurance policies, the bank or contracts or how to furnish my small living space so that I feel comfortable there and can call it home. These experiences and many more lead to the fact that I can say: “I am this (young) woman.”

Where have you experienced God in your life?

The above statement is based on the realization, “I am a child of God.” In my head, I can easily make this statement, but my heart sometimes needs some time to understand it. Especially in times when it is hard for me to believe, when I have the feeling that I am very far away from God. Surprisingly, however, it is exactly these times when he clearly shows me that he has not forgotten me. In the first practical experience of my training, which did not correspond to my expectations at all, I was confronted with the thought whether I was really doing the right thing, whether I was really following God’s plan for my life, whether He even had a plan for me. And anyone who has ever asked himself these questions knows how much they can pull someone away from God. I then decided to trust my mind, which told me: “I am a child of God” and that I should still continue to pray, read the Bible, and go to Mass. It was not a concrete moment, but at some point I was close to God again with my heart. He gives me such experiences more often and each time I come out of them stronger than before and I am always more sure that my God is a good and kind God who definitely had a reason for bringing me into this world.

What do you see as THE challenge for women today?

I notice repeatedly with the (young) women in my environment – and I don’t exclude myself from this – that you very often have the expectations that are placed on you clearly before your eyes. Every person in your environment will have certain expectations of you, maybe even unconsciously. And you adopt these for yourself and often forget the thoughts and plans that God has made for you. In the attempt to do justice to everything and everyone and to lead a perfect picture book life, you fail again and again. Then you feel like a failure.
It can be a challenge to reflect on your own life, to find out what you really want and where your talents are hidden, which thoughts are inscribed in your heart and which visions you have. Once you overcome this hurdle, then you are faced with the next challenge: How can I put this into practice now without being inconsiderate, but keeping my fellow men and above all God in mind?

What do you want to change in this world through your life?

Through my life I want to bring God closer to all the people I meet. I hope that He speaks and works through me and thus speaks to everyone: “You are precious to me and you are loved. No matter what has happened to you in your life or what decisions you have made, you may always come to me, rest and regain your strength.”
I believe and hope that this knowledge will positively change a person’s view of his or her family, work, and the world, and that this world will become a little bit brighter and friendlier.