Gabriele Hießberger

63 years old, Linz (Austria); doctor in retirement; life coach in a cardiovascular rehab hospital (until 2018); using wheelchair because of MS; assisted living (since 2018); her apostolate is in her personal environment: as a group leader, formation in bereavement support; since 1996 member of Schoenstatt women’s federation.


What experiences have shaped you the most as a woman? 

In my early years as a medical doctor, it soon became quite clear that I had to work much harder in order to be equally accepted (respected) as my male colleagues. After a while Intuition and correctly grasping of situations or circumstances lead to results that were just as good, an even better alternative or proofed to be     complementary.  In the meantime, I know my strengths as a woman – I no longer have to defend them.

How did you experience God in your life? 

When I was young I had an existential crisis despite all the possibilities open to me. I did not know where the boat of my life would drop anchor. Through the encounter with Schoenstatt (which I was initially very critical of) I came to know myself better. I have learned to understand myself as a beloved child of the Father. Despite some blows of fate, I could feel the hand of the Father who guides and always accompanies me. Although wheelchair bound, I am a happy and free person because I know I am safe in God. And I can even pass this experience on to others.

What do you think is the main challenge for women today? 

Nowadays, at least in our western world, women seem more and more vehemently and in larger numbers to stand up for their equality with the opposite sex. Sometimes this overshoots the mark, especially if you want to make yourself equal to men, rather than use your own talents and abilities. If you do not focus on your own strength, constantly comparing yourself with man, will only weaken yourself. As women we have our own way of encountering the world, which is as fruitful and profitable for us as it is for men. We complement each other well. We don’t have to copy them.”

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

Typical for women is empathy with others  and demonstrating sensitivity and intuition in situations. Personally, I would like to meet an individual person in a benevolent, friendly and appreciative way., I want to be authentic, so that the other person is free to open up. Through deeper mutual understanding and dialogue we are able to develop new ways and perspectives together, which contribute to inner healing. –

It is not for nothing that I became a medical doctor. In the course of my life I have become increasingly aware of the value of inner healing, especially in the connection with God, who accepts each one of us in love. 

Through the encounter with Schoenstatt and increasingly due to my illness (MS), I have come to appreciate more and more the holistic care of the sick person. I received additional training in psychological life counseling, which I was able to combine well with the pure medical facts about the individual patient.
It  is my heart’s desire to share God’s love by giving home and security on a small scale, in the same way as I experienced it myself. 

I strongly believe that this is my contribution to change the world towards the better, despite my personal mistakes and weaknesses.