Founder of the Congregation of the Missionary Brothers of St. Francis of Assisi

Born on 29th June 1869 in Koengsberg, East Prussia of Jewish parents, Brother Paulus became a Catholic during his time of studies. He was one of the first followers and an enthusiastic disciple of Fr. Anthony Maria Bodewig, a Jesuit Priest. He was studying at the University of Bonn when he and his friend Nicholas Hohn of Cologne were so much taken up by the fiery speeches of Fr.Bodewig, who expounded the need of missionaries for India, he felt God wanted him to go to India as a missionary. Later on helping Fr. Bodewig in the propaganda work with lecturing in Germany, Brother Paulus Moritz came to India with the second batch of Volunteers in 1900. Here he took the leading part in founding a Congregation and having it canonically erected by Bishop Crochet of Nagpur in 1901. Incidentally it was the first official act of the Bishop after his consecration. He appointed Bro.Paulus Moritz as the first Superior General of the Congregation of the Missionary Brothers of Saint Francis of Assisi.

He worked tirelessly for the welfare of the Brothers and the missions. He had an immense trust in God, which he used to translate into these words: “As long as we look after the poor, God will look after us!” Bro. Paulus was a man with deep spiritual conviction; he was a man of prayer. He knew that only a deeply religious person could become a great missionary. His formation of the Brothers was patterned accordingly. If he had a weakness it was his soft heart for the poor.

Bro. Paulus was just like his name Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles, burning with zeal for the missions. He influenced all his companions with love for the mission. For him no sacrifice was too great, no effort too much and simplicity was his code word. He insisted that the Brothers preach by their example of a simple life, that they live like the villagers, to win their confidence more easily, who like Christ, although he was rich, became poor, the Brothers were to serve the people rather than be served. Personally, Bro.Paulus was frugal, hardworking, yet always cheerful. A filial love of the heavenly Mother was the reason why he made Immaculate Conception, as the patron of the Congregation. Having started missions all over India, guiding the Brothers through many vicissitudes and storms for more than four decades Bro.Paulus Moritz relinquished the office as Superior General in 1941. He was called for his eternal reward on 19th November 1942.


Mount Poinsur

22 October 1942

The In Christ dearly beloved Brothers,

Our Lord Jesus Christ has given me the grace that He calls me to eternal life not by a sudden, unexpected death, but I had time by a long wearing sickness to prepare for eternity and the surgical operation which may end my earthly life, may be the gate for a better life with all the Angels and Saints whom we have venerated as our Heavenly Patrons and Friends. So let us hope God Almighty will pardon me, through the blood of Jesus Christ, all my sins and failings, and Jesus, our Savior, having cleansed my soul, will come to fulfill the promises. He has given to those who believe in Him and trust in His mercy.

Like a family – father bids farewell to his children, my helpers and co-laborers in the vineyard of God in the missions. I ask pardon from all and each, if I have wronged or offended you and have not given always a good example and I ask your prayers for my poor soul if kept in purgatory. I thank you for all the good works you have done with me and for our Holy Church, and I am sure many of you will have merited a higher place in heavenly glory than I have attained by your greater generosity and love of God with which you have served God in the Religious Community and in the Mission-work. All I have to do now is to recommend you to remain in fraternal love and charity until the end of your life. Whatever may happen after my death, consider that I wish you to live in unity and in submission to your new Superiors, and let not the devil triumph, when tempting you to give up your holy intentions and Vows and Vocation.

As we hope that Almighty God allows His Elect in eternal life to pray, to plead and protect those they have left on earth, so may I hope I can be also useful in eternity to get you more graces for the glorious work in the Mission-field. Up to now you have unselfishly sacrifice your health and your life for the spreading of the holy Catholic Faith among the poor ignorant pagans in our Millions and endeavor to extend your activity year by year to further villages and territories until all India is converted to our Holy Church. May our dear Lord Jesus hear this my last prayer to make useful members of the militant Church on earth and bring us later altogether at His heavenly banquet. Good-bye to all of you.

Yours affectionately in Christ.