Walter Ratliff’s excellent book discusses the journey Helena took
Helena Graewe Warkentin (1865-1942, #88939) shares her amazing story about how she travelled across deserts and mountains in a wagon train to Central Asia in 1880-1881.
Dimitri and Agathe with children (in birth order):
Anna, Tina, Daniel, Willy, Liselotte and Peter in Romania, ca. 1950
My dad’s aunt Agathe Graewe wrote from Jena, Germany after the city was bombed in 1945. The family later wrote from another sort of war zone, after they were forced to move to communist Romania. I’ve also included my dad’s story of their legendary romance.
Jakob and Emma Plett in Vancouver in 1983
My uncle Jakob shares about his family’s flight from Russia to Germany in this excerpt from his Life Story.
Heinrich Plett wrote to this historical Rundschau in 1882
I recently discovered some of my great-grandfather’s letters to a Mennonite publication and found them a fascinating window into a past from which most records were destroyed after families were uprooted. The Rundschau was a U.S.-based newspaper that was a lifeline for separated Mennonites on different continents. The translated letters are shared below along with a short biography of Heinrich, information about his descendants, and a photo!
In this story, I give tribute to a courageous woman who loved against all odds, as my father recounts some experiences with her in the 1930s Soviet Union.
My poem inspired by A Course in Miracles
According to A Course in Miracles, true forgiveness is our only real work in this life. With practice, we get better. Maybe it’s finally sinking in for me.
A Christmas angel
A young mother had chills when I recently shared my dad's angel story, inspiring me to share it with you.
Inspiring reading with a message of hope
Julian of Norwich (ca 1342-1416) is believed to be the first woman author in the English language. Revelations of Divine Love, or Showings, contains her visions of a “powerfully inclusive spirituality that is still radical now.” Julian comes alive again in Ralph Milton’s inspiring historical novel, Julian’s Cell.
Celebrating Advent with Mary, Joseph, and Faithful
As a child, I loved when Christmas was coming. Can we reconnect with that joy as busy, stressed adults? Advent may help. This is also the story of my road back to church, aided by one or two dead women.
It was hard to put down this riveting first-hand account of a Mennonite family’s hardship in the 1930s Soviet Union and the Second World War, ending with freedom in Canada. It was like sitting around the kitchen table listening to the author’s mother, two aunts and an uncle, share their intimate stories of survival. Insightful historical background is added to the eyewitness records.
Irene Plett is a writer, poet and animal lover living in South Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.