In April the Refugium catches up on the festive opening ceremony. The house in the green countryside now stands in the middle of life again.
With inspiring “Vision Days” the house opens its doors at the end of October to hundreds of guests as Refugium Hochstrass and settles into its new function as a refuge for seminars, closed meetings and retreats.
Just like around 120 years ago, dozens of diligent hands belonging to bricklayers, carpenters, roofers and other tradesmen set about in Hochstrass to first carefully revitalize the Convent and the Old Cheese Dairy.
The Ziegler Family falls in love with the historical area and purchases it – in order to continue the long tradition of spirituality and hospitality in Hochstrass under the auspices of a very special hotel refuge.
The steadily dwindling flock of nuns discontinues school operation after 112 years.
Up into the 1990s the nuns intensify the keeping of farm animals, rebuild the stable and invest in the appropriate machines and implements.
Purchased with donations, the new bells are consecrated.
On March 20, the agricultural home economics school reopens with 32 female pupils.
Retreating from the Soviets, SS troops take up quarters in Hochstrass and, like the SS troops in nearby Michelbach, demand to be provided for by the convent. The nuns defy the eviction order of the SS, who eventually take livestock and food with them when they flee. Up into June, the Red Army repeatedly loots Hochstrass Convent.
On January 21, the barn goes up in flames for the second time. The house chronicle, which was hidden from the Nazis, is destroyed in the fire. A large number of dogfights take place above Hochstrass in the first half of the year. Four planes are shot down.
The Nazi regime forces the school to close. As of 1939 and until the end of the war, women from the Reich Labor Services, evacuees and refugees are housed in Hochstrass.
The agricultural home economics school receives public status and becomes the public educational institution known as the “Kaiser-Franz-Josephs-Heim.”
The completed children’s home is consecrated. On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of his reign, His Majesty Emperor Franz Joseph grants the right via telegram to operate the house as the “Emperor’s Jubilee Children’s Home.”
The donor couple Grundböck leave their residence to the nuns and move into the convent, where the nuns take care of them.
Due to the high popularity, there is already a lack of room in the school building. The two side wing annexes, as well as the chapel extension, remedy the situation.
The Berger Grounds are planted with 3,500 spruces and 4,000 oaks.
Nearly at the same time as the permission to operate the school arrives on June 5, resp., June 16, the first three female pupils turn up at Hochstrass on July 13.
The house and chapel are completed and ceremoniously consecrated. The congregation applies at the St. Pölten district commission for the permit to build an agricultural home economics school.
On April 2 and 9, the first nuns from Vienna move into the Scheucherhaus to assist construction manager Angelo Constantini and 50 Italian workers on the building site; the laying of the foundation stone of the “Convent of the Sorrowful Mother,” planned by the Royal and Imperial Court and Municipal Architect Schmalzhofer from Vienna, takes place.
On the feast day of St. Joseph on March 19, the already terminally ill founder of the order, Mother Franziska Lechner, signs the donation contract with the Grundböcks.
Nuns of the Vienna Congregation of the Daughters of Divine Love out collecting money meet the farmers Josefa and Philipp Grundböck at the Obersteinerhof in Hochstrass. The couple offers the sisters their property, where an educational facility for the young women in the area is to arise.