| Please expand this article with text translated from the corresponding article in German Wikipedia. (December 2009)
Hildegard Burjan, born Hildegard Freund (January 30, 1883 in Görlitz, Germany – June 11, 1933, in Vienna, Austria) was the founder of a Catholic religious congregation for women and an Austrian politician.
Hildegard Freund was born into a liberal Jewish family in Germany. She studied literature, philosophy and sociology in Switzerland and Berlin and obtained a Ph.D. in 1908. In 1907, she married the Hungarian entrepreneur Alexander Burjan.
In 1909 she was surprisingly healed from a grave sickness, which prompted her conversion to Catholicism. She moved with her husband to Vienna, where she bore her only daughter Elisabeth, even though the pregnancy had at times threatened her life.
The industrialist's wife soon started to interest herself in the social issues of the day, especially concerning the working conditions and spiritual welfare of poor women and children. In 1912, she founded the "Society of Christian women working at home" and in 1918 the "Society for Social Help".
The Caritas Socialis
Her main achievement however remains the founding of a religious congregation for serving the poor. On October 4, 1919, Hildegard Burjan founded the congregation of sisters named Caritas Socialis. The order cares especially for women and children in difficult conditions and also for the elderly and terminally ill people, also playing a pioneer role in the hospice movement in Austria.
Activities as a politician
Beginning in 1918, Hildegard Burjan was also politically active in the Christian-Social Party. In 1919, she became the first female member of the Parliament of Austria. She concerned herself especially with issues such as equal wages for men and women and social security for the working class as well as social and spiritual care for poor families.
The beatification process for Hildegard Burjan was initiated in 1963 by Cardinal Franz König, then Archbishop of Vienna. In the year 2001, a miracle was recognized by the Holy See. In July 6, 2007, she was declared a Venerable.