Königin der Apostel



Father Paul Sonntag


Father Paul Sonntag

The Co-Founder of the Congregation

Paul Sonntag was born on 9. June 1875 in Kanth, Breslau district, Silesia which was then under the domain of the Austrian Empire. In 1894 he happened to listen to the fascinating talk given by Fr. Bodewig on India. This is the moment when he realized his call to the priesthood and missionary life. On 9. November 1894 Paul Sonntag joined the group in Cologne. Henceforth we see him as a faithful disciple and supporter of Fr. Bodewig. In the year 1906 he came to Vienna. He is the one who re-organized the scattered group of Fr. Bodewig and worked hard for the reinstallation of the missionary society founded by Fr. Bodewig.

In  1908, he established a printing press. His very first publication was a small book “India, the ancient wonder land”. Besides these he published other writings of Fr. Bodewig. From 1909 –1939 he published a mission magazine “Licht und Liebe" ( Light and love). The aim of these publications was to provide information about India and to attract young persons for this new mission. Gradually Paul Sonntag managed to form a committee of Mission friends for India.

In 1916 it was raised into the status of an association under the name, “The Association of Catholic Mission Work for India” Paul Sonntag the founder of this association breathed life into it with the motto “All for Jesus and propagation of the Kingdom of God in India”. His lay Apostolate crossed the boundaries of the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy. The Church and the State recognized the statutes of this association.  Within a short time many young men and women joined the movement and declared their readiness to dedicate their lives for the Indian mission. They were admitted in different houses, where the former group of Fr. Bodewig and were prepared for the Indian mission. Pope Benedict XV, through a letter expressed His joy and appreciation of this development. In 1920 the Association of Catholic Mission work for India, established ‘Zanana Mission for Women’. In 1921 Fr. Sonntag and group took the initiative of founding a new missionary Congregation of all these undertakings and in 1923 on 1st July the new Missionary Congregation of the “Queen of the Apostles” was founded and Pope Benedict XVI. approved its Constitutions.

For Fr. Sonntag the proclamation of the Good News was his priority. He dedicated his life for the Indian mission and longed to go to India. But without fulfilling this wish at the age of 83, on 31st January 1958, he breathed his last.