Sister Maria Febronia - Leontina Mureșan- was born in October 1st 1892 in Varviz, at present Subcetate, Harghita County, daughter of a Greek-Catholic priest, in a family of 5 children. At the age of 10 she became boarder in Sibiu at a gymnasium run by the Congregation of the Poor Franciscan Sisters of Mallersdorf, continuing, later on, at the Institute of the same sisters in Târgu Mureș.
At the age of important choices, she felt the calling towards consecrated life and entered the above-mentioned Congregation that sheltered, raised and educated her. She was vested in August 16th 1911, submitted her first vows in 1913 and the perpetual ones in August 12th 1915. In the bosom of this monastic family, which already was 100 years old at the moment of her acceptance, Sister Febronia received a serious thorough formation at the Novitiate in Mallersdorf, Bavaria. In the community of the Franciscan Sisters in Mallersdorf the young Sister Febronia gained some essential characteristics that structured her as a person and which she tried to plant in the souls of the young girls entering in the first feminine congregation of the Romanian Greek-Catholic Church, founded by Metropolitan Dr. Vasile Suciu in February 2nd 1921, the Congregation of the Sisters of the Mother of God.
In the summer of 1921, Sister Febronia came to Blaj, concluding her mission as a German teacher at the Insitute of the Poor Franciscan Sisters of Mallersdorf in Târgu-Mureș, simultaneously receiving all the canonical and necessary approvals to join the new Congregation of Greek-Catholic sisters in Blaj. After 3 weeks in Blaj she moved to the Castle of Obreja, the cradle of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Mother of God.
The beginning was particularly difficult: the castle was in need of major renovations, as it became a devastated building at the end of the First World War. The four novices, that were vested in February 2nd 1921 needed to start their thorough human and spiritual formation; meanwhile new girls joined the first core of sisters, eager to offer their lives to God. Metropolitan Vasile Suciu entrusted Sister Febronia and the other Sisters the Greek-Catholic Orphanage from Blaj, which was transferred, in the autumn of 1921 at the castle in Obreja. Sister Febronia proved to be a great administrator, a wise trainer, as well as a maternal Sister towards the orphans, devoted to the cause at which she adhered, the daring project of the Founding Father.
In December 1921, Sister Febronia submitted her perpetual vows in the Congregation of the Sisters of the Mother of God, becoming the first Superior of this monastic family.
Most-pious Mother Febronia engaged from the very beginning and for all the period she exercised her mission as General superior of the CMG, all her energy, experience and force in the human and spiritual formation of the young girls, but also to place CMG on legal and canonical foundations.
In order to do this, she closely collaborated with the Founding Father, Vasile Suciu, with the appointed priests that accompanied and sustained the lead of the Congregation in the first years of its existence and for the spiritual guidance of the sisters. The Primary School in Obreja was founded, both for the orphans and for the children from Obreja and the surrounding villages, directed by Most-pious Mother Febronia.
In August 15th 1925 the first branch of CMG opened at the TB Sanatorium in Aiud, where a group of five sisters and five candidates was sent. Other branches were opened still in the field of health: October 1926 at the Geoagiu de Jos TB Sanatorium and then at the TB Sanatorium in Arad – for a short period; the sisters were also active in the state or private hospitals in Craiova, Mediaș, Turda and, in 1941, the majority of the sisters working in hospitals were withdrawn and put in Teaching Hospitals, refugees from Cluj in Sibiu, after Northern Transylvania was surrendered.
In education, the Primary School in Obreja was the starting point, afterwards a Housekeeping School for girls in 1926 in the same village. During the school year 1926-1927, after finishing the construction of the “Thanksgiving” Institute in Blaj, the Boarding school for the girls that were enrolled in the three high schools of the Institute was entrusted by Metropolitan Dr. Vasile Suciu to the Sisters of the Congregation of the Mother of God, and the Normal School to the Most-pious Mother Febronia. In January 1927, with approval from the Founding Father and blessing from Bishop Iuliu Hossu, “a small and modest dorm for girls” was opened, first in a rented space, afterwards in a building bought by the Congregation, where the dorm “Holy Mary” extended. The educational activity in Cluj expanded with “Saint Therese” Institute and two Housekeeping Schools run by the CMG sisters. Later on, they were called by the Bishop of Cluj-Gherla, Iuliu Hossu, at the confessional kindergarten “Mother of God”. In Jucu de Jos an Institute of the Congregation was built, and in a neighbouring building a Primary School for the children in the village. The Congregation opened a Primary School and a kindergarten in Bucharest. The Sisters served, for shorter or longer periods, as teachers in Brăila and Craiova. Mother Febronia supported and watched over the good development of the apostolic activities and the necessary spiritual life conditions of the Sisters in all of these beginnings.
Among the few inherited documents that were left to her “daughters” today, there is a small leaflet called: AS A MEMORY OF 25 YEARS OF CONSECRATED LIFE TO THE LORD, in which we can find 3 prayers that pertain to Mother Febronia: În Amintirea a 25 ani de vieață consacrată Domnului, unde se găsesc trei rugăciuni care-i aparţin:
“I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit” (John 15:5). For the sake of your worthiness, oh Jesus, grant us to remain all of our lives in your grace, so we can bear fruit that is worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven.
„“Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Lord Jesus, for the sake of the love you showed to the little ones, grant us the grace to see You in each and every one of the children entrusted to us and to form in them Your Most Holy Face.
„“It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain” Heavenly Father, in the name of your Beloved Son Jesus, we ask You to bless this Congregation of the Mother of God and make it Your chosen garden, from which You could always pick fruits of love, of sacrifice and devotion for the Church, for the Nation and for all those who recourse to Your Kindness.
Most-pious Mother Febronia passed away at the age of 60, in November 18th 1952, in Cluj, after a long period of great suffering, going through prolonged stages of hospitalisation at the Medical Clinic I. According to the testimonials of the Sisters that have visited her, they were enlightened by the way in which Mother Febronia endured her disease: with great resignation, uniting her sufferings to the Sacrifice of Jesus, for the redemption of the souls of the Sisters of CMG, who were already expelled from their Monasteries in 1949 and, because of the Communist persecution, lived scattered in different corners of Transylvania.