Der Pallottiner-Pater Reinhold Maise SAC ist Gärnter und Priester.

Making projects flourish

Father Reinhold Maise promotes life as a gardener and missionary secretary

Father Reinhold Maise has just watered an orchid in full bloom in his office at the Provincial Office in Friedberg. The Pallottine friar already had a knack for ornamental plants as a gardener on the flower island of Mainau in Lake Constance. For the past year and a half, he has been working as a missionary secretary, helping Pallottine projects to flourish, especially in Africa and India. Whether as a gardener or now as Missionary Secretary, in both cases his aim is to “promote life”.

As Mission Secretary, Father Maise travels a lot – in the first year of his new role, he spent half the year travelling. He has visited India, Cameroon, Nigeria, Malawi, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, Poland and Ukraine. His main focus is on his brothers. But when the opportunity arises, he is also fascinated by the plant world and its diversity. In Cameroon, Maise saw how a banana plantation financed by a Spanish parish in the middle of the forest was bearing fruit. Getting there took him over hill and dale on a motorbike. In northern India, he was delighted to see orchids in their natural habitat.

They are his speciality as a horticulturist specialising in the cultivation of ornamental plants. He completed his training on the island of Mainau. He worked on the flower island for a total of eleven years. The Pallottine’s duties included watering, fertilising and repotting orchids and helping to prepare the elaborate orchid shows. Creativity was required to display some 3000 blooming beauties. Many people were amazed to see a priest working as a gardener three days a week in addition to his pastoral duties. Even the television was interested.

Pater Reinhold Maise besucht als Missionssekretär seine Mitbrüder im Norden Kameruns.

Learning from the plant world

For Father Maise, spirituality and botany are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary. “I feel enriched and positively inspired by botany,” he says. He believes that man can learn to live from the plant world. The Pallottine explains this as follows: “The laws of life are the same for man and nature. It is part of the art of living to recognise the impulses of life and to give them space”. Maise shared this with many visitors to the Festival of Encounter in the autumn during spiritual-botanical tours of the Friedberg Pallottine Park. There are about 200 trees there. It is a colourful mix of many different types of trees, including exotic species and tree seniors up to 80 years old.

“It is part of the art of living to recognise the impulses of life and to give them space”

For Maise, the park is a treasure that the Pallottines are now rediscovering for themselves, following maintenance work such as the removal of dead wood. He tells exciting stories about the special plants there. He knows a whole avenue of giant sequoias from the island of Mainau. But he is also impressed by the single double-stemmed specimen in Friedberg. It was thought to have been extinct since prehistoric times and was only rediscovered in China in 1941. In other words, a fossil has been resurrected. The Ginkgo is also present in the park. This tree of life is said to have survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Father Maise sees the ginkgo tree as a sign of God’s creative power. The Pallottine combines his tree stories with poetic and spiritual texts. He sees the beauty of nature and, as a creative man, he wants to create beauty. At the same time, he has a trained gardener’s eye for the extensive grounds. And Father Maise sometimes lends a hand himself. For example, when he had to get rid of the box moth caterpillars with organic sprays.

Flowers need stimulation, and without light there is no life

In his office, Father Maise can quickly tell by looking at the houseplants whether they are doing well with new shoots or badly with withered leaf tips. Plants, like people, need to be treated with care. The way you treat others tells you a lot about yourself. For Maise, this is an important law of life. But sometimes new impulses are needed. After all, constant, well-tempered mediocrity is not always good for you. The cacti Maise inherited from his mother spent the winter in a cool, dark place so that they would flower later. Flower bulbs also need a cold stimulus. What may seem negative at first glance can be exploited, says Maise.

“Constant, well-tempered mediocrity is not always good for you”

Botany can also teach us something about the cycle of life. In the Pallottine Park in Friedberg, as elsewhere, the leaves have fallen in the autumn, only to grow again in the spring. And Father Maise will eventually divide his orchids. Old parts of the plant will then allow new shoots to grow and later die. “The future goes forward, not backward,” says the missionary secretary. And plants always have a clear purpose. “They are looking for the way to the light. Because without light, there is no life,” says Father Maise. For him, what Jesus said about himself is life-affirming: “I am the light of the world”.

Spiritueller Reisebericht aus Indien von Pater Reinhold Maise SAC

Contemplation and action

For the 52-year-old priest, change is part of life. So his transition from part-time gardener to missionary secretary is nothing unusual. On the flower island of Mainau, combined with his work in the House of Silence and Prayer in Constance, things were rather quiet and meditative. As a missionary secretary, however, Father Maise is often on the move. “I need both – contemplation and action,” says the Pallottine priest. He begins his day with a meditation early in the morning. For him, there is a clear connection between his past and present roles: “It’s about promoting life and passing it on. His ageing Pallottine community supports the young confreres in Africa and India with experience and money. The fact that development is possible in this way makes “perfect sense” to Maise.

“Every life has a vocation”

For Maise, his new role as Mission Secretary is “a logical step” in his life’s journey. “When I live what God has created in me, when it blossoms, it can also become a blessing for others,” says the missionary secretary. He believes that this is true not only for pastoral workers, but for everyone. Every life has a vocation. Each one of us should look at what we are good at and what is useful to others. Whether you are a priest, a gardener, a doctor or a lorry driver.


What does a Ginkgo look like?

There is a group of Ginkos growing in the Pallottine Park in Friedberg. Goethe described the gingko leaf in a poem as a symbol of love and friendship.

What does an evening primrose look like?

During his spiritual-botanical tours, Father Reinhold Maise showed us a short-lived beauty: the evening primrose blooms only from dusk until the next day.

Who is Father Reinhold Maise?

Father Reinhold Maise SAC (born 1971) comes from Ittendorf near the Pallottine branch at Hersberg Castle on Lake Constance. He has been involved with the Pallottine community since his baptism, first communion, confirmation and as an altar boy. He also completed his secondary education in Hersberg. After his civil service in the care of the elderly, he studied theology, first in Freiburg and then in Vallendar. Back at Lake Constance, Maise was ordained a priest in Hagnau in 2000. After his pastoral year in Augsburg-Bärenkeller, he worked as a school and youth chaplain in Bruchsal, was responsible for vocations in Friedberg and was spiritual director at the novitiate in Untermerzbach. From 2011 he trained as a gardener on the island of Mainau in Lake Constance. He then worked there part-time until 2022. At the same time, Maise continued to work as a pastor, and in 2017, together with his confrere Father Fritz Kretz, he opened the house of silence and prayer “Coenaculum” in the old town of Konstanz. Since August 2022, Father Maise has been Missionary Secretary of the International Pallottine Province, based in Friedberg, Bavaria.

Report: Andreas Schmidt
Pictures: Pallottine Fathers, Andreas Schmidt, Island Mainau/Tobias Mayer, Josef Eberhard, Alexander Schweda

Travel reports by our Mission Secretary, Fr Reinhold Maise:

The Church Fathers used the butterfly to symbolise the transformation from death to life
Bishop Wilhelm Krautwaschl of Graz confers honorary degrees on eight priests
On 14th March our confrere Archbishop Tadeusz Wojda SAC was elected President of the Polish Bishops' Conference
The patronal feast of Our Lady of Sorrows has an eventful history, not only in the pilgrimage church of Herrgottsruh
Understanding mission is changing to better respond to new challenges
It takes 90 minutes, the length of a crime thriller on TV in the evening: the complete Gospel of Mark in one go!
"The Church must be on the side of freedom, the Church must be on the side of the weaker members of our society"
Vicar General Father Sascha-Philipp Geißler during his visit to a school in Blankenese (Hamburg)
Father Henkes openly defended his Christian convictions, which his family and confreres called unreasonable and unwise
We remember the example of Father Richard Henkes at a time when defenceless people are once again being murdered
The Charity Christmas Market once again raised a record sum for a good cause
This year, the Provincial, Fr Markus Hau, organised the meeting under the motto: "Becoming Disciples, Making Decisions"
Kohlhagen - a place of faith and encounter - attracts people
Provinzial calls for commitment against right-wing extremism
The Pallottine missionaries are usually looked after in their old home. How do they cope with this?
The anniversary "St. Jakob - 50 years of the Pallottine parish" will be celebrated on Pallottine Day, 21 January at 6:00 pm
The parish of St James in Friedberg, Bavaria, has gained self-confidence over the last 50 years
"We must learn to discern what is important"
Great atmosphere at the anniversary academy at the Vinzenz Pallotti University
From Malawi's capital Lilongwe to Mannheim in Germany
We Pallottine Fathers ask you for donations for our projects - for many roofs that make life possible
The pastoral care of vocations was the focus of this year's Candlemas meeting
A joyful event for the Pallottine community in Nigeria
Friends and guests joined the Pallotti Family in celebrating the Feast of St. Vincent Pallotti
House dedications open up new opportunities in pastoral care and formation for the Pallottine Fathers in Malawi
Anniversary: It’s been 100 years since the Pallottines came to Africa
"It needs a place where dialogue can take place"
Provincial Assembly in the Bavarian Town of Friedberg
Six brothers commit themselves to the Society of the Pallottines
How does one actually become a missionary secretary? Fr Markus Hau lets us participate in his mission
Brother Bruno promised to consecrate himself to God and definitively join the Pallottine community.
"With my God I overcome walls", was the motto of Patrick Stortz at his First Profession
Through his unexpected death, the Pallottine community in Nigeria loses a friend and companion.
A truly inspiring film. A must-see for every Pallotti enthusiast and everyone who wants to become one.
Our parish was host for a month. Many Christians took advantage of the offers in Kaphatika with great enthusiasm.
In Malawi's capital Lilongwe there is now a Postulancy formation house for young men who want to become Pallottines.
It’s the happiest day a society can celebrate.
Our parish in Kaphatika is preparing for the month of mission.
On July 18th, 2020, our Confrere Fr. Peter Hillen SAC died at the age of 68, after 42 years of profession and 41 years of priesthood.
On July 18th, 2020, our Confrere Fr. Peter Hillen SAC died at the age of 68, after 42 years of profession and 41 years of priesthood.
Pallottines in Malawi are hopeful. In many places new projects are emerging. Now two confreres have been ordained priests.
Fr. Alexander Holzbach had been editor-in-chief of the Pallottine magazines for 30 years.
How can people live their vocation?
Managing Director Walder now cooking for Salzburg’s Street People
Young men want to become Pallottines. Postulate to start in Malawi.
The poor aren’t able to get food due to the stay-at-home order. An interview with Fr. Markus Hau is invoking for help there.
Vincent Pallotti was born 225 years ago on April 21st, 1795
It is for three places to celebrate: Friedberg, Bavaria; Washington D.C. and Vinkovici in Croatia.
A very personal travelog from Malawi. Patrizia Bauer works in the mission office of the Pallottines in Germany.
Vietnamese parish members very much contribute to making parish life vivid and colorful.
Bishop Bruno Ateba reported on the construction progress and thanked the benefactors for their help.
International Community to meet for Provincial Assembly
The guests experienced a worthy celebration in the cathedral, a colorful, sunny event in the Bischofsgarten and a grand finale in the Limburg Mission House.
In Mbaukwu (Nigeria) two confreres made their perpetual and one confrere his first consecration.
On the 20th July 2019, three Nigerian Confreres of the Heart of Jesus Province were ordained priests.
Fr. Heinz Goldkuhle took part in the conference of catholic civil aviation chaplains.
We are happy about our newly consecrated brothers!
The Nigerian Pallottines hostet the Deaconate Ordination at St Dominic parish Mbaukwu.
The constitutional meeting of the Austrian Unio took place on February 10th, 2019 at Johannes Schlössl in Salzburg, Austria.
The Pallottine Continental Meeting of those in responsibility for the African unity took place at a time when temperatures rose up to 30 degrees Celsius.
We are very happy about our five new confreres in Nigeria
Temperatures were rising to 30 degrees Celsius as 5 young Nigerian confreres were given their perpetual consecration in Mbaukwu, Nigeria.
Bishop Atebas diocese is in the wild north of cameroon, the Pallottine charism and the Pallottines themselves are of tremendous assistance
In an interview Pallottine General Rev. Fr. Jacob Nampudakam talks about past, present and future tasks for the Pallottine family and the church in general.
After 10 years of waiting of the Pallottine Mission in Malawi, the dream has been finally realized.
A special success story in word and pictures. A great THANK YOU to all our benefactors and benefactoresses who through prayer and donations supported us. The Lord will reward you.


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