Herzogsägmühle is a community between the towns of Schongau and Peiting in the upper Bavarian region called `Pfaffenwinkel`. There is no difference in outer appearance between this village and other in the vicinity. It originated from five farms, serving as a labour colony for homeless men from 1894 on. Today, Herzogsägmühle consists of 900 residents and 350 hectares of land, a part of which is being used agriculturally.
About a third of the 700 citizens, intent on living and working elsewhere later on, use Herzogsägmühle during a time of transition in their lives. The others, including staff and their families, are at home here.
Life happens here just like in every other town, but no one is being left out of the community. There is no unemployment here; even severely handicapped persons take part in working life. Competent specialists are available for consultation, therapy, eldercare and other services. Many of the numerous offers of practical help are being gladly accepted by disadvantaged persons living in the region.
There are a primary and vocational school here, as well as shops, a post office, a restaurant, a church and three chapels, and a cemetery. There is a fire brigade, an athletic club with its own tennis department, a fishing club with its own pond, a mini-golf range; there are children´s playgrounds and recreational grounds, and you will find a sports hall with a climbing wall, a boulder court, a village square with a may-pole, a banquet hall, numerous cultural offers and activities, and a regular bus line connecting Herzogsägmühle to surrounding towns.
All facilities determining the character of any regular village are present here, contributing to its young, adult, and senior citizens´ quality of life.
The aim of our Christian community is to offer an individual, self-responsible and -determined life for all. Herzogsägmühle understands itself as a place to live, offering help to the disadvantaged and disfranchised; it is a part of the `Diakonie´, the social services of the Protestant church, and wishes to be a “ partner of the state”.
Everyone living, working or learning in Herzogsägmühle has the right to be respected as an equal citizen.
We at Herzogsägmühle wish to empower our fellow citizens to a life in which they are not being disadvantaged. This life should be individual, self-responsible and – determined, dignified and communal, and in awareness of the unlimited love of God.
Our community is composed of:
- Children and youth developmental problems, deficiencies in maturity or learningdisabilities, and behavioural problems
- Poor, homeless or unemployed persons or those threatened by these conditions, and unable sufficiently solve these problems on their own
- Female and male fellow citizens with mental or multiple handicaps who need assistance, support, and a home
- Persons who temporarily or permanently have problems independently getting along personally, socially or vocationally because of spiritual or psychic illness, or addiction
- Elderly people in need of care and a home
- Staff and their families.
Someone following a path such as ours has to approach their daily tasks with love, and with a lot of verve. Only someone giving their best will achieve the best results. We have set our own goals in each department:
Our goal for all persons entitled to social assistance is the improvement of their relationships to themselves, to other, and to God.
In our professional efforts we strive for excellence in all fields.
As to our economic foundations, our goals are most effective use of financial funds, and maximal uitilization of every department.
The goal of our community is an optimal quality of life for the disadvantaged as well as for staff and their families.
For our staff it is important to be sensitive to the conditions of disadvantaged persons, and to bring to their work a high level of training, an ability for teamwork, ready acceptance of responsibility, and a firm grounding in Christian belief.
Transparency of structure and procedure, and the highest possible responsibility of staff immediately working with persons and products are the most important criteria for the organisation.
In 1994, German Post honoured us by issueing a special edition postage-stamp, “100 Years of Herzogsägmühle", expressing appreciation of Herzosägmühle´s socialimportance as a “place to live” for disadvantaged fellow citizens.