Ida Friederike Görres

Ida Friederike Görres (2 December 1901, Schloss Ronsperg, Bohemia – 15 May 1971, Frankfurt am Main), born Elisabeth Friederike, Reichsgräfin Coudenhove-Kalergi, was an Austrian writer. From the Coudenhove-Kalergi family, she was the daughter, one of seven children, of Count Heinrich von Coudenhove-Kalergi and his Japanese wife Mitsuko Aoyama.


After her father's early death, she was brought up in his Bohemian home, Schloss Ronsperg, in accordance with the Anglophile ideas of the time, and so, in view of the fact that her mother was an invalid, doubly in the hands of nurses and governesses. A convent education led to the Mary Ward Institute in St. Pölten, near Vienna, and Countess Ida entered a novitiate in 1923. Doubting her vocation, she took up lay work and was soon deeply involved in the German Youth Movement. She graduated from the Social Women's School in Freiburg where she studied church history. In 1928, she went as a youth ministry secretary for girls to Dresden and worked in Catholic education. In 1935, she married the German engineer Carl-Josef Görres in Leipzig. She continued with her Youth Movement activities until the Second World War strangled most of these activities.[1]

Later Görres wrote in the Appendix to Broken Lights:

The German Youth Movement was an extremely elusive, short-lived phenomenon. The units of the Movement, or rather Movements, called themselves Bünde - leagues , confederations... The Youth Movement began quite inconspicuously: a band of secondary schoolboys in Berlin, bored to death by their homes and schools and grown-ups in general, sought to elude this adult world by spending their Sundays and holidays roaming the countryside - hiking, an unheard of pursuit in those days...Hiking became symbolic, standing for Back to Nature against modern civilization; the freelance spirit as against gregariousness, yet, paradoxically, the urge for comradeship against atomizing individualism. The idea was to create a Jugendreich, a Realm of Youth between childhood and what they considered corrupt and warped adult life. The main Catholic branch Quickborn made Burg Rothenfels on the Main its centre, with Romano Guardini as our leading mind. In 1933 the Nazis swallowed up the groups on the nationalistic fringe and shattered the bulk of the Bünde as bulwarks of the independent spirit. Many of the Resistance martyrs came from their ranks, Far Delp, S.J., for instance, and the undergraduate brother and sister, Hans Scholl and Sophie Scholl, who were beheaded in 1943... But the Movement had really petered out much earlier... Many of its members entered the teaching profession or turned to educational and welfare work or the arts... a small but by no means negligible minority did receive a basic shaping and moulding which held good for the rest of their lives; a special kind of awareness to Nature; an extremely keen sense of intellectual and spiritual responsibility and a peculiar sanity and sobriety of judgment.

Görres was active as a writer and wrote on various topics on hagiography. After the war, she began once again to write, travel and lecture, until in 1950 a breakdown in health drove her into seclusion. Broken Lights, Diaries and Letters 1951-1959, gathers her writings from this time into one volume in English. She participated in the Würzburg synod and died after a synod meeting in Frankfurt. The Requiem was held in Freiburg Cathedral, the eulogy given by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who later became Pope Benedict XVI. She was loyal to the tradition of Catholic Christianity. "I have known no other father but these fathers, the priests of the Church, no brothers but my own dear brothers, the theology students. No mother but the Church...I loved them all and clung to them, not only as a daughter and sister, but as a Japanese daughter and sister, in the intensity of unconditional submission which belongs to Japanese filial piety. " [2]


Görres is best known in the English speaking world for her 1944 study of Thérèse of Lisieux Das Verborgene Antlitz - translated as The Hidden Face. The British cookery writer and celebrity chef Delia Smith named the book as an influence on her Roman Catholicism.


  1. Broken Lights Diaries and Letters of Ida Gorres, page vi Introduction by Alan Pryce-Jones
  2. Broken Lights Introduction page viii Burns & Oates 1964
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