Susanna Autobiography



Susanna Kjösterud, 26 april 1926, selfbiography

(transcript from the original in the archive of Norsk Sufi Samfunn)


I am born in Drammen, Norway, in 1864, as the eldest of seven children. My father was a physically strong, clever businessman but did not have a strong character. My mother, who died when I was only nine-and-a-half years old, was a very fine, religious person. So, already as a young child I had the responsibility for my six younger sisters and brothers. We were brought up by different housekeepers and in often unstable and hard circumstances.
When I was seventeen years old my father married my mother's housekeeper and I left home becoming a governess and after that taking up several other jobs. At twenty-five I left for America where I stayed two-and-a-half years. Then I went back to Norway where my father made me start a business in spring 1893 which, although I found it rather hard as I had always been longing for spiritual work, I continued for thirty-three years.
During my long life I have traveled a great deal, seen many countries, come in contact with all kinds of people and have a lot of friends all over the world.
In 1919 my youngest sister died; I then adopted her two children, a girl and a boy, as my own; they are at present both in America. Being now the oldest of the whole family, I know that my relations are looking to me as kind of a mother for them all. It is very nice but at the same time it takes a great deal of my precious time. My health has never been good neither as a child nor later, until I was sixty years old. I have gone through many sicknesses and suffered a great deal in every way.
I think I may say that I always had a religious longing. I have been seeking and have tried different things without finding satisfaction, until at sixty I met my destiny. In November 1924 Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan came to Norway. Only by seeing his picture I had the feeling that through him I would find what I had been seeking for years. I was then made a mureed and also National Representative for the Sufi Movement in Norway. Since then my whole life seems to have changed. I am another being, always healthy, happy and busy all day long, trying to do my beloved Master's work as far as I am able.
In the Summer of 1925 I went to the Summerschool at Suresnes, where I stayed from the first to the last day. Murshid made me a Siraja in June and Sheikha a few weeks later, blessings beyond my comprehension! I sincerely hope and pray that I never may feel differently toward this blessed work, which I so unworthy have been chosen to lead for my country, that I may be growing in strength and faith from day to day knowing God will accomplish the rest, because the work is His.