The first mention of Stations of the Cross as a further adornment of the chapel was made by the former Prefect, Josef Fischer. It can be found in Fr Kentenich’s letter of reply to him:
“Neuwied, 21 April 1916
My dear Prefect,
Your welcome card took a long time to arrive. I have just found on on my return from Vallendar. Pictures of the Stations of the Cross are very welcome. However, we won’t be able to frame them very soon. The present Stations come from the old chapel. Why should it not be possible to put up Stations of the Cross in the way you describe? Of course, I cannot decide this.“
From these remarks it seems that Stations of the Cross were hanging on the walls at the time. Had they been brought from the old house chaple to the Chapel of St Michael in the summer of 1914? At any rate they can be seen in photos dating from before 1919, as well as after the memorial tablets were put up in 1919. From Fr Kentenich’s answer we may conclude that Josef Fischer had announced that new ones were on the way. They also arrived in Schoenstatt, as a further letter shows:
„Schoenstatt Convent, 16 June 1916
Dear Co-Sodalist (Fischer),
Yesterday your beautiful pictures of the Stations of the Cross arrived. May God and the Mater ter admirabilis reward you. You will have received my letter already.
With sincere Sodality greetings,
Rudolf Gross, Prefect
Warm sodality greetings and priestly blessing to you and your Intimus (Salzhuber),
With sincere love,
We do not know what happened to Josef Fischer’s pictures of the Stations of the Cross whether they were put up in the chapel and replaced the older set, and whether they still exist somewhere today.
In 1934 the pictures of the Stations of the Cross were removed from the shrine when a new altar was brought in and as a result a major change took place in the interior. In the meantime the number of visitors to the shrine had risen to such an extent that praying the Stations of the Cross would have caused too much disturbance and restlessness, and it was best to avoid it altogether.
At the beginning of the 1950s new sandstone Stations of the Cross created by Siegfried Fricker in Jestetten, southern Baden, were put up behind the chapel along the ancient convent walls. They invited pilgrims to silent prayer, especially as the former playground was no longer used by the boys, who went to the Wambachtal. We owe this information to Fr Josef Fischer, who was imprisoned with Fr Kentenich in Dachau, and who had been in charge of the pilgrims at one time.
The Stations of the Cross of that time could be seen as a symbol that was in tune with the life that had developed in the Schoenstatt Family as was the case with all the other symbols in the shrine. Fr Kentenich gave prayerful expression to this religious life while he was a prisoner in Dachau. It forms part of the prayer book, “Heavenwards”, which reflects the contours of Schoenstatt’s spirituality.