This renovation of the shrine reported in the house chronicle probably took place late in Autumn of 1919. There is only an announcement of its completion in a letter of 15 December 1919. The letter writer related how much Fritz Esser had worked in order to make the shrine more beautiful, and reckoned that he would continue to take a lively interest in this work of art. The following extract from the letter can be found in Fr Klein’s biography of Fritz Esser, p.36, although without mention of the name. Since Karl Kubisch’s letter to Fritz Esser has been preserved in the archive of the Schoenstatt Fathers, it can now be given, because all concerned have meanwhile died.
“Stop, or you will condemn me completely. I would rather tell you something about the chapel. Today (25.12.1919) we had the first Holy Mass down there since the holidays. Your dearest wish that our beloved chapel should be renovated has come true. It has been dried out. It has been temporarily whitewashed. It will be painted in the Spring. But even like this it looks really nice. Forster, Lortz and I installed everything. Since it had to be finished in a few days, we had a lot of work. Since everyone liked it, I take it that also you would have been satisfied ...
The gardens are still a mess. They have been destroyed by the work. But they will be seen to in the immediate future. Now, Fritzchen, is that enough? …
Yes, we want to meet in spirit in the chapel and strengthen our vocation ... ”
The whole renovation of the shrine at this time could not have been very extensive, because it had to be repeated time and again. The reason for this is no one really bothered about this work. This changed when the former Provincial Superior, Fr Kolb, came to live in Schoenstatt from 23 December 1919, and was asked by the Movement leader, Fr Kentenich, to see to these things.
According to Fr Kolb’s recollections, and through his mediation, the painting of the shrine was undertaken by a Benedictine, Sr Rita, from a Bonn Convent. Fr Kolb accepted the hundred or so nuns there into the Women’s League. The reason why this project was not undertaken could probably lie in the intention to change the structure of the shrine, an idea that grew in strength in the years that followed. Painting the shrine in this way would only have been meaningful once such building work had been completed. Obviously the painting of the shrine was no longer undertaken after the plan to change the shrine’s strucure was dropped. After 1928 the idea was no longer pursued.
At times Melchior Foster signed the copies of the programmes of the Mission Section of the Junior Sodality in 1918, however it is probable that he was not admitted to the consecration, because his name does not appear in the Sodality Album.
Karl Lortz, born 21 December 1901 in Mainz, Sodality consecration on 8 December 1919, Ordination 1 July 1928, worked with Fr Karl Kubisch in South Africa, spent a short time in Australia, died 15 October 1935 in Limburg.
Karl Kubisch, born 7 February1899, Sodality consecration on 8 December 1914, 4th Prefect of the Sodality, Ordination 14 June 1924 together with Salzhuber, Kastner, Hafeneth and others. Worked in South Africa and died there on 27 June 1936. In the “South Africa Report” Fr Kentenich paid his respects to his memory.