History » 1914 - 1919 » Reflections on the Chapel » Palestine

Our Shrine – Making Palestine Present

The discovery that the shrine is a second Nazareth was made in August 1916 by Wilhelm Witte, who later became a Benedictine. In the MTA Nr. 33 of 25 March 1917 we find the following contribution:

Last Sunday I was in Schoenstatt. Unfortunately all the boys had left. You know from experience how the calm of the cloisters and Schoenstatt’s solemnity does you good. The best of all were the moments I spent before the picture of grace of the MTA in the chapel. We can probably feel much the same as pious pilgrims experience at the sacred places in Rome and Palestine – that a transcendental power is close, and our human weakness and sinfulness is great. Yes, our chapel is really a place of grace where the ‘Mother Thrice Admirable’ is at work with all her power. It is a second Nazareth where Jesus and Mary live in total intimacy. I no longer doubt that Schoenstatt will contribute its share to re-awakening religion in our Fatherland.

(6.8.1916) Wilhelm Witte, sod. Mar.

This idea never disappeared again. It came to a climax and conclusion in the Office Hours in Heavenwards, in which Fr Kentenich personally connected the shrine with a series of Biblical places (Bethlehem, Nazareth, Tabor, Sion, etc.).

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