History » 1914 - 1919 » The MTA picture » Kolb on the MTA picture

Father Kolb on the MTA Picture

An essential change took place after 1915. It is understandable that the boys wanted a picture of Mary in their Sodality chapel. The times were most unfavourable for acquiring one by an artist. So they felt forced to make up for the lack as simply as possible.

One of the teachers at our College, the diocesan priest Huggle, drew Fr Kentenich’s attention to a picture of Mary he had seen in an antique shop in Freiburg, and which he was even prepared to buy and give to the Sodality. Fr Kentenich gladly accepted his offer, and without much ado he put it up above the altar in the chapel in place of the statue of the Archangel Michael, which he moved to the side where it still stands today.

Although I was completely surprised by this course of events, I agreed to it during my next visit in Schoenstatt. Later a number of the members of our Society considered this one of the greatest crimes I had committed with regard to Schoenstatt. Their main accusation was that I had not determined that the Madonna of our revered founder, or the Queen of the Apostles, had to be used. Many years later the General Council even placed the responsibility for this on me and said I had to have it removed and replaced by one of the above-mentioned pictures.

Yet in 1929, that is 14 years later, I had to explain to the Superior General of that time, Fr Resch, how impossible such a change would be. I referred to a similar instance in the first church of our Society in New York, that of our Lady of Mount Carmel, where they had over night replaced the ugly head of the statue of our Lady with a more beautiful one before her feast-day. The Faithful protested so much that they were forced to restore the ugly head. So much to this tiresome matter for me.

A few years prior to this, that is, in 1912, Fr Kolb had seen to it that a large altar picture (mater puritatis – Mother Most Pure) was specially painted for the house chapel of the new College. So he must have felt sympathy for the boys’ wish to have a new and artistic picture for the Sodality chapel, especially following the colourful re-decoration of the chapel during its renovation in the summer of 1914. Obviously such a suggestion or wish was not uttered because “the times were most unfavourable. Nevertheless it is not clear why the danger of war, or the outbreak of war, was considered “unfavourable” for such an artistic creation and prevented it. It is more probable that the “unfavourable times” mentioned by Fr Kolb referred to the objections of some of the teachers.

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