“A further chapter was the removal of the playing field in the valley next to the shrine and its transfer to the Wambachtal. In this way we got a pilgrims’ place that was in keeping with the dignity of the shrine. This was also one of my first tasks in 1925 when I was appointed to the Provincial Council.
The Prefect of Studies in particular objected strongly. The former Rector, Fr Vogel, who had been appointed superior of the Mission in Queenstown, South Africa, felt obliged to protest against the transfer on behalf of the College. Also in this regard those words proved true: Little strokes fell oaks. In the end the transfer of the playing field was agreed to by the Provincial Council.
Nevertheless, there was a long way between getting agreement and actually carrying out the plan. Although the new Rector, Fr Baumann, agreed to it, its execution was held up by the difficulties caused by the brothers. It was only during the rectorship of Fr Franzen from 1931 that things began to move. The authorities in Vallendar asked to be allowed to dump rubble on our property in the Wambachtal for ten years. This provided us with most of the material we needed to level the ground and cost us nothing. So it was possible to get the project going in the end, and thanks to Fr Franz’s perseverance it was also completed.
That was one of the greatest victories of Providence. If the playing field had not been moved by the time the College was closed and the state postgraduate instisute opened, the shrine and Adoration would have been greatly endangered, because these would not have been possible if the students had used the playing field.
(Remark about the postgraduate institute: This refers to the closure of the College in 1939 by the Nazis. Fr Kolb was too prudent to express this more clearly in 1942.)
The laying of an access road also happened in this period. It was more difficult and more expensive than we can imagine today. Since the town was also involved, we had to win its co-operation and agreement to share part of the costs. It cost a lot of energy to get this. Later it would have been impossible.
Finally the question of accommodating the pilgrims as the pilgrims’ movement developed became acute. Some advised us to buy the Mullenbach Pipe factory on the Hoehr Road, which was repeatedly offered to us.
(Note: The former Mullenbach Pipe factory on the boundary of the town of Vallendar, situated on the road to Hoehr-Grenzhausen, was finally bought by the Institute of our Lady of Schoenstatt (Frauen von Schoenstatt) and later procured by the Schoenstatt Fathers. It became the site of Patris Verlag.)
With the best will in the world I was unable to feel any enthusiasm for this ugly building, so I was always against buying it, not least because of the high costs of renovating it. Instead I one day brought with me from Limburg the agreement to build a Pilgrims’ Hall, which later became the temporary church as it now stands. It would take me too far to describe this here. However, the Provincial Council laid down the condition that we would have to pay for the erection of the building ourselves.
What I had foretold on a number of occasions in the past years finally happened automatically. The Wasserburg, which we ‘were not to have under any circumstances’ became ours, and provided a better solution to accommodating the pilgrims than the pipe factory would have been.”