History » 1939 - 1969 » 1948 Heroes graves

New Layout of the Heroes’ Graves 1948

From: Am Schönstattquell, 1 1949, p. 17 ff.:

When we visit Schoenstatt, we like to make for the places that mean the most to us. We notice every change and ask for the reason behind it. Everything at a place of grace should speak to us, and we want to understand their symbolic language.

So what has happened to the heroes’ graves behind the shrine? Many a participant at the October Week probably asked themselves this question when they first made their way there. Only the black crosses and the grave mounds of Hans Wormer and Max Brunner are still the same. The lamp with its five symbols of the ideals of the “Generation of the Black Crosses” is also there, but it hangs from a new, light grey natural stone. The memorial tablet has been removed. The motto “We safeguard your legacy” and the names of Engling and the other sodalists who had fallen during the First World War is now at the foot of the stone. Heavy, roofed wooden crosses have been put up on the graves of Fr Albert Eise and Fr Franz Reinisch.

How did these changes come about? Why did the beautiful old boulder have to be removed? We were all interested in the answer. The reason is as follows: While he was in Rome Fr Kolb was given relics of St Vincent Pallotti for Schoenstatt. These are being kept in the Pallotti Room in the Home of the Federation. However, part of Pallotti’s coffin had to be given a place of honour near the shrine. The idea was to let it into the ancient gravestone. However, when the specialists examined it, they found that it was cracked. A hard winter could have shattered it completely. So the “Generation of the Black Crosses” was asked to find a new and worthy replacement. That is why the new stone is there crowned with a metal hemisphere and a cross. It has the task of containing the precious relic of the revered Founder of the Catholic Apostolate, and his name is to be found on it. It is the symbol of the goal of the Schoenstatt Movement: to form the world into Christ. The dead who are resting here, the spiritual sons of Pallotti, gave their lives for this goal.

At 6 p.m. on 20 October, as we gathered at the heroes’ graves to witness the blessing of the new layout, the night heavens was filled with stars, and a fire lit up the gravestone and crosses. Before the liturgical blessing began, we warmed ourselves at the fire and listened to an account of how Schoenstatt became a holy Maryland, and how the “Generation of the Black Crosses” accepted the responsibility for the exalted legacy of the founder generation. Let us quote a few important passages:

It was a time (1914) when people fought like unruly boys, but far more cruelly and unto death. … Since their envy had increased to such an extent, they tore God’s image and likeness to pieces. Their Mother on earth, the Church, and their Mother in heaven, Mary, saw this with great sadness. Yet Mary remembered the ineffable hour when to the accompaniment of the joyful song of angels she had given birth to Christ, the Life and Peace of the world. She thought of the suffering of that time when she could find no refuge but that harsh stable – and human hearts were harsher still. She placed all this in the balance, and her love outweighed it. She spoke words of profound mercy for a miserable people to her Child. ...

And it was as though Mary descended again to the earth with her Child. She heard voices calling from a hidden valley: O Queen, those who are about to die greet you! It was the hour when Mary found a home where she could lay her Son in glowing human hearts … She set up her throne in a little chapel.

For a second time a Founding Document was written for Schoenstatt – on 18 October 1914. (Note: The first time was the founding document of Old Schoenstatt, signed on 24 October 1143.) Since then the shrine at the foot of the valley has become a stronghold of heaven’s Queen, a house of light in dark times, a place of rest for the weary wanderer, a Castle of the Grail for the Queen. There Joseph Engling and Hans Wormer approached the flag on 11 April 1915 and spoke their solemn promise: This is the banner I have chosen, I will not abandon it, I swear this to Mary! Before the Sodalists set off for the battlefield, they again knelt down here before the picture of the Blessed mother and asked for her protection and blessing. In their hearts, however, they bore the words Max Brunner had called out with such enthusiasm on 8 December 1914:

I see the Virgin’s banner uplifted. My dying eyes will not turn away from her. I will still lift my trembling hands to swear the oath, while my dying lips will whisper tremulously: Ave Imperatrix, morituri te salutant! (Hail, O Queen, those who are about to die greet you!)

The work of grace from heaven and heroic commitment on earth created Schoenstatt’s early history in most difficult times.
The legacy left behind by Schoenstatt’s first youth will have to be conquered by the generations that follow. Five young cadets united for new battles and victories. (Note: This is a reference to the Schoenstatt groups from five classes in the College in the years before the Second World War.)

The first young cadet took hold of the sword to cut through the darkness. On the sword were written those words:

United, strong and like brothers,
Schoenstatt, home, the kingdom of youth!

A second cadet took up the shield to protect life that was beginning. On the shield was a lily, in its heart those words:

United like brothers with youthful and joyful strength,
the lily banner’s free knights!

The third cadet took up the flaming torch in order to spend himself with zeal:

United, glowing with joyfully active strength,
Mary’s guards create her kingdom of youth!

The fourth cadet planted the storm flag in order to storm onward and win the victory. They swore this oath on the flag:

Never to totter in storm or in strife,
And bear it victoriously against every foe!

The last cadt took over the guard of honour to protect the holy Grail:

Youth, joyful, united and strong,
Mary’s knights of the Grail, faithful to the core!

www.urheiligtum.de - The Website about the Original Shrine of the international Schoenstatt Movement.

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