Since the beginning of Holy Week people in Schoenstatt have been restless because of a notice on the original shrine announcing that it will be closed from Easter until the end of April for larger renovations. Although Fr Pieler has assured the Pilgrimage leader, Fr Roth, that he will find that everything is as it had been before, only a new stone floor was being laid and floor heating installed, nobody trusted the whole affair.
Yesterday, Wednesday, 13.4.1977, the building work began. After the shrine had been emptied, the floor was dug up. The news spread like wildfire round Schoenstatt: A unique opportunity to get hold of a “relic”. The rubble collected in a container in front of the shrine was searched on more than one occasion, and bucket filled with rubble were carted off. (Notice: The text of the chronicle entry provided two more bits of information, both of which are false: “Particularly precious were the many blue bits of plaster from the original plaster work during Schoenstatt foundation. … Many were more interested in what came out from beneath the layer of earth than in the “holy earth” itself: large quarry slabs of stone that obviously formed the floor of the Chapel of St Michael in the Middle Ages.” It was believed that the blue bits of plaster came from the former decoration of the sanctuary in the original shrine, but this cannot be true since it does not show up on photos. The “quarry stone flags” do not come from the floor of the Chapel of St Michael in the Middle Ages, but were laid in 1915/16. Prior to this it had had to make do with a compressed earthen floor.)
The renovation of the original shrine has not come to an end. Except for laying the new floor (with grey stone), no extensive changes were made. (Note: The chronicler was not fully informed: During this renovation in April 1977 the two corner cupboards were removed from the shrine, and the stone flooring in the sanctuary and at the Communion rail step was extended to both walls.)