History » 1912 - 1914 » 1914 Development

Report of Fr Kolb

New developments with the Marian Sodality

... When the new school year began in 1913/14 the subject of the Marian Sodality became more and more serious. Instead of rejecting it out of hand, I asked the Spiritual Director to make a proper application to the Provincial Council

The testimonial (from Fr Eckinger SJ) favoured the introduction of the Marian Sodality even in the circumstances described. This gave me the basis for re-introducing the application to the Provincial Council for the start of a Marian Sodality. As far as I can remember, it was granted at least as an experiment.

So the Spiritual Director had finally achieved what he had set his heart on. You can find everything else about the foundation of the Sodality in the well-known sources.

Its later history

Now the a new question immediately arose. It had to do with a suitable Sodality chapel. This, too, was quite new and strange. After all, the chapel of the new Study House had been dedicated to the ‘Mater puritatis’ for the boys, and the picture above the altar had been specially painted and donated by Mr Kuehlen, the publisher, in Muenchen Gladbach. So this chapel could also been seen as the Sodality chapel. If the objection was raised that it was too big, the infirmary chapel was also still available. It was also a Marian chapel and contained our revered founder’s picture of the ‘Mater divini amoris’. So they could just as well have their Sodality meetings there. However, the Spiritual Director would not consider either. Both places were not private enough, anyone could go in and out. He wanted a home for the Marian Sodality where they could feel solely in charge. So he then came up with the idea that we could give him the Chapel of St Michael for this purpose.

This, too, gave rise to reservations all round, first of all because of its situation - it was so out of the way - and then very specially because of its dilapidated state. It had been neglected and in the end used for storing garden tools. The question had even been raised whether the damp building, which would probably soon collapse, should not be demolished. However, I had already rejected this idea, even if only because of my high respect for my patron saint.

Now that this new idea had been raised, I could hardly say no. After all, it honoured my patron saint at least to some extent. So I agreed and saw to it that the chapel was somewhat renovated. Finally, and to document that it was really a chapel of St Michael, I ordered the statue of the Archangel Michael, which was usually put up in the refectory of our Mother House, should be sent to Schoenstatt for the chapel. It was enthroned above the altar.

In October 1914 the Sodality took possession of the chapel, and there the first talk – the so-called “First Founding Document” – was held there.

It is not difficult to realize that all this, which had apparently been done in secret, had an effect on the teachers in the College. In addition, until then they were not in the habit of distinguishing between a teaching and educational body, so this occasioned many frictions. Both sides meant it well, but it was impossible to prevent the battles. For a long time the Marian Sodality with its novel way of education and various events, which the teachers thought interfered with the academic success of the students, was and remained a source of conflict. In the end even Novitiate also complained – and the complaints even reached the General Council. Often these were questions about responsibilities and authority, but no less important were fundamental questions concerning the Society. Since I always protected the Marian Sodality and supported the magazine, “Mater ter admirabilis”, which had started during the war, I was often the whipping boy in this matter …

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