History » 1920 - 1934 » 1929 Letter Study

Extract from a Letter Study
by Fr Kentenich in 1956

The following extracts from a letter study written in 1956 are relevant to our subject. This letter was addressed to Fr Moehler (pp 201-215) as an introduction to the talk given on18.10.1929; it is followed by short extracts from the talk itself.

Allow me to begin by mentioning the importance of that year to the Family in order to provide a general characterization …

The most important event of that year was the daring statement abou the ‘Shadow of the Shrine’ …

I know what a strong reaction it aroused when it became generally known. Auxiliary Bishop Fischer of Rottenburg, a good friend of the Movement, sent me a confidential meassage: Although he held me in high regard and took my opinions seriously, the statement about the shadow of the shrine seemed to him to be too daring and unjustified.

As a result of a clearer insight into ultimate contexts I upheld it all the more firmly and confidently, and in the time that followed treated it as a guiding star that always shone in the heavens of our Family history and showed us th way. It is not without reason that it has been given a place of honour in the Second Founding Document (of 18.10.1939). It is now without reason that it has flashed out in the spirit and literature of the Family at all important turning points, and gave us the direction for life. So also today I repeat it with the same simple, unswerving faith as in those “fruitful” years.

So I repeat it very thoughtfully:

In the shadow of the shrine the fate of the Church will be essentially co-decided for centuries.

Please note how much importance is attributed to the shrine – the real central axis of Schoenstatt’s life. …

This daring statement was first uttered – in our Family history it has taken on something like a ‘prophetic’ character – in 1929 during a conference for High School pupils. (Prior to this Fr Kentenich had coined this statement while talking to a group of Sisters of Mary on 2 February 1929; he repeated it at the conference for High School pupils on 7 April that year.) It was held by Fr Menningen. If I remember rightly, it was the most fruitful course he had personally conducted until then.

The October conference referred to here followed this and attempted to show ways by which it could be carried out.

It was preceded – on 15 August 1928 – by the blessing of the Federation Home (Bundesheim) and the espousal of the Pallottine Society with the Movement that followed it.

‘In order to understand the October talk better, two factors have to be considered. As can be gathered from the text, it was given to the Sisters of Mary. They had come into existence in October 1926. So in 1929 they were in the first stage of their young life. The Virgo Sacerdos and Virgo Mater courses followed the Immaculata course. All three courses had been given to the Family with their original, fresh new life. The 18 October 1929 arrived. The course mother of the Virgo Mater course suddenly got the idea to send me an invitation via “heaven’s post” to come down to the valley from the ‘Bundesheim’ (Movement House) to our shrine, and to give a talk to the Sisters of Mary, a sort of Founding Document for the Sisters. I didn’t have to think long about it and answered their wish, setting off down to the valley.

As is immediately evident, and despite its profound content and all-encompassing vision, the talk bears the stylistic traces of an unprepared, spontaneous chat. So it all the more clearly and overwhelmingly reveals the ideas that moved me at the time, and that had always moved me. They simply had to find spontaneous and meaningful expression. I give the whole and unabridged text here. There is no need for a commentary. If it is read thoughtfully, the individual sections complement and clarify one another.

The talk runs as follows:

(A very brief extract is given here.)

„[...] Is the Blessed Mother also prepared to draw the veil a little from the coming fifteen years? That would interest us all. It would also awaken our enthusiasm to attain her main intention - to arouse greater enthusiasm for the capital of grace in us all.

Well, what can we probably expect to happen in the coming fifteen years?

What I said openly for the first time a few months ago on the occasion of the consecration of the Secondary School pupils could perhaps come closer to fulfilment in the coming fifteen years.

At that time I said that ‘in the shadow of our little shrine the fate of the Church, not just in Germany, but far beyond Germany, will be essentially co-decided in the coming centuries.’

So if this day is to be a profound turning-point in the development of our Family, if the Blessed Mother again promises to give us her blessing in a deeper way today, won’t the waves of blessing point in this direction, won’t they have to flow in this direction?

It is our way to read the future from the past and the present. What are developing in our Family at present are profound spiritual currents that are increasingly being directed into the open. These are spiritual currents that powerfully aim at taking hold of wider and wider circles. ...

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