We are always happy when our Women of the Federation show an interest in all that has changed at home during their absence. A tremendous number of questions were asked in the time after Christmas and people looked: “Novitiate House”? “Sr Anna in the Wildburg?” Yes, new things are happening also with us. And your amazement and questions have shown us that you consider yourselves part of our Family, and that such changes and movements have also to be passed on to those outside Schoenstatt.
The “Novitiate House” is the former house of the Sisters, our old Federation Home near the chapel in the valley. Where does the name come from? It appeared suddenly because precisely this house has been reserved for the Novitiate. The current Novice Mistress is also the house superior. Together with some older Sisters she looks after the young novices. The present course will probably have their Clothing ceremony on 11 February 1932. There are 53 of them. Together with their educators they fill every corner of the ‘Old House’.
The rest of us Sisters have moved into the Wildburg. Of course we took our Superior General with us. Also the sewing room has been transferred here. Recently the furniture van stood even in front of Kretzer’s little house and took along the Kretzer family’s possessions because our dear old towers are tilting so ominously that the house has had to be vacated because of the fear that they could collapse. Naturally we imagine that the ancient towers, our faithful comrades, have begun to tremble because the majority of the Sisters are moving away! That must surely have cut them to the quick. Such ancient towers usually have a soft heart.
It wasn’t so easy for us to move away from these towers on the one hand, because of the towers, and on the other, because of the house that each Sister had loved as her Mother House, and finally, most of all because of the shrine. The sense of being sheltered which we had experienced in the shrine also had an effect on its closest surroundings, and it was always a blissful feeling in that old Mother House that “our Mother is very near.”
On 28 December 1931 the great move began. Day 1: Packing day. All our possessions had to be stowed in baskets and boxes and brought down to the conference room. Day 2: Transport. A lorry travelled to and fro all day until the Novices’ luggage was upstairs and ours in the new house. Some of the Sisters were engaged in transporting things. This was because the boxes and baskets had to be carried over the back yard to the gate, because the lorry could not drive in. The other Sisters had to polish all the rooms, so that the house would show a friendly face to the new arrivals. This was a good thing, because it was impossible to think while working so hard and in all the disorder, and the sorrow of those who were condemned to move out could not surface. Perhaps only the sensitive towers felt what was going on in us although we didn’t show it outwardly as we departed silently for our new home.
Although the Wildburg has two towers perhaps to reconcile us but they are just not as pious as the old ones. It is possible that we will be able to breathe a soul into them. Yet day by day the Wildburg became more homely, and soon it was completely furnished. We also hope that by the time the planned Clothing Ceremony takes place the chapel will be finished and we can use it. Some of you have already visited our “castle”, the others will be able to see the “new Mother House” at Easter or in summer.
But we still have some things to tell you about our old home. First of all, the authorities for the preservation historic buildings and monuments is taking an interest in our beloved, Romanesque towers and want to try to support them for some time. Besides this, a house chapel has been created from dormitory No. 20 opposite the well-known double doors. It is roomy and accommodates at least all the occupants of the house who meet there every morning for Holy Mass. At night the Blessed Sacrament is taken there from the shrine, and during the night the Novices pray for all our personal and Family cares and intentions to our Lord.
Our shrine is showing plenty of signs of old age. It really needs a new floor. A new altar is also planned. It will be the objective of our whole Family to keep our treasure, our shrine, in good order. Also in the Home of the Federation there will soon be changes. In order to get more room, the dormitory upstairs is to be changed into nine rooms. In its place a new dormitory is being set up in the attic. They also want to make a small room out of the area before the gallery unfortunately but you can see how every effort is being made to improve the accommodation.
I still want to tell you how much the Home of the Federation was used last year (1931). There were 1352 priests, 424 academics, 703 men, 420 young men, 428 high school pupils, 516 women belonging to the Federation and League who took part in congresses, 185 who took part in retreats, 314 girls, 444 teachers who do not belong to the Movement, 142 women and 576 unmarried women. I am sure you will all rejoice with us!
Until you all come again there will surely be new things to relate. That is why we are a “Movement”. To everyone a warm greeting!
A Sister of Mary