History » 1939 - 1969 » 1951 Letter to Fr Menningen

Extract from a Letter from Fr Kentenich to Fr Menningen

Milwaukee, 2 September 1953

Dear Alex!

[...] Actually I have no more to add about the chimney (of the original shrine). Our Sisters will have to take up a definite standpoint and try to solve the problem from there. Of late they have quoted our artists; they don’t want to have it touched in any way. When the question was put to me the first time, the opposite was said: If need be our artists would agree. What is at stake here are feelings and considerations of the heart. For this reason it is only possible to come to a final solution on the spot.
If you keep to the principle suggested at the time - We take over the shrine as it stood at the moment of the exile – it would not follow that also the Pallotti group would have to be taken over as well. It got there without the agreement of the Sisters, so we are not obliged to accept it. Our shrines in other countries have all taken their bearings from Argentina. It could be that they will argue along practical grounds, that it is too difficult to put in the stove, etc. Of course, it is a good thing to consider all these questions once more before coming to a decision. So I would like to repeat: The question revolves on whether they are prepared to adopt the suggested standpoint, or not. All the other questions will be solved after that.
My personal opinion tends in the following direction: The moment of my exile is so profound that it deserves to go down in history in this way, unless there are too many aesthetical and practical reasons against it. If this is the case, they could adopt a different standpoint. I would suggest that the whole complex matter be referred to the Council. It should decide. I will be satisfied if they decided this way or that ...

As a follow-up to Vincent Pallotti’s beatification (22.01.1950), the statue of St Aloysius was replaced a year later (on 21.01.1951) with a Pallotti group. Its symbolism was not wholly satisfactory, because visitors to the shrine could be misled into thinking that Pallotti had had a far greater influence on the shrine, which is historically not the case. A Sister of Mary had also created a different statue of Pallotti at this time, but it was never used in the original shrine. This was the statue Fr Kentenich was referring to when in 1949 he announced on a record sent from South America that a Pallotti group would replace the statue of St Aloysius. It would have been a better depiction of the tradition of new Schoenstatt.

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

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