Re-discovering the Places of Joseph Engling - and of the Personal Schoenstatt Biography
Testimony of a Tour to Cambrai, France
(wd) High school graduation of the children, a fruitful meeting with the Schoenstatt families, the obvious protection during a heavy storm that rocked the Boys' Youth Camp, help in many personal needs, the planned extension of the Schoenstatt Center to give more room to the Youth, an abundance of intentions from the vocation of the children to the severe sickness of loved ones - reasons enough for three fathers of the Speyer family movement to set out to visit once again the places of Joseph Engling in Cambrai, France. On their tour with Joseph Engling - of Schoenstatt's founder generation, according to Father Kentenich the "lived founding document", they also represented their wives and children. From July 20 - 22, the three men were not only visited the places of Joseph Engling, but the places of thier personal Schoenstatt history.
All three of them had decisive experiences in Cambrai when they were in the Schoenstatt Boys' Youth. "That's simple and naive children's faith, if you think that such a tour makes sense," they heard from a theologian, fellow Schoenstatt Boys' Youth member earlier. "Good that we still have this 'children's faith'", one of the men answered to him.
For the Schoenstatt movement of the Speyer diocese, the connection with Joseph Engling and France is a legacy from the time of the construction of the diocesan Shrine; in his message for the corner stone laying in 1967, Father Kentenich encouraged them to remain faithful to Joseph Engling's heritage and spirit, with whom they were specially united as the area of this diocese is at the border to France and the places where Joseph Engling was during the training for the military: Hagenau and Marienthal.
Then and Now ...
The three men made a real pilgrimage with silent time for meditation, songs, and rosary. Of course, also with time for sharing about important and not so important things of every day life. During the hours in the car, they sang the old "Engling songs" from their Boys' Youth time, leading to a reflection about the youthful enthusiasm then -"we conquer the world for our Queen, with victory love and mission zeal"- and the often disappointing experiences in family life, work place, society and also in Schoenstatt. Encouraging result: "The love for Joseph Engling and for Schoenstatt is still the same!"
Arrival at the Shrine
Upon arriving in Cambrai, the Shrine was already closed. So the three men reported themselves to the Blessed Mother by the stone from the Speyer cathedral that is attached to the back wall of the Shrine. Next they went to the cross by the Joseph Engling memorial that, as Schoenstatt Boys, they had worked for in 1973, that they had brought to Cambrai. Last but least they greeted Paul Hannappel, who already during their Boys' Youth time was in Cambrai, leading the boys to Joseph Engling.
Traces - Tracing one's own Schoenstatt History
The German Schoenstatt family movement's years' motto encourages them to find the traces of God everywhere. The three men understood again that the life of Joseph Engling, like that of each saintly spiritual son and daughter of Father Kentenich, is an excellent trace of God and stepping stone for personal growth in faith and in Covenant love. One of the favorite "traces" at the places of Joseph Engling is the so-called "Joseph Engling way", following the route that he took on the last day of his life. The men chose to take the longest possible route, with songs, prayers, silent times and conversation on the way. One of the participants said: "I learned from Joseph Engling to work with the Spirtual Daily Order to secure my religious life; I learned from him to never give up to strive to for spiritual formation; while people say: 'I want fun', he helped me say: 'I want to become holy!' With Joseph I place all my fears into the hands of the Blessed Mother."
Back Home from Cambrai with New Excitement for Schoenstatt
The day ended with a casual get-together in the garden by House St. Hubert, "famous" place of countless Cambrai stays. Memories were shared from the "good old times", and ideas and concern were expressed regarding the role of Joseph Engling and Cambrai in present day Schoenstatt.
"Enthusiasm needs to be re-enkindled," was the resume of one of the participants on their return to the Schoenstatt Center where they had begun their pilgrimage. "We are filled with new enthusiasm for Schoenstatt, for Cambrai, for Joseph Engling - and for our personal mission!"
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