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 published: 2006-01-10

You still feel his fatherhood

A visit to our beloved Father and Founder’s room

„La foto del telefono de Padre“: Padre Kentenich en el escritorio en su habitación en Schulungsheim

“The photo of the Father telephone”: Fr. Kentenich at the desk of his department in Schulungsheim

“Das Foto vom Vatertelefon”: Pater Kentenich am Schreibtisch seiner Wohnung im Schulungsheim


La bendición del Padre

Father’s blessing

Pater Kentenich gibt in seiner Wohung den Segen

Fotos: Archiv © 2006


Escritorio en la habitación del Padre

Desk in the department of Father Kentenich

Schreibtisch in der Wohnung von Pater Kentenich

Foto: Cerini © 2006


SCHOENSTATT, Antonella Cerina. I never imagined that the day would come when I would visit the house and the room where our Father and Founder lived the last three years of his life- here in Schoenstatt, after his return from Milwaukee. I had only seen the desk, which can be viewed on the internet in the "famous" picture of Father’s telephone conversation, but to actually be here was an incredible experience.

I arrived at Schulungsheim (The Sisters’ House of Formation) accompanied by Sister Maria Julia. Before entering, she began to tell me about the history of the cornerstone that is outside the house. It is a stone that Father Joseph Kentenich blessed. This was the first house that was built on Mount Schoenstatt. And the prophetic vision of our beloved Father caught a glimpse, at that time, that people of all languages and from places in the world would come to this place. I asked myself while I listened to Sister, what unyielding confidence there was in the power of the Blessed Mother and in the words of the Founding Father, as to authentically believe that people of other languages and countries would come to Schoenstatt? Today it can be seen, but at the beginning… I also thought, "Father was truly a prophet for his time. I, who have been in Schoenstatt for one week, have been sharing experiences with people from Spain, Ecuador, Brazil, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Chile, Texas, etc."

Objects and belongings that have remained intact since the 15th of September of 1968

How can I explain the sensation upon entering his room? His things are intact…at that moment I could imagine the morning when Father would arise to go celebrate Holy Mass and by God’s will, he never returned here. It seemed as if the grace of this place is frozen in time and one is transported to September 15th of 1968. Everything is just as Father left it.

After some tears fell (I would say, there were many tears that were impossible to contain in this place) I was able to observe more carefully each detail of Father’s belongings. I began with the nightstand. There was a maroon clock from that time on it, a very cute little lamp, and a crown in the middle. When I saw the simple bed where he slept, I was touched to think that those blankets were the same ones that covered him at that time. His desk, everything that was on it, transported me to the time of Father reading and answering the many letters that he received daily, speaking by telephone with all the international Schoenstatt Family, writing and projecting ideas for the flourishing of Schoenstatt in the world. In short, so many things perhaps Father defined and projected on this small wooden desk.

I would like to stop at the photo of Sister Mary Emilie that Father Kentenich had on his desk. It is one of her most beautiful pictures. It is the one that shows her radiant smile full of life; "walking in the light of the Holy Spirit" (this was one of her expressions). Truly, it is a joy to find a photo of Sister M. Emilie on Father’s desk. This speaks of the deep love of our Father for this small daughter of Schoenstatt. Furthermore, in a showcase in Father’s room there are many photos of Sister M. Emilie reserved for those who visit.

Another interesting thing in his room is the well-stocked library. There are books on different subjects: literature, sociology, psychology, theology, philosophy, among other branches of science. Father was well informed. The newspapers he read those last days have been kept. One book that impressed me very much and it is the only book that is on his desk, is titled "Christ in Dachau", by Fr. Lenz. The picture on the cover is the suffering face of Christ crowned with thorns. The impact was so great that I cannot find the words to describe this experience. For the first time, I felt deeply Father Kentenich’s sacrificial offering in Dachau. Many times it happens that we know the history of Schoenstatt and for that reason, the history of our Father and Founder, but we do not truly take into account what the concentration camp of Dachau was really like. I believe this is the case, especially for the generation that did not know Father personally nor did they live during that era.

Legacy of the "little ranch" of La Loma, Parana (Entre Rios – Argentina)

Finally, I want to mention a small picture that I found on the window of the room, which is very meaningful to the people of Parana (Entre Rios, Argentina), my diocese! It is a small photo of the "little ranch" of La Loma". On the back, there is a dedication to Father Kentenich. For the people from Parana, the "little ranch" has a very special history, since it is the first place where the Blessed Mother began to manifest herself before the building of the Shrine. To know that Father Kentenich held the picture of the "little ranch" in La Loma in his hands and beheld it with his eyes, makes me think, that surely, Father had blessed it from here. And if today we have our Shrine of Providence, we cannot help but recognize that the foundation on which the Shrine was built is from the simple straw of the "little ranch". It symbolizes the poverty of the instruments and the magnificence of the Blessed Mother. The mark that the mystery of grace has left for us is hidden within the poverty of this precarious ranch. It is the unlimited confidence in the power of the Blessed Mother and allowing ourselves to be led by the ways of Providence. I dare say that this mark constitutes the secret of victory for the Schoenstatters of the La Loma Shrine.


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