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 published: 2006-02-17

A second Joseph Engling for the United States of America: Gilbert Schimmel

February 13th, 1966 – 2006 - 40th Anniversary of the Schimmel Cross at the International Center

La Cruz de Gilbert Schimmel, en el Centro Internacional en Waukesha, Milwaukee, USA

The Gilbert Schimmel Cross at the Internacional Center in Waukesha, Milwaukee, USA

Das Gilbert-Schimmel-Kreuz beim International Center in Waukesha, Milwaukee, USA


Gilbert Schimmel con el Padre José Kentenich

Gilbert Schimmel with Father Joseph Kentenich

Gilbert Schimmel mit Pater Josef Kentenich


40° aniversario de la bendición de la cruz

40th anniversary of the blessing of the cross

40. Jahrestag der Errichtung und Segnung des Kreuzes


Foto sacado en octubre de 1967

Photo takes in October 1967

Foto von Oktober 1967


Mae Wacker, de los matrimonios pioneros, en la tumba de Gilbert Schimmel

Mae Wacker, of the pioneer couples, at the tomb of Gilbert Schimmel

Mae Wacker von den Pioneer Couples am Grab von Gilbert Schimmel


El matrimonio Yank. Conocían a Gilbert Gilbert durante un año

Feb 14th:  Mr. and Mrs. Yank. They knew Gilbert for about a year

14. Februar: Besuch bei Ehepaar Yank; sie kannten Gilbert etwa ein Jahr lang.

Fotos: Jentz © 2006




USA, Christi Jentz. February 13, 2006. Today is a historic day for the Schoenstatt Family in America. It is the 40th Anniversary of the erection of the Schimmel Cross at the International Center in Waukesha, Wisconsin. For a time the details of this event had been buried in the pages of personal notes and accounts. I did find mention of the day in a book by Fr. Jonathan Niehaus entitled, "A History of Schoenstatt in the United States" and that inspired a persistent search for some records from that day. Joyfully, an original document for this event was found! Was it Gilbert Schimmel that made sure that it was delivered on the actual date? Immediately we read the details of the event while seated in our Homeshrine.

The event began with the singing of the hymn, "Thou Queen of All Heaven". This was followed by the recitation of the Gilbert Schimmel beatification prayer, which was composed a few years earlier. One of the readings from the day was from Sirach 39: 6-14, another was Matthew 5:13-19. The "Blessing of the Schimmel Cross" prayer is a treasure that we can hopefully reprint soon. It speaks of the simplicity of the cross that was fashioned for that day. It repeats to those present that, "In the spirit of the Covenant of Love, he (Gilbert) desired to walk in the footsteps of Joseph Engling to the end and to offer himself as the victim for the success of Schoenstatt here in America". The cross was erected "to serve as a reminder of his supreme sacrifice for Schoenstatt: as an appeal also to us that nothing great is accomplished without the shedding of blood". Another part of the ceremony mentions precious symbols and how they corresponded to Gilbert Schimmel.

He was also, evidently, the first who gave himself entirely to the family… Practically all of us stand on Gilbert’s shoulders

Overall, this must have been a victorious moment for all those that worked so hard to make the example of Gilbert’s life known. I have read that Fr. Kentenich was passing out holy cards of Gilbert as early as 1961, with the request that he be made known. A 1963 novena completed the initial stage of this endeavor. February 13th, 1966 "eternalized" it. Gilbert was officially recognized as a true Schoenstatt hero. Just four months earlier, Father Kentenich had departed for Rome on November 16, 1965. Mingled in the joy there must have been the "blood" that the cross blessing so powerfully mentions. The fledgling Schoenstatters in Milwaukee had lost Gilbert, the "root" and now Father Kentenich was far away in Germany. What a rich gift of sacrifice was left at that cross on February 13th. This was a joyous high point that the pioneers and small Schoenstatt family cherished. Let us pray that Gilbert Schimmel’s legacy continues to unfold.

According to Mae Wicker, (a close friend of Gilberts) Fr. Kentenich gave many talks to the couples about Gilbert Schimmel starting on February 16, 1959 (the day following his death). It is fitting to finish with a few lines from Father Kentenich, "He was the first of our ranks to be called into eternity. He was also, evidently, the first who gave himself entirely to the family… Practically all of us stand on Gilbert’s shoulders. Without him we probably would not be here."…

On February 15th, 1959 Gilbert passed heroically into eternity. It is called "A Day of Grace".

On June 10, 2006, we will celebrate Gilbert’s 100th Birthday with a pilgrimage to his childhood home and have a birthday party.

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Last Update: 17.02.2006 Mail: Editor /Webmaster
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