January 31, 2019

Involved in a Fascinating Life

from Sr. Antje-Maria Wunderwald

Reading by the Author in the Father-Kentenich-House, Mount Schoenstatt

“I’ve known our founder for over forty years, but research into his life for this book has allowed me to see more completely ​​his full stature.”

With these words Sr. Dr. M. Doria Schlickmann summed up what she has seen in a new way and what has become important  for her when writing the book

“Josef Kentenich – a Life on the Edge of the Volcano “.

Drawn Into the Events

The listeners who came to the Father-Kentenich-House on January 26, 2019 experienced an interesting evening with an exciting book. Vibrant and moving pieces of music with piano and flute, presented by Sr. M. Tabea Platzer and Sr. Johanna-Maria Helmich, provided a framework for the program.

“What attracted our interest?” Sr. Dr. M. Lisianne Braunbeck welcomed the audience with this question: “Because – yes, the book is indeed interesting, and indeed even in the original meaning of the word: inter-esse. That means as much as ‘being in between’, ‘being there’, ‘participating’ … And anyone reading this narrative biography feels drawn into the action, living the ups and downs of this dramatic and fascinating life of Fr. Joseph Kentenich. “

In an informative conversation between the moderator Theresia Strunk and Sr. M. Doria, the audience could learn details about the topic of the book, the writing process and genre, reactions to it, and its significance for today.

In the Workshop of the Holy Spirit

Sr. M. Doria was confronted with a double task in this writing: first of all it was concerned with the authentic research of an extensive, demanding and rich life with innumerable facets. The material should be put into a new genre that is easy to read, but also incorporates religious knowledge, a narrative biography. Sr. M. Doria calls the writing of such a book “working in the workshop of the Holy Spirit”; many insights were borne by prayer.

For a Broad Public

Several times she emphasizes that Father Kentenich is still too little known. That’s why the book is deliberately written for a wider audience. The life of Father Kentenich encourages discussions on a variety of topics and can give many people impulses. It is a great concern of Sr. M. Doria to initiate a dialogue and an encounter between the reader and Father Kentenich through the book. The fact that this is already happening is shown by the testimony of a young woman who was in crisis and who took courage by reading the book.

The publication by Herder-Verlag allows a larger radius of readers. Even reviews can contribute to awareness. We should have the courage to recommend the book to everyone.

In the Bunker

In the third part of the evening Sr. M. Doria purposely presented the subchapter “In the Bunker” from the book. It shows very clearly the different levels that we encounter in the book: the reality of the Gestapo cellar – the effect of Father Kentenich on the guards and fellow prisoners – his encounter with God.

Here it also holds true what she explains elsewhere: The selection of material often used is examples: a person or an example stood for many others. In a subsequent question and answer session, individual aspects were deepened.

Family Exchange

Afterward in the foyer of the Father Kentenich House, a sparkling wine reception gave the opportunity to talk about what was heard and to take home a book signed by the author.

For weeks, the appearance of this new book was a topic of conversation not only in Schoenstatt circles. An elderly gentleman informed me on the phone enthusiastically: “Tell Sr. M. Doria that I am reading her book for the third time! If I come back to Schoenstatt, I would like to talk about it in detail and ask questions …”