After three days …
It was just three days after I took over management of the Convention Center Marienland in Vallendar-Schoenstatt, Germany. Very late in the afternoon of this third day, I passed by the registration desk. With much joy Sister M. Luisa presented a middle-aged man who had helped her for a few hours with work on the grounds. She introduced me briefly to him and he began to say this quote: “On every person’s face is written his or her history–.” I was totally dumbfounded. “… His or her hatred and love are clearly written there” (from a poem by Friedrich Martin von Bodenstedt, 1819-1892).
Someday he would meet this sister again
In years past, as a leader of pilgrimages in Schoenstatt, I often quoted these words in the talks that I gave. It turns out that this man had participated in a day of preparation for children making their First Communion. He was very touched by the above-mentioned poem and the connection made at that time to the life of Father Kentenich and his own life. He was certain that someday he would meet this sister again. And indeed, it happened. We met in the entrance of the Conference Center Marienland, just three days after I had taken over my task for this house–a task that completely surprised me.
This life shaped me for six years
Just over six years ago, I moved to the Schoenstatt Center in Trier. In 1986, we Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary had acquired a piece of property in the midst of this venerable, ancient city. There were very, very old trees on this property. There was also a majestic park, two idyllic little houses with space for seminars, a beautiful apartment for vacation, and the Schoenstatt Shrine. It is a lively center for family, neighborhood, cultural, and religious life. The blessing of motorcycles, children putting tags on trees on Arbor Day, concerts, family celebrations, or spontaneous encounters shaped not only the park but also my life—for six whole years. No wonder it was hard to say good-by.
God is leading!
But the encounter in the entrance of the Conference Center Marienland and many other encounters that have taken place in these initial days tell me that the place foreseen for me is somewhere else. God is leading me! Yes.
God leads wherever …
The people, the experiences, the places, even the trees that we saw, with whom we lived– we take them [with us] into the heart of God. God wants to love us through everything.