April 30, 2024

May Blossoms
Like and With Joseph Engling

Sister Mirjam Metzler, Cambrai, France

Since I’ve been in Cambrai (October 3, 2023), I keep asking myself:

Josef Engling, who are you? Who are you for me? Who do you want to be for us today?

I discovered him more and more and I think he discovered me too.

Many experiences and adventures with him in everyday life have shown me this.

Joseph, how attentive and enthused you were

Right after I arrived, I read the book by Father Alexander Menningen: “Maria All Her Own.”* I remember being in the shrine and reading how Joseph was totally attentive and enthused in school, absorbing everything the spiritual director, Father Joseph Kentenich, discussed with the sodalists, the inspirational talks, and lectures he gave, etc. Later Father Kentenich asked the young students if they would like to write up everything he had discussed with them, worked through with them, and had given them. Father Menningen relates that Joseph could reproduce everything. He could do this because he had translated the inspirational talks into life. His resolutions, his PEs attest to this. Nothing escaped his notice.

That really touched me. I reminded myself: How much spiritual guidance has been given to me for my life through good inspirations in Schoenstatt! What have I done with them and what am I doing?

Joseph gets serious

My favorite view here in Cambrai is the view of the Death Field and the white cross given by the Schoenstatt Family of France on the 100th anniversary of his death in 2018. I often look for the places in and in front of the house, where I can pause during my work and come into contact with Joseph, even if sometimes only briefly. (This picture shows the cross from our house). Here the sacrifice of his life, which he had offered in Flanders at the Lys, to the Blessed Mother for Schoenstatt was accepted.

Whenever possible, I walk

the death way of Joseph from Eswars  to the Shrine of Unity
every week.  

To be more precise, I go from the shrine to Eswars and on this outward journey (approx. 3.5 km) I visualize specific people for whom I would like to walk the death way. I gather intentions that people have entrusted to me. The memory of the news of the last few days shows the urgency of praying for peace. I always take the concerns of our German Catholic Church with me, although the concrete experiences of the Church in our diocese of Cambrai is closer to my heart at the moment. (How nice it was to celebrate Christmas and Easter here with the people of France. Now I am looking forward to Pentecost!)

I always go in silence the actual death way or Joseph’s Way from Eswars to the shrine praying and in inner union with Joseph.

With regard to Schoenstatt, I am particularly concerned about the future of the Schoenstatt Family here in France with our Schoenstatt Center and the Shrine of Unity. How do people find their way here when we are located on a busy highway and can only be reached by car? Will Joseph show us a way or does he want much more to be a sign post?

His life bears testimony that the covenant of love with the Blesses Mother is not something “nice” that somehow belongs to life. It was his secret of love, the source of his strength.

He invites us to let our love for the Mary, the Mother of God, “bloom” here and now

by bringing, with him, many May blossoms to her in the shrine.

*The title of the book in English is simply: Joseph Engling.