by Adilia Schweizer, Johannes Höfle and Maria Fischer •
Painting exercises?…that can be patented, because there has not been anything like this until now. In reality, a few young people professionally and creatively painted the house chapel white and with sun-drenched pastel colors, while praying and meditating about how to be painters and builders of their own life. In other words, a few youths reflected upon a luminous idea’s creative strength about who they are, why they exist and what they do, and about who is ultimately the one who paints and builds their lives as they expressed through painting the chapel…This began in January, when Johannes Hoefle, the leader of the Boys’ Youth of the Diocese of Augsburg, was seated in the chapel of the Schoenstatt Center in Memhoelz and he thought: “It should be painted.” And it concluded with what one of the participating youths expressed: “There was a general feeling of everyday sanctity, although we did not talk about that very much.”
Our heart: covered and coated like the chapel
Ten young adults from the Diocese of Augsburg, Eichstaett, Rothenburg-Stuttgart, “and even from the north,” Adilia Schweizer stressed, committed to the invitation advertised on social networks, as well as by Father Peter Goettke as the teacher of painters, excuse me, I mean of exercises.
Adilia Schweizer relates: “We arrived on Ash Wednesday as a motley group, and the first thing was to straighten out the chapel and cover the floor and around the windows to protect them from the paint. Right from the start, we got along well and the community and atmosphere were great.
After supper, we were entrusted with the honorable task of preparing the celebration for the renewal of the Covenant. Thus the participants were also forewarned about the refurbishment of the chapel, and they were very curious to see the actual state of the chapel.
In the end, we met in the chapel to discover our own lives. Our hearts can also have an aspect like that of the chapel, covered and coated everywhere. Very often there are things in our life that we prefer to keep locked up or that we want to protect. These painting exercises should give us time and space to discover our lives and our experiences, feelings, questions and experiences that we keep bottled up and time to reflect individually.”
“You have made Memhoelz my third home.” That is what a participant told Johannes Hoefle. Behind this there was a relaxed and natural unity between meditating and working, praying and building. Uniting daily life (the refurbishment of the chapel) with faith, with a completely personal faith, to paint the faith and experience the painter and builder of my life on the walls, it was so great and so intimate, with blue, yellow and white colors, everything was done in a very organic way that Father Kentenich must have enjoyed very much.
“During two days, blue, yellow and white became our favorite colors; and meter by meter we submerged the chapel in a new light. Everyone contributed their talents and abilities, and after some doubtful moments, together we were able to finish the chapel by the deadline,” Adilia Schweizer related and she continued: “After successfully finished the painting job, we had to clean. Despite having taped, we found some paint splatters. Together we were able to leave the chapel clean and prepared for Eucharist and Adoration. As participants of the painting exercise, we celebrated the first Eucharist with Father Peter Goettke in the newly refurbished chapel. At the end, there was still time for adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.
On Saturday the mission was to leave the chapel as it was before painting it. That was to move the benches, place them in order, screw them, place the flowers…the morning flew. The lunch break offered some the opportunity to have fun in the snow with the house sleds. In the afternoon, we watched the movie “The Choir Boys,” and we had a short debate about the movie. This movie makes it clear that every person has strong points, although it is not always easy to discover them. However in our lives, all the people have the opportunity to be seen positively and be treated with kindness. This movie also contributed to our process of understanding ourselves, because frequently people are pre-judged, and they are not given an opportunity of discovering their greatness.
Since we had become a small family during the painting exercises, we still carried out a final act together as a team. As a postscript, we celebrated the Sunday Eucharist with the Schoenstatt Family, and at the end, we made a solemn presentation of the chapel to the Mothers’ and Ladies’ Branches, who had helped to finance the building of this chapel.”
It glistens with more intensity
The refurbished chapel was truly a surprise for some. New and different. But it is not about a museum… “One must grow accustomed,” a visitor said, “When the sun shines in the morning, it glistens with more intensity among the yellow lofty walls of the chapel.”
Original: German – Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA