Heiligtum Wiesbaden-Schierstein

Posted On 2024-04-24 In Covenant Life

Schierstein and the bombs

GERMANY, Cordula-Maria Weidtmann •

“Mater perfectam habebit curam et victoriam!” – The Mother will take perfect care of everything and will be victorious! These words from Father Kentenich came to mind when I heard about the bomb found near the Kallebad on Wednesday, April 3, 2024, about 1 km as the crow flies from Wiesbasden-Schierstein. A 500 kg bomb, an unexploded bomb from the Second World War, had been discovered during construction work. This was successfully defused at around 2.30 pm after 10,000 people had been evacuated. It is unimaginable what would have happened if this largest bomb found in Wiesbaden since the Second World War had exploded then or now …

Our Schoenstatt shrine in Schierstein is a promise kept, because the Blessed Mother spared Schierstein from the bombs during the war. This has now – 80 years later – been proven once again. We can only say thank you! Thank you, dear Mother of God, for your faithfulness and your help! And thank you for allowing us to be witnesses of your help! After 8 decades!

“For all the fallen without distinction of language, nation or faith”


Rev. Wilhelm Schäfer

The then Catholic parish priest of Schierstein, Wilhelm Schäfer (parish priest in Schierstein from 1941 to 1967) reports on the creation of the Schoenstatt chapel above Schierstein on the Freudenberg hillside:

“On December 8, 1941 (…) I preached my first sermon as the new pastor in Wiesbaden-Schierstein: ‘I want to proclaim to you the joy of Christ. The joy of Christ comes through Mary. She is the cause of our joy.” At that time, Schierstein was not yet directly threatened by the war. The first major attacks on Mainz took place in August 1942. Mainz was bombed on the nights of the 11th and 12th, and the first bomb also fell in Schierstein. There were a few casualties and minor destruction. This was the reason for the sermon on August 15: this bomb was an indication of what would happen if the bombs fell in our parish and hit so many unprepared. Do we not want to move the Blessed Mother to spare Schierstein? Move her with the intention, if we survive the war and Schierstein is not destroyed, that we then build her a shrine for all the fallen without distinction of language, nation or faith. On the very day of this announcement, a woman came and made the first major donation.

In 1944, the war was getting worse and Schierstein was particularly vulnerable because it had a war industry in the Glyco factories, where tank parts were produced (sliding bearings for tanks, editor’s note). (…) The Schoenstatt picture, which was the only picture of Mary available in large quantities, could be found in almost every air raid shelter. It became the protective mantle Madonna of Schierstein. (…) In this emergency, we turned our promise into a solemn vow on May 31, 1944:

“We want, if Schierstein survives the war, to build the shrine to the Blessed Mother as Mediatrix of Graces.”

While Dotzheim and Biebrich were badly destroyed, Schierstein was (almost) spared, and the bombs that were surely intended for Schierstein fell outside the town. After the war, heavy bombs were recovered from the Schierstein harbor as unexploded bombs. Only shortly before the end of the war did a few German shells hit Schierstein, as the anti-tank barriers had been rolled over. A few windows were broken, but otherwise the town was spared and the church remained undamaged.”

Heiligtum Wiesbaden-Schierstein

Wiesbaden-Schierstein shrine

First a wayside shrine – and the shrine in 1971

In 1947, the first wayside shrine was built on Freudenberg. On August 5, according to Heinrich Sender, founding member of the Schoenstatt Chapel Society, the first petition procession went up in honor of the Queen of Heaven to consecrate the future place of grace. The following prayer was composed for this occasion:

“Mediatrix of all graces, Mother Thrice Admirable and Queen of our community! In a holy hour we have gathered here to thank you for the immeasurable richness of your motherly love and goodness, which you have poured out on us in the years of need and danger up to the present day. … Childlike, simple and small is also our gift of gratitude, dearest Mother: We offer you this little place, away from the hustle and bustle of the world, and ask you to set up your throne of grace in the little shrine that is to be built on it. Behold, we are powerless in the face of the immeasurable physical and spiritual need of our church and our people. … Make us into living flames of love that consume Your shrine in order to consecrate it, into a place of thanksgiving for Your abundant motherly love, into a place where You hear the unceasing pleas of Your children for the peace of souls and the peace of nations in motherly mercy. Amen!”

On August 22, the women of Schierstein erected a very simple wayside shrine with the picture of Our Lady of Schoenstatt on the grounds, which was later followed by a larger wayside shrine with the dimensions of the chapel’s sanctuary. In 1970, the foundation stone for the chapel was consecrated, which was blessed and opened on May 31, 1971.

On April 3, 2024, it turned out that the Blessed Mother really had answered these prayers and signs: a 500 kg bomb, an unexploded bomb from the Second World War, was found during excavation work near the Kallebad, about 1 km as the crow flies from the center of Schierstein. Anyone can imagine what would have happened if this bomb had exploded…

So, in our time, we renew our thanks and our prayer for peace for souls and for all peoples.

A shrine for the peace of souls and the peace of peoples… without distinction of language, nation or faith. And suddenly we know that the people in Ukraine, in the Gaza Strip and in Israel, in Haiti, in Myanmar, in Yemen … have a shrine. A shrine that also lives from our capital of grace.

Heiligtum Wiesbaden-Schierstein

Shrine Wiesbaden-Schierstein

Source: Website and Newsletter of the Schoenstatt Shrine Wiesbaden

Original: German. Translation: Maria Fischer @schoenstatt.org

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