GERMANY, Sr. M. Elinor Grimm •
74 years ago, on 12 August 1945, Karl Leisner, a new priest from Kleve, died in the Planegg forest sanatorium as a result of his almost six-year imprisonment in the Dachau concentration camp. After his liberation from the camp on 4 May 1945, Karl Leisner was lovingly cared for until his death by the Sisters of the Order of the Merciful Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul. To this day, the Sisters have kept the room almost unchanged in memory of the suffering and death of the Blessed of the Diocese of Münster. Also in this year the memorial service for Blessed Karl Leisner on the day of his death was prepared in the Planegg Forest Sanatorium under the direction of Superior Sister Ephiphania and Sister Raimunda. Auxiliary Bishop Rolf Lohmann from Xanten and Auxiliary Bishop Wilfried Theising from Vechta (Diocese of Münster) arrived for the commemoration. —
At 6 p.m. there was already a moment of prayer at the steles on the Sanatorium Street, the access road to the ‘Waldsanatorium’. Everyone then went in procession to the large house chapel in the present old people’s and nursing home. Shortly after 6 pm the Holy Mass began there, which was festively celebrated with organ and violoncello. The main celebrant was Auxiliary Bishop Rolf Lohmann from Xanten along with Auxiliary Bishop Theising from Münster and two priests concelebrated. One of the two, a doctoral student from Kerala, India, is currently a house chaplain in the Vincentian nursing home.
The chapel was densely filled. There were also some Schoenstatters among the participants. Everyone was happy when they were able to greet each other later at the snack bar…
In his sermon, the auxiliary bishop carried away the attendees. His enthusiasm for Karl Leisner has incited the people.
Salvation comes from God
In the homily the auxiliary bishop took up the word ‘salvation’ from the reading. Salvation comes from God’. What a longing people in the concentration camp had for salvation, including Karl Leisner! Lohmann made the people aware of who is in need today and are waiting for salvation: e.g. refugees on the Mediterranean, asylum seekers or people in difficult life situations… How will it continue, many ask themselves, also within the church or in politics. How clearly Karl Leisner took up his position at that time, had the courage to express himself. Who would have thought years ago that today in the middle of Europe, in our country, we hear again similar populist and racist tones as we did then!
It says ‘Salvation comes from God’ in the Secret Revelation. God, he who has saved us, who loves us infinitely, with all our half measures, he is putting himself in all of this in his Son. At his birth joy is proclaimed to us: The Saviour is here!
“We can’t do anything” is heathenish.
We can’t just lay our hands in our laps. It is heathenish to say “We cannot do anything! We can still pray! Karl Leisner also drew strength from prayer. From him we can learn to help build the Kingdom of God, to shape the world for good, to remain steadfast. We should keep our point of view and bring it into word! Charles knew – and this also applies to us – that we have a great, holy, unique mission. Christ, my passion!
At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, the Auxiliary Bishop invited us to visit the Cathedral of Xanten and visit the Lower Rhine… He also drew attention to the upcoming important events and asked Mrs. Kaiser-Haas, the niece of Karl Leisner, for more detailed information:
- 2019: 75th year of priestly ordination in Advent: on the third Sunday in Advent the celebration is in Xanten, in Dachau on the fourth Advent.
- 2020: 75th year anniversary of the death of Karl Leisner.
After the celebration, many experienced a special encounter with Karl Leisner in his death chamber, which is designed as a worthy prayer room on the second floor.
Original: German, 17.08.2019 Translation: Lindsay Burger, Ohio, USA