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The Date of Birth

For many years it was generally believed that 18 November 1885 was Fr Joseph Kentenich’s birthday. This date also appears in many documents, and has even been engraved into his tombstone.

The research of the last few years has shown, however, that the 16th November is the more likely date. We know from a letter from his mother that she was congratulating him for his 41st birthday on the 16th of the following month. We can take it that his mother would have known the correct date. Also some of his closest collaborators always sent their congratulations for the 16th, not the 18th.

Historically it is understandable that the 18th November found its way into books. The 16 November 1885 was a Saturday, and it was also the weekend of the fair that takes place around the anniversary of the blessing of the church. However, it was laid down that a birth had to be registered the following day. This meant that the birth of the child would have had to be registered in the church’s birth and baptism register on 17 November, if the law was not to be broken.

Marginalie - The Website about Pater Joseph Kentenich, Foundator of the International Schoenstatt Movement.