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The time in Ehrenbreitstein

23 September 1899 – 27 July 1904

Fr Savels remained in personal contact with Katharina and Joseph Kentenich until the end of his life. He brought Joseph to the Pallottine College in Ehrenbreitstein on 23 September 1899.

Since he had been born out of wedlock, it was not possible for Joseph to become a priest in the Cologne diocese, which is what he actually wanted. He was not alone with this problem at the time. It was only possible to carry out his vocation in a religious Order, because acceptance into an Order was seen as a new birth, which made up for natural deficits. Besides this, the system of providing for priests, which we know today, did not exist at that time. A diocesan priest depended on a benefice, and an illegitimate child would never have been able to get one. So even purely financial considerations made it necessary for such a child to enter a religious Order if he wanted to become a priest.

For Joseph Kentenich the path that led to the Pallottines was the path that led to his goal.

Academically he faced new challenges. On the one hand, the conditions under which he now studied were far better than in Oberhausen. Since the classes were smaller, it was easier to learn. On the other hand, the curriculum followed in the state Gymnasia had to be mastered in only six years, which made high demands on the students. Quite a number of them could not cope. The lesson plan in the course of the years covered all the subjects from mathematics and arithmetic to gymnastics and singing, and the languages – Greek, French and, of course, Latin. The year was divided into three terms, and at the end of each term the boys received reports. Joseph Kentenich obviously had no difficulties with his classical studies. His marks were uniformly good. Yet this was not the case with many of his classmates. They did not reach the class goal and had to leave the school.

The day in the boarding school was strictly regulated. After rising at 5.40 a.m., the rhythm of the day included times for prayer, meals, lessons, studies and relaxation. The day ended at 8.45 p.m. The celebration of feasts, Sunday walks, outings and special projects, such as helping to harvest apples, created a certain balance. The big problem was the repeated change in their teachers, and at times the lack of educational abilities in the teachers, who were often very young. The standard of education was often maintained by pressure and control. For Fr Kentenich, his experiences of the education he received in Gymnich, Oberhausen and Ehrenbreitstein illustrated precisely the way he did NOT envisage the educational process. While he was at school, he had had to put up with it and cope as best he could, but he also made use of it to mature and to learn.

Joseph Kentenich spent his holidays with his mother in Cologne. He laid down a definite programme for the day for himself, so that his studies were balanced by times for relaxation.

On 27 July 1904 his classical education was complete and he was presented with his school-leaving certificate. On 24 September 1904 the Novitiate began in the Pallottine house in Limburg, and hence the next stage on his way to the priesthood. He was ordained on 8 July 1910 by Bishop Heinrich Vieter, Vicar Apostolic of Cameroon. - The Website about Pater Joseph Kentenich, Foundator of the International Schoenstatt Movement.