Looking at “the score” from Above

“The music score is written in heaven; let us listen together to the Holy Spirit and then let us do what he says”. This is how Chiara Lubich defined precisely the beginning of Together for Europe (TfE). The initiators of TfE dedicated themselves unreservedly to this program. Some have already reached their final destination: Chiara Lubich (1920-2008) and Helmut Nicklas (1939-2007). Recently they were joined by Sr Anna Maria aus der Wiesche (1952-2020) and last year by Fr Michael Marmann (1937-2019).

They were persons who were so deeply rooted in their respective Church and Community that they could trustily allow the Holy Spirit to guide them into the vastness of Together for Europe. Indeed, TfE knows its existence and achievement to their courageous witnessing, trust and farsightedness.

Sr ANNA MARIA AUS DER WIESCHE, Communität Christusbruderschaft Selbitz  was a woman who, albeit sweet, was indomitable, determined and prophetically gifted [1]

Gerhard Pross, a member of the Steering Committee of TfE, writes:

Sr Anna Maria left us on August 31, 2020. It is with profound gratitude that I look back on her contribution, which lasted 20 years, toward the moulding of TfE. In the year 2000, in Germany, together with Thomas Roemer and myself, she chaired a “Meeting of Evangelical leaders”; on that occasion, Chiara Lubich and Bishop Ulrich Wilckens facilitated the great event of reconciliation between the various Confessions. Besides its birth on October 31, 1999 at Ottmaring, this was a fundamental stage for TfE and for its mission of unity. Since the very beginning, Sr Anna Maria was part of the Steering Committee of TfE; together with others she chaired the great Congresses held in Stuttgart in 2004 and 2007, as well as the reconciliation gathering between the Churches during the Munich event in 2016.

She possessed an innate aptitude for leadership. Apart from a clear vision and the capacity to integrate, she also had a well-defined spiritual vision. One of her gifts was the love of persons: she made her closeness felt to individuals, while, at the same time, she was aware of the bigger picture. Her thoughts and actions were moulded by her donation to God, her love for the Church and a life spent for unity. She discerned the signs of the times very carefully and she was always ready to welcome the common listening of what was important at that moment. Her positive outlook on life, her joy and her laughter were contagious. Sr Anna Maria leaves behind a great void. Let us keep her in our heart as a sign of our gratitude for all that we received through her.

Fr MICHAEL MARMANN – a man of communion, strong and free [2]

 Just before the first great manifestation of TfE in Stuttgart in 2004, Fr Marmann stated: “We feel that this process in action in Europe is a clear sign of times. And the signs of times are God’s voices. Christianity cannot be solely a religious superstructure: it has to embrace the whole person”. In 1991, he was elected Superior General of the Schoenstatt Fathers, and, at the same time, he was also president of the General Presidium of the Movement. In this capacity, he was a pioneer of ecumenical openness and communion between Movements of diverse Churches. “He had a natural openness for an enhanced communion between spiritual Movements, especially in the network ‘Together for Europe’ (…). He was strongly convinced that the unity of the Churches and their reawakening is a decisive condition for a new vital bond between the autonomous and fragmented world and its infinite origin.[3]

In him, Fr Heinrich Walter, saw a ‘prophetic’ attention and sympathy; “by ‘prophetic’ I mean a response to today’s challenges that goes beyond expectations, brings about synergies and triggers off un-hoped for processes[4]This happened even after the Pentecost vigil with John Paul II in St Peter’s square in 1998: Fr Michael immediately joined Chiara Lubich, Andrea Riccardi, Salvatore Martinez and Frances Ruppert (Cursillos de Cristiandad) to form the first nucleus of communion that the Pope wished to see between New Movements and Communities. The following year, the circle was enlarged with the members of the Communities of the Lutheran Evangelical Church: and ‘Together for…’ was born!

In 2001, a meeting was held in Munich to update the members of the Movements about the strong experience that their leaders had done. In front of 5000 persons, Chiara proposed to the audience to seal a pact of mutual love. The first to agree were Helmut Nicklas and Fr Michael Marmann. This ‘pact’ has become the basis of all that has been achieved since then through a common commitment. Thank you Father Michael!

For more information see the Video Story >>

Compiled by Cornelia Karola Brand, international secretariat of TfE

[1] From the letter of condolences of Herbert Lauenroth, Ottmaring
[2] cfr. Ekklesia, n.4 (2019/3), S.51-53
[3] Obituary by Fr Theo Breitinger, Provincial of the Schoenstatt Fathers, February 2019.
[4] cfr. Ekklesia, n.4 (2019/3), S.51-53
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