After my trip to Köln, I took the train to Vallendar to meet with my friends in Schönstatt. When I got off the train in Vallendar, only two people got off the train. Vallendar is a small station, so I asked the guys if they had been going to Schönstatt for Easter. They were from Mexico and came to visit Schönstatt. We took the bus 7 together. It lasted just 3 minutes from Vallendar train station to Schönstatt.
Schönstatt is a small town where a Catholic Movement including Christian personality development, orientation after ideals, and community started in 1914. Then, it has spread all over the world. They told me that if I visited a city where there are followers of Schönstatt Movement, I could see the exact same chapel where it had started. It was a good destination for me to watch an Easter Ceremony for the first time in my life.
We stayed in Pilgrims’ House which was simple and clean for a religious visit. When I was waiting for my friends, Sister Marguerite, who is from Puerto Rico and went to college in U.S., showed me the around and told me the story of the town. I really like to listen to different things, stories. I also asked her ”Do you also believe that Jesus will come to the world before the doomsday?”, “What are the eggs for?”, “If the Jesus died on that Friday, why do you call it ‘Good’ Friday?”. She was little bit worried about me, since I am Muslim and my friends had not yet arrived.
While I was waiting Georgios (my Greek friend) in my room, Sister Marguerite knocked my door. She introduced me Pia. Pia is a girl from Chile and met with Georgios in Thailand trip. She would be in Germany for one year volunteer program to take care of disabled people. She heard that Sister Marguerite concerns about a lonely Muslim girl who was waiting her friends in Schönstatt. Pia asked her if I had been waiting for a Greek friend. When she got the reply yes, she said she knew me. Actually, Georgios told Pia about me and we all were going to meet in this town. Pia accompanied me and we waited together with our friends.
Finally, Georgios and Giannis arrived to the place we stayed in the evening. After the dinner, we had to climb up to the church on the hill where the Easter Ceremony would be held. It was around 2 km to walk. I attempted to hitch-hike to the top. It was obvious that we were going to the ceremony. Although Pia said here was Germany, nobody would stop, the first car stopped and took us to her car. I said I had tried it in France, it also had worked there. Of course, I tried it again when we were going back to the place we stayed and it worked again :)
When I was watching the ceremony, I realized that how much the basics looked like to each other with Islamic ceremonies. They both sing, say amen/amin, shake hands towards the end of the ceremony. There were many sisters from all around the world. I also watched the morning ceremony for children next morning. We participated in egg hunt.
In the afternoon, we left Schönstatt for Luxembourg…
- Duration: One day is enough for joining the ceremonies at night and in the morning
- Transportation: I arrived to Vallendar from Köln via train. It costs 17 euro. Then, take the bus 7 which is 1.65 euro .
- Accommodation: I stayed in Pilgrims’ House. It was clean and simple for a short visit. The fare includes breakfast, lunch and the dinner. It costs 30 euro.
- Watch: Easter Ceremony (both evening and morning ceremonies)
(Visne Kiraz April 2012)