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Himmelwärts is a collection of 25 prayers that the founder of the international Schoenstatt Movement , Josef Kentenich , wrote during his captivity (1941–1945) by the Gestapo and published on September 20, 1945.

The date was intended to commemorate the day he was captured in 1941. Except for the so-called "Thank You Song" that he wrote in the Koblenz prison, all the prayers were written in the Dachau concentration camp .

The prayers are written in verse, partly to make it easier to memorize, partly to camouflage them so that they can be smuggled out of the camp more easily. According to the Schoenstatt diocesan priest Peter Wolf, they are “not about poetry in the sense of poetry, but about a form of 'poetry of ideas' that brings ideas and thoughts… condensed into the word. Beautiful poetry would hardly correspond to the place of origin, the hell of Dachau. "The texts are" authentic testimony to the prayer and life of the founder and his spiritual family at a crucial time ('high time') of the foundation. "

According to its author, Himmelwärts contains “the metaphysics of metaphysics” of Schoenstatt, it is “something like a concentrated compendium of the central thoughts and ideas, tightened down to ultimate principles.”

The early publication happened "very consciously with the aim of leading the spiritual family to the spiritual heights they have reached after the period of persecution by the Third Reich and in this spirit to a new unity." In addition, the founder was interested in it been to “bring the spirituality that has grown in the history of Schoenstatt into the Church and to achieve recognition in the conflict,” said Wolf.

Himmelwärts was initially only published for internal use. The church's permission to print was granted in 1973.

There are now numerous interpretations of the heavenward poems - u. a. by Tilmann Beller (2005) and Peter Wolf (1996).


Himmelwärts is divided into two parts. During the first part (“Along the day”) prayers for daily use such as a “morning” and “evening consecration”, a “Schoenstatt Office ”, a “Tool Mass ”, a “Tool Rosary ”, a “ Tool Stations of the Cross ”and a prayer“ After the Angelus ”, prayers on various occasions can be found in the second part.


Primary literature:

  • Josef Kentenich: Heavenward. Prayers for use in the Schoenstatt Family. Schoenstatt Publishing House, Vallendar 1973, ISBN 3-920849-21-3 .
  • Peter Wolf: Heaven . In: Hubertus Brantzen (Ed.): Schoenstatt Lexicon: Facts - Ideas - Life . 2nd unchanged edition. Patris-Verlag, Vallendar 2002, ISBN 3-87620-195-0 , p. 161-166 ( ).

Secondary literature: monographs, articles and essays:

  • Tilmann Beller: Out and about with Maria. Verlag Himmelwärts, 2005, ISBN 3-9502056-0-8 . - An interpretation of Kentenich's prayers from Dachau.
  • Engelbert Monnerjahn: "Heavenward", Kentenich's Dachau prayers. Vallendar 1992.
  • Peter Wolf: Heavenward Prayer School. Spiritual commentary on the Dachau prayers by Josef Kentenich. Schoenstatt Publishing House, 1996, ISBN 3-920849-77-9 .
  • Günther Boll: Prayerful Alliance. In: Regnum. 22: 190-199 (1988).
  • Lothar Penners: School of prayer in the turn of the ages. Introduction to Kentenich's Dachau prayers. In: Regnum. 22, 1988, pp. 100-108, 142-148.
  • Peter Wolf: Learning steps in the "Himmelwärts" prayer school. In: Regnum. 23, 1989, 36 f. 74 ff. 132 f. 181 f.

Web links

  • Himmelwärts (German, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Czech)

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d Peter Wolf: Himmelwärts . In: Hubertus Brantzen (Ed.): Schoenstatt Lexicon: Facts - Ideas - Life . 2nd unchanged edition. Patris-Verlag, Vallendar 2002, ISBN 3-87620-195-0 , p. 160–166 ( [accessed December 30, 2018]).