December 23rd 1921 - Eberschweiler William
† in Exaten
He came from the Saar and was born in Püttlingen on October 5th 1837. His birth house faces the church and does still exist. The school is named after him, and his monument stands on the schoolyard.
After his school time in Trier he entered on September 30th 1858 together with his brother Friedrich the noviciate of the Jesuits in Münster. Both had the desire to become missionaries. His brother's desire was fulfilled. He worked beneficially in America, in the Indian mission. But William had to continue the noviciate in Feldkirch (Vorarlberg) after the canonical year. Here he took his first vows at the Epiphany day 1861.
During his studies in Maria Laach he was ordained priest on September 13th 1868. After the end of his education the post of 'Magister Noviciorum' was transferred to him in Gorheim/Baden. With it began his spiritual activity for the young Jesuits in various houses of the Order.
When in 1872 at the beginning of the Kulturkampf the Jesuit Order was forbidden in Germany and its members were expelled, Father Eberschweiler moved with the novices first to Wynandsrade, where he became also the Rector of the house. In 1884 the Provincial appointed him also as Spiritual Director for the students of theology in Ditton Hall (England). Five years later he came again to Wynandsrade, and again five years later to Exaten near Roermond (Holland). There he, who was reputed to be a Saint, ended his earthly vagrant life on December 23rd 1921. He was buried there on the Order Cemetery.
On July 12th 1924 the coffin with the mortal remnants was laid into a new, brick-lined grave. In the year 1958 his transfer took place to the Jesuit Church in Trier. There he was solemnly buried on May 16th. In the memorial service the diocesan delegate for beatifications in the diocese Trier, Dr. Heinrich Nacken preached. He pointed out that Father Eberschweiler had written down spiritual diary notes for more than fifty years, which were a precious legacy of his spirituality and an excellent approach to his piety.
Father Peter Krumscheid (1895-1987) deserved well of the beatification of Father Wilhelm Eberschweiler. He was already more than fifty years old when he got in 1950 the order to prepare and get going the process. As vice-postulator appointed by the Vatican he did a fantastic work by his tough eagerness, his perseverance and his unusual energy. His last great deed, a few months before his death, was the establishment of the Eberschweiler Federation on October 3rd 1986.
Father Ernst Schellhoff was appointed as successor of Father Krumscheid. Through fifteen years he successfully continued the office of vice-postulator, until he was replaced in the year 2000 by Father Robert Gelberg.
Many prayers have been heard: on record are about 80.000. But a miracle in the canonical sense is still missing. Hence the matter came to a hold. On the gravestone Father Eberschweiler is called: 'Apostle of a joyful love of God'.
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