The Article That Started It All: "No Room at the Inn"


It was December 1947, and the clock struck three in the morning as Father Werenfried finished his article in time for the Christmas issue of the abbey magazine.  This article was to decide Father Werenfried’s future.

It began:  

"Eighty miles to the east lies a town (in post-war Germany) in ruins. Almost the only thing still standing is a gigantic air-raid shelter, a bunker, like those the Germans built everywhere to protect the population from the bombings.  

All the poor people of the town who still remain alive dwell in this one bunker. Thousands are crowded together in pestilential stench. Each family, insofar as they can still be called families, lies huddled together on a few square yards of concrete.

Here there is neither fire nor warmth, other than the warmth of bodies crowded together. Among these people too, Christ seeks to dwell in His purity, His love, His goodness. The shepherds worshipped Christ in a stable, but these people have not even a stable. By human standards Christ cannot live here. There is no room for Him."

This was how Father Werenfried began his appeal to the readers of the abbey magazine for help for suffering religious and refugees.  The results exceeded all expectations: “Aid to Eastern Priests” (as Aid to the Church in Need was known at first) was born overnight, and convoys of charity from Flanders began their trek to the East.

 

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