In the Garnet Chapel, the sculptor Markus Thurner has created a wooden inlay showing the portrait of Blessed Engelbert Kolland. Connected to the material, free from fashionable trends, with flair and passion.
Markus Thurner – Sculptor:
Hailing from the countryside, he is committed to Tyrolean tradition as a sculptor trained in wood and stone and feels almost genetically related to the closest material ... He is a sculptor who rejects any fashionable influences and thus designs freely ... This sculptor goes his way with a fine sense and obsession. It is a good way, it is the right way. (Prof. Richard Agreiter)
The life story of this blessed man is very moving and begins on 21 September 1827, when Michael Kolland was born as the fifth of six children of a poor family of lumberjacks in the “Lochhäusl” in the village of Ramsau in the Zillertal, which belongs to the parish of Zell. The following day he was baptised in the parish church of Zell am Ziller and thus accepted into the community of the church. He grew up in very poor surroundings, was a very lively boy, who already as a school child liked to pray often and diligently. His parents, Kajetan and Maria Kolland, were so-called “inclinants” who were inclined towards Lutheranism. Despite repeated interventions by the parish priest and the archbishop Friedrich von Schwarzenberg, the Kolland parents did not return to the Catholic Church and finally had to leave home in 1838. They moved to Rachau in Styria with some of the children. Nevertheless, after another discussion with the archbishop, Kajetan Kolland allowed Michael, who had stayed with an acquaintance in Ramsau with one of his brothers, to attend grammar school in Salzburg.
After the turmoil of 1838, the Kolland parents were forced to move to Rachau in Styria.
After the turbulence of his childhood, the time in Salzburg was also very difficult for the young Zillertal boy. In addition to massive learning problems – the Latin lessons caused Michael the greatest headaches – there were conflicts with older classmates, which led to him having to leave the grammar school. After a stay with his parents in Styria, Michael made a second attempt and finally graduated in 1847. Even during his time at the grammar school, he was particularly attracted to the Franciscans and frequently visited the Franciscan church. It was probably during this time that his vocation and his decision to enter the Franciscan Order matured. Immediately after graduating from high school, he asked to be admitted to the Franciscans. He completed the strict novitiate without grumbling and with much joy. On 22 November 1850 he made his solemn profession and took the name Engelbert
On 13 July of the following year, Engelbert Kolland was ordained a priest by Archbishop Johann Nepomuk von Tschiderer in Trento Cathedral. As with his father, St. Francis of Assisi, Engelbert's motto was “My God and my everything”. After extensive philosophical and theological studies in Schwaz, Bozen, Hall and Kaltern, Brother Engelbert spent several years in Bozen, where he devoted himself above all to the study of foreign languages. In the process, the Zillertal native, who had always struggled with learning difficulties, turned out to be a true linguistic genius and learned not only English, French, Italian and Spanish, but above all Arabic. During these years of study, Brother Engelbert longed more and more to use his language skills and go on mission to proclaim the gospel all over the world. In 1855, the young Franciscan’s wish was fulfilled. He was sent to the Holy Land as a missionary. It was not easy for him to say goodbye to his confreres in Bolzano, and after a few days in Rachau, he also had to say goodbye to his family. Especially the farewell to his mother was heartbreaking. He wrote about it: “My heart bled at the thought that I should now find myself so far from my dear parents and brothers and sisters.” The long journey was very arduous and involved great strain for Brother Engelbert. During the crossing from Trento to Alexandria, he became seriously seasick and suffered greatly from the oriental heat after his arrival. However, the closer he came to the Holy City, the more his anticipation and euphoria increased. In his letters, he reports on the emotion and emotion that overcame him at the first sight of the city of Jerusalem. He could hardly believe that he was in the holy places where his beloved Lord, Jesus Christ, had once walked. To his parents he wrote after his arrival: “So then I am fresh and healthy in the Holy City, and though I am far from you, yet I am with you in spirit in all the holy places and never forget to pray for you.”
Engelbert spent his first two months in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, before being transferred to St Paul‘s Monastery in Damascus. He encountered Oriental customs with great curiosity and openness. It soon became clear to him that as a pastor, he not only had to take care of church matters and the administration of the sacraments, but he was called in when someone was ill and he had to get medicine, when it was necessary to bring runaway wives back home (which, according to Brother Engelbert, happened quite often) and also had to help people with all kinds of family and business worries. His sincere struggle for people in pastoral care, his untiring willingness to help and his excellent knowledge of Arabic opened the hearts of the faithful in the vicinity of the monastery to him, who soon only called Brother Engelbert “Abouna Malak”, which means “Father Angel”.
Soon after Brother Engelbert’s arrival in Damascus, tensions repeatedly arose between the Christian minority and Muslim groups, especially the Druze, a violent Muslim sect. As early as 1858, the Franciscan priest only narrowly escaped an attack. In July 1860, there was a great persecution of Christians in Damascus, to which Brother Engelbert and his confreres in St Paul's Monastery also fell victim. The brothers heard the raging in the city, but stayed in the monastery, believing themselves safe behind the monastery walls. A traitor who had once worked at the monastery showed the killers a secret entrance to the monastery precinct. Three Maronite Christians, who were also in the monastery, were the first victims of the horde, after which seven Franciscan fathers were killed. Both the laity and the religious had steadfastly confessed their faith in the presence of their murderers. The youthful Engelbert had still tried to flee over the neighbouring house roofs and get to safety. A woman had given him a white cloak as camouflage, but it was too short and the brown habit and the bare feet in sandals gave Engelbert away when his pursuers caught up with him. Surrounded by about twenty henchmen, he asked one, “Friend, what have I done to you?” The latter replied in amazement, “Nothing, but you are a Christian!” Witnesses report that Brother Engelbert was faithful to his faith and testified in the face of death: “I am a Christian, I remain a Christian. Even more, I am a servant of Christ, priest of the Catholic community here.” He then crossed himself. He was then struck by a blow with a double-bladed axe. When he also resisted further requests to renounce the faith, a fatal axe blow finally hit him. He died shortly after midnight on 10 July 1860 at the age of 33, and was allowed to be like his beloved Saviour in this.
On 10 October 1926 Brother Engelbert was beatified together with the other ten martyrs of St. Paul’s Monastery. July 10 is a day of remembrance in the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In 1986 he was elevated to the second parish patron of his home parish Zell am Ziller.
The Blessed Engelbert Kolland loved children and
was called „Father Angel“ by them
Painting by Sr. Wiltrud List
Prayer to the Blessed Engelbert Kolland
“Abouna Malak” – “Father Angel”
Vom Geist des Heiligen Franziskus erfüllt,
bist du in das Heilige Land gezogen.
Dort hast du den Glauben verkündet und
dein Blut für Christus vergossen.
Hilf mir, dass mein Herz mit großer Liebe zu Christus
erfüllt werde, damit ich in der Kraft des Glaubens im
alltäglichen Leben Zeugnis für das Evangelium gebe.
Bitte für uns beim Herrn, dass er in seiner Kirche
viele Berufungen erwecke, zum Priester- und
Ordensstand, zur Gründung heiliger Familien und
zum Streben nach christlicher Liebe im Alltag.
Entfache durch deine Fürbitte in vielen Gläubigen
den missionarischen Geist, der dich beseelt hat,
Eifer für das Apostolat und großherzige Bereitschaft
zu liebender Hingabe. Amen
Imprimatur des Erzb. Ordinariates Salzburg, Prot Nr. 401/11-AThME,
vom 8. April 2011, Dr. Hansjörg Hofer, Generalvikar
6280 Rohrberg | Tirol | Österreich
Tel: +43 5285 63033