History of Kent School - part 1
Kentie church Just what was the history of the site we know and love so well? I've rescued a whole lot of stuff off of a German website (which has since disappeared), and attempted to translate the stuff. Here is all we know to date - but please send any further details or corrections that you may have!
Priory - the Franciscans
In summary it seems the Kent School site at Hostert was originally established by monks in the 14th Century. It is unclear quite when the first buildings were erected. The Order of the Franciscans of the Holy Cross from Waldbreitbach/Wied arrived in 1909 and started their ministry in Waldniel Hostert. Their activity ended 1937 due to the outbreak of the Second World War.
Following donations from a local resident family the Order came to Hostert and in only two years managed to build the "St. Josefsheim Waldniel" - the church we see there today. The church, Verwaltungstrakt [help?], a school and two further blocks were finished on the site by 1913.
Aerial photograph of the four blocks and church with property yard around 1930
A wild picture from the side - how about that flash fountain hey??
The Franciscans looked after over 600 male patients, mostly mentally handicapped, those with learning disabilities and physically handicapped. The inhabitants worked, according to their abilities, on the farm and in the numerous workshops. This was clearly a commercial success as St. Josefsheim became self-sufficient. The centre also had a choir, band and theatre group which resulted in it becoming a highly esteemed cultural centre in the municipality.
First communion, 1935
The National Socialists (Nazis) moved to systematically weaken the role of the Catholic Church throughout Germany. They achieved this by introducing an avalanche of rules and regulations from 1935 to 1937. As a result the Order had to pay high fines because of "violations" of foreign exchange regulations. Then several monks in the "Koblenzer brotherhood" were condemned because of alleged indecent assaults. Also the State refused to help finance the running of Waldniel Hostert and as a consequence the Order had to declare bankruptcy. The last of the brothers left the house on 23rd May 1937.