Louis OBERLECHNER is born September 9, 1899 in Klingenthal (son of Joseph, blacksmith, and of Julie HARTWEG).
He makes his studies in Strasbourg (first in the College Saint-Etienne, then to the seminary and to the faculty of Theology).
He has been mobilized in 1917 and injured. He is ordered priest in 1923, first named priest in the mining city of Wittenheim, then to the parish Saint-Joseph of Mulhouse, finally, in 1930, to the parish Saint-Marie of Colmar where he is going to remain until her retirement in 1975.
During the second war, he has been stopped two times by the Gestapo. One especially blamed him for the letters that he sent to the young of her district that had been enrolled by force.
When he arrives to the parish Sainte-Marie of Colmar, we are in full " Popular Front " and all is to make. The district is rather a working district Communist and there is not a church.
|He constructs a chapel there successively, a social house and then finally, after the war, the church "Our Lady of the Peace" whose first stone was put May 23, 1954 and that it put close to thirty years to build.
To attract the population little practicing, he first created a "casino", room of feasts where he organized sittings of movies.
He trust his summer camps, in Klingenthal, Ribeauvillé and Orbey that allowed modest kids to take advantage of kindness of the nature.
For the church, he had organized his bell-tower, separated of the building body in order to can, later, there to create some lodgings for the young.
This vicar of suburb was also an intellectual. His contemporaries tell that in his library one found Térence, Rabelais, Fischart (the Alsatian Rabelais), Cervantes, Wilhelm Busch, Tchekov, Lesage, Grimmelshausen, and then… Abraham to Sancta Clara.
With what means has you he financed all his projects? Mystery.
He had the grant to unearth the donors: he knew to find them and to convince them. He managed to force those that had the means of it to give, while making, if need be, of the blackmail to the hell and to the purgatory.
As for the construction of his church he explains, in his book title «Geschichten vom Jeromle » how he financed it. Or rather he doesn't explain it.
| He says that he began with nothing! Took ten years then to construct it and again ten years to finish to pay it. And to those that asked him on what bank he
had placed his money, he answered: on the divine bank!
Although having looked for honors never, he is decorated nevertheless of the title of academy officer in 1951, receives the legion of honor in 1954, and is named honorary canon in 1962.
He dies in Ingersheim December 2, 1975 at the age of 76 years and is buried in Klingenthal
In the district Sainte-Marie, the former Place Maimbourg carries today the name of the Canon Louis OBERLECHNER.