What is Schoenstatt?
Schoenstatt is a place of pilgrimage dedicated to Mary under the title Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt. It was founded on October 18th, 1914, by Reverend Fr. Joseph Kentenich in Germany close to the city of Koblenz on the Rhine. People from all over the world are drawn to this Marian Shrine.
Schoenstatt is a worldwide movement of prayer and sacrifice. It came into being through the prayers and sacrifices of young students and their spiritual director, Fr. Joseph Kentenich, and it will continue to exist through the same means, with prayers and sacrifices offered to the Blessed Mother in the shrine of grace.
Schoenstatt is a movement of educators and education. It aims at forming the Christian personality marked by firmness of character and a profoundly spiritual life. It also builds a strong Christian community, a support model for society.
Schoenstatt is an organization whose members include clerics and laity. People from all walks of life, of all ages and nationalities are welcome to become part of the international Schoenstatt Family which has been established on every continent.
Schoenstatt is a religious center where persons are formed for the apostolate our Church needs today. Wherever the Schoenstatt Movement has taken root, a shrine can be found with retreat centers and houses of formation nearby.
a place, a movement,
a family, a spirituality,
a new way of life.
Schoenstatt – A Place
Schoenstatt means a “beautiful place”. Schoenstatt is a religious center, a place of pilgrimage, a shrine dedicated to Mary. The first Shrine-located in Germany near Coblence on the Rhine-became Our Lady’s place of grace in 1914. Throughout the years, many such shrines have been erected across the world, each of them an exact replica of the Mother Shrine. They are the spiritual centers of the international Apostolic Movement of Schoenstatt. From our shrines God wants to direct a special stream of graces into our time. Through Mary he offers us those graces which we need to become strong personalities, able and ready to contribute toward the formation of a truly Christian word.
Schoenstatt – A Movement
The Schoenstatt Movement is a special kind of spiritual community, offering a place and support to any Catholic searching for spiritual growth and apostolic activity. It comprises people of all walks and states of life, of all ages and cultures. It has expanded internationally into more than 28 nations. It cannot be compared to a club, an association or guild, or to any work-related or special interest group. It has an image of its own. It is a Marian and apostolic movement for the renewal of the world and Church, marked by an outstanding apostolic spirit and a great love for the Blessed Mother. Schoenstatt could be described in greater detail as:
A Movement of Moral and Religious Renewal…
It takes up the most important task facing the people of our time: the moral and religious renewal of the whole world, in the spirit of Christ, according to the teaching of our Catholic Church.
A Movement of Lay Apostolate…
The main body of the movement is formed by lay people who work in conjunction with priests. Together they serve the universal apostolate of the Church in the world today. Each individual person is free to chose that particular kind of apostolic activity which is most needed in themoment and best suits his abilities. The most important apostolate for everyone, however, is the earnest striving to sanctify each day, thus fulfilling the challenge of Vatican II, “to consecrate the world.”
A Movement of Education…
Education and spiritual formation of each person are necessary in order to render the apostolic endeavors fruitful. The goals and means of education should stimulate our inner renewal and bring about the formation of a new person in a new society. Schoenstatt offers specific methods of education which help us to reach the highest ideals and the final foal of our Catholic living. By our striving to educate and sanctify ourselves, we hope to be convincing witness to others and inspire them on the way to their eternal destiny. Therefore we promote the sanctification of our own life for the sake of others and the apostolate.
A Movement of prayer and sacrifice…
Schoenstatt as a place of pilgrimage was founded through the prayers and sacrifices of young people. It will continue to be a place of grace and pilgrimage only as long as there are people who pray and sacrifice generously, placing their spiritual efforts at our Lady´s disposal in the shrine. Schoenstatt demands very little in regard to religious practices – no specific obligatory prayers or sacrifices. However it places high demands upon the formation of our own inner attitudes. We need to direct our minds and hearts toward high ideals and goals and search for practical ways to realize them in our striving because we know that without our spiritual contributions the world cannot be renewed. Thus love, courage, generosity and inner freedom will always find new and greater ways to accomplish our goal.
A Marian Movement…
Schoenstatt was founded as a work and instrument of God through Mary. Mary was chosen to be the associate of Christ in his entire work of redemption. As his mother and the Mother of all the redeemed, she continues to fulfill her task of giving birth to Christ in our time, of bringing him to all peoples and helping to establish his kingdom.
In Schoenstatt we venerate Mary under the title: Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt. We are convinced that she selected Schoenstatt to give a specific message to our time and to accomplish a great, original task with a special spirituality and message for our time.
A Modern and Necessary Movement…
Schoenstatt has come into existence in our time, for our time and the coming centuries. While anticipating all that is new and valuable, it is firmly rooted in the tradition of the Church and human life. It is new in the way it establishes groups and builds community life. It is new in its education and formation, in its customs and apostolic work. It is new in its juridical place within the Church. It is a very necessary movement in a time of dissolution when all traditional values and forms are questioned and in a time of transition beyond compare. It is a God-given sign and means for solving the manifold tasks of our age.
Schoenstatt – A Family
Schoenstatt is a family-like movement which unites individual persons in a natural-supernatural family. The spiritual father of the Schoenstatt family is the founder of Schoenstatt, Father Joseph Kentenich, who cares for his foundation for all times. The covenant of love with the Triune God, with the Mother Thrice Admirable of Schoenstatt and with each other, secures family unity. The shrine of our Lady is the spiritual home and center of the Schoenstatt family. Throughout its blessed and fruitful history, the Schoenstatt family has experienced God’s guidance and a powerful inbreak of grace, as well as a heroic surrender of the people to God in loving response to his gifts.
Schoenstatt – A Spirituality and Message
Schoenstatt’s spirituality gives inspiration and direction to all those who search for inner renewal:
- a living and practical faith in Divine Providence
- a life of everyday sanctity
- an instrumentality
- a covenant of love with the Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt as a means to realize one’s baptismal covenant with the Triune God.
Schoenstatt’s message and great gift for our Church and time is the original covenant of love which has grown out of a living, practical faith in Divine Providence and finds expression in a deep mission-consciousness and fruitful apostolate.
Schoenstatt – A New Way of Life
Schoenstatt offers a way of life which affects every aspect of one’s life and one’s relationship with others. It does not demand saying certain prayers, participating in certain activities, and/or attending meetings and gatherings. But, Schoenstatt does want to stimulate the practice of self-education and secure each person’s striving for perfection. It offers monthly discussions on the spirituality of Schoenstatt and its application to daily life, to questions about the Church and problems of our time. Usually, people of similar calling join together in small group units (8-10 people or 5-6 couples) and receive spiritual enrichment and ideas for their practical striving. Annual retreats, days of recollection, summer camps, family picnics, and other activities are also offered. The saintly lives of Schoenstatt members, especially that of the father and founder of Schoenstatt, prove that Schoenstatt is a new way of life, leading to the height of sanctity.