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Apostolic Movement

Marian Devotion

Schoenstatt’s origin is inseparable from its unique relationship with Mary


Schoenstatt a marian Movement

Since the founding in 1914, love for Mary has been at the heart of the Schoenstatt Movement and its spirituality. Schoenstatt is deeply and devotedly Marian and has repeatedly experienced how love of Mary opens new avenues to a vibrant relationship with Christ, to the Holy Spirit, and to God the Father, as well as a renewal of love of neighbor and self.

For many Schoenstatt members, love for Mary has taught them how to develop a more personal and committed relationship with the persons of the Trinity. This is not surprising, given the close union of Mary with the mission of her Son. Nor is it surprising that this love has helped many grow into more personal and fruitful relationships with neighbor und self, be it through a greater maturity in one’s vocation, a stronger family life, a more Christian workplace, or a way of dealing with people. Through her intercessory active presence in the shrine, the MTA has helped many to overcome loneliness, anxiety, and low self-esteem, or to have the courage to reach out to others to find God-willed solutions to family, social, and political problems.

Not least is how love for Mary has helped many to grow in love for the Church. This is in keeping with Saint Pope John Paul II’s remark to the Schoenstatt Family in an audience in 1985:

An authentic Marian spirituality leads to a deep love for the Church.

In the Schoenstatt Shrine

The Blessed Mother acts as mother and educator of all those who entrust themselves to her. She helps form the new person in the new community.

"Love transforms, unites, and creates a likeness"

That’s the experience of persons who love each other. And the measure of transformation. In his consuming love for his Lord and Master Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul felt compelled to profess: “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20). We become what we contemplate.

How often Father Kentenich might have lovingly contemplated the picture and person of Mary so that he came to resemble her to such a high degree. The childlike bond with Mary created a deep marian attitude in him. He loved her so much, and she formed him so profoundly that many people discovered the image of Mary in him.

Whoever searches for the secret in Father Kentenich’s life, will immediately encounter Mary. He acknowledged:

“She is the soul of my soul.”

Just as every earthquake has an epicenter, the consecration to Mary which Joseph Kentenich made in the orphanage of Oberhausen at the age of eight and a half, was the central event of God’s guidance during his childhood and youth. At the time – April 12, 1894 – his mother, Katarina Kentenich, consecrated her child to the Mother of God with the petition, “From now on, you be his Mother! Fulfill a mother’s obligations in my place.” Joseph Kentenich made this consecration his very own and in later years often called it “my” consecration to Mary. This consecration shaped his entire life and characterized all his actions. Schoenstatt spirituality lies hidden in this historical event like an undeveloped seed.

Father Kentenich says: “I have carried this secret in me until October 18, 1914. You know how it has unfolded since then.”

"She has personally formed and molded me."

“When I look back, I can say that I know no other person who has profoundly influenced my development. I had to grow up in total inner loneliness because a world had been born in me that had later been passed on to others. If my soul had had had contact with the culture of that time, if I had been attached to someone, I would not be able to say with so much conviction today that my education is simply the work of the Blessed Mother without any other more profound human influence.”
“Whatever has come into existence, whatever has come into existence through you, has come about because of our Mother Thrice Admirable of Schoenstatt. … The Blessed Mother has formed and molded me from my ninth years onwards. What I am and have I owe to her!”

I never do anything without her

You will never be able to notice with me how deeply and dearly I love the Blessed Mother …, because I never do anything without her.

An unconditional love

Father Kentenich embodied the person and mission of Mary in an admirable way. When he spoke about her, one noticed his nearness to her and union with her. Everyone sensed that a covenant of love united them, that he owed everything to her and that he loved her unconditionally

Father Kentenich recommends:

How can our love for Mary increase?

By looking at Mary’s picture

Our hearts will follow the gaze of our eyes. Whatever we lovingly contemplate becomes our own.She will eventually assume form in us as we look at her picture. We become what we contemplate.

By loving conversing with her

Listen to her and talk with her. “What would you do in my place? How would you decide? When would you say, ‘yes’ and when ‘no’?

By making small sacrifices out of love

True love lives on sacrifice and proves itself in sacrifice. In the covenant of love, Mary asks for the human cooperation of her covenant partners – “nothing without us” – the “contributions to the capital of grace.”