As women, to be protagonists of a new world
There is hardly a jubilee in Schoenstatt that had to be planned so early and creatively and then replanned time and again, as the Jubilee 100 Years of Women's Movement in Schoenstatt. The first plans began in 2018. A letter to the world asked about the wishes and ideas of women from different countries and cultures, ages and vocations.
December 8, 2020 - By: Claudia Brehm.
A common goal was to show solidarity with one another as different women’s communities and to draw strength for a formative participation in the family, the Church, and the world from the knowledge of how much women have shaped the history of Schoenstatt.
The joy about the unbelievable many ways in which it is possible to live as a Christian woman in the Schoenstatt spirituality, married, living alone, living in secular institutes or federal communities, finding inspiration in courses and groups, permeated the entire preparation time.
Creating a more humane and balanced world
The economist, María Guadalupe, Secular Institute Women of Schoenstatt from Argentina, aptly expresses the vocation of the women who have sought and lived women over the past 100 years when she says: “I believe that as women we should be more aware of our own values and appreciate our contribution in each area more. This could be one of the keys to creating a more humane and balanced world. For it is not a question of excluding the masculine, but of complementing it by also giving space to what is specific to women, which is lacking in so many areas today. I believe that we have a lot to do in this sense, not only because we have the right to do so, but also because we have the task of giving the world a ‘soul’ from our being women, or rather from what God has given us women.
How did it come to be founded 100 years ago when the Schoenstatt Movement was exclusively male?
Gertraud von Bullion, Count’s daughter, worldly, down-to-earth, was a Red Cross Sister on the Eastern and Western fronts during World War I, and was very committed to the care of injured and mutilated soldiers in military hospitals. In the process, she came across a Schoenstatter among her sick, who gave her the only Schoenstatt magazine at that time, the “MTA”, to read. He told her enthusiastically about the Schoenstatt spirituality, which had even proved itself in the turmoil of the war. The fire jumped over. Gertraud finally found what she had been looking for for a long time: a community in which faith is vividly connected to everyday life and helps to educate herself to a personality that can work powerfully in the world.
She was convinced, this is also a concern of women, she enthused her cousin Marie Christmann and other women, and she set about the initially not easy task of convincing the authoritative men of the young Schoenstatt Work that women, too, can find their place here. On December 8, 1920, she sealed – together with her cousin Marie – the Covenant of Love with the Blessed Mother and gave all her willingness to work for the building of a women’s movement that wants to help shape society. This day is considered the founding day for the international women’s movement in all its different vocations. Father Kentenich said at the 10th anniversary of the Women’s Movement: “There was once a time when the public thought that history was made only by men. That is wrong.
Women, too, made history and today, more than ever before, they should have a powerful influence on the fate of the world. But we must expect and work to ensure that it does not lose its essence, that women seek and find their mission. (J. Kentenich 7.12.1930)
Website 100 years of women goes to the start
Instead of the planned program, which was to start with the Women’s Congress in May 2020 and then continue through the summer and fall until the actual founding day of the women’s movement with numerous offerings, a thanksgiving service will now be celebrated in the Adoration Church, which will take place on December 8th at 4:30 pm and will be broadcast by schoenstatt-tv. During this service 100 roses will be handed over to God as thanks for the rich 100 years of women’s movement and prayed for a new beginning in the coming years.
As a special project, the website “100 Years – 100 Women” will be launched on December 8th. This part of the jubilee has even withstood Corona. Based on the thoughts of the organization team: How can women worldwide pass on what shapes and makes their lives rich, they came up with the brilliant idea to ask 100 women from all over the world to report on their formative experiences, challenges and visions as women. The broadest possible spectrum of age groups, vocations, professions and countries was considered. The age range extends from 13 to 97 years. Particularly moving: the two oldest women (94 and 97 years), who experienced Schoenstatt for the longest time, died shortly after their statement for this project.
– It is interesting that the first question, “What experiences have shaped you as a woman”, was answered similarly by many women regardless of their cultural affiliation. There are other women’s personalities who gave them access to their own womanhood, first of all their own mothers and grandmothers, and later in life, their belonging to Schoenstatt and their connection with the Blessed Mother Mary.
– In the second question, “Where in your life did you experience God?”, many small and large everyday experiences are reported, but also outstanding biographical events, often painful, which in retrospect were felt as a bridge to God.
– The question of the challenges facing women today is answered very differently depending on the cultural area: it is a question of social or political justice, of balancing family and career. A balance between one’s own demands and those of others is also addressed, as is the challenge of living alone as a woman or the obvious discrimination against women.
– The answers to the question: “What do you want to change through your life in this world? Creating a lobby for women, bringing more understanding and compassion, eradicating injustice, giving women a voice, strengthening the commitment to family, bringing the voice of women and the least heard to the negotiating tables, creating development opportunities for all, and much more.
Each woman is introduced with a short profile and photo before her contribution is shown as a video message or text. To put the entire website online in four languages – German, English, Spanish, Portuguese – was no small challenge.
Giving the future a face
The anniversary shows that in the past hundred years a small beginning has become a worldwide movement. Women of many lifestyles, many cultures, women of all ages experience themselves here as a strong force in the struggle for a better world. What unites them is the Covenant of Love with Mary, the strong woman who wrote world history by saying yes to the plans of God. What inspires them are the impulses of Father Kentenich, who set new accents in the women’s movement. From the Schoenstatt Shrines, Mary forms women who give a face to the future.
Let yourself be inspired by 100 women, to be found at https://frauenprofile-schoenstatt.com and by the impressive variety of the 10 women’s communities who live their respective vocations: in the Secular Institute of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, in the Secular Institute of Women of Schoenstatt, in the Schoenstatt Women’s Federation, in the three Schoenstatt Family Communities, in the Mothers’ Federation, in the Schoenstatt Movement of Girls and Young Women, in the Women’s Movement of Academics, in the Mothers’ Movement, in the Women’s League, in the Schoenstatt Movement of Working Women.
Women’s Congress Germany-wide
Who would like to celebrate nevertheless gladly or now fire caught for celebrating, is in the coming year cordially to the congress of women Germany far invited. If Corona allows it, it will take place on Saturdays in May and the beginning of June at the various Schoenstatt Centers in Germany. Further information can be found at: www.s-fm.de/frauenkongress-2021
The anniversary celebration of the Frauenliga / Berufstätige Frauen was celebrated in August 2020 in a small corona-like setting. The planned international event has been postponed to 2021.