The Schoenstatt Movement has its origin in a small chapel in the Schoenstatt Valley in Vallendar.
On October 18, 1914, Father Kentenich and students from the local Pallottine High School asked the Blessed Mother to become active from here as an educator of people who, in the power of Christ,shape the new times.
Nobody, not even Father Kentenich himself, could have known what would happen to this small beginning: Today there is not only this first Shrine, the so-called “Original Shrine”. About 193 shrines have been built in 31 countries on all continents, all exact replicas of the Original Shrine. Long before fast food chains like McDonalds discovered the cultural effect of totally identical establishments, the Holy Spirit in Schoenstatt began to do so. It was during the Second World War.German Sisters of Mary, who built up the Schoenstatt Movement in Uruguay, felt that Schoenstattcannot be authentically transmitted without experiencing the shrine. From memory they rebuilt the Original Shrine and experienced the same gifts of grace as there. The example quickly became an example, and wherever Schoenstatt was founded, shrines were built.
Through the Schoenstatt Shrine weare united as an international Movement in the center. At thesame time, Schoenstatt can be experienced by people in their own country. The national shrines give the respective people an original rootedness in the Schoenstatt mystery. “People experience Schoenstatt in their own country” (J. Kentenich). This enables a new kind of “community formation” (J. Kentenich): Around each Schoenstatt Shrine the regional Schoenstatt Family gathers in its many different communities and initiatives.
With the birth of the “Daughter Shrines”, the Holy Spirit’s strategy did not end: at the beginning of the sixties, the so-called Home Shrines were born. As the Church began-in the hearts, in the housesof the first Christians-so the new Church should come into existence. Meanwhile, the Home Shrines form an extensive network that connects people of all ages-families and individuals-all over the world.
The number of those who are connected to the Shrine through the Pilgrim Mother, the Pilgrim Shrine, has risen to millions: the image of grace of Schoenstatt travels at regular intervals in a circleof individuals or families. It is estimated that about 15 million people worldwide are involved in this”network”. Many of them have found faith through this network.
What began 100 years ago in a very small way has expanded impressively.As early as 1951, FatherKentenich said that from the Schoenstatt Shrines there should be “an international wave that crosses all peoples and nations”, “that brings about a profound renewal movement” based on fundamental Christian values.
The Schoenstatt Shrine is one of the great places of pilgrimage of the Catholic Church
with about 15 million people who regularly draw from its stream of graces.
It is a place of grace that spans the whole world as a network. This kind of international network of shrines corresponds to the rhythm of life in our global society. In her Schoenstatt shrines, Mary conveys three special graces that people need today. Mary leads people from unattachedness to a home, from the anonymity of the masses to personality development, from non-commitment to commitment to a world renewed in Christ.
From the shrine the Blessed Mother is active and still has much to do for our society, for the cultures of the world. Today she continues togo through the world searching for people who are readytowork with her, to let her work. Who knows, perhaps she is also waiting to work in your field of life for a better world-with you.