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Apostolic Movement

Poverty as an opportunity that God can grant us

By: Harald M. Knes

The members in the six Schoenstatt Secular Institutes have made a conscientious choice for the Evangelical Council on Poverty. Following Jesus, they want to live a simple lifestyle, not as self-renunciation, but as an opportunity to be open to receive what God can give, what each one really needs. This was the theme of the meeting of the Institutes that took place from February 17 to 19, 2023, in the Conference Center at Mount Moriah.

The event took place in the conference house Berg Moriah, Photo: Albert Busch)

The need for sacrifice in one’s lifestyle

Manuel Immler, who was invited as a guest speaker, picked up on this tension. As a product designer with an additional degree in “eco-social design,” he spoke on the need for renunciation in one’s own lifestyle in order to take climate change seriously. “It just so happens,” he elaborated, “that we live on a planet with limited resources that we currently overuse.” Lectures and talks usually falter at this point. This time, however, he had 26 listeners in front of him, for whom this point has been a matter of fact for years and decades as a way of life and community. Surprised, he noted, “No argument about the need, but keen interest instead.”

The Evangelical Council on Poverty in the context of organic thinking and living

In the main lecture of the conference, the couple Maria and Dr. Ulrich Wolff presented Joseph Kentenich’s understanding of poverty. They showed that Joseph Kentenich places the Evangelical Council on Poverty within the broader context of “organic thinking and living”. This particularly raises the question of “how to attach myself to things,” said Mr. and Mrs. Wolff. “All the things we use should remind us of God and lead us to God and ultimately bind us to him.” Of course, solidarity with one’s fellow beings must play an important role in this.

Presentations from the various Secular Institutes of Schoenstatt showed very interesting insights and experiences of living in poverty, which awakened a great deal of spiritual energy and real solidarity.

Exchange and meeting in the evening in the fireside room (Photo: Albert Busch)

The challenge of family coexistence

Father Heinrich Walter spoke about the challenge for the six secular institutes to be “brothers and sisters of a single family”, as their founder Joseph Kentenich formulated as a goal: “Each community next to each other. (…) To stay together, to come together! In some way this should also be possible institutionally, but even more so and even more from the heart. To find a coherent unity! Unity of spirit, unity of hearts, unity of mutual help. We must create a whole new world.”



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