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Apostolic Movement

The Father Kentenich Secretariat and how it’s spread throughout the world

Shortly after Father Joseph Kentenich’s death – September 15, 1968 – an idea spontaneously arose: “I am going to pray for his intercession”. Quite a few people thought the same thing. Many began to entrust their intentions to him and became “spiritual friends” of Schoenstatt’s founder. This, together with his reputation for holiness, led to the opening of the beatification process and the creation of the Father Joseph Kentenich International Secretariat.

The Central Secretariat and its branches

Who would have thought that, years later, Father Kentenich’s circle of friends would reach 94 countries and 30 languages? Today, the International Secretariat, which has its headquarters in Germany, has 17 branches abroad. The national secretariats are present in Argentina (Florencio Varela), Australia (Mulgoa), Brazil (Atibaia and Santa Maria), Chile (Santiago), Costa Rica, Dominican Republic (La Victoria), Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Poland, Puerto Rico, Portugal, Switzerland, Spain, South Africa, and the United States (Milwaukee -Waukesha-).

Friends of Father Kentenich, South Africa

The headquarters of the International Secretariat is located on Mount Schoenstatt, at the Father Kentenich House. Sister Gisela-Maria Mues is currently responsible for the work and explains: “The secretariats in each country work independently on site, but stay in close contact with the Central Secretariat. This is especially true for the publication of writings: they are published by the Central Secretariat and partially translated here”.

Poland: In Father’s footsteps

In Poland, the Father Kentenich Secretariat is located in the Movement’s National Center, next to the Fidelitatis Shrine, in Otwock-Świder.

Sister M. Krzysztofa Fulneczek, who runs the place, says: “The Secretariat receives testimonies and expressions of gratitude for Father Kentenich’s intercession. All correspondence is handled here, and signatures are collected for the beatification process in the Movement’s centers throughout Poland. They are catalogued and sent in their totality to the Secretariat in Schoenstatt”.

In Poland, various activities are carried out to promote the life and work of Schoenstatt’s founder. Novenas, books, pictures, etc. are distributed. In the last two years, the Secretariat has also published the Polish version of “Impulses for Life”, which is “very popular”, says Sister M. Krzysztofa.

The statue of Father in Otwock-Świder is the primary place of encounter with the Founder. In addition, “since 2013 we have the project ‘Father Kentenich’s Way in Poland’, which aims to make known and remember 17 places where Father Joseph Kentenich stayed between 1922 and 1937 and held retreats, formation and pastoral courses, among other things,” explains Sister M. Krzysztofa.

South Africa: 75 years since the first visit

“Here in South Africa, we have a small but faithful movement that maintains a deep relationship with our founder,” says Sister M. Connie O’Brien.

2023 will mark 75 years since Father Kentenich’s first visit to the country. “In our Father Documentation Hall at the Provincial House, we have recorded an overview of our founder’s life and his visit to South Africa through various photographs with captions. We have also installed the original altar on which he celebrated Holy Mass in Paarl, as well as the door of a room in which he stayed in Worcester. Schoenstatt members, as well as the general public, have free access to this room and some use it as a meditation room to reflect on Father Kentenich’s life. The growth of the Movement here in Cape Town and Johannesburg has also been visually represented in this room,” explains Sister M. Connie.

Every year on September 15, the Archbishop of Cape Town, Stephen Brislin, meets with the Schoenstatt Movement in the region. He celebrates Holy Mass and proceeds to Father Kentenich’s statue, after which he presides at the renewal of the Covenant of Love. This year the celebration will be even more special, since Archbishop Stephen Brislin has been appointed cardinal by Pope Francis and will participate in the consistory in a few days, at the end of the month.

Australia: Shoes off

In Australia there are several editions of “Impulses for Life”, which come from the International Secretariat. They also have a good collaboration with the Milwaukee Secretariat in the USA, since they share the same language.

“We have a ‘Father’s room’ that is accessible to the public who visit us regularly,” says Sister M. Angrit Bergmann. “The visitors usually don’t know much about our Father, but they love to pick up a phrase of his, and the sisters try to explain it to them when they are around. Many of the visitors are from India or Sri Lanka and treat the space as a ‘sacred place,’ taking off their shoes before entering.”

Regional characteristics are strong in the country: “Visitors to the Shrine and Father Room love to ‘greet’ our Father and often put flowers and sometimes even money in his hands.”

Portugal: Adoration Church replica

In Portugal there is an active secretariat and the current head is Sister Maria do Rosário Santos. “Here in Portugal, we try to use all the means and resources at our disposal to make Father Kentenich more widely known. And the first means we use is the spoken word and personal contact, because normally it is through dialogue that the person feels impelled to know more about the life, work and mission of Father Kentenich,” she said.

One of the most impressive places in Portugal is the “Father Kentenich Room”, modeled after the place where the founder is buried. One can feel very close to the Schoenstatt Adoration Church. “The wall of this room is lined with a picture of the Founder’s Chapel in the Church of the Holy Trinity, which makes it a small replica of this blessed place and so, from the first moment you enter this room, it takes you to Schoenstatt. It immediately awakens a holy atmosphere and, at the same time, makes it easy to do a real catechesis on the life and work of Father Kentenich from there.”

In addition to that, “in a small closet we can also find several of his relics. On each visit, we can take home a thought written by Father Kentenich”, says Sister Maria do Rosário.

More information about the secretariats

We invite you to visit the secretariat closest to your region, or to visit the International Secretariat online, with a version in eight languages, at:


with your loved ones

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