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Apostolic Movement

Ver Sacrum Patris – A Stream from the USA Girls’ Youth

Schoenstatt Girls and Young Women

Every year, the leaders of the Schoenstatt Girls and Young Women are invited to the international Retreat Center in Waukesha, Wisconsin, for the annual Leaders’ Convention. The convention is always held at the beginning of August, after summer camps in each state are over, and it typically lasts three days. This convention is a time when we come together to discuss the past year, experience fellowship, and formulate an effective and motivating motto for our striving for the coming year. It is also a time of training on a national level. During the convention each year, the leaders also make a mini-pilgrimage to Milwaukee, a thirty-minute drive, to visit the Exile Shrine and the Movement house. For many leaders, this is a time when they can experience, some for the first time, the places where Father Kentenich lived and worked during the years of his exile.

Father Kentenich's Shoes at Lake Michigan
Traveling in Father’s Footsteps in the Exile Places

This meeting is a time of prayer, discussion, and discernment

All leaders in the SGYW branch in the USA are invited to come. These are the youth leaders of the branch, typically ages 16-22. There are three main areas in the United States with established youth branches: the Wisconsin-Illinois area, Minnesota, and Texas. Typically, there are many leaders from each of these states, and this year we welcomed leaders from Florida! The convention is moderated by the national team, the state leaders from each of the three main areas.

This meeting is a time of prayer, discussion, and discernment. Each day begins with Mass and morning prayer in the Shrine, followed by a meditation. The discernment process then begins with a look at the needs and signs of the times in general and then for young women in particular. Looking at these signs, the leaders break off into smaller groups and discuss the main problems that they see the youth struggling with and ways that Schoenstatt could provide an answer to these difficulties. They review the strivings and struggles of the past year, as states or regions, to see what inspired the youth and what areas need to be improved or approached in a different way. Then they come together to share their experiences and ideas.

Girls youth
Our VSP Queen travels with us throughout the Convention

Formulation of the new motto

From these streams and experiences, the young women then try to formulate a new motto that will express the striving and mission that they are called to carry out in the coming year. It is a very synodal process as each one must practice humble, open listening as well as boldness in sharing what is on her heart. Each year’s motto is a short expression that is meant to capture and convey the Girls’ and Young Women’s answer to the needs of the times from where they are in life. This motto becomes each one’s mission statement for the coming year, her mission to the girls she leads but also to all those she comes into contact with.

Girls youth
The Leaders enjoying a campfire

Our previous motto was: “Rekindle the Springtime.” The pandemic hit the girls youth in the USA really hard. These past two years have been a real time of testing, so we took comfort in the stability of those who were able to continue working for the branch. With this motto, we strove to strengthen our own inner fire for Schoenstatt and the Blessed Mother so that we could draw others to her through our Apostolate of Being.

We have worked interiorly to strengthen our self-education, and now the Blessed Mother is sending us out. Our new motto is: Covenant daughter, raise your eyes and dance. Here is the explanation of our motto from the national team:

“What does it mean to be a woman today? We find our identity as a covenant daughter, a daughter of the King and Queen. This security invites us to raise our eyes and our hearts to the heights, full of childlike trust in God and the Blessed Mother. The uplifting nobility of our being will permeate our surroundings and invite others to look heavenwards as well. We raise our eyes because we have unlimited hope and confidence that the heavenly Father will never lead us astray but transform us into more perfect reflections of himself. This certainty fills us with a contagious joy, a joy that we long to share with others, a joy that makes us dance! It is this joy in our faith that we as Schoenstatt Girls and Young Women are commissioned to share with others through our latest year’s motto.”

“Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp. For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.” ~Ps. 149


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