The Schoenstatt Family Branch
Father Joseph Kentenich founded the Family Movement in the concentration camp at Dachau in 1942. A large, international movement for families has developed out of this difficult beginning. The circumstances of the foundation show us that marriage partners and families have to be equipped to cope with a secularised time and surroundings. Father Kentenich's life is our example, his directives a precious heritage.
As the Schoenstatt Family Movement we feel called to live the Biblical, Catholic ideal of marriage and the family with the help of our Schoenstatt spirituality together with many like-minded families. Through our group meetings we want to make a contribution towards the practical expression of this ideal in life. We have experienced that there are many different ways of accompanying couples and families in pastoral practice, so that justice is done to their various possibilities, abilities and needs. The family is the first place where the faith is proclaimed, the first teacher of the faith. It is here that the relevance of the faith for life is understood and put into practice.
Source of Strength
The covenant with Mary, the "covenant of love", that our founder entered into on 18th October 1914 in the shrine in Schoenstatt, Germany, has left its mark on us. Like Mary, we want to live our lives in union with Jesus Christ. With her and through her we want to learn and experience what it means to live in a covenant with God and one another. Our baptismal and marriage covenant are renewed and deepened by this "covenant of love".
The shrine of the Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt, is our spiritual centre and source of strength. We believe that through Mary God has placed his hand in a special way on this place and that from there he wants to educate "New people in a new community" (cf. for example, 2 Cor 5,17; Gal 6,15).
The "home shrine" plays a particularly important part in our families. It contributes essentially to giving a home a Christian character. The family puts up a cross, a picture of Mary, other important family pictures and religious signs, flowers, candles, etc., in a special room or corner. For us the home shrine becomes the centre of the house where we hand over our joys and problems to God and present our petitions to him. This place reminds us of our covenant with God. It helps us to ensure that prayer and meditation have a definite place in our family life. Through its symbols it also offers us the possibility to give expression to our spiritual life and the values of our family.