Schoenstatt -- An International Movement at the Service of Church and World
Born in an anonymous town on the banks of the River Rhine in Germany, Schoenstatt has grown to be worldwide movement of consecrated people at the service of life - both in the Church and society at large.
On 18 October 1914, on the eve of World War I, Fr. Kentenich and a small group of seminarians at the Minor Seminary in Schoenstatt, made a Covenant of Love with the Blessed Mother to make her presence in a disused chapel. By making it her shrine, they asked her to "draw many youthful hearts" to herself and to distribute her graces to all who would visit this small chapel. In return they promised to bring Mary many small deeds of love and to work towards their self-sanctification.
Mary heard their plea and indeed transformed the abandoned chapel into a place of grace, which has been visited by hundreds of thousands of people in the last 100 years.
200 Shrines in 30 Countries
Over the years a network of shrines has expanded to more than 30 countries, and today there are over 200 replica shrines where Mother Thrice Admirable has made her home and pours out her graces to all who go on pilgrimage to the shrine. There are nine shrines in Africa, five of which are in South Africa.
But more than that, Mary takes a personal interest in each person who calls on her for help, aiding in their spiritual formation and directing each one toward the unique plan that God has for each person.
Each person has a mission to love and serve God through service to those around us. This is the social dimension of Schoenstatt's spirituality. As an apostolic movement within the greater community of the Church, Schoenstatt calls on each of its members to become apostle in their own environments - in the home, the workplace, church community and society at large.
In particular, Schoenstatt wants to be responsible for the person and the mission of the Blessed Virgin in the Church and in the world, slowly working for the transformation of society by drawing people closer to God's plan of love. In this way, we can truly say that we actively help to make God's "kingdom come " and his "will be done on earth as it is in heaven."