Who are we?
The community of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary was founded on 1st October 1926 by Fr. Joseph Kentenich in Germany. We are an Institute that lives a consecrated life, according to the evangelical counsels of the Church and Schoenstatt's spirituality. The first Sisters arrived in South Africa in January 1934. Since then we have spread to all continents in 29 countries with vocations from 35 nations.
What do we do?
We work in the Marian formation of girls, women and families. Some of the sisters work full-time within the Schoenstatt Movement, while others also work in diverse fields in the Church and secular world. We also assist in the parishes and serve the Church through the formation of lay leaders.
All of our apostolic activity is underpinned by prayer, so that like Mary, we can help to renew the world through prayer, sacrifice and atonement. To assist us, we have a community of Sisters who foster adoration of our Eucharistic Lord and contemplative life.
Where can you find us?
In 1934 Fr. Kentenich sent the first Sisters to South Africa. Since then we have spread to all continents and have a presence in several parts of Africa too.
In Cape Town we have three houses
The Province House for the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary in Constantia is set in idyllic grounds, together with the Shrine and Retreat House, which according to Archbishop Stephen Brislin “is the heart of the Archdiocese.” The grounds and the shrine are open all day and visitors are warmly welcomed. Many of the Schoenstatt activities take place here.
Our Sisters at the “Maryland” Shrine and Centre provide an oasis of spiritual nourishment, peace, strength, and a renewed sense of dignity in an area challenged by drugs and gang warfare.
In Tamboerskloof is a residence for female students and has an Educare on the property. This “City Shrine” attracts working people who often step away from the daily bustle to participate in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
Some of the first Sisters in South Africa were sent to Cathcart as missionaries in 1935, establishing a community and winning the hearts of the local people. When Fr. Kentenich visited in 1948, he found fertile ground to encourage the Sisters and the community to build a Shrine for Our Lady - the first in Africa. The Sisters remain active in Cathcart to this day.
The Sisters Bedfordview, Johannesburg, work towards the mission of the Aurum Patris Shrine, which is to form people who truly can help to "build from here a better world." In particular, the Sisters here work with large pilgrim groups and promote business leadership that is underpinned on the social teachings of the Church and Schonestatt's rich spirituality.
Africa and Beyond
In 1962 the first Sister left South Africa for Scotland, where they have a shrine in idyllic surroundings in Campsie Glen, serving as oasis for Schoenstatt to make its mark on the people of Scotland. From Scotland the sisters serve the Schoenstatt Movement in Ireland.
In 1962 the first three sisters, sailed up the East Coast of Africa on their way to Burundi. The sisters longed to plant the seeds of the covenant of love into African hearts. Today Schoenstatt is in every diocese in Burundi serving the people of Burundi in various ways.
From Burundi, Schoenstatt has spread to the Congo, Tanzania and Rwanda.
The South African Sisters also travel to Kenya and Nigeria regularly to work with the Schoenstatt families that are slowly starting to grow in these places.