W284 N404 Cherry Lane -
Waukesha, WI 53188
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Our charism as a community can be defined in one word: Schoenstatt.
What is Schoenstatt?
As a movement of moral and religious renewal in the Catholic Church, Schoenstatt works to help renew the Church and society in the spirit of the Gospel. As such it is prominent among the new ecclesial movements that have come to life in the Church in our modern time. Our late Holy Father, Pope John Paul II summed up the purpose and significance of these movements when he said,
In our world, often dominated by a secularized culture which encourages and promotes models of life without God, the faith of many is sorely tested, and is frequently stifled and dies. Thus we see an urgent need for powerful proclamation and solid, in-depth Christian formation. There is so much need today for mature Christian personalities, conscious of their baptismal identity, of their vocation and mission in the world! There is great need for living Christian communities! And here are the movements and the new ecclesial communities: they are the response, given by the Holy Spirit, to this critical challenge at the end of the millennium. You are this providential response. (John Paul II, Pentecost 1998 to Ecclesial Movements)
Schoenstatt was founded by Father Joseph Kentenich on October 18, 1914 in the little Schoenstatt valley in the Rhine region of west-central Germany. The word “Schoenstatt” comes from the German word for “beautiful” (schön) and “place” (statt).
As an international movement Schoenstatt is present on all continents and consists of over 20 independent communities and groups for priests and laity: for families, for men, for married women and mothers, for single women, for professionals, university students, and youth. It is a spiritual family whose many branches and communities join to form a single Schoenstatt Family.
The secular institutes of Schoenstatt together with the federations form the central communities of the whole work. These function as the “soul” of the other groups and memberships and for the extensive pilgrim movement of Schoenstatt. They provide inspiration and leadership for these groups and thereby help that the Schoenstatt Movement as a whole becomes effective and fruitful in parishes, in dioceses, and throughout the world.
Schoenstatt’s charism, which is also our charism as a community, seeks to reconnect faith with daily life, especially through a deep love of Mary, the Mother of God. Schoenstatt is deeply and devotedly Marian and has repeatedly experienced how love of Mary opens new avenues to a vibrant relationship with Christ, to the Holy Spirit, to God the Father, and to a renewal of love of neighbor and self. Not least of all, love of Mary has helped many grow in love for the Church. This is in keeping with Pope John Paul II’s message to the Schoenstatt Family during an audience in 1985:
“An authentic Marian spirituality leads to a deep love for the Church.”
Schoenstatt’s Marian charism finds an original expression through our Schoenstatt shrines. The Schoenstatt Shrine is the spiritual home and center of life for the entire movement. In addition to the Original Shrine in Germany, there are over 180 replica daughter shrines around the world where people gather for prayer, renewal, and inspiration. Each shrine is truly a place of grace and pilgrimage. There are three specific gifts of grace through which Mary unfolds her effectiveness in the Schoenstatt shrine:
These three special gifts of grace of Mary resound in the title in which we venerate the Blessed Mother in Schoenstatt: Mother thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt.
As Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, called to be the soul of the Schoenstatt Movement, we see it as our special task and mission to embody the image of Mary and to offer our lives in selfless service for the fulfillment of her mission from Schoenstatt and our shrines. In this way we want to serve the Church in our founder’s spirit of faithfulness and love, and lead many souls homeward to God the Father.