January 27, 2019


Sr. María José Sousa, Waukesha, Wisconsin, USA

Retreat for University Young Women
in Waukesha, Wisconsin, USA

“The time is now: Burn Fearlessly!” This is the motto of the Schoenstatt Girls & Young Women in the USA for this year 2019. As an answer to the difficulties that our Church is facing and in view of the many little and big challenges that we encounter in living our faith, the young women have discovered that the Mother Thrice Admirable (MTA) is calling them to burn fearlessly: to be a fire that burns away anything that does not belong to God, that transforms, that uplifts. A fire that brings about the Heavenly Father’s Holy Springtime!

From January 4-6, 2019, a number of the University Young Women gathered in the shadow of our International Shrine of the Father Kingdom for days of retreat, renewal, and of growing deeper into our Schoenstatt world. The retreat focused on the year’s motto and on the reality that we can dare to burn fearlessly only because we have made a covenant of love with the Blessed Mother. In the shrine, the MTA gives us the graces that we need in order to be the fire that transforms our world and leads all to God.

Since all of us couldn’t be together on New Year’s night, we had a Ver Sacrum Hour in the shrine during the first night of the retreat in the spirit of the original Ver Sacrum Generation:

“From the days of the birth of the Holy Springtime, it had been clear to us that the change of year and precisely, the night between the last day of the old year and the first of the new year should be our night. At the two-year high point, we, a pure youth, wanted to give God the old year and consecrate the new one, representing all people, and far from the turmoil of the time” (From the chronicles of the original Ver Sacrum generation).  

We took the time to look back at the year that had just ended and its many highlights.  We also looked ahead to this New Year 2019. What will our MTA need from her Ver Sacrum Patris youth this coming year?

The time is now: burn fearlessly!

The second day of the retreat, we discussed the grace of finding a home and of inner transformation that are offered to us in the shrine and how Father Kentenich lived out of those graces his entire life. Sr. M. Petra and Sr. M. Jean, both who experienced our founder during his time in Milwaukee, shared with us their insights and experiences. There was also time for prayer, confession, resting, and simply being together. In the afternoon, we made our own Ver Sacrum Lights for our room shrines as a reminder of the MTA’s presence in our lives and of our great mission.

We ended the day with a visit to the Exile Shrine. It was a time during which we could each experience the presence of our father and founder very tangibly and come to understand a little better the importance of the three contact points in the covenant of love. The MTA, the shrine, and our father and founder belong together!

“Dear Blessed Mother, we come here to find our father and founder, Father Joseph Kentenich. When he was asked where he could be found, the answer was always: the shrine. We cannot find Father physically here on earth anymore, but he is still here and still very much our father today. So, like so many others, we have come to seek Father here in the shrine. We have traveled here to the Exile Shrine where he obediently lived and worked for you for fourteen years. It was here that he celebrated Holy Mass daily, and it was here where people would look for him and find him; because when we look for Father, we find him in the shrine!” (Excerpt from opening prayer written by the diocesan leader) 

The final day focused on the grace of apostolic fruitfulness and mission zeal. Sr. M. Paulette, who also experienced Father Kentenich during the exile time, shared with us the importance of having a deep mission consciousness. To have a mission means to be sent, and we are first of all sent to ourselves! If we educate ourselves, if we surrender ourselves in the covenant of love, if we take our mission seriously, then our whole being will radiate. We will become apostles by our very being!

Aware of our great mission and with renewed strength and love for our MTA, we were once again sent out into the world to courageously strive to bring about a Holy Springtime of the Father for our country and world. In the power of the covenant of love –

the time is now: burn fearlessly!