I would like to joyfully share my experience: a group of young people from different countries of the world lived here for a few weeks in Schoenstatt, in our holy places. It was a great gift for me to accompany them in these two months. The young women themselves want to tell what this opportunity means for them:
This means a time to meet the Blessed Mother and our father and founder in the shrine, where it all began…
It is the yearning and the dream of many Schoenstatters in the wide world to be able to experience deeply the charisma of our father and founder and the love of the Queen at the place of origin. Therefore, the Sisters of Mary open the doors of their homes on Mount Schoenstatt for young people who want to live two months in the Original Schoenstatt, to discover every corner in Schoenstatt and in the life of Father Kentenich.
In February and March 2019 we came from our countries: Mexico, Mariandrea (18) – Chile, Coni (26) – Paraguay, Celeste (21), Gaby (19) and Sol (20) – Luxembourg / Spain, Nora (21) to Schoenstatt: All young people, who already knew the Movement in different ways: some in the girls’ youth, others through their families, shrines and also the Pilgrim MTA. We left our studies, our jobs, vacations, families, friends and acquaintances and arrived at the beginning of February, from our midsummer, in the German winter.
Together with Sister M. Macarena we followed in the footsteps of Father Kentenich, his experiences which he made out of deep love for God:
He made sure that our hearts were touched;
every day brought new presents for us;
we heard testimonies from people who knew Father Kentenich,
we visited places where he was,
we went to Mount Schoenstatt;
We participated in various activities of the Schoenstatt Family, such as the Covenant Mass and the Evening Blessing.
In addition, the Sisters of Mary invited us to their homes and we had the opportunity to attend their daily Holy Mass and their times of prayer.
What are we doing day by day? We have breakfast at 8:00 am and then four hours of co-operation in the homes of the sisters begin in various tasks as needed. In the afternoon, after lunch, our program begins with discussions and group lessons, we go to the grave of our father and founder, we visit the shrines in the place Schoenstatt and arrange free afternoons together.
In addition to the explorations through the valley of Schoenstatt, we made several trips in February: to places like Gymnich, where we visited the birthplace of Father Kentenich, Cologne and Bonn. Most impressive for us was the trip to Dachau. But the Blessed Mother gave us much more: We visited Würzburg – the Liebfrauenhöhe – Rottenburg – Heidelberg.
In March we were in Koblenz-Metternich and in Trier. In this way we were able to relive the story of Schoenstatt and the life of Father Kentenich. “
From my perspective as an accompaning Sister of Mary, I can confirm that really a deep community has grown. A common ideal unites the community and also motivates the individual personality to work on their inner world: personal ideal, temperament, and self-knowledge. The spatial separation from the everyday world makes it possible to open up to God, to be transformed and to form as authentic women after the example of Mary. The cultural exchange is experienced as a great wealth, because each country contributes to it with its original gifts. The young people have the experience of establishing strong bonds that come about through a great love of God, the Mother of God and Father Kentenich.
Every year, the doors are open to young people: in February, July and October, three groups can experience this in Schoenstatt. Prayer support is very important to make this time truly a “Schoenstatt Time” so that young people experience God, feel deeply chosen and loved by Him. Only then can they grow into Schoenstatt and carry on the charisma of our Father and Founder when they return to their lands.