September 3, 2020

Once in a lifetime …

from Sister M. Theodore Klimpel and Sister M. Jimena Persia

International seminar in Schoenstatt

To be in Schoenstatt once in a lifetime – that is where every Schoenstatter’s longing goes. Participating once in a lifetime in an international seminar in Schoenstatt and thus spending five months at the place of foundation and grace – this year sixteen Sisters of Mary of the younger generation from 13 nations had this good fortune. They came from the USA, Brazil, Ecuador, South Africa and India.

For what?

The individuals arrive on March 10th, 2020 with great expectations. Some of them stop at the Original Shrine before arriving on Mount Schoenstatt. There are the mother house and various houses of our community. In the training center, their conference location, everyone meets for the first time and expresses their joy and expectations:

We want to understand more deeply the charism of our Father and Founder and his mission. Each individual and we as an international community, as Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, are called like Mary to serve the Church in order to help shape a new world. “

There are also thematic units held by the Sisters of Mary, experiences in historical places and places of grace, exchanges about personal experiences, being together as a sisters’ family, looking at the opportunities and challenges of our time.

Internationality and unity

From day one, German is the “lingua franca” in the seminar. Slips of the tongue and minor language difficulties are, however, less of an obstacle to communication than an occasion for sympathetic cheerfulness. And when sisters from Argentina and Poland pick up the guitar or the seminar participant from Burundi beats the drum, then it’s everybody’s turn to practice in foreign languages.

Getting to know the respective countries and their culture enriches them.

“Despite all the differences, we always find that we are united by the same spirituality. Every Schoenstatt Sister of Mary has made the covenant of love with the Blessed Mother. Where we live, we are connected with the shrine and our founder.”

I can only wish the whole international Schoenstatt Family this bond that we experience in the seminar. It exhilarates and gives so much strength.”

A unique seminar

International seminars have been held on Mount Schoenstatt every four years since 1976. That the 2020 seminar in the “Corona year” is unique is evident from the start. “If we hadn’t all already arrived,” says one participant three days after her arrival, “then the seminar would not have been able to take place. God obviously wanted our seminar. With all the changes in the planned program, we experience that he guides us and gives us gifts. “

Experiences

We have inter alia intensively dealt with the persecution of Schoenstatt during the National Socialist era. We also went to the places where our founder was imprisoned in Koblenz and in the Dachau concentration camp. How he mastered extreme situations and how he was perceived by others left a deep impression on me. I take a lot with me for my own life. “

“I feel that my personality has grown in the past five months – also through the community experience. I am returning to my country with great motivation and look forward to realizing our original type as a Schoenstatt Sister of Mary in the place where I stood. “