June 19, 2023

Extended Stay at a Schoenstatt Center

Christina Berner, Sr. Birgit-Maria Haennel
Schönstatt, Deutschland

Memo ES – More Than Just Reminiscing

Nine former ESers met on a sunny Sunday for “Memo ES” at the Marienland Conference Center. What united them was the experience of an extended stay at a Schoenstatt Center somewhere in the world, accompanied by the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary.

The day consisted of sharing photos, stories, and experiences they had during the extended stay. That was the topic throughout the whole day—including on the way to Holy Mass, at meals, during a visit to the Original Shrine, and at the blessing celebration at the end of the day. The personal blessing in the shrine at the end of the day was very special! And not to be forgotten was the little pot-luck buffet, which tempted us with homemade empanadas at the end.

Which Day Would I like to Experience Again?

“Which day of my ES would I like to relive?” The attempts to answer this question quickly showed that the ES time was something very special and precious for all of the participants, whether it was in Argentina, Brazil, or the USA. ES was always a unique time filled with unexpected experiences with the people of the relevant country, with themselves, and with God.

The question “Why do an Extended Stay with the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary?” was also discussed. In the conversation, various “specials” emerged, scoring points for an ES. One the one hand, there was the great opportunity to learn more about the spirituality of the Schoenstatt Movement, and on the other hand, it was exciting to learn about the life of the sisters. It was simply good to experience the warm hospitality and true friendliness of the sisters.  Beyond that, the ES time presents an opportunity to experience different cultures, and most of all, the possibility of growing personally in one’s faith.

 Breaking Out of the Hamster Wheel

An additional plus of the Extended Stay is the flexibility offered regarding its length. This was evident also with the participants of the Memo ES. It didn’t matter if it was only two to three months or a whole year: It was an opportunity to break out of the familiar hamster wheel and pursue personal questions:

– What in my life is important to me?
–What do I want to do with my time/with my life?
–What is my role [in life]?

In this way, ES contributed to the development of my personality.

The touching memories and reports of experiences made it clear: For us, the ES was very worthwhile! We all wish many young women the opportunity to enjoy such a valuable time.

Sound Bites That Make You Sit Up and Take Notice

  • The ES changed my life. Toward the end of this time, I actually sealed the covenant of love with the Blessed Mother, greatly improving the quality of my life since then!
  • You can see from the photo I brought along, that I was very different back then!
  • The sister I got to know during ES is not without guilt that our first daughter is called Miriam!
  • It was wonderful to learn so much about Schoenstatt.
  • We decided, during the homecoming meeting, to form a Pilgrim-MTA-by-Mail circle. The coming of the Pilgrim Mother unites us with each other and gives us support.
  • During the ES time I had much time to read. A book about Sister M. Emilie came into my hands. It impressed me so much I resolved that if I ever am ill, I will read this book. Sister M. Emilie is a role model. With her, one can master infirmity.
  • During my ES, I discovered what I wanted to do with my life, or better said, what God’s plan was for me.
  • It was hard going into the ES year knowing I wouldn’t see my boyfriend for such a long time, but this time of physical separation gave us MORE! Now we are getting married!!!

Questions about the Extended Stay Program?

Here are answers:   info@s-ms.org