July 27, 2023

“That All May be One” (Jn 17:21)

Sister Antje-Maria Wunderwald

That we would be one heart and one soul

even more. (J. Kentenich)

The sisters of the general governments of the Ladies of Schoenstatt, of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, and of the Women of the Federation meet annually to exchange of ideas and to renew the crowning of the Mother of God that took place for the first time in 1969 in the Founder Chapel. The inner unity of our communities was important to Father Joseph Kentenich, the founder of each of our communities, and in 1966 he expressed the wish that we would be one heart and one soul even more.

In addition to the members of the general governments, other members of the three communities in Schoenstatt, Germany were invited to the gathering this year. The encounter had three parts: solemn Holy Mass in the House Chapel of House Regina, a meal together during which we exchanged ideas, and the highlight of the evening: the renewal of the crowning in the Founder Chapel.

Holy Mass in House Regina

We were warmly welcomed at House Regina. The texts of the votive Mass “Mary, Mother of Unity” expressed the significance of our gathering and pointed out that we are united in the covenant of love with the Mother of God. The songs from “Catching Fire” revolved around the theme of unity and were skillfully accompanied by guitar. Father José Melo, Spiritual Director of the Ladies of Schoenstatt, was the main celebrant. Dr. Bernd Biberger, General Director of the Schoenstatt Sister of Mary, concelebrated.

In his homily, Father Melo stated that unity, for Jesus, is an inner bond, interiorly being in one another and dwelling in one another. Jesus himself is the one who unites us. In his heart, Jesus brings everyone home to the heart of the Eternal Father in heaven and it is precisely in the celebration of the Eucharist that we receive the grace of this inner bond.

Father Melo spoke of two prophetic signs that, in the context of the coronation renewal, can be seen as a call to unity and a witness to hope:

The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of Unity in the Unity Cross. The theft of the cross in the Schoenstatt Shrine in Bellavista, Chile at the beginning of April drew our attention to the unity, to the amazing unity of the [Schoenstatt] family, and to the mission of the Blessed Mother as Queen of Unity. He said that, on this evening, we were asking Our Lady to be crowned in us and to make us one in Christ Jesus.

A second sign that speaks of the Blessed Mother as Queen of Unity and reconciliation among peoples is that on July 23, in Kietrz, Poland (formerly Katscher) the Mother of God was crowned in a chapel dedicated to the MTA. This chapel was built by Blessed Father Richard Henkes. In this place, where the dramatic consequences of the division of peoples after the Second World War were experienced, a center for the promotion of unity and reconciliation is being built. It is a sign of hope.

In conclusion, Father Melo expressed the wish that the grace would be given to us on this evening to grow into and live the togetherness of love.

A family-like gathering

After Holy Mass we gathered for dinner in the large dining room. The tables were colorfully bright with members of the different communities, and this opportunity to exchange ideas was utilized well.

After this, we went to Mt. Schoenstatt to experience the highlight of the evening. Yet other members of our three communities of woman were already in the Adoration Church.

A digression: a look into history

The crowning of the Mother of God in the Founder Chapel took place for the first time in 1969, one year after the eternal home-going of Father Kentenich. Like the entire Schoenstatt Movement, the women’s communities had to discern how they, in perpetual union with the founder, would continue carrying out the mission entrusted to them for women in modern society.

The Ladies of Schoenstatt and the Schoenstatt Sisters of May together wanted to entrust their endeavors toward reaching this goal to the Mother of God. They expressed their desire by giving her a crown and turning the responsibility over to her. This crowning took place very consciously at the place where Father Kentenich was called home to eternity. Five years later, the Women of the Federation officially joined in the crowning. The symbolism of the crown expresses the enduring originality of the communities and their unity in the common mission. Each community and each individual is called to contribute their charism and abilities to Schoenstatt’s mission in the Church.

Renewal of the Coronation

The basic intentions of the first coronation have remained the same. They have been supplemented, however, at re-coronations with concerns and challenges of the time. This year’s re-crowning celebration was prepared by a small team of members of the three communities.

Together we entrusted to our Mother and Queen the current challenges in the Schoenstatt Family, in the Church, and in the world before we spiritually gave her the crown anew.

With Father Kentenich’s words we were sent back into our everyday life:

“We can now walk through life with sovereign calm. What do we give the Blessed Mother? We give her our unlimited trust. I do not rely on my own strength; I trust in divine powers as they have taken shape and form in the person of our dear Blessed Mother.

An unshakeable, unlimited trust fills us.”

(Words of our Founder spoken at the crowning of the MTA in Maria Rast, July 2, 1950)

Fotos: Sr. Maritta Zell and Hanna Gabrowska