November 18, 2023

The 2023 Pilgrimages from Romania to Schoenstatt, Germany

Sister Erika-Mária Bukovics and
Sister Beáta-Mária Horwáth

The Blessed Mother Can be Felt

at Such a Place

With great joy and gratitude we could organize two pilgrimages to Schoenstatt, Germany this year. One was for families and the other was for groups participating in the Apostolate of the  Pilgrim MTA. Both pilgrimage groups returned home with much enthusiasm and would gladly make a pilgrimage again to Schoenstatt.

The families report:

A pilgrimage to Schoenstatt where the Mother of God teaches us

A family group from the parish in Dorobanti, Romania, had the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to Schoenstatt, Germany. They report: “We drove to Budapest early in the morning and from there we took a plane to Cologne, Germany. We arrived in Schoenstatt in the afternoon and stayed at House Tabor. From the beginning, we were impressed by the beauty of the place. In the evening, Father Péter Szabó said Holy Mass for us in the Schoenstatt Shrine, Tabor.

In the valley of Schoenstatt, Sister M. Boebe Tari told us about the history of the shrine and the origin of the Schoenstatt Movement—how, through Father Joseph Kentenich, the Blessed Mother began to educate the students to become firm, free, priestly personalities. We visited the school where Father Kentenich taught at that time and we had the opportunity to pray in the shrine and to attend a Holy Mass in the Original Shrine. It was nice to see the young and old alike writing letters to the Blessed Mother to place in the prayer-offering  jar with the motto of the Schoenstatt Movement on it: Nothing without you—Nothing without us. That is, we do everything with the Mother of God and she does everything through us.

On Mt. Schoenstatt, we visited the Adoration Church with the tomb of Father Kentenich, the Father Kentenich Encounter House, and his apartment in the training center. We were impressed by how small and simple his room was, how simply he lived. In the Mission Center we could see all of the countries where the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary work as missionaries and could get an impression of the cultures of these countries.

During these days the group enjoyed a boat trip on the Rhine River and a visit to the German Corner in Koblenz. On Friday morning our pilgrimage ended with Holy Mass in the Schoenstatt Shrine, Tabor. We arrived home late in the evening—tired but grateful and filled with many experiences in our hearts. We are grateful that we could visit the Original Shrine of the Three Times Admirable Mother, Queen, and Victress of Schoenstatt.

A woman who is a member of the Schoenstatt Apostolate of the Pilgrim MTA wrote an unsolicited report about the pilgrimage. Here is an excerpt:

“From September 1–5, 2023, we went on a pilgrimage to Schoenstatt, Germany. Our bus ride began in Timisoara. We were a group of 35 people from the Diocese of Timisoara (District of Timisoara and Arad) and from the Diocese of Satu Mare. The long bus trip (2,800) kilometers provided us with much opportunity to sing and pray.”

Sister Beata-Mária, the one who organized the trip, introduced us to the world and spirituality of Schoenstatt with various reflections and stories. She explained the essential elements of the covenant of love, the capital of grace, the pilgrimage graces, self-education, the prayer-offering jar in the shrine, and so on.

Our first stop was in Kahlenberg, which is in the vicinity of Vienna. There, Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary welcomed us with much love and warm smiles. After supper, Sister Ingred-Maria brought us to the Schoenstatt Shrine on Kahlenberg. She told us its history using four motifs: the jar in the shrine, the roses around the chapel, the covenant book, and the chalice of Father Franz Reinisch. These motifs have played an important role for the local Schoenstatt Movement. We learned also that the Schoenstatt Sisters from Austria prepared the way for the mission of the Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen, and Victress of Schoenstatt in Romania and began the Schoenstatt Movement there.

When we finally arrived in Schoenstatt the next day it was very late, but the sisters welcomed us with the same warm smiles as they would have, had we arrived much earlier.

On Sunday morning Father Kapor, who celebrated Holy Mass for us, told us about Father Kentenich. Then we visited the room in the Training Center where Father Kentenich lived, the Adoration Church with his tomb, and the Father Kentenich Encounter House where we saw, among other things, the statue of the Blessed Mother before which his mother entrusted her little eight-year-old Joseph to the Mother of God. This life-changing experience laid the foundation for the covenant of love that he, on October 18, 1914, in the Original Shrine, together with his students, solemnly sealed with the Blessed Mother. It can be summarized succinctly in the motto:

Nothing without you, nothing without us.

We want to live out of this covenant by relying on  the Blessed Virgin Mary and by following her example so that we can become ever better persons.

During Holy Mass in the Original Shrine, eight of us sealed the covenant of love, committing ourselves to the Blessed Mother, to God, and to the Apostolic Movement of Schoenstatt. A very special thing was that the Auxiliary Pilgrim MTA for Europe—the Queen of the New Evangelization—was there and was brought back with us in the bus to Romania. In the next few weeks it will visit many places and people. 

On our return journey, during a short stopover in Würzburg, we had a joyful encounter with Sister M. Aenn, whom some of us knew from her previous work in Romania, especially with the Girls Youth. She showed us Father Kentenich’s study where he met with people who had questions or sought advice from him. Many people experienced the love of God and the reality of heaven in the person of Father Kentenich.

For me, Schoenstatt is a place that has become truly beautiful through the life, prayer and sacrifices of Father Kentenich and all those who accompanied him. The Blessed Mother can be felt in such a place.

Even though the group has now parted ways, I know that we remember those days with grateful hearts, the ever-smiling sisters, the miracle that the Blessed Mother and God made happen for us, which may not be spectacular, but is all the more real and true.

Nothing without you, nothing without us! „

(written by Timea Zoeld)


In December, a pilgrimage of students

Since 2019, on behalf of the bishop, I,  Sr. Erika-Mária,  together with a priest, carry the main responsibility for youth work in the diocese. Meanwhile, through their encounters with the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary—through various experiences, activities, work assignments—many students feel at home in our house and shrine.  Although we sisters do not have much time to do direct Schoenstatt apostolate–but we do all of our work totally out of the spirit and values of Schoenstatt–the longing to learn more about Schoenstatt is slowly growing among the youth.  They wanted us to plan a pilgrimage to Schoenstatt, Germany this year. On a day of reflection, Sister M. Andreea told them about the covenant of love with the Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen, and Victress of Schoenstatt (MTA), and their hearts caught fire. Some of the students even decided to seal the covenant of love with the MTA in the Original Shrine. So we, Sister M. Andreea and I, Sister Erika-Maria, will fly to Schoenstatt, Germany with 16 young people and will be there from December 27, 2023–January 4, 2024.

So our motto proves true:

“She is the great missionary, she will work miracles!”

She draws youthful hearts to herself and educates them to be useful instruments in her hand.