“You are my promise to the world …”
Words of our founder to us, the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary.
Words that awaken expectations.
Words that express a promise we try to fulfill – each one, and all of us together as a community.
A New Time
It was 1914. As the storms of a new time approached, Father Joseph Kentenich recognized that this unforetold new world needed:
people who glow for God and decide for him with inner freedom;
people who rely on God and are completely available to him;
people who speak through their life and their personality;
people who help build up this new world with trust in God, courage, and creativity;
people like Mary.
A New Ecclesial Movement: Schoenstatt
In the midst of World War I, a new ecclesial movement came into being through the covenant of love with Mary in Schoenstatt.
It soon became clear that this quickly growing Schoenstatt Movement needed a core community to be entirely at its service and to help guarantee its life from within.
On October 1, 1926, the community of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary was founded for this task.
A New Community: a Tremendous Risk
The foundation was a tremendous risk, because it wasn’t meant to be just one more religious order. It was meant to be a “new” community: a community of women, consecrated to God, who live a life of poverty, obedience, and virginity, but who don’t bind themselves through vows.
They were to have a style of life that would be so flexible that the members could live in community or alone – as their tasks would demand. Living faith, freedom, and responsibility were highly valued. The sisters were to be formed and educated in such a way that they could give orientation and direction to other lay people. By a conscious and lasting orientation on the ideal, and by the consecration of their entire lives to God, the contractual binding to the community would be reinforced and guaranteed.
A New Way: Secular Institute
As of 1926 there was still no place in canon law for such a community. Father Kentenich dared it anyway.
Convinced that God was the one who stood behind the new foundation, he invested much time and strength in building up and forming the institute. It became a model for further Schoenstatt institutes that gradually came into being and today form together the core communities of the Schoenstatt Work.
Led by the Holy Spirit, Father Kentenich built for a future in which there must be living bridges between God and the world: people and communities who open the world for God “from within.”
When the ecclesial legal framework for secular institutes “Provida Mater Ecclesia” was published in 1947, the founder recognized in it the appropriate legal framework for the institute, which had already existed for more than twenty years.
Always New: God Leads
More than 90 years have passed since the foundation: a time of blessing, also in trials and challenges. In history and in the present time, God’s guiding hand shows itself clearly.
Today, about 1,800 sisters from 42 nations in 29 countries have chosen to follow this path.
The beauty and riches of cultural and language differences challenge us to foster a life in common without compromising originality. We are a large international family filled with vitality – for a worldwide task, for God and people.
Do you want to know more?