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Secular Institutes

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Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary

The Secular Institute of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary was founded by Father Joseph Kentenich on the 1st October 1926 in Schoenstatt near Vallendar, Germany. The first members arrived in Australia in 1951.

The community is one of the first secular institutes in the Church. Because of its dynamic form of life, it has many possibilities: depending on the field of work, the members live alone or in community, wear lay dress or the sisters’ uniform dress.

They give themselves to God through a covenant of love with Mary, the Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt. As mother, sister, model and educator she inspires the members to form a genuine, family-like community with a lay spirituality, which is deeply rooted in the covenant of love with her.

The Schoenstatt Shrine is the spiritual home, a place of grace and the source of life for the Sisters’ spirituality and work. It is the religious-spiritual centre for around 2500 Sisters of Mary in more than 33 countries and for the many other Schoenstatt communities.

  • Mission & Ministry
  • Formation

 

Mission & Ministry

Just as Mary assisted Christ in establishing his kingdom, the Sisters of Mary wish to help Christ build his realm everywhere. By a vital consecration of their daily life they want to be Mary’s instruments as a community of lay leaders serving in the Church or secular spheres.

In generously serving love, the primary task of the community is the education and formation of girls, women and families. This is achieved through engagement in a multifaceted array of professions and occupations:

  • Retreat centres
  • Parish and missionary work
  • Pastoral care of families
  • Health care
  • Business and computer technology
  • Education at every level

The Institute of the Sisters of Mary is one of the communities of the international Schoenstatt Movement. It shares the same origin, the same spirituality, the same mission. Its main focus is to be the soul of the international Schoenstatt Work.

 

Formation

Those called to the life of a Sister of Mary undergo a formation period of about eight and a half years. The first step is several months of close contact with the Sisters, then two years Novitiate. Those who enter the community in the same year, form a course community. This is something new in the long history of religious communities. Every sister not only belongs to a province, but also to this course group.

During the Novitiate the sisters search for their course ideal, the manner in which they want to be like Mary:

  • To be free for what is essential - the spirit of poverty.
  • To be open to respond to God’s wishes unconditionally - the spirit of obedience.
  • To love God with an undivided heart and thus unfold the fullness of our power to love - the spirit of virginity.
  • To be, in Mary, a firebrand of love that enkindles the world for God - the spirit of Schoenstatt.

Without vows, obliged to a contract combined with a consecration to God, the members strive to live their religious life through attachment to these high ideals.

The six years following the Novitiate offer the individuals and the institute the opportunity to prove the genuineness of the vocation. During this time, there are two half year periods of further training. Then the final acceptance follows. The sister receives a ring as a sign of her permanent acceptance.

The guiding motive for every Sister of Mary is "the love of Christ urges us on"(2 Cor. 5:14). To be totally available for God and for people, for the Church, for the world-wide mission of Schoenstatt is our program for life. The community wants to help the Church give testimony to the power of the Gospel in all cultures.

 

Schoenstatt Fathers

The Schoenstatt Fathers is a community of Priests founded by Fr Joseph Kentenich in 1965 for the building up of the Schoenstatt Movement. Unlike the Schoenstatt Diocesan Priests, the Institute of Schoenstatt Fathers is made up of priests who can be incardinated into their own institute; most of them live in community. At present the Schoenstatt Fathers are active in approximately 40 countries. In their work they strongly focus on youth and families.

 

 

Schoenstatt Diocesan Priests

The Schoenstatt Institute of Diocesan Priests is a member of the International Schoenstatt Work originating from Fr Kentenich and participating in the Mission and Spirituality of the Schoenstatt Family.

As a Community of Diocesan Priests it is aware of the bond of its members to the Bishop, their place in the Presbyterium of the diocese and their obligation to serve its development.

The living out of Schoenstatt Spirituality, celebrating the Eucharist and being under the salutary influence of the Mother of God are important for members of the Diocesan Priests Institute. They follow the example of the Blessed Mother and its Founder Fr Kentenich in their love for the Church.

The spiritual home and centre for the community is the Shrine of the Priests’ Institute in Schoenstatt Germany.

 

 

 

 

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