In 1901 the property in Schoenstatt, Germany, came into the hands of the Pallottine Fathers. In 1914, Fr Joseph
Kentenich, together with some young seminarians, invited the Mother of god to come into the shrine and make it a place of grace and pilgrimage. It was a daring request which was to have far-reaching consequences. The First World War had already begun and some of the young men were later called on to fight in the battlefields. A number of them died, having pledged their lives for the fruitfulness of Schoenstatt. They were all heroic and saintly. The cause for canonisation has been opened for Joseph Engling, one of the seminarians.
What was Fr Kentenich’s aim? To invite Mary to not only be the Mother, but also the great Educator of the present day Christian. As she formed Christ in the home of Nazareth, so she should also undertake the educaton and formation of those who belong to him. He termed this the formation of the firm, free, Christlike personality who can make a significant contribution to the ‘moral and religious’ formation of the world. Mary, who was entrusted to the church by her Son while hanging on the Cross, has a unique role to play in this transformation process. Hence the need to take our Lord’s testament seriously and enter into what Fr Kentenich called a “covenant of love” with Our Lady. He saw this as an exchange of love, of eyes, ears, mouth, heart, of the whole person with that of the Mother Thrice Admirable.
Many testify to their great love for the Church as a whole and for their fellow human beings, as a result of this covenant. They have become attached to the little Shrine, which, linked to the network of Shrines throughout the world, is a recognised place of grace and pilgrimage.
Our Shrine in Constantia is one of the almost 200 “Daughter Shrines” found on all continents. They are the same size, have the same picture of the Mother Thrice Admirable, the same altar, the same statues of Sts Michael, Peter, and Paul, etc. This engenders a feeling of being at home. The picture of grace is entitled Mother Thrice Admirable (MTA) the Mother of God, the Mother of our Redeemer and the Mother of the Redeemed. It depicts Our Lady holding the Child closely, yet at a certain distance. She looks directly at us, while pointing to her Child who somehow gazes into the future. She is only human, while He is human and divine. Mary tried to cope with this mystery while she lived with Our Lord for 30 years under one roof. If anyone has penetrated the life and mystery of this Child, it is she who is also our Mother.