Find out more about the way into the community. We are happy to answer all your questions.
We are an international community with over 300 couples (600 people) in 16 different countries:
- Puerto Rico
- the Czech Republic
The future of our Church and society depends upon family life. Therefore, we need families who promote a modern and complete application of the Christian faith in our world through their being and life.
Our founder, Father Joseph Kentenich (1885 -1968) already recognised this in 1942, when he founded our Institute for Catholic couples.
It is the aim of the community to support couples to bring their covenant of love to life and make it fruitful. Families are formed where children can grow to be free Christian personalities and families who can become an oasis for others, a spring of living water for their relatives and their neighbours. Marriage is a way to holiness. It is a sacrament, a realisation and school of Divine love.
This vision has become a reality for us. There are many couples in the meantime throughout Europe, North and South America who walk this path in the footsteps of Christ as members of our community, as a “convento moderno” (modern convent).
The evangelical counsels give direction to our lives, whereby our lifestyle as a married couple and family naturally differs from the celibate life of the religious orders. Our aim however, is the same, namely to live our life according to our vocation in the footsteps of Christ.
The unique Schoenstatt covenant of love with the Blessed Mother is a great source of strength for our daily life. It is our way to live our life in the covenant of love with each other and Christ within marriage, as well as with all those whom God entrusts to our care.
The community, regular discussion and sharing, as well as a concrete style of life help us to implement our vision and conviction on a day-to-day basis in order to form living Christian cells within our Church and society.
As couples and families
- we are committed to a loving and living relationship.
- we educate our children to be free and unique personalities.
- we treat carefully and with responsibility our possessions and environment.
- we see our family as a spring of life within our society and Church.
- we foster a living relationship with God and our home shrine is the focal point, forming our daily life.
As a community
- we live in a brotherly/sisterly, family like way.
- we meet on a regular basis.
- we receive help and support to live this lifestyle and our ideals, and put them into practice.
Catholic couples who are interested in the Schoenstatt Institute of Families can contact a family of the Institute.
There are various events within certain countries where the Institute is explained. These provide a first insight into the aims and duties of the community.
The necessary requirements of acceptance are explained at such meetings. As we play a model role within the Church and the Schoenstatt Movement, the upholding of the Catholic marriage ideal is vital. Therefore, there are obstacles for acceptance into the Institute consisting of no sexual intercourse before marriage, divorce or abortion.
This should not be understood as a moral judgement but rather serves the high aims of the community. Couples within the Institute need to be able to represent the morals of Catholic marriage distinctively and clearly.
A couple wishing to be accepted for postulancy needs to apply in writing giving reasons why the couple wish to take this step.
After the council has approved the application, a time of preparation and getting to know other couples, as well as the community begins (postulancy). The novitiate follows which provides a time for actual formation and a chance to gradually grow into the community of the Institute. During this time a course community is formed. The course community searches for an ideal which becomes a focal point of their life. The course consecrates itself under this ideal, to Our Lady of Schoenstatt as a new, unique life cell. This consecration should be understood in the path of Schoenstatt’s original consecration, the covenant of love with Mary in the shrine. The step by step process of growing into the life style and spirit of the community of the Institute is followed through together as a course. At the same time the couple work through the concept provided by our founder regarding the uniqueness and role of husband and wife, father and mother as well as a marriage spirituality according to the Catholic ideal of marriage, as a fundamental way to the holiness of marriage.
The noviciate concludes with the first officially binding contract. Now begins the time to participate in the life as members within a region.
Before the final contract, two intensive periods of training are planned, the first and second tertianship. The meaning of these periods is the continuation and development of the training at all levels begun in the novitiate for the individual, the couples and the course community, which helps test and clarify the vocation.
Our founder, Father Joseph Kentenich, was a man who had a great sensitivity for the needs of the time. He already recognised in 1930 the important role of family and married life for the renewal of the Church and society. From this point on he held on to the idea of bringing a new type of family movement to life.
It became very clear to Father Kentenich in the Dachau concentration camp through his encounter with Lutheran pastors from the School of Bodelschwingh, Germany just how much strength can radiate from their own families into their parishes. More often than not they played a model role and were the strength and spirit behind the parish. Our founder recognised a message from God to him through this meeting and came to the conclusion that even the Catholic Church needs such families. His answer to this call from God was to found our community whose aim it is to be such a strength and spirit behind the entire family movement, which was yet to be realized. His vision was a community whose task it is to protect the Catholic ideal of marriage and family life and to live it on a model basis in today’s world.
He was able to inspire Dr. Fritz Kuhr, a Christian politician with his idea and so, on July 16, 1942 in Dachau, our community was founded.
The family movement then developed in Germany after the war. Finally, in 1962 some couples were prepared to start in the Institute and in 1968 our founder acknowledged and accepted our first family government. With this action our Institute became independent within the Schoenstatt Work, and soon spread out internationally.