As a family movement within the Church, Schoenstatt offers an answer to the family’s need for community. When we speak of the family, we mean first of all the married couple. As the primary unit of the family it is the husband and wife who, in wishing to educate themselves, seek help in this formation. Through formation they can, in turn, educate their children so that together they may become, as much as possible, an image of the Holy Family.
Founded on July 16, 1942, in the hell of the concentration camp of Dachau, Germany, the Institute of Families has the mission to help the founder carry out his promise to offer a new form of community to the Church, a secular institute for the married state. The institute brings together couples in a close community life. Through specific concrete forms approved by the Church, the institute wants to prove that a life of holiness and total self-surrender is possible, and, in the midst of today’s world, especially fruitful in the service of marriage and family life. As of today, this form of consecrated life has been reserved for the single, celibate state of life.
Within the institute, each family belongs to a course of families. However, not only are the couples united as one course family, but each course is united in a larger community, bringing together, at this time, 300 families from twelve countries around the world. All are united as one, striving for the same ideals, with common forms of living the evangelical counsels, and in this way hoping to prove that the Nazareth family ideal can be lived in a community that spans all cultures and generations.
The Family Work of Schoenstatt has deep roots in Milwaukee. Our founder gave us many riches here in his fourteen years of fatherly guidance to families, in his words, a “university of heroic love.” As individuals and community, the Family Institute wishes to inspire and educate couples to reach for the highest ideal of matrimonial holiness, to be holy Nazareth families.