One Hundred Years of Women’s Covenants

On December 8, the Schoenstatt Movement will commemorate 100 years since the first women consecrated themselves to the MTA in the shrine. With all the mothers, women, young women, and girls that have dedicated themselves to Schoenstatt and its mission throughout the past century, we lift up our hearts in gratitude.

Today, when women are pulled in so many directions, it is of great value to find a resting place, a peaceful heart, where the womanly character can find its orientation. This is the heart of Mary, our Mother and Queen. The sacred space of her immaculate heart remains open to all women of all walks of life in our Schoenstatt Shrine, the place of the covenant of love. The geniality of having this spiritual home provides a compass to women of all cultures and ages.

During these days in preparation for the feast of the Immaculate Conception and for a centennial celebration, we look around our world, our contaminated world, our sick world, and then again cast our glance over the image of the purest of the pure. The integrity of her character tested in the fire of the violent and turbulent culture of her time gives us hope and orientation.

The dust of our society’s influence through its manifold arms reaching into our opinion, practices, and routines, cannot be removed that easily. Our covenant of love with Mary is an antidote, a vaccine, if you will, against the many ailments of the soul and of the spirit in our times. Her purity is our ideal. What she possessed as a privilege, we are called to conquer through self-education, through our daily striving, through faithful fulfillment of our duties, and an intense life of prayer. Our contributions to the capital of grace are a distinct form of proving our love for her and therefore of dusting off from our hearts the negative influence of today’s environment. Moreover, the power and kindness of Mary’s presence in our shrines and home shrines gives us countless opportunities to penetrate our world, to break through the dust cloud of our times. In covenant with Mary, we are able to bring purity and integrity into the daily exchange of human relationship, professional conversation, family sharing, and ordinary communication. May the Immaculata glorify herself from the shrine, through each of us! The following words from Father Kentenich inspire us in this regard:

Mary Immaculate is the work of God, the work of divine love, of infinite divine love, the work of infinite divine wisdom and omnipotence which, infinitely surpasses all other works of the infinite God.

Our Lady is simply a wonder. It is not without reason that we honor her in the Schoenstatt Shrines as Mother Thrice Admirable. She is a wonder in the order of nature, in the order of supernature, and in the order of glory. Mary is an unsurpassable masterpiece of God’s creation. She is the mirror into which we may look. When looking into this mirror, we should again become aware of our own greatness. Today when modern trends depict the human being in such a distorted way, we can hardly do anything greater than learn to value ourselves correctly, ourselves and each individual person as he is. I in my own way, with my name, with my qualities, I am a product (and an original product – we must take this very seriously) not of chance, no. I am an original product of God’s love, God’s wisdom, and God’s omnipotence.

God created us in his image and likeness, the most perfect possible likeness of the Blessed Trinity and the likeness of the Savior. In our utter weakness and helplessness, we feel most tangibly that we are dependent on getting a subsidy, as it were, from God. Our powers are too limited for us to be able to carry out what our conscience tells us to do. We need grace, help from above. We even have to be lifted up into a new state. We have to receive an elevation in status. Without this elevation we do not really know how we differ from other creatures. And now we hear: we receive absolutely no grace without the cooperation of Our Lady. Mary again stands before us in all her greatness. What does my task consist in? To follow her! (Father Kentenich, St. Michael’s, 1962-63).