The Legacy of Schoenstatt’s Founder
Father Joseph Kentenich
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 1952-1965
By Pilar Huerta
We praise God for our grace-filled history.
Graces and blessings of the Milwaukee years as basis for our Exile Legacy
The three-fold Exile Legacy:
- The new image of the Father, Child and Community
- Love of the Church
- The Home Shrine
The New Image of the Father, Child and Community
- Father Kentenich proclaimed that merciful love is the very essence of our God who, as we know from Jesus, is our Father! His own faith-filled experience of the merciful Father God, urged him to proclaim this image again and again.
- He refers to the experience of smallness. The Mother Thrice Admirable used this to lead the Schoenstatt family more deeply to God, as the merciful Father.
Love of the Church
- Behind the lived 31st of May (Third Milestone in our history) was a deep, animated love for the Church. This showed itself in Fr. Kentenich’s clear understanding of his role as “prophet” for the Church, and his obedience.
- Kentenich’s love for the Church stands as a constant call to Schoenstatt that it must always love the Church.
- Father’s charism was a strong Dilexit Ecclesiam which placed the well-being of the Church before his own well-being. It was marked by a firm desire to only do what was best for the Church. It was also a love deeply fused with his love of Mary.
Are we capable of loving the Church in such a manner?
Dilexit Ecclesiam: to love the Church – how does it work?
- Love is always very concrete. It shows in the here and now, in daily life! Love makes contact, love is obliging; it is energetic and effective. Each engagement to the honor of God and to the benefit of my neighbor is a dilexit ecclesiam. Love is able to recognize my neighbor in each person, including those who think differently, including the stranger and even the enemy. Every little gesture strengthens the heart of the Church.
[General Presidium, Milwaukee, 2004]
The Home Shrine
- An answer for a world in need.
- One of the most important fruits of Father Kentenich’s years of exile in Milwaukee was the home shrine.
- “The central problem of daily life is marriage and the family. What are we doing to create holy marriages and families? ” J. K.
- “What do we mean by ‘home shrine’? Many of us have not only dedicated their house to the Blessed Mother in general but also offered it to her as a Living Shrine. Everything which holds true for the Original Shrine and for the daughter shrines also holds true for the home shrines.” K.
- Vatican Council II restored the ancient concept of “domestic church” as it declared: “The family is, so to speak, the domestic church.”
[Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium #11]
- Kentenich was one of those few who knew that through the home shrine our Blessed Mother could have a tremendous effect on the life of the family as domestic church. In 1950, Fr. Kentenich was already speaking about the family as a domestic church, nearly 15 years before Vatican II unfolded this reality more fully for the entire Church.
- She has worked miracles of grace witnessed by many families in their home shrines. This home shrine stream has swept through the entire Schoenstatt world across oceans, continents and cultures creating a living net of attachments in our one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church. What a great hope for the Church of the future! What a great legacy to own, to live! [Partial excerpt: Talk-Fr. G. Langsch; Niehaus, Jonathan. Birth of the Home Shrine]