Place of Grace

Schoenstatt, an international place of pilgrimage

A small Marian chapel, a large place of pilgrimage and a worldwide apostolic movement – that is Schoenstatt, a district of Vallendar on the Rhine. The founder of the Schoenstatt Movement, which has its place of origin here, is Father Joseph Kentenich.

Even though the modern history of Schoenstatt as a place of grace starts only at the beginning of the 20th century, the roots go back way into the past. The name “eyne shoene Stat” is already mentioned in 1143. In the Middle Ages a convent of Augustinian was built here with a basilica, which was dedicated to the Blessed Mother. Today only a tower remains of the basilica. A cemetery chapel was also part of the convent, mentioned for the first time in 1319. It was destroyed several times, but always rebuilt. Since 1914 this chapel is the Schoenstatt Shrine.

In 1901 the Pallottine Fathers purchased the property in Schoenstatt and moved part of their Mission School from Ehrenbreitstein to Schoenstatt. In the early part of 1911 a new House of Studies was built, which today is a College of Theology. All the students moved from Ehrenbreitstein to Schoenstatt. A new epoch began in 1912 with the appointment of Father Kentenich as the spiritual director.
His educational guiding idea was: “Under the protection of Mary we want to learn to educate ourselves to become firm, free, priestly personalities.”

A new beginning

On the 18th of October 1914 Father Kentenich gave a talk in the former St. Michael’s Chapel – today known as the “Original Shrine” – to his students, which later was known as the Founding Document of Schoenstatt. “Would it then not be possible for our little sodality chapel to likewise become for us the Tabor on which the glory of Mary would be revealed? Undoubtedly, we could not accomplish a greater apostolic deed nor leave our successors a more precious legacy than to urge our Lady and Queen to erect her throne here in a special way, to distribute her treasures, and to work miracles of grace.”

Already then it was clear, what it is that gives Schoenstatt as a place of pilgrimage its character: Mary invites the pilgrims who come to her in the Schoenstatt Shrine, to a covenant relationship with her. She imparts her loving and experiential care to each one personally – the grace of being at home.
She helps us to wholeheartedly love God and others and to strive for a timely way of holiness – the grace of inner transformation.
She awakens missionary commitment to transform the world in the love of Christ – the grace of apostolic fruitfulness.

Mary, the Mother of God and Mother of the Redeemer, proves herself also as Mother of the Redeemed, as the “Three Times Admirable Mother” (MTA – Mater ter admirabilis).
This title, originally coined by the Jesuit Jacob Rem in the 17th century, experienced a revival through Schoenstatt. After World War II and the after having passed the test carried out by the Church, the title was extended by Father Kentenich. Since then Mary is venerated as the “Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt”. Her image has been made known throughout the world. Today there are millions of faithful in over ninety countries worldwide who are in contact with Schoenstatt and give form to their everyday lives by living out of the covenant of love.



Schönstatt Gnadenort

Schoenstatt Gnadenort