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
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,
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.