Friday, 22 June 2012

Totus Tuus : Fr. Kentenich and Schoenstatt Scotland

The negotiations with the SSPX seem to be drawing to a close but before we welcome people like the holocaust denier Williamson back into the fold. Please give some thought to yet another group German Catholics who suffered under the of Nazis and went on to serve and influence us here in Scotland and the rest of the UK.  The Schoenstatt Movement was a lay inspired, Catholic Social movement devoted to our Blessed Mother established in the Rhineland in 1914 by Fr. Joseph Kentenich who himself was also born near Cologne in 1885.  Fr. Kentenich was a great man and a brilliant thinker, in 1940 he was was sent to Dachau concentration by the Nazis. As was another Rhineland born Schoenstatt Priest Karl Leisner who died of tuberculosis shortly after being liberated from Dachau. 

Fr. Kentenich describes Schoenstatt as, "a universal vision, comprising time and eternity, this world and the next, the economic, social, ethical, political and religious needs of all people, including the dispossessed, the millions of masses… It wants to help redeem the world not only from its earthly sufferings, but also from sin and from its alienation from God. It tries to do this under the guidance and in the school of Our Lady by applying the original principles of Christianity in a new way to restore the disturbed relationship between the individual person and society, the person and business, the person and technology, and the person and social advancement."

Fr Kentenich was years ahead of his time with regards to the reforms which came later at V2, but he was also part of that great Rhineland-Catholic Social tradition which was forged during the struggles of the Kulturkampf. The tradition which gave us The Centre Party and great men like Adolph Kopling, Josef Frings and the Catholic Trade Unionist and Leftwing Christian Democrat Adam Stegerwald

One of the most important parts of the Schoenstatt Movement is the Shrine to Our Lady. The Shrine is a fundamental part the movement's faith.  There are dozens of replicas shrines all around the world based on the first shrine in Schoenstatt where the movement started. Even here in Scotland we have a Schoenstatt Shrine, today the Schoenstatt Pilgrimage and Retreat centre is based in the beautiful Campsie Fells not far from Glasgow. According to the Schoenstatt Scotland site...

"Sr. Xavera. She was asked by the German Bishops to establish a centre for German catholics resident in Scotland and the North of England. She was joined later by Sr. Vincetas and they worked for many years from Ardmory on the south side of Glasgow. Their work covered an area from the north of Scotland down to Manchester in the north of England.

As well as looking after German ex-soldiers they worked to promote Schoenstatt and slowly but surely a small family Movement began to emerge. In the 1960s some members even travelled to Germany and met Fr. Kentenich. The desire for a Shrine also began to grow, encouraged by Sr. Xavera's irrepressible energy. "

The shrine itself is very much in the tradition of the shrines to Our lady found all over Flanders, South Netherlands and Germany.  Like the Kevelaer shrine near the Dutch-German border in North Rhine Westphalia for example. It's the most visited  pilgirmage location in northern Europe. More than 800,000 pilgrims, mostly from Germany, Flanders and The South Netherlands visit Kevelaer every year to honour the Virgin Mary.

Totus Tuus!

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