Countdown to lent
We pray for you
Who are we?
What we do!
The community of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary was founded on 1st October 1926 in Schoenstatt, Germany by Father Joseph Kentenich. We were founded initially to serve the growing Schoenstatt Movement. Our first Mother House was directly opposite the Original Shrine – today known as the Old House. As our community grew so did our tasks and our Sisters took up various positions throughout Germany. At the beginning of the first world war and the great danger of National Socialism our founder searched for a way to secure the future of Schoenstatt outside Germany. A daring decision was made to send young and inexperienced Sisters to a foreign country. The first Sisters arrived by boat in South Africa in January 1934. Since then we have spread to all continents in 29 countries with vocations from 35 nations. As an Institute of consecrated life, we strive to live the evangelical counsels without taking vows.
We wish to be a community of lay leaders formed by Schoenstatt’s spirituality and, as a member of the Schoenstatt Family, contribute to the Marian formation of the world in Christ to the glory of the Father. As a community of educators and education, our aim is the Marian formation of girls, women and families. Therefore we work within the Schoenstatt Movement, some on a full-time basis. We also work in any occupation open to women in the Church and world. We serve the Church through the formation of lay leaders who are involved in different ministries. Our Sisters also work in parishes and various organisations. To support the apostolic activity of our Institute, we have a community of Schoenstatt Sisters who foster adoration of our Eucharistic Lord and contemplative life. Like Mary they want to be the heart of the Church who, together with Our Lady, help to renew the world through prayer, sacrifice and atonement.
Where can you find us?
Set in idyllic grounds, the Shrine, Retreat House and Provincial House of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary are in Constantia. Here countless numbers of people find tranquillity, harmony and their own unique calling in life. To quote the Archbishop of Cape Town, Stephen Brislin: “Schoenstatt, Constantia, is the heart of the Archdiocese.”
“Maryland” is situated in Hanover Park where our Sisters provide an oasis of peace and natural- spiritual nourishment in their Shrine and Centre in an area challenged by drugs and gang warfare. Through the presence of Our Lady, all who visit Maryland receive a new sense of dignity, nobility and strength for everyday life.
Villa Maria in Tamboerskloof is a residence for female students and has an Educare on the property. This “City Shrine” attracts business people and others who long to breathe in a more uplifting atmosphere than one finds in the city. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is an added attraction for all who wish to keep company with the Lord and His Mother.
In Cathcart, Eastern Cape, close to Queenstown, one finds the first Schoenstatt Shrine in Africa, built in 1949. Pioneer missionaries sent there in 1935 were unfamiliar with the language and culture of Africa but through untiring missionary service, the Sisters won the hearts of the people in their manifold needs. Our Lady’s presence in the Shrine is a tangible reality for all who visit her as is the presence of Father Kentenich the founder who visited Cathcart in 1948.
In Johannesburg, the city of gold, there lies a more precious treasure, the Schoenstatt Shrine at Bedford View. From there Our Lady draws business people and others to her heart and challenges them to “build a better world”. Pilgrims, mothers, families, young and old visit the Shrine regularly. There they discover the inner riches of the heart in the midst of a bustling city.
In 1962 the first Sister left South Africa for Scotland, and Schoenstatt took root! Some time later, the Shrine and Centre at Campsie Glen in the vicinity of Glasgow, were built. Together they provide a combination of idyllic natural and supernatural beauty. Schoenstatt has made its mark on the people of Scotland, not least through the presence of Our Lady in her Shrine, the hard work of the Sisters and the involvement of many lay people.