(mkf) A presentation in the Father Kentenich House led 250 visitors to Schoenstatt in Argentina; people came from Australia, Slovenia, USA – for the first time - , as well as from Saffig, Germany, for the first time in 1 5 years.
"We were here already, but it's long ago – this house was not yet completed!" On this sunny spring afternoon, they are standing in front of the Adoration Church, pointing at the Father Kentenich House. "Today the weather was so beautiful, so we decided to come again." More than 15 years ago, this couple from nearby Saffig, Germany, had been in Schoenstatt. They visited the Adoration Church and Founder Chapel. "We won't wait that long until we come again. This is really a beautiful place!"
Father Kentenich in Argentina
More than 250 persons came for a presentation in the Father Kentenich House: "Con María, Família del Padre" – With Mary, Family of the Father. A picture display in the entrance hall, together with an Argentinean flag and a number of Schoenstatt magazines from Argentina gave starting points for sharing. "Both of us were in Argentina before we married each other," a Schoenstatt family shared. They drove one hour to come. "We both love Schoenstatt in Argentina!" Because of the big number of visitors, the presentation began late. "We had to go and bring chairs again and again," said Sr. Rosa Maria from Argentina. Schoenstatt mothers from the Münster diocese, young couples and visitors from the area, and local Schoenstatt members from all communities gathered in the aula of the Father Kentenich House. A video presentation informed about geography and culture. Then, Sr. M. Pia Buesge gave a talk about Father Kentenich's work in Argentina 1947 – 1952. During this times, he spent more than 200 days in this country, visiting the Schoenstatt Sisters, the Pallottine Fathers, the small Schoenstatt Movement, giving retreats for priests and members of religious orders, and working on studies – like the letter of May 31st, 1949. Via video, Sr. M. Ursula from Argentina shared how Father Kentenich helped with the searching for land for the future shrine.
Four Schoenstatt Sisters from Argentina – Sr. Rosa Maria, Elisabet, María Paz, and Elisa - who presently are in Schoenstatt sang a song, which in part of every Schoenstatt meeting in Argentina: "Santuario de Nuevo Schoenstatt ..." Father Angel Strada, from Argentina, shared about a 2nd strong life stream that began independently from the Schoenstatt life around the Shrine in Florencio Varela and first did not come together with the Schoenstatt rooting in Father Kentenich's visits. Thus, this precious heritage did not only dread to be lost, but Schoenstatt in Argentina was challenged by friction and mutual mistrust. This situation was overcome when they started to give everything to be one family, centered around the first shrine, and when they made the covenant with Father Kentenich. Out of this experience, they found their national mission: "With Mary, Family of the Father". With the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign, starting in 1980, Schoenstatt in Argentina experienced a tremendous growth in numbers and spread over the whole country. Videos and slides illustrated the talk.
"Ma daughter is in Argentina now," a mother shared. "I'm grateful to learn more about this country and Schoenstatt there." A young couple on vacation in Schoenstatt came the other day to express their gratitude about this enriching experience. "The International Schoenstatt is exciting, and I appreciate this ever more," a Professional Woman shared. "To know: people whom I would not understand language-wise, whose country and culture I do not know, live the same covenant, love the same shrine, give all for Father Kentenich's mission – that's overwhelming!"
Mutual Interest – Mutual Understanding
A young woman from Sydney, Australia, came from Stuttgart on March 20th. She met several South American Schoenstatt Sisters while studying German near Stuttgart and now wanted to see the place they had shared about. Big surprise – a Schoenstatt Shrine very close to her home in Sydney!
"Of course they should not miss a visit in Schoenstatt," a Filipino Woman from the Frankfurt area said. A couple from USA were visiting with them. As she had to work, her husband - a German – drove the couple to Schoenstatt, and gave them a tour of this place. They prayed in the Original Shrine and in the Founder Chapel.
"My friend from Slovenia called and told me, that her 24 year old son would go to an exhibition in Cologne. She would also come – if we could meet in Schoenstatt." After an intensive tour of Schoenstatt and many discussions, a decision was made after midnight: to also visit the tomb of Sr. Emilie in Metternich! "But the young man had to be in Cologne already by 10:00 am the other day, a Sunday. So we decided to get up early, and were in Koblenz already around 6:30 am. But – I had no idea where Metternich is, and where Sr. Emilie is in Metternich! And you can't ask too many persons at 6:30 am! We were lost, and the man at the gas station could only tell us that we were at the opposite rim of the town ... Then, a driver of a garbage truck who had overheard our conversation offered to lead us through Koblenz to find Sr. Emilie. He knew the place. Led by the huge garbage truck, we made it through Koblenz and found Sr. Emilie! The young man was deeply impressed and thanked that he had been able to be there."
"Where do you live? We wanted to know more about the families' federation, therefore we visited their house in Hillscheid and asked to meet with a family there. That's different to read a brochure!" A group of Professional Women visited the Josef Kentenich Farm in Hillscheid. "Coffee break there was great. Home-made cake and cream, served by a family, and they were so excited with their mission!" During a tour of the house, many questions were asked. The highlight of the encounter was the holy Mass in the shrine of the families' federation. "Some of us were here during October Week. It is so inspiring to know each other, to know the other communities!"