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 published: 2009-03-27

The World with Less and Less Geographical Boundaries…..Needs Attachments

In the shadow of the first Shoenstatt Daughter Shrine: The Vinculum Institute, a language center


Das Institut Vinculum, eine Sprachschule in Nueva Helvecia, Uruguay: ein Schüler – ein Tutor

El Instituto Vinculum, un centro de lenguas en Nueva Helvecia, Uruguay: un alumno – un tutor

The Institute Vinculum, a language school in Nueva Helvecia , Uruguay : one student – one tutor

Das Institut Vinculum, eine Sprachschule in Nueva Helvecia, Uruguay: ein Schüler – ein Tutor


Das Schönstatt-Heiligtum in Nueva Helvecia

El Santuario de Schoenstatt en Nueva Helvecia

The Schoenstatt Shrine in Nueva Helvecia

Das Schönstatt-Heiligtum in Nueva Helvecia






Hall central

Central hallway











Bolsa del alumno

Starter kit


Fotos: Instituto Vinculum © 2009




URUGUAY, S.J. Vokey/mkf. In Nueva Helvecia, Uruguay – some 70 kms from the capital, Montevideo – in the shadow of the first Schoenstatt Daughter Shrine which was blessed on October 18, 1943, is the Vinculum Institute, a language center. It was the fruitfulness of an idea which originated with the Sisters of Mary and some laymen and women from the Schoenstatt Movement.

The idea to start a language center in Uruguay came from Sr. Maristela from the Secular Institute of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary. The Sisters of Mary arrived in Uruguay in 1937 from Argentina where they had been sent to by Father Kentenich in 1935. This was a petition from the "League of Catholic Women" from Nueva Helvecia who wanted to build a school staffed by Swiss religious, and as the name indicates, that small city was founded by Swiss colonists. Since they were not able to recruit the Swiss religious, a Pallottine Father from Brazil who was occasionally in Uruguay, approached the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary. They accepted the petition and arrived – from Villa Ballester, Argentina – on the 29th of March, 1937. At the Mater Dei School, they dedicate themselves to applying the educational ideas of Father Joseph Kentenich who had as a fundamental aim, the application of pedagogy in the teaching methods.

The construction of the first Daughter Shrine in the shadow of this school, and its blessing during World War II on October 18, 1943, was, according to Father Kentenich – who was at the time a prisoner in the Dachau Concentration Camp – an important step toward the internationalization of Schoenstatt which Father Kentenich defined with the following words: "Our heart belongs to all men and women, to all nations, regardless of their name or history."

In the world today, there is a peculiar paradox. In spite of the fact that distances are shorter and boundaries become smaller, cultural and idiomatic differences are clearly more evident. Never before had the knowledge of a foreign tongue become as important as it is today. Dominion of a new language offers many advantages at both the economic level and the social level. It opens and broadens horizons…..

A language center which unites persons and nations simultaneously

Sr. Maristela and collaborators of the project had the vision of a language center which would unite persons and nations simultaneously through the teaching of languages. This also permits the people from South America access to other world countries without the language barrier.

The world which constantly has fewer geographic boundaries – limiting factors are others – and global tendencies have allowed Uruguay to position itself in a new area of growth based on knowledge.

The geographical location of Uruguay, easily accessible less than 2 ½ hours from the zones which produce half of the rough national product from Latin America, favors it. It is clear and essential that the Latin American countries have begun to compete evermore so since the awareness, and the Vinculum Institute aims to better the competitiveness of more than 400 persons per year!

For the education of youths in need

The Vinculum Institute is motivated by a deep sense of excellence which is reflected in its staff, in its "Vinculum Institute Methodology," in its linguistic programs and in the Institute itself. The genuine income-yield of the project is totally turned toward social jobs. They are connected to the education of youths in need in order to promote a balanced development and real opportunities for this group of humanity.

The Vinculum Institute method

The Institute is modeled on and supported by an institute in the Netherlands and its particular methodology consists in:

  • Personalized programs, each one planned for the needs of each student.
  • A program of total immersion from 8: 30 A.M. to 9: 00 P.M. for one week at the Institute in Nueva Helvecia.
  • They also offer programs for companies: programs for groups, linguistic auditory and workshops.
  • The tutors are native speakers of the language being taught.
  • The program consists of one tutor-one student supported by a multimedia laboratory. In the afternoon, there are classes in groups for practicing.
  • Each student has a team of tutors with a mentor who directs his/her personal program.
  • The processes and the discipline form an integral part of the "Vinculum Institute Method."

In 2009, they are offering programs in English and Spanish. Later they will offer programs in Portuguese.

Translation: Carlos Cantú Schoenstatt Family Federation La Feria, Texas USA 033109



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