SS writes: “Would you please let me know if the Catholic Church approves the apostolic endeavor of “Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen & Victress of Schoenstatt” which originally began by Fr. Joseph Kentenich in 1914?”
I am only too happy to report that the Schoenstatt is 100% Catholic with no New Age or occult influences. My only regret is that it is not more widely known.
The title and image of Our Lady as Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt, is intimately associated with the Schoenstatt Movement which is recognized as an Apostolic Movement by the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
As the website describes, this is an ecclesial movement which “emphasizes education after the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary, upholding her as a perfect example of love and commitment to Christ.” The aim of the movement is to renew the Church and society in the spirit of the gospel and to reconnect faith with daily life, particularly through a deep love for the Mother of God. Their three guiding principles are the covenant of love with Mary, practical faith in Divine Providence, and mission consciousness.
The Movement was founded at Schoenstatt, a minor seminary in Germany run by the Pallottines for young men intending to work as missionaries in Africa. Originally established in 1914 as a Marian sodality, the seminary’s superior offered the sodality the use of an old chapel devoted to St. Michael, which was located near the school. Father Joseph Kentenich (1885-1968) was serving as the spiritual director of the seminary at the time and, having been devoted to Our Lady since the age of nine years, was inspired by the prospect of restoring the chapel and erecting a new shrine to Our Lady much like Blessed Bartolo Longo did when he established the Marian Shrine to Our Lady of Pompeii in Italy.
Kentenich’s guided this new religious brotherhood according to the writings of St. Louis Grignion de Montfort and by 1919, it had grown large enough to require his full-time leadership. The first formal gathering was held in Hoerde in August, 1920 where the organizational principles were laid. Just four months later, the first women were accepted into a newly established women’s branch of the Apostolic Federation of Schoenstatt.
The image of Our Lady, entitled Mother Thrice Admirable, which was originally known as Refuge of Sinners, became associated with the Movement in 1915. It began with Father Jakob Rem, SJ. who was meeting with members of a Marian club known as the Colloquium Marianum in Ingolstadt, Germany when he had a mystical experience during the singing of the Litany of Loretto. During this experience, Our Lady told him that Mother Thrice Admirable was the most pleasing title afforded to her in the Litany.
Thereafter, Father Rem taught the students to repeat the advocation, Mater admirabilis, three times in the form of a “Trisagion” (each time with greater emphasis) which quickly became a custom. It was the students who began to refer to her as “thrice blessed or wonderful.”
In 1915, future members of the Schoenstatt Movement adopted the title, renamed the image, and began to venerate Our Lady as Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victrix of Schoenstatt.
“The meaning of the title is multi-valent,” explains the University of Dayton. “Mother of God, Mother of Christ, Mother of all human beings; she is admirable in faith, hope and charity; she was virgin before, in and after the birth of Christ; Child of the Father, Mother of the Son, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, etc.
Father Kentenich was eventually arrested and sent to the Dachau Concentration Camp in 1941 where he spread the message of the Schoenstatt Movement to fellow prisoners. He survived the experience and spent the rest of his life promoting this devotion to Our Lady.
According to the Pontifical Council of the Laity, there are about 96,000 members who belong to either the Institute, Federation, or League of the Schoenstatt Movement, including priests, religious, men and women, families, and youth. The Movement is present in 42 counties with their secular institutes managing schools, colleges, hospitals, and charitable institutions.
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