A brief History of Providence Region of Schoenstatt Fathers
The name Schoenstatt expresses three main characteristics; Schoenstatt is a place,Schoenstatt is spirituality and Schoenstatt is an international movement.
Schoenstatt is a Place:The place of origin of Schoenstatt Movement is in Schoenstatt in Germany. Schoenstatt is a place and it is a part of the Vallendar city which situates near to the nearest bigger city Koblenz.
As the German expression tells us, it is a very beautiful place and the place of origin of Schoenstatt Movement and the headquarters of different groups in the Movement. For the members of Schoenstatt Movement it is a place of Grace.
The origin of Schoenstatt Spirituality: Fr. Joseph Kentenich, a German Pallotine priest, is the Founder of Schoenstatt Movement and Spirituality. According to the providence of God the small chapel in Schoenstatt, the original Shrine of our Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victors of Schoenstatt, has become the cradle of our Spirituality and Movement.
On 18th October 1914, Fr. Joseph Kentenich entrusted a group of youth into the Divine hands of Mother Mary through a special consecration of love with the Blessed Mother, which is called in Schoenstatt term the Covenant of Love.The later developments revealed the revolutionary and visionary spirit of the Founder, Fr. Joseph Kentenich who had a deep-rooted devotion to Blessed Mother. Thus, 18th October 1914 became the Founding day of International Schoenstatt Movement.
The growth of Schoenstatt Spirituality
Through Mary to Christ- Schoenstatt spirituality leads a person to bear Christ in him and give witness to Him as our heavenly Mother has done it. This consecration has a binding character which is expressed in the words: “Nothing without you and nothing without us.” It has got a very much pedagogical stress too, which is aimed at forming (self-education and personal striving) free strong Christian characters that are to be the pillars for the renewal of the church and society (New man in the new community).
The Spirituality is expressed and lived in a threefold way:
Each person tries to live in a covenant relationship with our Mother; (Covenant Spirituality) loving her and praying to her asking for her intercession. He renews every day the covenant with her.
The Covenant Prayer:
My Queen My Mother
I give myself entirely to you
And show my devotion to you,
I consecrate to you this day
My eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart,
Myself without reserve.
As I am your own, my good Mother,
Guard me and defend me
as your property and your possession. Amen.
Each person tries to fulfil God’s plan,by becoming God’s instrument just as our Mother did (Instrumental Piety). Every life is the Divine initiative and He makes use of us to fulfil His ultimate purpose.Each person purifies his lives through Every Day and Sanctity. The guidance of God’s Providence shown through the signs of time, the voice of the soul and the in the state of being and the free (out of free will) cooperation with the divine impulses or graces are the guiding moments here. (Everyday Sanctity)
Schoenstatt is a Movement
What has been started with the youth on 18th October 1914 has become a real movement in the following years. There are so many different groups all over the world who follow the Schoenstatt Spirituality and they make the Schoenstatt Movement. There are groups like Marian Sisters, Ladies of Schoenstatt, Union of Schoenstatt Ladies, League of Schoenstatt Ladies, different groups of diocesan Priests, Marian brothers, youth Groups for boys and girls, groups for the sick, Mother groups etc. And of Course, the Schoenstatt Fathers is one among those branches.
Secular Institute of Schoenstatt Fathers is the last group founded by our Father and Founder. “Institutum Schoenstattense Patrum”, in short form “ISch”, was founded on 18th July 1968. We are the guiding persons for the different groups in the movement called “Pars Motrix et Centralis”. As our spirituality characterises, we are to be Marian priests who guide the people through trust and love, as our Father and Founder did. Our Vision and Mission
Our identity: “A Marian Priest at home in the Shrine through the Covenant of Love in relationship with the human and the divine together with our Father and Founder.”
Our aim: As Marian educators realize our Three-Fold Goal (Education, Social work and Movement) through the Covenant of Love and the Shrine for the renewal of Church and Society.” Thus we would like to form firm and free personalities, as our Father and Founder wished from the very beginning.
We are 330 in number including the members who made their final contract and spread out through 19 countries.
Schoenstatt Fathers in India
The mission and the spirit of Schoenstatt international kindled India by Rev. Fr. Jose Akkarakaran, priest from the Dioces of Irinjalakuda, Kerala. In 1969 Fr.Jose Akkarakaran and his brother-priest Fr. Antony constructed a model of the Shrine in Aloor, within the premises of Bible Training College where the diocesan minor seminarians formed and later turned into BLM (Better Life Movement) an annex of diocesan property.
From the year 1980 students were admitted to Bible Training College for the Indian Schoenstatt Fathers’ Community. This gradual process of growth and development of Schoenstatt in India is now fruitful with 60 Fathers from Kerala and Tamilnadu. The later progress caused for a new era in the history of Schoenstatt Fathers in India,the erection of two regions; Providence Region in Kerala and MTA Region in Tamilnadu. The Providence Region of Schoenstatt Fathers in Kerala was solemnly blessed by Cardinal George Alenchery, Major Archbisop of Syro-Malabar on 6th August 2015. The Providence Region is advancing with its 36 finally-contracted members, centring Schoenstatt Study House, Aluva as the regional house.