Social Schoenstatt: a topic which becomes more visible in the Schoenstatt Movement throughout the world; social commitment should not be lacking, active solidarity with the poor in a Movement which is guided by Mary, the woman who always was and stands with the poor in all centuries.
“Christianity is a transforming force of reality. If it does not commit itself to history, it is a harmless devotion.”
Fr. Horacio Sosa, at a Social Conference
Throughout his life, Father Joseph Kentenich dealt with and was concerned with social action. He would say: “There cannot be genuine education without recognizing the great social problems of our times and without managing the proper means to overcome them. Our thoughts should have a social attitude which consists in consideration of others, have compassion with the misery of others in order to give a quick and opportune response based on love and goodness.”
Father Kentenich organized many pedagogical and social conferences and referred to the “social saint.” Because Schoenstatt is an apostolic Movement, it is called to this task. The religious and moral renewal of the world should lead to a solution of the social question. Schoenstatt is called to build a new social order based on renewed personalities in Christ, with a profound interior life which leads to assuming with responsibility the problems of the times.
A Social Spirit
It does not deal with social works only, rather, it deals with a social spirit of virtues like…..respect, dignity, radiating love, peace, joy, believing in the good of each person, in his mission, dignity and value as a Child of God. If the hand is placed on the pulse of time, it will be understood that the nation is vehemently crying out for the protection of the dignity of life, for justice, for stability, for honesty in everyone, and especially for honesty in public officials. If the heart is placed at the heart of God, we can hear: “Love one another as I have loved you.”
Social commitment can develop in such diverse confines as Human Advancement Politics, development of local communities, Jail ministry, Enterprise and employment, Commitment to life, Aid to street children, to abandoned children and to children from families with limited resources, Commitment to the sick, the old aged, the immigrants…
Many of the social actions carried out by Schoenstatt are focused on children such as: the pre-natal child -Sign of Light, the abused and abandoned child- Mary Helps and the Children’s Home, the right for children to learn-Dequeni. Others works include: a ministry for the well-being and the dignity of the sick -Volunteers of Mary, combating poverty and malnutrition -Center for Nourishment and the Soybean Campaign, working for a more just and honest society -Youth that moves, and New Nation…
In many places, there are social activity centers close to the Shrines: Children’s Homes, workshops, dining halls… In Kaliningrad, the Sisters of Mary maintain a dining hall for the indigent. In Maryland, South Africa, there is a Literacy Center near the Shrine, and in Victoria, Dominican Republic, there is a Nutrition Center.
Medical attention is given; there is support for the development of micro-endeavors and workshops about citizenship awareness. In each one of the different activities, everyone shares the passion for the dignity of each human being and the desire to create a Covenant culture in all social atmospheres.
For a new social order
Founded in the Covenant of Love, a large number of Schoenstatters commit themselves to the different political and social initiatives; they assume responsibilities in their professional and political associations. Schoenstatt Communities support socio-political initiatives such as: gathering signatures, legal projects for the protection of embryos, right to life, anti-late term abortion, euthanasia, freedom and human dignity through initiatives for reconciliation and peace in countries torn by civil war, and conferences on bioethics.
Cultural initiatives contribute in their specific way to forming a better world, People working in arts, music, journalism, and as publisher open horizons and create networks between faith and every day life.
The social commitment of the Pilgrim Mother Campaign
The Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign‘s social commitment is expressed on one hand by its modalities- the Pilgrim MTA for jails, babies at risk, the blind, for health concerns -, and on the other hand by its task of taking the Blessed Mother with her Son to those most in need, it shows the “social face” of the Covenant of Love throughout the length and breadth of all human realities many times in spheres where neither the pastoral nor social action can reach. In this way, it mirrors the attitude of the Blessed Mother, who went to meet her cousin Elizabeth, which has caused many to repeat the words of Elizabeth: ” who am I that the Mother of the Lord would come to me?”
Through the Campaign, Mary wants to prolong her Visitation as the Mother who serves, personalizes, creates a family and who is concerned for those most in need. This social dimension should be taken into account in the Campaign in order to be loyal to John Pozzobon, to a mission of global evangelization, and to echo the words of the Magnificat (Document of Consensus Santa Maria, 1989).