Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary Volunteers – Auslandzeit

The overseas volunteer programme (in German: AZ for Auslandzeit) is offered by the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary to young women, aged 18 and over. The programme is an opportunity for them to spend some time overseas, come into contact with other cultures, learn about their ways of life and traditions, distance themselves life as they know it and have new experiences.

The overseas stay ranges from 3 to 12 months. The volunteers can choose from different fields of work with the Sisters of Mary in the United States, South America (Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Dominican Republic), Australia or the Philippines. Depending on the country, the work ranges from helping out in the retreat house to engaging in social work, at a daycare centre, for example. By coming into direct contact with the local population and the local Schoenstatt Movement, the participants learn a lot about the country and its people and many of them will adopt a new or deeper perspective to their faith

The project started with a volunteer program for a few young women. Then in 2004, interest suddenly grew and a more structured program was developed. The success of AZ is impressive and has made it possible for more than 180 young women to have an unusual and poignant stay in an overseas country.

A very special time

Making the decision to go overseas, not on holiday but to live there for several months, requires a great deal of courage. The most important thing is to have an open mind to orient yourself and adapt to an unknown environment. Those who can do this will broaden their horizons in indescribable ways and have the ability to form very deep bonds of friendship. It is a very special time which many participants say was and will continue to be important and formative in their future.

This program is not only for members of the Schoenstatt Movement but for all young women who are interested in having an overseas experience.

This program is not only for members of the Schoenstatt Movement but for all young women who are interested in having an overseas experience.

In addition to this, Schoenstatt offers an introductory seminar on the spirituality and structure of the movement.


The reunion that takes place when the girls return is a very special opportunity to exchange their experiences during their time as volunteers. A professional guide helps the girls to reflect on and process these experiences.

Many of them speak about encounters with families in poor neighbourhoods at the margins of society, people who only have the most basic necessities in order to survive and yet radiate a joy and trust that are worthy of admiration. The development of an individual personality and the valuable experiences during this time is a great treasure that the AZ participants take with them into their lives.


Translation from the Spanish by Sarah-Leah Pimentel, South Africa


Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, Berg Schönstatt 2, 56179 Vallendar, Germany
Start date: 2004
Countries: Germany, Switzerland, offers for Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic, Philippines, Mexico, United States (alemán)


Sr. M. Emily Kenkel
Berg Schönstatt 2
56179 Vallendar

Telephone +49 261 6404 315
Fax +49 261 6404 325