The Mother Thrice Admirable of Schoenstatt – an image of grace
Schoenstatt is centred on the covenant of love with the Blessed Mother. This Marian emphasis is what most people know about Schoenstatt. As with the Schoenstatt image of grace, its Marian spirituality also emphasises Mary’s relationship with Jesus, their two-in-oneness. She is the great Christ bearer to mankind, the permanent companion and collaborator of Christ the Saviour in every salvic work.
The great grace that Mary in Schoenstatt is asked for is to become more like her. Mary is God’s incorruptible vision for mankind, the woman who is fully human but formed with Christ, a collaborator in the Father’s plan who invites us to build His kingdom freely and actively.
The Origin of the MTA picture
In 1914-1915, the sodalists made their first attempts were made to find an appropriate picture of the Virgin Mary for the chapel. One of the teachers at the college gave them a lithograph copy of a painting by the Italian painter, Luigi Crosio. In the beginning, the boys did not really like the picture and some said that it would need several changes from an aesthetic point of view. Since they did not have money to buy another picture, they placed this picture in the Shrine over Easter 1915. This picture has always remained in the Shrine since then.
The picture originally had the name, “Refugium peccatorum” – Refuge of Sinners. The young Schoenstatt group soon found a title that held greater meaning for them because of their own history: Mater Ter Admirabilis – Mother Thrice Admirable. Midway through 1916, this title was used to honour the picture of the Blessed Mother in the Schoenstatt Shrine. “MTA” (as she is often called in Schoenstatt) is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase “Mater Ter Admirabilis.” Its literal meaning is “greatly admirable mother.” More recently, however, this title for Our Lady has taken on more symbolic meanings. For example, she is called Thrice Admirable because she is the Mother of God, the Mother of the Saviour and Mother of the redeemed. She can also be described as Thrice Admirable because her faith, her love and her hope.