The Founder: Fr. Joseph Kentenich

Fr. Josepf Kentenich - Photo: Säkularinstitut Frauen von SchönstattJoseph Kentenich was born November 16, 1885, near Cologne (Germany) and was ordained a priest on July 8, 1910. In the first years of his pastoral ministry, he was Spiritual Director at the Pallottine Minor Seminary in Schoenstatt by the Rhine. During that time, he set in place the foundations for his Work: the Schoenstatt Family.

In the following years, he formed the priestly and lay communities which comprise Schoenstatt, and in 1926 he began the foundation for the different Schoenstatt Secular Institutes.

He was detained by the Gestapo in September of 1941. He was sent to the Dachau Concentration Camp where he remained until April, 1945. There he consolidated his Work to international levels. Since 1949, the Church examined the Schoenstatt Work and the Founder spent the greater portion of those years in Milwaukee USA. He returned to Schoenstatt on Christmas, 1965. Notwithstanding his advanced age, he dedicated himself with all his strength to the direction of his Work which was world-wide. Unexpectedly, after celebrating Holy Mass and in full priestly ministry, God called him to Eternity on September 15, 1968.

Most characteristic of his personality are the traits of a singular and supernatural paternity which God gave to him in a special way. God empowered him with extraordinary natural gifts and abundant supernatural gifts in order to fulfill his specific mission for the Church of the present and of the future. He attributed all successes to the power of the Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt. His great longing was to proclaim the greatness of the Mother of God and to form new men and new communities in which the presence and image of Mary would be resplendent. He used all of the strength and the attraction of his personality to lead persons who would be entrusted to him to the closeness of God, to the total abandonment to the Blessed Trinity. Totally rooted in Heaven and always attentive to the present, he prophetically interpreted the signs of God in the Church and in the world.

Stamp, 1985, GermanyThe words, “Dilexit Ecclesiam” (He Loved the Church) which he chose for his epitaph, best summarize the deepest sentiment of the one who was the Father and Founder of the Schoenstatt Family.


Translation: Carlos Cantú, Schoenstatt Family Federation, La Feria, TX USA