In the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign of the Pilgrim Mother, “all of the fundamental forces of Schoenstatt become effective,” says Father Kentenich in 1968.
It is not only something devotional, nor only something strategic or pastoral, rather it is a stream of graces and of life at the service of the new evangelization and transformation of families.
The Campaign of the Pilgrim Virgin was born on a very specific and historical Schoenstatt time-frame: May 31, 1949 and Father Kentenich’s international travels.
The Campaign is a response to the longings which motivated Father Kentenich: the desire to have collaborators for his mission, to expand and to make the Covenant of Love known, to complement and enhance Schoenstatt with a great popular movement of pilgrims, and to experience the organism of attachments to places, persons, values, and to a mission.
The Campaign is a new Visitation from Mary for our times. Mary is on the way in haste: “Mary came forth and went hurriedly.”
She goes to the families taking three gifts which modern man needs: joy, the person of Jesus, and concrete help in service to all men and in all circumstances.
The Campaign is a mission inserted into the Church, a modern pastoral way which has the specific aim of evangelizing families.
It deals with an apostolate which is for everyone, promoting Christian values. The strength of spreading the Campaign is from the Shrine, the source of graces, which reaches the people assisting them in their needs and concerns.
It responds in this way to:
- Man’s thirst for God
- The need to feel as a child before God
- The need to express the faith with concrete gestures
Being simple, it is for everyone. For support, it has a solid spirituality and an effective pedagogy which leads to the great proclamation of the New Evangelization.
It has a flexible organization which leads those who promote the image and those who receive it to feel as brethren; they form true base communities. Specific to the Campaign is the regular visit of the Mother Thrice Admirable of Schoenstatt to the families, to schools and hospitals. The visits are accompanied by a living and prayerful Rosary and a consecration to the heart of the Virgin.
Father Kentenich endorsed the task of Don Joao, initiator of the Campaign, when he said: “In the work of Mr. Pozzobon, all of the fundamental forces of Schoenstatt become effective.”
In this way, it has to do with actualizing three Biblical scenes: The Cross where St. John receives Mary as Mother and takes her into his home; the Visitation…..Mary also visits the homes today; the Cenacle…..because united in prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the Christians await the power from the Spirit to be apostles in the world.
She is “the great Missionary, She will work miracles” (St. Vincent Pallotti) transforming and committing her children to the Gospel of Jesus.
It belongs to the spirit of the Campaign to cultivate close contact and collaboration with the parishes since the pastors can depend on a means of evangelization which brings the families in, promotes sacramental life and collaborates so that the parish can be “a community of communities and movements” (Document from Santo Domingo, 58).
The Campaign consisting of promoting the image of Our Lady of Schoenstatt:
- from the Shrine and united to it,
- to many men, especially families,
- in the spirit of Don Joao Pozzobon and with his example, through the Rosary, the Covenant of Love, and Eucharistic Adoration, so that
- the Most Holy Virgin can act as the great Missionary,
- at the service of the renewal of the family, the Church and society.
The different modalities – like the Pilgrim MTA of jails, of the blind, for confidence and serenity, for babies whose lives are at risk, for children….. -,are a creative response to concrete needs.
The Auxiliary images, which arose from an initiative of John Pozzobon, are exact replicas of the Original Pilgrim Mother. They are sent forth from the Shrine in Santa María, Brazil, and attach the Campaign to the source of origin. These Auxiliary images preside at pilgrimages and special events in the dioceses.
History of the Campaign
It began in 1950 when a Sister of Mary gave John Pozzobon, a member of the Schoenstatt Movement in Brazil, an image of the Mother Thrice Admirable of Schoenstatt, asking him to take her to families and to pray the Rosary with them.
John Pozzobon who assumed the task and made it his own for thirty five years, even up to the day of his death, wakled more than 140, 000 kilomethers with the image. He took her to hospitals, schools, and jails and motivated everywhere the attachment to the Virgin and the praying of the Rosary.
In 1979, John Pozzobon visited Schoenstatt, Germany, place of origin for the devotion to the Mother Thrice Admirable. From there he went to Rome where John Paul II blessed the image of the Pilgrim Mother and his apostolate.
This “Campaign” – as John Pozzobon liked to call it – had a modest beginning as do all the things of God. Since 1984, the Argentineans began to know her and to commit themselves to her. A fundamental role in the spreading of the Campaign like as well as in its reflection, was played by Father Esteban Uriburu who made it his life’s mission. Today, the Campaign is present in some 110 countries throughout the world, taking the graces from the Shrine to several million persons.
The city of Santa María thus became the cradle for an original initiative. Since the death of John Pozzobon on June 27, 1985, the Original Pilgrim Mother which he carried on his shoulders has found her place in the Movement House in Santa María.
Objective of the Campaign
John Pozzobon lived Mary’s “yes” in his life. He lived simply and humbly, totally dedicated to his family, to Schoenstatt, and to the Marian mission. Thanks to his loyalty, thousands of families throughout the world today receive the Pilgrim Image, they unite in prayer, they discover Jesus more easily and they enjoy the graces from the Schoenstatt Shrine.
Joao Pozzobon expressed the objective of the Campaign in three key points:
- “To save the family by means of the great Schoenstatt Work…..”
- Encounter with the Blessed Virgin.
- “Encounter with Jesus Christ, his Son, and with the Triune God…..”
“To be a reflection of Christian justice: one for the other, for a new conquest of dignity and respect for the human being, with its values, meeting with the most needy.” (Testament of John Pozzobon)
The apostolic life of the Christian and especially that of the Schoenstatter encounters a concrete apostolic form through the Campaign and urges those who promote the image to give an active and faithful witness in the Church and in society.
Translation: Carlos Cantú, Schoenstatt Family Federation, La Feria, TX USA