The Schoenstatt Pilgrim Mother Apostolate in Germany
The Schoenstatt Pilgrim Mother Apostolate offers a way of prayer to all who seek a deeper relationship with Jesus and Mary. The Blessed Mother travels in the form of a pilgrim shrine to whoever welcomes her, no matter where they are. She brings Christ into our homes and to our families. She opens doors and hearts that we may experience the presence of God in our daily lives. The visit of the Pilgrim Mother paves the way for a personal encounter with God. The Apostolate supports a life of prayer, evangelization, and formation.
What is Schoenstatt?
Schoenstatt is an international, Catholic, Marian movement. With the help and example of Mary, the Mother of God, it strives to live the Gospel.
Schoenstatt was founded on 18th October, 1914 by Father Joseph Kentenich in the valley of Schoenstatt near the river Rhine. It lies between Koblenz and Bonn.
The word Schoenstatt is derived from the old German, Eyne schoene Statt, which means a beautiful place.
Schoenstatt is a marian place of pilgrimage. It is a place to find God, deepen your commitment to Christ and encounter Our Lady.
People from all walks of life come to find peace and tranquility. They come here to regenerate and find new hope to face their daily lives.
Schoenstatt is a movement of renewal, a place of grace and a way of life.
Schoenstatt is a Marian Movement of renewal within the Catholic Church. It wants to help the Church revitilize its mission in today's world according to the Gospel. Its members try to live their faith in daily life with the Blessed Mother as their guiding hand.
Schoenstatt is an international movement which can be found on every continent, in more than 230 countries.
Everyone is welcome, whether they are married or single, have a vocation to the priestly or consecrated life. It brings people together to form a spiritual family - the International Schoenstatt Family.
Schoenstatt is a Marian place of pilgrimage, a place of grace, built on a foundation of love for Christ and His Blessed Mother. The Schoenstatt shrine provides a home for all who visit. The shrine is dedicated to Mary, Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt. The Original Shrine in Schoenstatt, Germany, is located near Koblenz. There are over 200 replica shrines throughout the world where people gather for prayer, renewal and inspiration.
The covenant of love with Mary is at the heart of Schoenstatt's spirituality. She leads us home to God, the Father and as Pope Pius X in 1904 said: "She is the shortest and surest way to Christ".
The covenant of love provides strength and support for all its members to actively live their faith daily, based on their baptismal promises. Through the sacrament of baptism we are all called to live a life of everyday sanctity in our mordern world as best we can, and be intruments in the hand of God.
The Pilgrim Mother
Not everyone has the opportunity to visit a Schoenstatt shrine, this is why the Blessed Mother comes to us with her Son in the form of the Pilgrim Mother.
The Schoenstatt Pilgrim Mother is in the form of a woodend-framed shrine, containing the image of the Mother Thrice Admirable (MTA). It is always blessed in a Schoenstatt shrine and sent out on its journey to visit many people.
The blessings and graces granted in a Schoenstatt shrine can also be received to all who open their homes to the Pilgrim Mother. When the Blessed Mother visits our homes, families, schools, parishes or work places, she is there for us, listens to us and intercedes for us the graces of:
The visit of Mary, in the form of the Schoenstatt Pilgrim Mother, reminds us of Our Lady’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth. She travelled over the mountains, through all the difficulties of the times, to help her cousin and at the same time she brought Christ into the home of Elizabeth and Zachariah. Elizabeth recognised immediatly the presence of the Lord as we read in Luke 1:39-45:
„At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Mary also brings Christ, our Lord, into our homes today.
A special place in our homes
When we welcome the Pilgrim Mother into our homes we are aware that she brings Christ, the Light of the world. This is a reality, therefore we want to prepare a special place in our home for them as guests, either in the kitchen, the livingroom, the TV-room etc. wherever the family gets togther. We want to welcome them into our lives and ask for blessings for our relationship with God, our relationship with one another and our relationship to ourselves. Their visit should make a difference to our lives, giving us the opportunity to deepen our faith, hope and love, as individuals and as a family.
The Schoenstatt Pilgrim Mother Apostolate originated in Brazil in 1950 with Joao Pozzobon (1904-1994), a family man and deacon.
In the Holy Year, 1950, the Schoenstatt Movement in Brazil started an initiative to prepare for the proclamation of the Dogma of the Assumption of Mary into heaven. (8th December 1950) Three large MTA (Mother Thrice Admirable) pictures in a wooden shrine frame were sent out from the Schoenstatt shrine. It was young people who first took these images to families in their town every evening to pray with them. Joao Pozzobon was responsible for one of these pictures.
When the project came to an end Joao Pozzobon recognised its potential and importance for the proclamation of the faith, and therefore, decided to continue. He had been so touched by the effect of the Blessed Mother’s presence among families that he accepted this apostolate as his holy task and special mission.
Today this missionary and pastoral initiative is present in more than 120 countries. The Schoenstatt Pilgrim Mother Apostolate unites millions of people around the world to the Schoenstatt shrine and to one another.
Intiator of the Apostolate - Joao Pozzobon (1904-1994)
Joao Pozzobon is the intiator of the worldwide Apostolate of the Schoenstatt Pilgrim Mother. Immersed in the Schoenstatt spirituality and inspired by the founder, Father Joseph Kentenich, he created a simple and effective apostolate to take the Blessed Mother to all people, encouraging attachment and devotion to the MTA.
His beatification process has been opened.
A family apostolate
Deacon Pozzobon wanted to be the “little donkey” of Jesus and Mary, and carry them to many people. Over 35 years, he covered approximatley 140, 000 kilometers on foot carrying the large Pilgrim Mother, weighing about 12 kilograms, on his shoulder. He visited families, hospitals, prisons and schools.
Families continuously requested the return of Pozzobon with the Blessed Mother, however he could not meet this demand on his own. In 1959 smaller versions of the large Pilgrim Mother were made. He began to organize the apostolate by handing over a small Pilgrim Mother to a group of thirty families. This group passed the Pilgrim Mother from door to door among themselves monthly. Each family could receive the Blessed Mother once a month. In this way, families began to support the apostolate actively. In 1984 the Initiative began to expand internationally.
How to begin
With the permission of the parish priest, a coordinator forms a group of 5 to 10 families or individuals who would like to welcome the Pilgrim Mother into their homes for a few days every month. The Pilgrim Mother stays for a few days with each member of the group who then pass it on to the next member according to the rotation plan.
The coordinator is the link between the participants of the Pilgrim Mother circle and maintains the contact to the official Pilgrim Mother Office. If the group wishes, participants can meet occasionally to share their experiences, raise questions and problems.
It is also possible to use the Pilgrim Mother Apostolate as an outreach ministry for schools, first Holy Communion or Confirmation classes, nursing homes or to visit the homebound of the parish or area etc.
This invitation is open to all people, all generations, professions and backgrounds. Why not invite others, friends and family members to join your group or inspire them to start their own group.
Mary wants to visit everyone!
Joao Pozzobon’s love for Mary was a burning fire, which still inpires many people today. Here are some statements from around the world with their experiences:
“Actually, nothing happened! I lit a candle and sat down in the kitchen in front of the Pilgrim Mother. After a while, the two little ones joined me, my husband came later followed by the oldest one. We talked with each other, that was all. However, the atmosphere was such that I thought: God is really present.“ (S. N.)
„Our son stood for a long time in front of the picture of the Blessed Mother, and then he said: ‚Mama, the Blessed Mother just winked at me. Too bad that she leaves us so soon. The corner is so empty when she is not there.'“ (S. I.)
„When the Pilgrim Mother was brought to us my seriously ill husband said, ‚When the Blessed Mother comes, things are a little easier,’. It is consoling not to be alone.“ (F. A.)
Founder of Schoenstatt - Father Joseph Kentenich (1985-1968)
Father Kentenich is the founder of the International Schoenstatt Movement. From the very beginning he understood, supported and saw great potential in the Pilgrim Mother - one way to fulfill the mission of Schoenstatt. He once said: “Just look at what Pozzobon does? He takes Our Lady everywhere with him whenever possible and SHE has to do the work. This is actually what we wanted from the very beginning in Schoenstatt.”
Father Kentenich gave the apostolate his special blessing and asked Our Lady to protect all their endeavours. His place of death is his place of resting in the Adoration Church on Berg Schönstatt, Vallendar Germany. It is now a place of prayer where many people from all over the world come to ask for his help and intercession to God. His beatification process was opened in 1975.
- Every Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the Original Shrine, Schoenstatt-Vallendar.
- Every second Sunday of the month at 4 p.m. in the Pilgrim Church, Schoenstatt-Vallendar. (Registrations are taken at the door).
Holy Rosary in English*:
- Every Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Original Shrine, Schoenstatt-Vallendar
Confession in English is available upon request.
Tune in LIVE to the Original Shrine via the Webcam.
*Subject to change
To learn more about the Pilgrim Mother Apostolate in Germany or to plan a visit to Schoenstatt please contact:
English Office – Sr. M. Rita Baysari
Address: Am Marienberg 1, 56179, Vallendar
Telephone: +49 261 9626 416
Mobile: +49 152 0493 3179
Other useful Websites: