"Love is the greatest power"

Fr. Joseph Kentenich

At all times, she offers us a warm home in her heart.

J.K., August 15, 1965

“Through the intercession of the Blessed Mother we want to educate ourselves to be firm, free, priestly personalities.”

J.K., 1912

Take the picture of the Blessed Mother with you and give it a place of honor in your homes.

Santa Maria, 1948

The Founder of


Father Joseph Kentenich

His Life

Father Joseph Kentenich was the instrument chosen by God to found the international Schoenstatt Movement. He was born on November 16, 1885, in Gymnich, near Cologne, Germany. He deeply loved Mary and the Church. At the age of nine his mother consecrated him to the Mother of God. At that point, he placed himself entirely under her protection until then and throughout his whole life. At a young age, he felt called to the priesthood; nothing moved him more than the desire to make God known to today’s world. He saw in Mary a model of the human person with full integrity. Through his education, he led others to recognize the gift of inner freedom and the human dignity given by God.

Father Kentenich saw in Mary the model of the relationship between human beings and God, and of service to one’s neighbor. He devoted his whole life to his great goal: to form a new person, in the image of Mary, in a new community, through the bond of the covenant of love.

Attentive to God’s designs, Father Kentenich knew how to interpret the signs of the times. Along with a small group of students, he sealed a covenant of love with Our Lady in the little Schoenstatt chapel on October 18, 1914. This was the beginning and the foundation of Schoenstatt. Today this movement of life continues to spread throughout the world.

During the period following 1914, more and more people came in contact with Father Joseph Kentenich. Over time, he founded several communities for priests, families, men, women, youth, children, and the sick. These are organized into the Secular Institutes, Federations, and League branches of the Schoenstatt Movement.

His crosses

The life of Father Kentenich was marked by the cross. During World War II, he was a prisoner of the National Socialists. He spent more than three years in the concentration camp of Dachau, in Germany. From 1951 – 1965, he was separated from his work by Church authorities and was sent to Milwaukee, USA.

Obedient to the Church and faithful to his founding charism, he accepted this time of testing as a  form of personal imitation of Christ. For him everything, including the cross, was an expression of God’s merciful love. He himself became a father to many, announcing, and living this reality in a convincing way. Throughout his life and in his time of suffering, he wanted to serve the Church and in this way prove his deep love for it.

His death

After celebrating the Holy Mass on Sunday, September 15, 1968, on the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, Father Kentenich died in the church of the Most Holy Trinity in Schoenstatt. His last resting place is found at the same place where he died. Father Kentenich died with the reputation of sanctity. Through his example, he tried to inspire in each member of the Schoenstatt Family what he chose to be written on his tomb: Dilexit Eclessiam; He loved the Church!

Father Joseph Kentenich


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