Father Kentenich was born in Gymnich near Cologne, Germany on November 18, 1885. He began his priestly life as a gifted teacher and educator in the Pallotine House of Studies in Schoenstatt, Vallendar. An extraordinary bond of trust developed between him and his students. They made his love for Mary their own and through his message, they learned to see Mary as a bridge leading to a deep, fervent love of God. Alert to the signs of the time and listening attentively in order to perceive God’s will, Father Kentenich – together with a small group of students – entered into a covenant of love with Mary in the chapel (now known as the Original Shrine) at Schoenstatt. This was the beginning and the lasting foundation of today’s worldwide development of the Schoenstatt Movement.
Father Joseph Kentenich (1885-1985) thought of himself as a work and instrument in the hands of God and of the Blessed Mother, who lived all his life, “with the hand on the pulse of time and his ear on the heart of God.”