Coming Soon!

In August 2024, Schoenstatt Heights in Madison, Wisconsin, will open its doors to an intentional Catholic community of university students and young professional women.

Sr. M. Emily Kenkel, provincial superior of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary in the United States, happily shares with us about this initiative. 

Can you give us a brief overview?

When our missionary sisters came to the United States in 1949, they were among the first communities of consecrated women to establish themselves in Madison. Some years after their arrival, our sisters were able to build our first provincial house at Schoenstatt Heights on Cottage Grove Road. This house has served as a home for our community, as a center for the Schoenstatt Movement in Madison, and as a meeting place for other diocesan groups.

Throughout the years, our community has expanded to other areas of the United States. While our sisters continue to live in our house in Madison, our provincial house is now in Waukesha, Wisconsin. We sense that God is calling us to open our house at Schoenstatt Heights to serve the young women of the diocese. He has yet to show us all the details of what this entails. But with his grace and the help of generous benefactors, we have been able to remodel one of the floors of the house to serve as a residence for university students and professional young women who are interested in being part of an intentional Catholic community – the Magnificat Household. 

Why have you undertaken this project? 

Because every heart needs a home.

In our work with women, we have recognized a strong longing in many hearts to find a home, community, and support in living the faith. Once a young woman has found her vocation, that longing finds permanent fulfillment. Until then, they need experiences and communities that support them in living Christ-centered lives in the midst of a society that wants nothing to do with him!

Unfortunately, we are constantly being exposed to many ugly things and realities out in the world. Through this initiative, we want to provide a beautiful, uplifting atmosphere where the soul can rest and thrive and the young women can grow in their faith and love for God, themselves, and others.

Right next to our house at Schoenstatt Heights stands the first Schoenstatt Shrine in the United States. In this place of grace, God’s presence and the Blessed Mother’s intercessory activity are tangible. This is a gift we can’t keep to ourselves! If a young woman could live for a year close to this powerhouse of grace, she might have life-changing experiences. 

This project has been in the works for some time now. In the meantime, the many houses, households, and intentional Catholic communities that have developed in the different dioceses and on university campuses have confirmed for us that there truly is a need for community, support, and spiritual growth. As Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, we are happy to join in the efforts of so many who wish to provide these meaningful experiences to young adults.

What are your expectations? 

Being part of an intentional Catholic community is obviously not just about living in a nice place but about growing together, praying together, building community with one another, and finding creative ways to live our Catholic faith and bring it to others. However, we don’t expect the young women who participate in the Magnificat Household to live perfect lives. All we expect is openness for growth and willingness to live in community and to let God’s grace work in and through them.

We also know that professional life and studies can be demanding, so we don’t expect an extraordinary commitment of time or strength. Each year, the group of young women who participate in the household will work out for themselves the details of their community life. Each one will have the opportunity to bring her own reality into the picture, and we want to make it work for everyone. Together, they can discover how to make Christ their priority while still fulfilling their obligations. It will be challenging, but we are excited to see how God leads! 

Our goal is to allow Christ and his Mother to form those who participate in the Magnificat Household into authentic women who dare to live their God-given personal mission and have the tools to do so. Living so close to a pilgrimage place will also allow the young women to be apostolic and work on mission projects together. This can be very enriching! 

We will have room for eight women per year. Some of our sisters will also live in the building, and Schoenstatt Heights will continue to function as a meeting venue and retreat center for the diocese and the Schoenstatt Movement. One of our sisters is in charge of the household, and she will provide formation and support for the young women. She is there to serve them and help them decide on the dynamics of the household.

Why the name? 

The Magnificat is the song of praise Mary sang after the deepest and most crucial encounter with God she ever had. The hour of the Annunciation was a complete turning point in her life and in salvation history. The Son of God became flesh in her! She witnessed in herself the greatest miracle ever. And she knew she couldn’t keep it to herself. Her mission had been revealed, and it drove her out of herself and into a world in need. 

Her words are not empty. They are the expression of the attitude of her soul. And we also want those words to resound from our souls as we strive to bring Christ into the world. Only when we are deeply convinced that God looks upon our “lowliness” with mercy and loves us as we are can we joyfully discover the many “great things” he works through us and in us (cf. Lk 1: 46-55). The Magnificat of the Blessed Mother can become a school of life for us.

And the logo? 

We hope the logo captures the essence and mission of the Magnificat Household.

The shrine with the cross on top symbolizes our Christ-centered mission and the presence of God not only in our house and in the shrine but also in each of our hearts and in the hearts of those we encounter. 

The crown of twelve stars represents the Blessed Mother – our mother, educator, and model. Her virtues shine before our eyes and guide us in our lives and striving.

The round shape that the stars form is also meant to symbolize the world: a world that we wish to transform!

We entrust this project and all involved to our Blessed Mother. It’s her work and her house! She will take care that the Father’s will be fulfilled! 


The dedication of the newly remodeled house will be on August 15, 2024, the feast of the Blessed Mother’s Assumption into heaven. It will be offered in gratitude for the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the first Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary in the United States. There will be an open house in connection with the dedication ceremony.