We want to be Mary for the world and bring Mary to the world. Father Kentenich understood that we can best fulfill this mission for our times as a secular institute, a new type of community in the Church that is meant to be a bridge between the world and God. We are not a religious congregation or order, but we do belong to the state of consecrated life in the Church, and as such we dedicate ourselves totally to God by promising a life of poverty, virginity, and obedience.
As a secular institute, Father Kentenich wanted us to strive for holiness with the same means that are available the laity, to everyone in the Church. Therefore, we don’t take public vows. Instead, we seal a contract-consecration. In that way we can be a model for the laity – to help them see that it’s possible to aspire to holiness without the help and protection of the vow. For us, our consecration to Mary in Schoenstatt’s covenant of love contains our promise to live a life of poverty, virginity, and obedience. Mary becomes the guardian of our vocation – she is the one who secures our faithfulness.
Together with this Marian consecration, we sign a contract with the community. In the contract we promise obedience to the community and faithfulness to our contract-consecration. During the years of formation, the sisters sign the contract for a limited time, just as the religious make a temporary vow. At the end of the time of formation, we sign our final contract, promising to be faithful forever.
A Marian Style of Life
Our Marian consecration entails a Marian style of life. The promise to live the evangelical counsels, which we make through the contract-consecration, is lived in an outspokenly Marian way. Mary was the perfect disciple of Jesus, following him more closely than any other human being. Through her example as shown in Sacred Scripture, she shows us how to follow Christ most closely in poverty, virginity, and obedience.
A Life of Poverty
Our poverty is Marian. Just as Christ himself was the riches of the Blessed Mother, so he should also be our entire riches. A womanly simplicity marks our style of poverty. Our poverty is also apostolic. As a community we possess whatever is needed for fruitful work among the people of our times, but we strive for inner independence from these things.
A Life of Virginity
Our virginity is Marian. She, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the one conceived without original sin and full of grace, is our model. Our founder wanted us to see virginity not only as the renunciation of marriage, but also as the high goal of mirroring the features of the Immaculata, as far as this is possible for us human beings on earth.
A Life of Obedience
Our obedience is Marian. Mary was open and receptive to the Father’s will as she discovered it through people, things, and situations. She was ready to obey his wishes with great love and generosity of heart. This is the level of obedience that we also reach out for – not asking, “What do I have to do?” but rather, “How can I give the Father joy?”
Intense Spiritual Formation
Because of the high degree of inner freedom and generosity that our vocation requires, it’s a part of our community’s structure that the members receive as much spiritual formation as possible – not only during the official times of formation, but throughout our lives as sisters. The utmost time and effort are placed into securing
- that we grow more deeply into our spirituality, into a personal relationship with God, into knowledge of our faith and of Schoenstatt
- that we motivate and inspire one another in our striving for holiness
- that we cultivate a rich and joyful community life that uplifts our being into the spiritual and supernatural world.
This spiritual formation is meant to safeguard and increase our interior freedom so that we can remain faithful to our contract-consecration.