On October 6-8, 2023, the moderators and various leaders of the Schoenstatt Movement in the USA gathered for the annual National Leaders’ Convention at the International Schoenstatt Center in Waukesha, WI.
Eleven states were represented among the approximately 80 participants: Texas, Tennessee, New York, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, and Washington, D.C.
The event’s primary focus was to provide a space for the representatives of the Movement to come together for formation, discussion, and sharing about the life of the Movement and the various apostolic initiatives in the different areas.
The motto that has guided the Schoenstatt Family in the US for the past year was the central value in all talks, workshops, and deliberations:
Sursum Corda (lift up your hearts)
We hear these words at the celebration of the holy Mass right before the consecration. Our eyes and hearts are lifted up to higher values and encourage us to become another Christ, a new person in him (Cf. Eph 4:24). In the challenges of our present time, the Schoenstatt family has tried to be a catalyst of hope by lifting up others through a kind word, a smile, or a helping hand.
We’ve asked Sr. M. Danielle Peters to share about her experiences at the convention:
What was your overall impression?
The harmonious atmosphere made a family-like interaction possible among different generations and cultural backgrounds.
The presentation from the Schoenstatt University Students from Austin was impressive. They shared about their experiences at World Youth Day and pilgrimage to Schoenstatt, Germany, this summer. One could sense how the graces of the original Schoenstatt touched their hearts and how the WYD experience has changed their lives. It was very inspiring for all of us!
In your opinion, did the event reach its goal?
Usually, a National Leaders’ Convention’s main goal is to discern the upcoming year’s motto. Since this time we decided to keep last year’s motto, the convention could focus on leadership training. There was time to take a deeper look into the challenges of our time and how Schoenstatt is called to give an answer, mainly through the covenant of love with the Blessed Mother, the home shrine, and a spirituality shaped by practical faith in divine providence.
How do you think the event impacted those who attended?
Everyone, including myself, seemed very happy to receive spiritual food for the soul and tools to continue being apostolic in our everyday lives. Of course, the meals were also great!
“Light shines, light warms, light flashes upwards. So, my whole being should shine like the eternal light in the Church of the Trinity. My whole being must, therefore, be an eternal sursum corda, an eternal lifting up of my heart.”Father Joseph Kentenich, Milwaukee, 1963