The Claim: International
More than a few colourful flags.
Covenant with continents, mentalities, peoples, languages. Give and take. Wonder and thanksgiving.
No fear of what is different.
Riches, history, experience, prayer intentions and graces from every country become the Schoenstatt "of all of us" in the midst of the universal Church.
International Schoenstatt Centre, Belmonte, Rome: More than a name.
It reflects the world-embracing spirit of the founder, who in 1948 affirmed, "The drive to become worldwide, the striving to be international, the longing for an apostolate to the world, simply runs in our blood". This attitude is an answer to the needs of our times, to a world that strives for more and more unity, and as a result is in danger of ending in uniformity and conformity.
By "internationality" Fr Kentenich understood the ability to accept global tensions, as well as the challenge of arriving at unity in diversity. Each form of pluralism gives rise to tensions that can create or destroy life. These tensions will become creative if the peoples encourage one another to allow themselves to be complemented. They will become destructive if the peoples try to eliminate one another, if they look down on others, or if they don't want to accept that they are part of a greater whole.
Genuine internationality replaces unfruitful and destructive competition resulting from living together in the one world, with becoming a peacemaker, making it possible for people and societies to grow.
"... and love the people with all your heart"
A respectful attitude to every people, nationality and culture goes back to Fr Kentenich. One of his recommendations was:
"Those who work abroad have to be careful in the way they treat the national feeling of the people, which is in the process of developing. Adapt yourselves to the circumstances, customs and language of the people, and love them with all your heart" (1949).
Internationality is the basis for Schoenstatt's cultural contribution today. Nations are constituted by individual people; they in their turn create and pass on a culture. Dependence on the media, international politics and the social, economic and ecological problems of the planet are growing. Yet it is precisely now that it is essential to create a new and inward form of solidarity that respects the countless originalities and pluralities, and helps to bring about a worldwide change of mentality and behaviour. What is needed is another form of relating to one another that does not consist simply in market-based, cutthroat competition.
As a Movement that calls itself international, and wants to be international, Schoenstatt is challenged to find a solution in the attitude of the Schoenstatt prisoners in the concentration camp at Dachau:
"Despite all originality, let us be united,
and dedicate ourselves to the Father as an ideal realm;
let us break through all national barriers,
even though the masses are infected with hatred." (Heavenwards)
Already in 1985, the commemorative year of Fr Kentenich's hundredth birthday, the wish was formulated in these words: "... we also feel urged to understand and render fruitful the gift and task of the internationality of our Movement".
The name "International Schoenstatt Centre" is both a gift and a task.
Sources: Fr Esteban Uriburu, Huellas de un Padre, and
Fr Guillermo Carnano, ¿Schoenstatt que es?