Mount Schoenstatt Spirituality Centre a peaceful oasis
|The Pilgrim Mother Coordinator, Sr Myrna ISSM, with the Business Manager at Mt Schoenstatt, Ann-Maree Timmings.|
Originally published in Catholic Outlook May 2015
By Virginia Knight
Every year in May, the Mount Schoenstatt Spirituality Centre at Mulgoa hosts a pilgrimage in honour of Mary. Falling this year on Pentecost Sunday on 24 May, one of the features of the full day program will be the recommissioning of the Pilgrim Mother Coordinators and the blessing of the Pilgrim Mother Shrines.
Children are invited to strew flowers before the Blessed Sacrament and the final Benediction takes place in front of the Shrine.
Reconciliation beings at 10.00am followed by Holy Mass at 10.30am. Then those attending will picnic in the shady grounds before the Shrine bell calls all to the valley for the Eucharistic Procession.
With the Shrine at its heart Mount Schoenstatt is a place of tranquil retreat and pilgrimage.
Schoenstatt means beautiful place. Set amidst an undulating 50 acres of bush and parkland, it offers visitors the opportunity to find moments of peace and tranquility.
An alternative program incorporating anointing of the sick, is offered for those who cannot join the procession.
‘Nothing without you, nothing without us’ is the Schoenstatt Movement’s simple expression of their Covenant of Love with Mary.
The Shrine is one of more than 200 exact replicas of the original in Germany, where the International Schoenstatt Movement was founded by Fr Joseph Kentenich and the Founding Generation in 1914.
Those who enjoy a retreat, a walk along the paths, or quiet moments in prayer or reflection in the Shrine, leave refreshed and renewed in their faith.
The Pilgrim Mother Coordinator, Sr Myrna ISSM, describes Mount Schoenstatt as not just a place, but a movement of renewal, within the Catholic Church.
Blessed and opened in 1975, the Spirituality Centre at Mulgoa was built as a retreat and conference centre. Originally, it offered retreats and courses to lay people and religious ministering in Catholic organisations, parishes and schools.
The Pilgrim Mother shrines are icons of the Schoenstatt image of grace. The Pilgrim Mother Apostolate encourages the faithful to take Mary and Jesus into their homes through prayer and devotion to the Pilgrim Mother Shrine, which allows them to work miracles of grace in their lives with faith and confidence.
Today the centre is open to people of all religious traditions and denominations who are seeking spiritual renewal or a quiet place to rest for a few days.
The Business Manager at Mt Schoenstatt, Ann-Maree Timmings, said the centre featured dormitory-style accommodation with 33 beds in 11 rooms and self-catering facilities.
In a beautiful valley setting, it is very popular with families and youth groups. With the reopening of conference facilities, and 42 beds in 18 ensuite rooms in Joseph Kentenich House atop the hill attracting couples and small groups, the centre has much to offer everyone.
Ann-Maree said Mount Schoenstatt was a ‘stopping off point’ to recharge on life’s journey. “The message is to build on people’s own spiritual journey and help them along,” she said.
“Many couples or families come in the afternoon and attend the Shrine, go for a walk or visit the information centre. In the morning they come for prayer and Mass and are then on their way.
“Even those for whom religion is not a central part of their lives can feel the peace. People often stop you on the path and want to tell you about their miracles that have happened in the Shrine from praying to Mary.”
Schoenstatt is one of a few religious centres that still have religious in residence. Of the 20 sisters living and working at the centre, the eldest is 98.
Adoration is available all day in the Shrine. Visitors are encouraged to leave petitions for an intention in the basket before the altar and the sisters will pray for these intentions. It is particularly the ministry of the elderly sisters.
Schoenstatt runs regular programs and courses, including a men’s and women’s workshops and retreats. Other groups make regular use of the facilities, including craft and patchwork activities in addition to private directed and open retreats.
For information about the Mount Schoenstatt Spirituality Centre contact Ann-Maree Timmings tel (02) 4773 8338, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.schoenstatt.org.au
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