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Founded in a concentration camp, Schoenstatt Family Movement hits 75 years

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Couples and families flocked to the Schoenstatt Shrine in Mulgoa on 16 July. There they celebrated 75 years since the 1942 founding of the Schoenstatt Family Movement by Fr Joseph Kentenich at Dachau.

“It was a miracle that all were fed!” Sr Julie Brcar remarked happily, following a day of celebrations at the Schoenstatt Shrine in Mulgoa on 16 July, to mark 75 years since the Schoenstatt Family Movement was founded.

The Schoenstatt Sisters had been expecting about 200 people for the celebratory Mass and lunch but around 350 had turned up instead.

Overwhelmed and delighted by the numbers, the Sisters were relieved to see that everyone was provided for.

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“Fortunately one family arranged a lamb on a spit and many families were generous which enabled us to feed the unexpected crowds,” said Sr Julie.

The day began with Mass and following lunch there was a presentation on the history of the Schoenstatt Family Movement, which encourages member families to strive to be an image of the Holy Family in Nazareth in the midst of today’s world.

Testimonies were given by Paul and Anne Toutounji, who grew up in the Schoenstatt Family Movement—and who have been married for 40 years, with four children and nine grandchildren—and also by Carmen Cecilia Lunardelli, a member of the Schoenstatt Family Union in Brazil.

PHOTO: Schoenstatt Family Movement

There was a time of Eucharistic adoration and after Benediction, a group of children sang a song to the melody of We Are Australian, but re-wording the chorus to, “We share a God and sing with one voice, I am, you are, we are a family.”

In the nine weeks leading up to the anniversary celebrations, members of the Schoenstatt Family Movement prayed a Novena in preparation, reflecting on the words and spirituality of their founder, Fr Joseph Kentenich.

Fr Kentenich founded the Schoenstatt Family Movement on 16 July 1942 in the Dachau concentration camp in Germany, where he had been imprisoned for his faith. Since then, the Schoenstatt Family Movement has spread all around the world.

Fr Kentenich also founded the Schoenstatt movement in Schoenstatt, Germany in 1914. It is a lay Marian movement within the Catholic Church.

For more information about the Schoenstatt Shrine at Mulgoa go to

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