When asked to write a little response about our celebration the fiftieth jubilee of Father Kentenich’s return to eternity, I, at first, was more than happy to do so. It was already the second time that week I was asked to write about something Schoenstatt related that others would see, and it humbled me to be able to give testimony to the movement most near and dear to my heart. When I sat down to write this; however, major anxiety and writer’s block set in. What, of everything that took place that day, could I possibly write about? How was whatever I wrote supposed to compare to the three testimonies given that day? Looking back on that day, realizing that authenticity is what really matters gave me the peace to write this.
Up until this day, Father Kentenich was nothing more than Schoenstatt’s founder to me. Sure, I’d read some of his writings, but I had never tried to apply any of his writings to my life. Sure, I’d heard testimonies of his works from people who either knew him personally or have been inspired by him and I’ve been in the Father House, but it never went further than merely wondering “How is this man not a saint yet?” and forgetting most of what I’d heard and seen by the next week. The three testimonies I heard on this day; however opened my mind to a different perspective on Father Kentenich.
The three testimonies had one common theme: It’s not enough to just know about Father Kentenich. If we want him to be a saint, if we want to be witnesses and missionaries to his legacy, we must know him. We are in charge of his canonization, so we must approach him like someone who is in Heaven–never ceasing to ask for his intercession and developing a personal relationship with him. If we are to be effective missionaries of his legacy, simply knowing about it is not enough. After all, how inspiring is a missionary who just rolls facts off their tongue? (Oh right, there’s no such thing). If we are to be effective missionaries of Father Kentenich and his legacy, we must have been inspired by it–we must be deeply rooted in it, and there is no better way to be deeply rooted in a legacy than to be deeply rooted in and personally connected to its founder.”