The Founder Shrine

The Founder Shrine in Madison, WI

The Founder Shrine in Madison, WI


The Founder Shrine in Madison, Wisconsin, was dedicated on June 20, 1953. It is the first Schoenstatt Shrine to be built in the United States.

At the cornerstone laying on October 18, 1952, Bishop William Patrick O’Connor expressed his hope and conviction that the Shrine would become a “spiritual powerhouse,” not only for the Madison diocese, but for all the States of the Union.

The Bishop’s prophetic words confirmed the insight of Fr. Joseph Kentenich, Schoenstatt’s Founder. He believed that the Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt would be effective from the Founder Shrine as the leader and educator of the American people.

A resident of Wisconsin from June 21, 1952 until September 15, 1965, Fr. Kentenich became well-acquainted with the American character through his pastoral work and personal counseling. In February 1953 he said, “The more I get to know the Americans with their childlike hearts, their simplicity, their open-mindedness, the more I become convinced that they are the right timber from which saints can be carved.”


The Altar of the Founder Shrine

The Altar of the Founder Shrine

It is our firm belief that God, through the intercession of our Mother Thrice Admirable, wants to:

Educate and Form the American Saint from the Founder Shrine

The goal of the Blessed Mother’s educational activity is our personal sanctification in everyday life, and the moral and religious renewal of our society. She wishes to accomplish this miracle in time through the dispensation of grace, and our free cooperation, prayers and sacrifices.

In a time of global challenges, America can only fulfill her destiny as a leader of the free Western nations if our people, under the patronage of Mary, come to share in the true “freedom of the children of God” (Romans 8:21). Fr. Kentenich always stressed inner freedom as an essential educational objective of the Schoenstatt Movement.

The present location of the Shrine at Schoenstatt Heights overlooks the State Capitol and reminds us that the Blessed Mother wishes to lead us upward to the heights of holiness. The Shrine was moved from its original site on the grounds of Queen of Apostles Seminary on October 10, 1979.

Because Fr. Kentenich prayed in the Founder Shrine and celebrated the Eucharistic liturgy there, the Shrine will always mediate the grace of spiritual nearness to the Founder, and faithfulness to his spirit.

O. Shrine with scroll 10-18-2014

Original Shrine in Germany


Dear Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen, and Victress of Schoenstatt,
With grateful hearts we kneel before you here in our Founder Shrine. Through Divine Providence and the prophetic wisdom of Fr. Kentenich, you planted the seed of Schoenstatt in Madison. From this Shrine, dear Mother, we beg you to bring about a great movement of renewal and education that will enable our country to fulfill its God-given mission. Educate and form each one of us, your children, into everyday saints. Through our Covenant of Love with you, lead us, our families, our diocese, and the whole United States to the heights of holiness.

Conscious of our weakness and failings, we turn to you, trusting in your motherly wisdom, love and power. We beg you to fulfill your great task: “Educate and form the American Saint from the Founder Shrine.” We have already experienced the stream of grace flowing richly from this Shrine. Our Father and Founder’s presence here during his earthly life fills us with boundless confidence in his continued spiritual nearness, guidance, and intercession. Believing in your power to work miracles of inner transformation, we surrender ourselves into your hands. Use us, dear Mother Thrice Admirable, as your instruments for the sanctification of our American people. Amen.