According to information published in the official website of the Sanctuary, Schoenstatt is an apostolic renovation movement that was born within the Church with a strong apostolic and secular character and whose spiritual character is the Sanctuary, which gathers several communities that form the “Family of Schoenstatt”. The Sanctuary is located in more than 50 countries around the world.
The Sanctuary bears the name of a part of the Vallendar town, located near Koblenza in Germany, south of the city of Colony, which literally means “beautiful place”. Its origin dates back to the First World War, October 18, 1914, when German priest Kentenich sealed his Love Alliance with Mary, which was aimed to strengthen the spirit of the students that were forced to fight in the war.
The Movement arrived to Guayaquil in 1960 and was brought from Chile by Spanish priest Juan Fernando Marin, who received the invitation from several Ecuadorians that lived in Santiago. The first meetings were carried out in a garage locate in the southern part of Guayaquil; then at a religious school, until 1970 when they managed to have their own headquarters.
The Schoenstatt Marian Sanctuary of Guayaquil is a little chapel consecrated to the Virgin Mary, which doors were opened on January 20, 1972, as a replica of the original located in Germany. The Sanctuaries around the world are at the service of the families of the nearby communities, and serve as venue for spiritual formation groups for children, youth, adults, and also matrimonies, which use the facilities to meet periodically; the economic contributions are used to maintain the place where thousands of penitents pilgrimage from different areas of the city.
“Caminando con Maria por nuestras vidas” (walking with Mary for our lives) is the slogan of the procession in honor of our Mother Thrice Admirable of Schoenstatt, which is carried out every May since 1979, on the eve of Mother’s Day. The pilgrimage is attended by almost 10.000 people from different vicariates of the city and several provinces of the country.
The procession departs from various churches located in several areas of the city and tours different streets until reaching the Sanctuary. Among the parishes that participate are: Nuestra Señora de la Alborada, Santa Gema, La Anunciacion, Santa Teresita of Entre Rios, Maria Auxiliadora, Madre Admirable, Stella Maris, San Juan Bosco, Antonio Santa Ana and Puerto Azul; from the latter, the inhabitants of the area carry out “La Marcha de las Antorchas” (the Torch March) the nigh before.