The shrine in Lamar is a replica of the original shrine in Germany, where the founder, Father Joseph Kentenich, together with a group of seminarians dedicated their lives to Mary, Mother Thrice Admirable in the covenant of love Oct. 18, 1914. Their mission was for the renewal of the world in Christ through Mary.
The Schoenstatt Shrine is the spiritual center of the Schoenstatt Movement, which is comprised of different branches: families, mothers, youth, single women, priests, sisters, brothers, and pilgrims.
The Schoenstatt Lamar Shrine celebrated their 50th golden jubilee in 2009. The history of 50 years is rich. In 1949, when the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary left Africa by boat to come to the United States, they had no idea how it would all unfold. Three sisters made their way knowing only they were expected. Their founder, Father Joseph Kentenich, told them, “Build the Blessed Mother a shrine and she will do the rest.”
They had no idea how far, what transportation was available and, much less, what would be the cost. The original destination was Mobile, AL. When the captain told them they did not have enough money for their trip to Corpus Christi, they turned to the Mother of God and prayed for guidance. On the eve of Sept. 8, the feast of the birth of Mary, the captain announced a change of course due to a hurricane, the destination – Corpus Christi.
Though they did not arrive on time to take up the task assigned to them, they soon received an invitation to work in the Catholic school in Rockport. Language difficulties, financial needs, customs and climate all added to their spiritual contribution for the building of the future Schoenstatt Shrine.
Finally in 1958 plans for buying land and building the shrine became more concrete. The sisters had saved from the little they earned from their work, from extra projects such as music lessons, and so on. But it still was not enough. A loan was needed, but no one in the surrounding area wanted to invest in a community without credit or assets. Finally, a bank in St. Louis realized how and what the sisters had earned and trusted they would be faithful. Thus, the Schoenstatt Shrine for the Mother Thrice Admirable and part of the retreat house could begin.
On Oct. 18, 1959, Bishop Marx officiated as many friends and pilgrims attended the dedication of the first Schoenstatt Shrine in Texas. He said, “With the dedication of this Shrine and the Motherhouse of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary of the Catholic Apostolate a new epoch in the history of Lamar begins. Now we see the beautiful new buildings dedicated to the Virgin Mother Thrice Admirable. Through this new foundation Lamar may become a place of spiritual recreation and animation. This shrine is truly a place which invites and stimulates for prayer and through prayer we receive the grace necessary to work out our salvation. In prayer we receive the illumination which makes us see events of life in the light of Divine Providence. Prayer transforms us and creates in us the uniformity with the will of God and we are enable to stand in community as men who draw others upward.”
Today the blessings from this shrine have reached into Mexico with a shrine and retreat center in Queretaro, Queretaro. There are also shrines in Monterrey, San Luis Potosi, and Chilapa. The second Schoenstatt Shrine in Texas was dedicated Oct. 18, 2008 in San Antonio.
The Schoenstatt Shrine, known as the Shrine of Confidence, in Lamar welcomes all who wish to come for a visit, a pilgrimage or a retreat. On the 18th of every month a Holy Mass, talk and benediction are offered for all who come. The Shrine is open from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. most of the year.