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Two years after having made our covenant of love, and abandoning ourselves to Divine Providence, we were expecting our fifth child. We had just moved to a new home that was removed from our previous church family and not very close to our Schoenstatt friends either. We longed to dedicate our home shrine but were very much struggling with our mission and our name. Providentially, we attended a family group meeting where the priest expounded on the idea of the Cenacle – a term we were not familiar with. Father explained that the Cenacle was the situation that the Apostles found themselves in after Jesus ascended into Heaven. They felt lost, and uncertain of how to proceed, yet they were gathered around Our Blessed Mother in prayer, imploring help. At the coming of the promised Advocate, they found themselves transformed, filled with zeal and ready to step out to offer their lives for Christ.
We felt the Cenacle situation mirrored exactly where we found ourselves as a family at that point in time. We were isolated, feeling alone, a little uncertain of how we were to navigate the consequences of abandonment to God’s will – a larger family with little income – and we were, through our covenant of love, definitely centered around Mary in prayer. And so, we dedicated our home shrine on February 4, 1998, as the Cenacle Home Shrine. Later, a gift of a prayer from a young friend formulated for us the mission, “Where love is genuine, strong, and conquers all things.” And, many years later, again entrusting our growing children to God, as we re-entered secular schooling after ten years of home schooling, we centered our family around the motto, “Contra Torrentum– Against the Torrent!” We can still hear our adult children refer to this motto as they struggle to form their own families in today’s world. The name, the mission, and the motto have come to fruition as we watch our grown children, transformed through the presence of Mary and Jesus in our home shrine and the genuine love that permeates our family, give them the foundation that strengthens them to be firmly Catholic in a society that rejects God.
It’s hard to put into such a short description what our home shrine has meant for our family. The very presence of our Mother and her Son in our family is tangible and real. Upon hearing that we wanted to move the home shrine into the family room with the TV, our twelve-year-old son said, “No! Then I have to be careful what I watch on TV!” We had to address a couple of issues after that statement. We firmly credit our home shrine, and the living shrine, for our children being such good friends with each other today. We frequently hear that they are spending time together as young families, evidence of a genuine love. Our prayer life is centered in our home shrine where the heart of our Mother reaches out to capture each one in their unique personality to serve her Son. We have been transformed and our children have been formed in the presence of Love – the third person of the Holy Trinity. Strengthened and changed by that Love, together with Mary, we continue to step out of our home shrine to bring Christ into the world.
Brent & Andrea Woolums, Texas Family League, Diocese of Fort Worth
Greetings from the Confidentia Shrine,
Soon our journey towards Easter offers us two breaks from the Lenten fast: The Solemnity of St. Joseph and that of the Annunciation. On March 19, we celebrate St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus and universal patron of the Catholic Church. And on March 25, we commemorate the breathtaking event of the Incarnation. What would have happened if Mary of Nazareth would not have answered in the affirmative when the angel brought God’s incredible message to her? And what would have happened to Mary and her child if Joseph would have “silently divorced her”?
Mary and Joseph are excellent examples and teachers to trust in Divine Providence. Pope Francis wrote in Patris Corde, the Letter commemorating the 150th anniversary of Saint Joseph as patron of the Universal Church: “In every situation, Joseph declared his own fiat, like those of Mary at the Annunciation and Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.”
There is no word recorded from him in the Scriptures, but we know from the infancy narratives that Joseph acted according to God’s will even if he lacked clarity about the future. The same we can, of course, say about Our Lady. The gospels relate her submission to God’s will not only at the Annunciation but all the way up to the crucifixion. May the example of Jesus’ parents strengthen us on our Lenten journey as we unite with Jesus’ total self-gift to the Father in charity to all.
United with you in prayer and Lenten discipline,
Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary
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The Blessed Mother came to dwell in our house through the Home Shrine in the year 2005. Although, I was the only one in Schoenstatt at the time (Mothers Branch), my family welcomed the Blessed Mother. In a few years everyone was drawn into Schoenstatt! Our daughters grew up in the SGY and my husband and I joined the Family Branch about 10 years ago.
We decided on the name of our home shrine primarily for two reasons:
For the first year, our home shrine was placed in the master bedroom. Then during Lent while praying in the home shrine, I was wondering what to give up or sacrifice? I heard the Blessed Mother urging me to move the home shrine downstairs where all the family could easily access her. This I did not want to do! This was my shrine, my place of grace and solitude. Such a sacrifice, I thought…
Our home shrine relocated to the core of our house. From every outside door you can see the MTA as you enter. Just like the dinner table, it has become the area of many family discussions, decisions, prayers, celebrations, and personal reflections. Both front door guests and back door visitors can be greeted by our home shrine. This has brought numerous questions over the years from visitors and given us the opportunity to share a little about our Catholic faith. Moving and sharing the home shrine was such a small sacrifice in return for countless graces and blessings.
Over the past 16 years as the Blessed Mother has dwelled in our home shrine, she has also taken up residence in our hearts. “Mother takes perfect care” … each family member’s heart shrine has developed in its own individual manner and authentic timing.
Kim and Julianne Davis, Diocesan Leaders, Family Branch, NTX
Greetings from the Confidentia Shrine,
Yesterday we celebrated Valentine’s Day, in two days begins the season of Lent, followed by our monthly covenant day. What do all three have in common? All three focus on the last part of our year’s motto!
Saint Valentine is associated with courtly love and as an intercessor to turn to when seeking love. According to legend, Saint Valentine is said to have cut hearts from parchment, giving them to persecuted Christians. This custom may be a possible origin of the widespread use of hearts on St. Valentine’s Day. Since Valentine refused to sacrifice to pagan gods, he was imprisoned. His last paper heart, he gave to the blind daughter of the jailer signed with “Your Valentine.” As he was executed and surrendering his life for love of the true God, the girl received her sight back.
Lent is the prime season for Christians to focus on charity. The CCC tells us that charity “is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God” (1822). Jesus taught us the new commandment to love one another as he has loved us (see Jn 15:9,12). “Christ’s supreme sacrifice on the cross revealed what true love is all about: to make of oneself a gift to others.
The Apostle Paul has given us an incomparable depiction of charity: “Charity is patient and kind, charity is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Charity does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong but rejoices in the right. Charity bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. … If I . . . have not charity, I am nothing” (1Cor 13:1-13).
The person who exemplified charity most exquisitely is the Blessed Mother. We have made a covenant of love with her so she can purify our hearts from all selfish desires and to put order in our hearts and lives – as individuals, and as families. Her love can transform our hearts enabling them to be more generous in giving of ourselves. Let us unite then by renewing our covenant of love with her and asking her help to lead from the shrine … with charity to all!
With prayers for a fruitful Lent,
Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary
Click here to read letter from Sr. M. Virginia Riedl, Provincial Superior
Because of the COVID-19 regulations, we are currently not having the Covenant Holy Mass on the 18th of the month in our Confidentia Shrine.
The Shrine is open everyday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. Masks are required in order to come in.
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Tuesday through Sunday
Questions?? Please contact us at (361) 729-2019