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Happy Easter and Greetings from the Confidentia Shrine,
We just experienced an extraordinary Triduum and Easter! Perhaps very much like that of the first apostles who after the Last Supper dispersed in isolation, fear, and desolation. Unlike any other, we commemorated the days of the passion, death, and resurrection of Our Lord from home with the help of TV and the digital media. This in itself is a gift and makes us long all the more to return to the sacraments. Accompanied by the threat of the virus, the question concerning life after Covid-19 goes through our minds: What does God want to tell us personally and the world at large with this pandemic?
The news portrays a world caught between fear and anger, between an excess of information and helplessness, negligence, worry, and panic. We are concerned about the medical workforce who serve beyond their strength to minister to the sick and dying. And we worry for the many who have to remain at home, and are anxious about the security of their jobs, their businesses, and the future of their families.
All of us have to come to grips with the sudden reality that our life has fundamentally changed. What seemed meaningful and what we took for granted before is breaking away – piece by piece each day.
This situation challenges us to be and to remain Joyful Apostles, Living the Covenant. The resurrection of Christ is the proof of divine strength that breaks forth from the collapse of human strength. Redeemed by him, we have received his new life. And this is what truly matters!
As worldwide Schoenstatt Family we unite today with great joy, hope, and confidence to hand over the crown to the MTA, each in his or her home.
For more information visit: www.schoenstatt-int.com .
YouTube: Schoenstatt International – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr_ky-h4ymhmVxJL7qi2nKQ
WhatsApp: +49 152 3610 3024
In the Confidentia Shrine, we sisters offer the crown for all of you and your intentions, and we are grateful to you for your continued spiritual and material support,
Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary
We Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary in Lamar, TX are praying and bringing our contributions to the capital of grace for you and your families!
May our Confidentia Queen grant you the grace of unlimited childlike confidence during these challenging times.
Please feel free to send us your prayer intentions by filling out the following form: https://forms.gle/5RdaqnaADm26NyM76
We are praying Father Kentenich’s “Prayer in Time of Need” and offering an hour of Adoration for your intentions everyday!
If we want to know what it means to live the covenant of love with Mary as joyful apostles, we only need to look into the lives of three Josephs: Saint Joseph, Father Joseph Kentenich, and Joseph Engling.
With great humility and trust, Saint Joseph lived out of a covenant with the Blessed Mother. He was the first one to live in a mutual relationship with her.
His life, hidden to the public eye, protected the treasures of Jesus and Mary. This just man, as we know him from Scriptures, devoted his life to the two great personalities that changed the course of history. In persecution and in trials, in doubts and incomprehensibilities, Saint Joseph remained faithful to his covenant with Mary.
After she had said yes, and after the Savior was conceived in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit, Saint Joseph noticed that something had happened, and he was deeply troubled. In a certain sense, the first disharmony in the house of Nazareth! The Blessed Mother was silent. What God allowed to happen to her is incomprehensible. Of course, then he helped her; he sent an angel who said to Joseph, “Joseph, fear not to take Mary, your spouse, home.” Are these not incomprehensibilities? Then, the Son of God was born in a stable, and he had to flee from earthly princes, after the angel had said: “His kingdom shall have no end” (Mt. 1:18-25).
At the age of twelve, Jesus preached in the temple. Mary and Joseph found him there after searching for him during three days of painful suffering. He was not only disobedient; with head held high he stood before them and said to them, “Why did you search for me? Did you not know that I have to be about my Father’s business?” It is almost as if he would turn his back on Mary and Joseph (Lk. 2:41-52). Again, no rose without thorns. Think of the life of our dear Blessed Mother, – how many thorns there were! There were also thorns of poverty. The Savior was born in a stable in extreme poverty. We know that Joseph and Mary brought the offering of the poor when they presented Jesus in the temple (Father J. Kentenich, OME, #1, 171).
The mystery that unfolded before Joseph’s eyes demanded of him steadfastness and a brave spirit of endurance. To remain quiet in the face of doubt requires strength, from within. This is what Joseph embodies throughout his life. His unpretentious spirit certainly helped Jesus remain hidden for 30 years. More than a skillful hand, he had a wise heart. Along with Mary, he, too, pondered in his own way the will of God made flesh in the child Jesus. In his love for Mary, he learned to embrace God’s plan for him and his household, even when it meant the most difficult sacrifices. In covenant with Mary, Saint Joseph became the revelation of God’s fatherly features for Jesus here on earth. In his bond of love with Mary, he has made possible for us to contemplate the model and ideal of the Holy Family of Nazareth. The fact that Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were so distinctly chosen by God for their particular missions caused difficulties. Often Saint Joseph was left in darkness. In his life, we see that his love for Christ and Mary was always greater than the challenges and sufferings he may have had to endure.
Today, when we venerate the memory of Saint Joseph, let us ask him to intercede for us the strength to remain faithful to our covenant with Mary and welcome into our lives, with calm and at peace, God’s incomprehensible demands.
Father Joseph Kentenich
Father Joseph Kentenich was the instrument chosen by God to found the Schoenstatt Movement, out of a covenant of love with Mary.
He was born on November 16, 1885, in Gymnich, near Cologne, Germany. He deeply loved Mary and the Church. At the age of nine his mother consecrated him to the Mother of God. At that point, he placed himself entirely under her protection until then and throughout his whole life. A particular moment of grace in his life was when his mother consecrated him to Mary on April 12, 1894. We could say that at this point, God conferred upon him his charism. This significant moment of his childhood consecration and the powerful event of October 18, 1914 opened a path for many others to live out of a covenant of love with Mary. Including his joys and sorrows at home and entering the orphanage, we see Father’s life reaching a climax when he became a priest and later on a founder. All of these events formed his personality. God gave our father and founder a great capacity to take in the individual and the community. He had an immense pedagogical capacity to help others find their way into the supernatural world, while remaining attached to the things of earth in a healthy measure. He was also orientated toward a metaphysical way of thinking. He went forth from central principles and ultimate truths to the particular applications or questions. All of these elements have given way to a monumental source of life and strength for the Christian soul: the covenant of love with the Mother of God.
Attentive to God’s designs, Father Kentenich knew how to interpret the signs of the times. Along with a small group of students, he sealed a covenant of love with Our Lady in the little Schoenstatt chapel on October 18, 1914. This was the beginning and the foundation of Schoenstatt. Today this movement of life continues to spread throughout the world.
During the period following 1914, more and more people came in contact with Father Joseph Kentenich. Over time, he founded several communities for priests, families, men, women, youth, children, and the sick. These are organized into the Secular Institutes, Federations, and League branches of the Schoenstatt Movement.
At the end of his seminary formation, his superiors at first did not admit him to the ordination to the priesthood. During World War II, he was a prisoner of the National Socialists. He spent more than three years in the concentration camp of Dachau, in Germany. From 1951 – 1965, he was separated from his work by Church authorities and was sent to Milwaukee, USA.
Obedient to the Church and faithful to his founding charism, he accepted this time of testing as his personal imitation of Christ. For him everything, including the cross, was an expression of God’s merciful love. He himself became a father to many, announcing, and living this reality in a convincing way. Throughout his life and especially through his suffering, he wanted to serve the Church and, in this way, prove his deep love for her.
After the end of the Vatican Council II, he was received in audience by Pope Paul VI. At that time, the Pope expressed his gratitude to him and to the Schoenstatt Family. Father Kentenich continued to guide the different communities and branches of the Schoenstatt Family to be at the service of the Church.
After celebrating the Holy Mass on Sunday, September 15, 1968, on the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, Father Kentenich died in the church of the Most Holy Trinity in Schoenstatt. His last resting place is found at the same place where he died. Father Kentenich died with the reputation of sanctity. Through his example, he tried to inspire in each member of the Schoenstatt Family what he chose to be written on his tomb: Dilexit Eclessiam; He loved the Church! The process of his canonization was opened on February 10, 1975. Annually, thousands of people
visit his tomb, located in the Church of the Most Holy Trinity on Mount Schoenstatt, Germany. There they confidently present their petitions and signs of gratitude for the graces received through his intercession. Father Kentenich is seen as the third point of contact in the covenant of love, because of his fatherly character. From the founding moment of October 18, 1914 on his position as founder has been a source of blessings for the entire Schoenstatt Family.
In 1982, Cardinal Ratzinger, later Holy Father, Benedict XVI, said:
May Mary, the Mother of the Church, through her faithful servant, Father Joseph Kentenich, teach many people the way of love for the Church so that the strength and joy of faith may penetrate our people and our nations!
Love for Mary should lead us to imitate her as our example in life and that love for her should be reflected in our lives. The prayer of the founder of Schoenstatt written in the Dachau prison camp, during World War II, should also be our prayer to Mary:
Let us reflect your image and walk through life entirely like you: strong and noble, simple
and kind, spreading love and peace and joy. In us go through our times and make them
ready for Christ (Heavenwards).
Today, when we remember him on this feast of Saint Joseph, we ask that we may learn from him how to live our covenant of love as joyful apostles. In this bond, Father Kentenich learned to embrace his fatherhood toward the family God brought into existence through him.
In Joseph Engling we have the first model of how to be a joyful apostle, living the covenant. This young man was the first of the seminarians in Schoenstatt who understood the covenant of love and took it seriously. Born in 1898 to a large family of farmers, he started school in Schoenstatt at 14 to become a priest.
Large, awkward, and struggling with a speech impediment, he did not let these things define or stop him from becoming a leader of the other boys and a courageous apostle among them. He welcomed humiliations as sacrifices and demonstrated lessons of formation in the small daily tasks of everyday life. His example brought many others to a deep love for the shrine and the covenant of love with the Blessed Mother.
Even as a soldier in World War I he was apostolic, carrying a little library of books in his knapsack on the battlefield. After offering his life to the MTA for the spread of Schoenstatt and its spirituality on May 31, 1918, he was killed in action near Cambrai on Oct. 4, 1918, only a month before the armistice. He was buried near where he fell in France, although the exact place remains unknown. A memorial stone was placed in his honor behind the Original Shrine, and at most of the Schoenstatt shrines around the world.
The offering of one’s life for the fruitfulness of Schoenstatt is today known as the Joseph Engling act. This dedication on his part was not the rash act of a zealot, but the natural extension of his devotion and his formation in Schoenstatt. While many in the first group of Schoenstatt boys struggled to grasp the edges of the ideas Father Kentenich presented about a place of grace, the capital of grace and formation as everyday saints, young Joseph understood and, as with all great ideas he came upon, he put them immediately into practice in his life. He championed selfeducation, the daily spiritual order, and the particular examination. He focused on building the capital of grace and inspired his classmates as their leader to strive to do the same.
His covenant of love was the commitment of his life to the Schoenstatt ideals. His motto best expresses the role he assumed: “All things to all men and Mary’s very own.” He was a strong leader and a compelling apostle aspiring to sanctity and guiding those around him towards the same goal.
Joseph Engling’s work continued beyond his death. His memory inspired those who had known him. Excerpts from his diary and his biography influenced many to consider him a Schoenstatt pioneer and true saint, entrusting to him their prayers to God. The formal process for beatification and canonization was opened on the anniversary of his death in 1951.
On September 12, 1965, the “Shrine of Unity” was dedicated at the place of his death. This was a gift from the international Schoenstatt family on the 50th anniversary of the founding of Schoenstatt. The day after the dedication had taken place, a telegram was received by Fr. Kentenich which called him to Rome.
Joseph Engling placed great faith in the capital of grace as a means to help those who need it, made possible by the sacrifices and offerings deposited by those striving for everyday sanctity. This intercession was a perfect extension of all his striving, of his apostolic love for the Blessed Mother, and of his great desire to serve others.
United in the covenant of love with Mary, Joseph Engling discovered his calling and his mission. As a Schoenstatt child, he assumed in a remarkable way the ideal, the apostolate, and the practical implications of his aspirations. Let us imitate Joseph Engling in his commitment to Schoenstatt as joyful apostles, living the covenant of love with the MTA.
Perhaps now more than ever before we become aware of the significance of the home shrine and the domestic church. Spiritually united as Schoenstatt Family we invite you to (re)crown your MTA picture in your home shrine on March 25, the Solemnity of the Annunciation. In preparation for this simple act, please join in praying Hold the Scepter in Your Hand!
In addition, each family and individual can (re)crown the Blessed Mother in their home shrine. We offer her a crown (corona) in petition for the victims and all disruption caused by the corona virus.
A Crown for a Crown! Corona for corona!
She can bring about a brand-new world from a deeply injured humanity. We petition the MTA to glorify herself through home shrines and heart shrines. Our part is to give witness to her power in the world during this time of crisis, through our faith and obedience. May Mary also help us find our way back to God as, together, we face an overwhelming challenge. As Health of the Sick, Comfort of the Afflicted, and Refuge of Sinners, may our Mother and Queen take into her care and protection the many who are affected.
Hold the scepter in your hand; Mother, protect your Schoenstatt Land.
There you alone are Queen; cause every foe to flee.
Create a paradise for yourself there and hold the dragon at bay.
Woman of the Sun, step forth with light and ascend to the heights of the noonday sky.
Build from here a world which is pleasing to the Father,
as our Savior once implored so longingly in prayer.
May love ever reign there together with truth and justice and a unity
which does not become massmindedness nor lead to inner slavery.
Reveal your power in the dark and stormy night.
Let the world see your active hand and stand in admiration before you.
So that it speak your name with love, profess loyalty to your kingdom,
fearlessly carry your banner far and wide and victoriously defeat every foe.
Let Schoenstatt remain your favorite place, a stronghold of apostolic spirit,
a leader on the way to holy battle, a source of everyday sanctity.
A firebrand glowing for Christ, scattering sparks of searing brightness
until the world, a sea of flames, burns to the glory of the Trinity. Amen.
The History of this Prayer
Seventy-five years ago, in March of 1945, the American troops had begun to win over German territory during WWII. The danger of crossfire between the US and German forces was in sight. In Dachau, Father Kentenich heard that the US troops were heading toward Schoenstatt. He had also heard rumors that Schoenstatt had been depopulated and that the sisters had fled. In the midst of this threat and as a petition for protection for Schoenstatt, Father Kentenich composed the Hold the Scepter in Your Hand prayer as a novena in preparation for the feast of the Annunciation .
This prayer was meant to be a petition to the MTA that the Original Shrine would not be destroyed and that the communities established in Schoenstatt would remain unharmed. This prayer can also be seen as a statement of thanksgiving in advance. Father Kentenich’s conviction was that if the American troops moved into Schoenstatt, the ‘Schoenstatt land’ would be safe.
Today, we can pray this prayer in order to ask the Blessed Mother to protect her Schoenstatt land all over the world from the corona virus. What the Original Shrine was at that time is the network of shrines in our time. All daughter shrines, home shrines, and heart shrines should be protected by our MTA from her throne of grace.
In this powerful prayer, Father Kentenich uses moving language and images. By placing Mary over the whole land in her intercessory power with a scepter in her hand, she is meant to protect and guard the life that has developed in and from the shrine. Now and then, Mary can conquer all of God’s enemies.
When we pray it, we can think of the ungodly powers that threaten to weaken our faith. A brand new world that pleases our Heavenly Father should come forth from the network of shrines (daughter shrines, home shrines, and heart shrines). The woman who crushes the head of the serpent ought to come forth once again so that God—that Christ may continue to reign.
Schoenstatt’s task is to open the way for Mary. We give her a place of honor in our homes and hearts—her favorite place. She in turn leads us to a life of sanctity in the midst of the working day. In order to have full influence over the hearts of those who consecrate themselves to her and join this network of shrines, Mary gives us special graces. She makes the covenant with us and makes us her children. She conquers us with her motherly love. Mary brings the Holy Spirit who transforms us and shapes us into reflections of Christ. Finally, Mary also intercedes for us the spirit of the apostles. Without that, the new world that is meant to come about through the network of shrines, in our times, cannot become fire of Christ’s fire, a sea of flames that burns for the Trinity.
Youtube: Schoenstatt International – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr_ky-h4ymhmVxJL7qi2nKQ
For the last several years my husband and I, along with our children have utilized a Jesse Tree during Advent. Each day of Advent we read a Bible story about Salvation History and hang an ornament with a symbol of that story on our tree. We begin with the story of creation and continue to the birth of Christ. During lent we try to continue with what I’ve deemed a “Jesus Tree” and read the stories of the New Testament from Christ’s birth through the Resurrection. It is a wonderful way to recall God’s faithfulness and live our Faith tangibly; but, I had never before considered the thought that I am a part of Salvation History! That is, until we attended the recent Couple’s Retreat at the Confidentia Shrine in Lamar, TX.
Sr. Danielle and Fr. Francisco led us through a beautiful weekend of reflection, taking us deeper into the motto, “Joyful Apostles, Living the Covenant.” In the afternoon, Sister had us create scrolls and begin to write our own version of the Acts of the Apostles. As individual couples we worked to create the physical scroll: fighting the rolling paper, dabbing on the rubber cement, navigating the best way to attach the paper to the wooden dowels as a team. Then, we began the task of reflection and dialog to begin writing our role in Salvation History. How has God worked in us and through us to bring about His glory? How did he call us together? What are the miracles that he has worked in our lives? We titled our scroll “The Acts of the Apostles of Patrick and Jill” and presented the beginnings of our work at the closing Mass and received a blessing. Patrick and I decided to continue working on our story, our scroll through Lent and beyond. The act of putting it in writing helps us to recall God’s faithfulness and reminds us that our acts are recorded in heaven; therefore live with intentionality, with God’s will in mind, with the joy that comes from being a Child of God–knowing that we are a unique and critical part of Salvation History.
Jill Mach, Arlington TX
Picture: Jill Mach with her husband (5th couple from the left) together with the other couples holding their scrolls.
Greetings from the Confidentia Shrine!
Recently, a young mother shared the apostolic spirit of her youngest son with us. He attends a municipal kindergarten, and when it was time for lunch, he insisted that his fellow kindergarteners and the teachers would sing a song to say grace with him. He taught them the song and made them aware that without grace there is no food. This young missionary truly put our year’s motto into practice: Joyful Apostles, Living the Covenant.
Our father and founder, Father Kentenich, defines the apostle as “a person who, in virtue of an inner connectedness with God, constantly strives with all means for the salvation of immortal souls, that is, for the divine life in the souls of others. He also has to see to it that they absorb the divine life and let it mature in themselves. And he may not just do this here and there, but he has to do it all the time.”
Like our kindergartener, each one of us has numerous opportunities each day to be a joyful apostle. Unconsciously, he was concerned about the immortal souls of his friends and taught them to value their daily food as a gift from God. When our covenant of love becomes the source for our joyful apostolate, then everything we are and do will be fruitful.
In his Lenten Message, Pope Francis reminds us that “Christian joy flows from listening to, and accepting, the Good News of the death and resurrection of Jesus.” It means, moreover, to bring it with compassion to all those who we encounter with the wounds each one of us bears (see: Message Of His Holiness Pope Francis For Lent 2020 “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor 5:20), # 4).
Wishing you a joyful apostolic Lent!
The Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary
ECCE AGNUS DEI
Behold, a man stands on the desert gravel, looking at the ugly fence that he just crossed. Now he is a criminal; not for any harmful action against person or property, but simply because he stands there, beyond the stream. Ecce homo. The nation declares that he may not stand there. Others may stand there, but not him. His crime is his location. Concerned citizens cry out against the injustice! A crime they say, is something evil done; it is not the place you stand. Nearby, a mother and child are stopped, also criminals by location. The baby must be taken because criminal adults are not kept with children. Both the mother and the child weep bitterly, and concerned citizens cry out again. Stabat mater dolorosa.
Many also cross the stream unnoticed, and quietly start a new life in the new land. Maria has done this. Her English is deficient, and she has no legal credentials, so she can only find low paid work cleaning houses. She feels relatively secure attending a Catholic Church with many members of similar heritage. She still fears apprehension by the authorities, however, so she avoids making the official record of parish membership. Maria’s employers like her diligent work ethic, and they are happy for her to continue in this status. Ave Maria.
In the city, a surgeon dismembers and decapitates a baby not yet born. This baby has no rights because she is still within her mother’s womb. Her young mother is fearful for her status with friends and family. All of her plans are now changed. She is skillfully counseled that she should not burden her own life. She is taught the strangely familiar refrain: It is my body. The odd proclamation seems incomplete, an unfinished thought. Hoc est enim Corpus meum…quod pro vobis tradetur. Once again, a person’s rights are determined by location. The baby had never seen the north or the south bank of any stream, it was only by crossing through the birth canal that she would have gained legal status. Millions cry out against their government because of this atrocity.
A boy named Jesse is a sixth grader at the parish school. His family has befriended Maria, but some of his classmates told him that she is a criminal. They are quite sure, because their parents told them so. Jesse can’t believe what they tell him, and he goes home to talk to his father. He often talks to his father, who helps him to sort out his complicated world. His father tells him that many people don’t treat Maria or others from across the river with the respect that they deserve. He tells Jesse that he must be prepared to risk his own well-being to stand up for the needs of others like her. Jesse ponders his young life, and he assures his father that he will always do what his father has told him. Pater Noster, fiat voluntas tua.
He smiles to himself, reassured as he walks out of the room. Then he stops, the old man seemed to whisper something else as he walked away. Pasce agnos meos…
Michael Arth, Southlake, TX
Notes: The Latin inserts are known, or easily discernible, by many people; but I translate them here because we are rapidly losing our Latin roots.
Ecce agnus Dei – Behold the lamb of God. (Jn 1:29)
Ecce homo – Behold the man (Jn 19:5). Words spoken by Pontius Pilate when Jesus was presented in purple robe and crown of thorns.
Stabat mater dolorosa – The mother stood in sadness. This musical refrain follows the Blessed Mother through the liturgical contemplation of her accompaniment of Jesus’ suffering.
Ave Maria – Greetings Mary (Hail Mary) (cf Lk 1 :28)
Hoc est Enim Corpus meum… quod pro vobis tradetur – This is my body, which is given for you (Lk 22:19)
Pater noster, fiat voluntary tua – Our Father, thy will be done. (Mt 6:9-10)
Pasce agnos meos – Feed my lambs (Jn 21:17)
February 15, 2020
Greetings from the Confidentia Shrine,
After having made her covenant of love recently, a lady touched by the experience told us that she felt like an apostolic rocket! This is exactly what our year’s motto tells us: Joyful Apostles, Living the Covenant! The coordinators of the Schoenstatt Pilgrim Mother are such apostolic rockets. This month we feature a witness by Anita Mitchel from the Fort Worth diocese.
But not only coordinators of the Schoenstatt Pilgrim Mother are apostolic rockets! By virtue of our baptism and covenant of love, we are all called to be apostolic in being and acting. Forty-five years ago, on February 10, 1975, the canonization process of Father Kentenich was begun. Often, we wonder and are also asked, why does it take so long? We may imagine some of the obstacles and may have heard talks by the postulator. Ultimately however, the question why doesn’t get us very far. Father Kentenich would advise us to ask what for instead. We remember that St. John Paul II told us that we are to canonize our father and founder! And how do we do it? By making him better known and loved as an intercessor in our needs. Who of us doesn’t know a person who is in great need?! Perhaps it’s an illness, or marriage difficulties, a job loss, or trouble with a wayward child. Yes, we promise our prayer, but couldn’t we also give them a novena booklet to ask for Father Kentenich’s intercession? There are novenas for children, youth, and adults. All we have to do is get an assortment from our local centers and then be alert to discover those who may find a companion and intercessor in Father Kentenich.
And of course, after we know that Father Kentenich has indeed interceded in a particular need, we want to say thank you to him. And how do we do it? By taking the time to report when and how it happened:
Don’t write a long list, but credible proof with place, date, and your signature. This is how you and we contribute to Father Kentenich’s canonization and at the same time are apostolic rockets: all in virtue of the covenant of love.
With greetings from the Confidentia Shrine,
Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary