Greetings for April 15

Today we join Christians from around the world to commemorate Christ’s example of giving himself as a gift of charity to all! The last part of our year’s motto – Lead from the Shrine with trust in Divine Providence and charity to all – is a great challenge.  Throughout his public life, Jesus has taught us to practice charity. In his many encounters with people of all walks of life and sin, he acted with charity. But the most eloquent lesson he taught us was the unconditional surrender to the Father’s will.  Jesus died for our sins that we may have life. He silently endured the hatred of his accusers and executioners that we may know true love. He assumed our sadness that we may know the joy of Easter. 

This day of sorrow becomes a day of hope and joy. The ugliness of Christ crucified has restored divine beauty to our souls. Take some time out to meditate on the Stations of the Cross today. Perhaps you can make a pilgrimage to the Confidentia Shrine to do so or participate in your parish. To commemorate the Year of the Family, Pope Francis commissioned 14 families to write the 14 stations which he presides over today at the Colosseum in Rome. We can join him virtually at 3 pm CST! 

Wishing you an abundantly blessed Triduum and Happy Easter!

The Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary 

Lead from the Shrine…

“… Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)

It was during one of our deserts, i.e., a day of prayer, at Lamar, that I came upon this passage.  This was a great moment of DIVINE GRACE.  I was touched very deeply by it.  I prayed and asked God, “Lord help me to carry my cross with patience and love.” After meditating for a while, I walked slowly to the shrine, went inside and then, it hit me.  As I looked at our Mother Thrice Admirable, I knew that SHE was my answer. I was overwhelmed with tears of JOY. 

A few months later, Carlos and I, joined Jose and Maria Rodriguez, and several other couples for some special talks about Schoenstatt. Soon after, we made our Covenant of Love at a couples retreat in the spring of 2005.   As our love for our Mother Thrice Admirable grew, we talked with Sr M Daniela Rensing, about preparing us for our home shrine.  Our home shrine was dedicated on September 4, 2011, as Mother of Faith, Hope and Love.   During the beginning years of the recent pandemic, we crowned her as, “Queen and Refuge of our Family.” 

We are on pilgrimage here on earth and are very blessed to know that we have a mother in heaven who is always there for us, to guide and to teach us the way to holiness.

We are Carlos and Ana Rosa Everett originally from Corpus Christi, and now more recently living in San Antonio, Texas.  We have been blessed with 2 sons, Carlos Jr. and his wife, Amanda; Christopher Javier and his wife, Ashley; and our daughter Celeste Marie and her husband, Edison.  We have been blessed with 6 grandchildren—5 living and one deceased. 

Ana Rosa and Carlos Everett, San Antonio, TX

Apostolic Family Federation, USA

Greetings for March15, 2022

During Lent, Pope Francis has invited us to “not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up. So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all” (Gal 6:9-10).  As the world reels at the senseless violence and suffering, Russia has inflicted upon the Ukrainian people, all people of goodwill have been called to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Ukraine and to implore God for an end to the war. 

As one of the first countries to ever be consecrated to the Mother of God, Ukraine converted to Christianity in 988 under its prince, St. Volodymyr the Great (d. 1015). The people of Ukraine consecrated themselves to Our Lady in 1037 initiated by Volodymyr’s son, Yaroslav the Wise. In 1985, church leaders consecrated Ukraine to Mary a second time, pleading for her protection in the wake of the atrocities committed by the Soviet Union throughout the 20th century. Ukraine received its freedom and declared independence in 1991. 

Now is the time to again implore the Blessed Mother from our Shrines to assist the Ukrainians and to mediate peace. Since 1951, it has been the custom to place the so-called Eastern Cross above the tabernacle in the original shrine on Thursdays.  

During the transfer of the Eastern Cross to the Original Shrine on July 5, 1951, by Archimandrite Mitnacht accompanied by Father General Turowski and Father Joseph Kentenich, our founder stated among other things:

… we do so with the intention of uniting Eastern and Western thought, or -if you will- to let the Eastern and Western souls celebrate with each other a kind of marriage. … In the Russian soul, there is indeed a pronounced urge for infinity….. In addition, there is a great deal of transcending the world, and world rapture.  … The Western soul and Western thinking are more concerned with the here and now. It is more life-oriented, life-forming, and life-shaping.”

In 1999, the Texas Schoenstatt Family made a pilgrimage to Schoenstatt Germany and the Holy Land. During this time, they received a replica of the Eastern Cross which has been in the Confidentia Shrine on Thursdays as a reminder of Schoenstatt’s mission for the East.

Let us unite in prayer and penance for world peace, especially for the people in Ukraine. Read here how the nearby Schoenstatt shrines in Poland and Germany have opened their doors to many refugees who seek shelter.  

With prayers for a fruitful Lent,

Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary 

P.S. Please check our website calendar for upcoming retreat and workshop opportunities.

Lead from the shrine… Cenacle Home Shrine

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