Greetings for August 15

Greetings from the Confidentia Shrine, 

The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which we celebrate today, returns every year in the heart of summer. It invites us to rise with Mary to the heights of love where one breathes the pure air of supernatural life and contemplates the most authentic beauty, the beauty of holiness. The atmosphere of today’s celebration is steeped in Easter victory and joy. We rejoice that with Mary one of us is in heaven with body and soul because in her the mystery of Christ’s Easter Victory has already fully taken effect. She is fully redeemed because during her earthly pilgrimage she was always united to her Son by doing the Father’s will. For us, she is a sign of certain hope and comfort (cf. Lumen Gentium, n. 68) on our way heavenwards. 

So let us lift our gaze and hearts to Heaven, our destination and eternal home from which we come and for which we are longing.  Let us meditate on the fourth glorious mystery of the rosary with our father and founder, Father Joseph Kentenich:

Just as you accompanied Our Lord in this life
and lived and loved and suffered with him,
so, at the completion of your life,
he takes you body and soul into heaven.
With my whole heart, I share in your happiness
and pray that the world may enjoy a similar fate.

Wishing you abundant feast day blessings and joy as we remember you in our Shrine, 

Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary 

Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary 

Lead from the Shrine… Confidentia Patris Home Shrine

The history of our Home Shrine actually begins with me and a black and white MTA picture given to me by Sr. Margret somewhere between 1961 and 1963.  I had finished my first year of college and I had been struggling with those on-and-off thoughts about being a priest, so I decided to enter the major seminary.  Although I knew very little about the MTA, I took Her along with me and I always tried to give Her a respectable place in my room.  One year later, I returned home, enrolled at Pan American College in Edinburg, TX, and volunteered with CCD at our local parish where two Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary were employed.  Meeting them was the open door for me and Schoenstatt.  This was 1963 and Father Kentenich was in exile in Milwaukee.  The Sisters wanted to share Schoenstatt with me and as they told me all about it, they could not resist answering my questions about Father Kentenich.  Father Kentenich was the drawing card for me.  The more I looked into his life and person, the more I was drawn to him.  All I knew about him was what they told me, although they had never met him in person.  This really intrigued me and drew me more and more to Father Kentenich.  

I was asked to drive some young boys to Lamar for a summer camp.  I was glad to do so and it was my first encounter with the Schoenstatt Shrine.  I immediately found my home there, fell in love with the Shrine, and have never tired going to visit Blessed Mother in the Shrine.  That was 1965, and I was embarking on my teaching career.  As a single young man, I was a loner, there were no workshops for me or groups to belong to, but that did not deter me, I continued and pursued every avenue to learn more about Schoenstatt, the Shrine, the MTA, and Father Joseph Kentenich.  In addition, I received a great deal from Sr. Hroswitha, one of the three original Sisters who came to Texas in 1949, responding to Father Kentenich’s petition that she and two others come to Texas, build a Shrine, a home for themselves and to foster the Schoenstatt spirituality among the people.  I always like to say that that is why we are here today because they were asked to foster the Schoenstatt spirituality among the people.

Then in 1966, the first Schoenstatt Father to work in Texas came along.  That was Father Peter Locher.  From 1966 to 1970, he gave me so much.  I met with him as often as possible and I learned so much.  He especially gave me a great understanding of Father Kentenich, the importance of Fatherhood, and the need for healthy fathers.  Father Locher prepared me for my Covenant of Love which I sealed on July 9, 1967.  I married my beautiful bride on May 3, 1968, and on May 4, 1968, together we sealed our Covenant of Love as a married couple in the Confidentia Shrine and it was received by Father Peter Locher.  I have to also say that on July 8, 1970, with Father Locher at Father Kentenich’s tomb and in the Original Shrine, I deepened my Covenant of Love to the Blank Check level.  Father Locher prepared me for this and witnessed my consecration.  Later on, Elizabeth and I sealed our Blank Check surrender and became part of the membership in the Family League.  As we continued our journey, we later entered the Apostolic Family Federation and sealed our perpetual consecration on February 20, 1999, being co-founders of the first family federation course in the USA.

Shortly after I sealed my Covenant of Love in 1967, my mother and I erected a Home Shrine and later even crowned Her.  My mother would say that our Home Shrine was named Our Lady of Grace because Blessed Mother always granted her many graces and blessings. Although Mother died in 2009, to this day I have that crowned MTA picture in our home, Our Lady of Grace.

Already during the first couple of months of our marriage, Elizabeth and I erected our Home Shrine, without a special name, and it was blessed by Father Peter Locher. Interestingly, Elizabeth had won a large MTA picture in a raffle.  Her two younger sisters used to belong to a Schoenstatt girls’ group and were very active.  I used to always say that the MTA picture that Elizabeth brought along was part of her dowry.  We used that picture until we acquired a much larger one, but my original black and white picture was still around.

We bought our first home in 1973.  We told Blessed Mother that whatever house we bought had to have a special place for Her, that would be the sign that we had found the correct house.  Sure enough, the house we bought had a built-in space for a chest of drawers.  We converted it into a Home Shrine.  In 1995, we bought a new home and we had the same request, that there would be a special place for Blessed Mother.  Sure enough, the new house had a very nice walk-in closet which became our Home Shrine.

Our Home Shrine has always been our place of prayer, our refuge when we need to talk privately to our Mother, the place where we place the picture of someone in need, the altar where we can place all our needs and concerns, the place where we can have a good cry and the place where we can say goodbye.  When our parents died, we found much comfort in our Home Shrine and were able to bid them farewell.  When we have to go somewhere, we take our leave from Blessed Mother in our Home Shrine, when we return, the first place to go to is the Home Shrine to let Blessed Mother know we are home and to say thank you.  

The name of our Home Shrine is CONFIDENTIA PATRIS.  I say it is the Shrine of Father’s confidence or the Shrine of fatherly confidence.  Although our children did not really grow into the name of our Home Shrine, most of them have asked Father Kentenich for favors.  The first name of our son is José and it is for Father Kentenich who took care of him in his mother’s womb and delivered him safely into the world.  One of our grandsons is named after Father Kentenich.  Our daughter had some concerns during the pregnancy so she asked Father Kentenich to help her and thus her son is named Josef!  We and our children have asked Father Kentenich for favors and have made it known when they have been granted.  We believe in his sanctity and hope to witness his beatification someday.  Please, God!   Elizabeth was not originally attracted to Father Kentenich; however, during the 1970 pilgrimage, she had a very special encounter with Father Kentenich and has remained close to him ever since.

I would like to interject here that our Home Shrine has had many blessings and visits by key Schoenstatt personalities.  In the early years of our marriage, we experienced the visit of Father Johannes Tick who worked with the Family branch.  He was on an international visit and made a brief stop at our home and visited our Confidentia Patris Home Shrine.  We also enjoyed the special visit of Father Engelbert Monnerjahn, the author of the book JOSEPH KENTENICH, A LIFE FOR THE CHURCH.  He was the first postulator for the beatification of Father Kentenich.  He was on an international trip, visiting many places and speaking about Father Kentenich’s beatification.  We had a special meeting in our home and he spent the night with us.  Needless to say, he prayed in our Home Shrine.  We also enjoyed the presence of Father Esteban Uriburu who worked tirelessly for the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign.  He spent the night in our home several times and celebrated Mass in our Confidentia Patris Home Shrine.  We also hosted a very special meeting in which Sr. Petra was visiting many places and giving her testimony about Father Kentenich.  It was an enlightening experience and she also spent the night in our home.  Also, needless to say, she prayed in our Confidentia Patris Home Shrine.  Our Home Shrine was also visited by the then leading family of the international Apostolic Family Federation, Hans and Gertrude Zier.  After a great meeting, they also spent the night and prayed in our Confidentia Patris Home Shrine.  All of these visitors had special encounters or experiences with Father Kentenich and were convinced of his sanctity.  For us, these all confirm the name of our Confidentia Patris Home Shrine.

I think Father Kentenich has a very special task for the Church and world, and especially for families; therefore, I try to live his confidence because the world needs it today.  As fathers we need to model fatherly confidence, we need to show how important the Father is and we all need to give testimony to his sanctity.    Father Kentenich has done a great deal for us in our lifetime and we can never thank him enough.  I can only hope that when I am gone my family can discover how significant Confidentia Patris was for me!

Carlos and Maria Elizabeth Cantú, Apostolic Family Federation, Austin, TX

               




In Memory of Sr. M. Ludhelma Ebert

Return home

On July 27, 2022 our dear Sr. M. Ludhelma Ebert was called home by our Heavenly Father into his eternal Kingdom. She died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 98. She was the last of the original pioneer sisters who came to the United States in 1949.

Early life

Sr. M. Ludhelma was born on September 2, 1923 in Ringelbach, Germany, close to Oberkirch in the beautiful Black Forest, which also marked her personality. She had a complete school education, and after that time attended a school of home economics for two years. The longing for a religious vocation led her to Schoenstatt and she decided to enter the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary.

Following God’s call

She began postulancy on November 1, 1945, the year of our founder’s return from the concentration camp of Dachau. She received her Marian dress from the hands of our founder on June 20, 1946.

In the first years during novitiate, Sr. M. Ludhelma worked at Steins Garden and then in Marienborn, where she was responsible for the housekeeping for the sisters’ filiation. During this time, Sr. M. Ludhelma decided to dedicate her life to the missions. It was in God’s wise providence that the United States, the exile land of our founder, and specifically the state of Texas, would be her destination. She also had a younger sister, our now deceased Sr. M. Adelita, who became a missionary to one of our Provinces in Brazil.

At the service of others

Our six pioneer sisters in Texas

As part of one of the first groups of Schoenstatt Sisters to settle in South Texas, Sr. M. Ludhelma came in November 1949 to Corpus Christi. Here she worked in the Corpus Christi Cathedral Rectory at the service of the newly appointed Bishop Garriga and the priests. One year earlier, during his visit to the United States in 1948, Father Kentenich had come to see the previous Bishop Ledvina in Corpus Christi in response to his wish for Schoenstatt Sisters for his diocese. Besides her work in the bishop’s rectory, Sr. M. Ludhelma soon began her studies at the Incarnate Word College in San Antonio. She studied there every year during summer vacation until she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in education.

Some years later, a new Catholic school was to be established in Rockport, Texas. The pastor of Sacred Heart Parish was in need of sisters to run the new school, and he made a pilgrimage to St. Anne’s Shrine in Quebec, Canada, for this intention. Sr. M. Ludhelma was transferred to Rockport, where she became the principal of the new Sacred Heart school and the superior of the filiation there.

Sr. M. Ludhelma had a very fine disposition and personality. She was open for the families and their children and lovingly attended their needs. At the same time, Sr. M. Ludhelma made the house community a true home for the sisters in her reverent, motherly way. She also helped the younger sisters coming from Germany to get acquainted with the new country and its customs.

In 1958, after many prayers and much searching, our region in Texas decided on the land for a future Schoenstatt Shrine and Center. Lamar, a small town about five miles out of Rockport on the tip of a peninsula would become the home of the Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen, and Victress of Schoenstatt, and the home of the sisters. Almost every weekend, Sr. M. Ludhelma saw to it that the filiation sisters could visit Lamar. The longing for a shrine was deep in the hearts of the sisters. Many prayers were offered for this, and the contributions to the capital of grace were buried where the shrine was to be built. Sr. M. Ludhelma had great mission zeal and the words of our founder inspired everything: “Build the Blessed Mother a shrine, and she will build you the house.” J.K.

In the years from 1965 to 1971, Sr. M. Ludhelma was the principal of St. Lawrence Catholic School in San Antonio, where she was liked very much by families and children. She was also involved with the direct Schoenstatt apostolate with couples’ groups, preparing them for the covenant of love and the home shrine. During the years 1971 to 1987, she worked in Refugio and Corpus Christi as a parish helper and CCD teacher. It was easy for her to work well with the parish priests and she was much appreciated by them. From 1987 on, Sr. M. Ludhelma lived at the province house in Lamar. During these years, she took care of the sacristy, garden, and cemetery, tasks she enjoyed very much. For about two years in between, she was responsible for the daycare we had at our center in Lamar. She worked just as well with the little children as with the older ones. The families were very grateful for this wonderful service.

When Sr. M. Ludhelma’s health eventually declined and she needed extensive care, which we could not offer her in the province house, she was transferred to a nursing home in Rockport, where she lived from 2013-2017. Due to the mandatory evacuations prior to Hurricane Harvey, she was taken to a nursing home in Austin and then to the John Paul II nursing home in Kenedy, Texas, run by a community of Polish sisters, where she completed her life.

We are very grateful for the gift she was to many. Her memory will always remain!

May she rest in peace!

Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary

Lead from the Shrine… Veritatem in Caritate

Our Home Shrine was dedicated on May 18, 2018, under the name Veritatem in Caritate (speaking truth in charity).  For at least a year prior my husband, an entrepreneur, kept saying that he felt we should have a business with the name Veritas in the title.  He wasn’t sure what kind of business, but the name kept returning to him strongly.  As we prepared for our Home Shrine dedication, we began to discern the name in earnest.  Reading the Magnificat for the Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, Bishop Barron’s reflection jumped out at me.  So much so, that I tore it from the book and have since framed it and placed it on our Shrine.  Bishop Barron quotes Cardinal Francis George saying, “You cannot simply drop the truth on people and then walk away, convinced that you’ve done your duty.  Rather, once you tell your people the truth, you must be committed to helping them integrate that truth into their lives.” 

This simple, yet profound and challenging statement solidified the name for our Home Shrine in our hearts.  I guess you can say we are in the “business” of helping one another integrate truth into our lives. It has been no small challenge to face the truth of our sinfulness and allow Mary to transform us and our relationships.  In our world truth has been distorted and confused by the father of lies. 

As we seek to live out Schoenstatt’s ideal of being new personalities and families for a new world, we take the name of our Shrine to heart as our family mission.  It is not enough to speak truth, to be right about an issue.  We must be willing to go deeper into relationship with others through prayer, edifying words, as well as corporal and spiritual acts of mercy. It begins with self-education and flows out “like ripples in the water” as Fr. Kentenich has said. 

This year’s motto Lead from the Shrine with Trust in Divine Providence and Charity to All   reminds us to look to our Home Shrine first.  Turn to God and Our Blessed Mother first before every decision or action.  What does she tell us?  What is the mission that has been entrusted to us?  Begin there.

Jill and Patrick Mach

Schoenstatt Family League, North Texas

Greetings for August 15th!

Greetings from the Confidentia Shrine,

“And the Heavens burst into song;

the angels with joy sang along.

Creation was silent with awe

for God had called you home!”

This refrain of a popular Schoenstatt Song invites us to join today’s celebration of the Assumption of our Blessed Mother into heaven. What happened on that day? And how is Mary’s Assumption different from any other saint in heaven?

Already in 1941, long before the solemn proclamation of the dogma on November 1, 1950, Father Kentenich explained that in her, who is in heaven with body and soul, we honor the only human being with a totally integrated and redeemed personality, the ideal of the fully redeemed person. Schoenstatt’s founder emphasized that Mary’s Assumption into heaven teaches us the meaning and aim of our human existence. Our Lady is the exemplar for all of humanity because of her faithful and generous cooperation with grace throughout her earthly pilgrimage.

Applied to our year’s motto, Mary of Nazareth led herself be completely guided by trust in Divine Providence: from the Annunciation to Bethlehem, Egypt, and all the way to Golgotha she never turned her back on God’s will. Her life became fruitful by bringing Charity personified, Christ our Lord, to All!

”What does the dogma of the …bodily assumption of the Mother of God into heaven tell us?” Father Kentenich directed this question to the leaders of the Schoenstatt Family in October 1950, two weeks before the solemn proclamation of the dogma. Here is his answer which we may want to ponder these days: “Each body … is intended and called by God to bear Christ; each body is intended and called by God to once participate like … the Mother of God … in the glory of heaven.  Obviously … these truths are threatened to such a degree nowadays that God had to apply the means of a dogma.”

We have made a covenant of love with her who is our Mother and Queen. In gratitude for this singular gift, we sisters will sing the fifth verse of the above mentioned song and ask you to sing along:   

“In Schoenstatt you live in our small paradise;

it’s heaven to be with you in the shrine.

Our longing for heaven increases much more

since that is what God has created us for.”

Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary