Lead from the Shrine… Lazos con María (Bonded with Mary)
We are a Mexican family established north of Houston, far from our country, trying to adapt to our new life and culture. We were lucky enough to educate our 3 children, Pamela 27, Josemiguel 23, and Cynthia 21, with the help of our Mother Three Times Admirable of Schoenstatt. Our journey began more than 15 years ago in 2007 (delete comma) when we were (delete being) invited to the Movement.
At that time we were fortunate that Sister Mara Medina and Father Patricio Rodriguez were working very hard to coordinate the groups in Houston, and they took the time to form a Girls’ Group and a Boy’s Group. They met once a month on a Saturday. This enriched our children’s education and it helped them to integrate into the Schoenstatt Movement that we belonged to.
On April 08, 2017, we sealed our Covenant of Matrimonial? Love at the Confidentia Shrine in Lamar, Tx. presided by Father Raimundo Costa. We were accompanied by our group “Fortaleza de Maria”.
The meaning of our Covenant led us to discover a unique, real moment, holding hands we said YES to our Holy Mother at the altar. That weekend was key, our Faith was exposed open to the heart of Maria and we felt the transformation in all aspects of our lives, which led us to return to Lamar, TX the following weekend and we stayed at the Center accompanied by our 3 children.
The same year, 2017, we prepared and conquered the name and each symbol for the blessing of our Home Shrine: Lazos con María (Bonds with Medry), We offered our Capital of Graces for the following symbols: Pam: Holy Spirit, Josemiguel: Saint Joseph, Cynthia: Crown, Miguel: Cross, Nancy: Lamp or candle, and we became aware of the importance of each of them.
The long-awaited day arrived on October 28, it was a beautiful autumn day ready for the ceremony and blessing presided by Father Raimundo Costa. Our Home Shrine “Lazos con Maria” was established and she came to stay. Through our Home Shrine we confirm that the place was chosen by our MTA and she shelters, educates us and gives us a way of life to conquer and surrender to the Father.
Our “House”, Nancy and Miguel’s house, is no longer only ours, it is our Mother’s who agreed to join our life and became a foster “Home”, where she leads each member of the family to take refuge in our concerns, relax, regain strength and learn to accept what life offers us good or bad, with the blessings and graces received from our MTA.
The Shrine has been our Fortress in very difficult and desperate times where we have experienced unexpected and unknown diseases that are difficult to assimilate. We have continued in the Movement with some responsibilities and thanks to that we were able to sustain and strengthen ourselves as a family, I believe that if we did not belong to the movement, we would not have been able to get ahead because of all the chaos in our lives. We saw how in those moments we united even more as a family, trying to find solutions and clinging to and connecting with the Unity Cross enduring suffering, praying to the Father that there was hope, and we accepted that his will had been done and not ours!
And so it happened, at the least expected moment after continuing to try to achieve our goals, then after 3 years in less than 11 days, everything was arranged to schedule a high-risk brain surgery for our son Josemiguel. The day arrived with an eternal wait in the hospital, they gave us the news that everything had gone well. It was a miracle of our MTA and of our Father and Founder JK whom we had asked for intercession and we thank him infinitely.
Another of our testimonies regarding the suffering and pain of losing my mother, Mrs. Mary Silva, was that my heart also felt dead, nothing gave me relief or made me feel better, I no longer had tears, and I was overwhelmed by sadness. A call from Father Raimundo, made me react and feel happy, relieved to see the graces that God and our Mother had sent us. My Mother died on September 15th, the same day that our Founding Father Joseph Kentenich had died and they were the same age! It was the sign I needed to accept the loss of my mother.
We believe that the Movement, our father and founder, the covenant of love, and the Home Shrine have filled our lives and we experience the trust and hope to live:
“Nothing without You, Nothing without us”.
Having felt the sheltering and the transformation in our hearts during all these years, it can be said that it is difficult, we are not a perfect family we have a lot to work on but we try as a couple to take one step at a time even though daily life places many obstacles in various aspects of our lives; however, one of our joys as a couple is living and organizing some apostolates with our Schoenstatt family, such as the Family Mass (picnic) in the Houston area and this year the invitation to organize the Pilgrimage to Milwaukee, Wi.
Our longing as a couple was to visit the Milwaukee Shrine. Years ago, we told Father Raimundo Costa about our dreams, and he told us that’s beautiful but that we had to go on a Pilgrimage.
We planned everything since they gave us the date to visit the Center, and the big day arrived, on August 26, 2022. Our intention as pilgrims was to continue educating ourselves and knowing the historic places that our Father Founder visited and lived during the years of his exile.
Every morning we enjoyed Holy Mass in the International Shrine and in the chapel of the Provincial House with the beautiful voices of the sisters who preferred to sing quietly so as not to clash. We loved going to the House Chapel to join the Robin family for morning and night prayers. We visited the Shrine next to the Fr. J. Kentenich monument every morning and thanked the Blessed Mother for allowing us to come here.
Sister Maria Victoria prepared a wonderful itinerary for us. One of the first places we visited and had time to observe, touch and read, was the Father House at the Retreat Center. Likewise, meeting Sister Elizabeth who told us about her testimony and all the details that she lived with Father J. Kentenich, our admiration grew even more for Father’s love towards the people close to him.
Father’s close coexistence with the families was extraordinarily that of a Father of a family. We were very captivated by the testimony of the Villalon family, who were originally from Chile and who came to visit our father in Milwaukee on several occasions. We could see all the fruits that these visits brought forth, one of them, was their daughter, Sister Maria Victoria.
Another simply beautiful testimony was with Sister M. Eileen who invited us to visit the Movement House where Father Kentenich gave the Monday Night talks to the couples. Her experiences with Father were very emotional and we felt that it was Father Kentenich who spoke to us. A need to listen to Father Kentenich’s voice arose within us, which was presented to us on several occasions as a very special gift without being planned.
From there we went to one of our Founder’s favorite places, Calvary Cemetery. It was a special joy for us to tour the place where he walked and to see the bench where he sat to meditate and chat with those who visited him.
In Milwaukee, we of course visited the Exile Shrine built by the Pallottine Fathers in 1954 and saw the building where Father lived.
The Founder Shrine was the first shrine built in the USA in Madison, Wi. it is filled with spirituality and graces. There we undoubtedly experienced our Father and Founder’s presence with us. They were very emotional moments with a very beautiful dynamic that Sister Maria presented to us and with the blessing that we received with our Father’s voice. That day remained forever engraved in our hearts and we returned to Texas with a great desire to return with more families to share the unique experience which calls us to a New Beginning.
Nancy and Miguel Angel Cisneros, Apostolic Family League, Houston, Austin, TX