Lead from the Shrine…

Our home shrine was established on June 16,1990, when my brother, Ruben Montez, Jr. and his lovely wife, Christel Montez, presented it to us at our wedding. Since then, our MTA has been the focal point of our home.

Before moving into our apartment and three homes thereafter, our home shrine was moved in first. Throughout the liturgical season, our home shrine has been adorned with sacramentals and special items that remind us of the particular season. During challenging times, our homeshrine was the place we shared our inner most thoughts and petitions. It serves as the place of honor and comfort when we leave and greets us upon entering our home.  During joyous occasions, our family has always placed good news or important information such as our daughter’s study notes, medical reports that showed we were in good health, resumes for jobs for which we were hired, school certificates, awards, etc. 

At times, one could see wedding/graduation or funeral announcements for friends or loved ones and tokens of gratitude on our home shrine. We have fond memories of our daughters’ missing toys that were found and in thanksgiving, were placed on our home shrine before playing with them.  All of our innermost thoughts, challenging events and concerns have been offered to our dear Blessed Mother for the past 31 years. She remains the haven we seek during our high, lows and everything in between that life seems to present to us on a daily basis.

Growing up, my parents, Ruben & Rosa Montes, made it a point to always honor their/our home shrine with fresh flowers…a tradition we still honor in the Hernandez home shrine. Through our daily act of consecration, the Blessed Mother has always taken perfect care!

Belinda and Mike Hernandez, Reno, AZ

Greetings for January 15, 2022

What do you think of this remark? “The worst purchase I’ve ever made was a 2020 planner.” Of course, it’s a joke, but is it? May be some of us had similar thoughts!? Pretty much all of last year Covid-19 had us in its grip. Time and again, just when we thought that the worst is over, a new virus variant emerged, forcing us back into restrictions and additional precautions. At the same time, we feel growing resentment and resistance to the restrictions.

Yet, in light of Divine Providence we know the past year, each of its 365 days had a purpose and included many lessons for us to learn. Perhaps the exterior restrictions were meant for us to grow in inner freedom. How about the many home projects we could have tackled or the many resolutions concerning our eating habits could have been easily kept. The virus only apparently makes us think that the world is on pause but we can always move forward with a lot of our goals and strivings.

If nothing else, 2021 taught us that time matters, that it’s a free gift inviting us to sanctify it with our efforts to make of ourselves a gift of love for others. The Blessed Mother, our covenant partner, is our model and teacher on how to view each day as an opportunity to live with trust in Divine Providence and charity to all. From the shrine, she wants to direct us to follow her paths.

With Prayers from the Confidentia Shrine,

Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary

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

Lead from the Shrine… Heart of the Home

Heart of the Home is the name and mission of the home shrine that Ruben and Rosa Montez dedicated on May 12th, 1968, at their home on 19th Street in Corpus Christi. Father Peter Locher and Sister M. Margaret were present as well as the couple’s children: Ruben junior, twins Rose Anne and Rose Marie, Irene, Belinda, and Laura. Soon after the family was blessed with two more sons: Joseph and Bobby. The home shrine dedication was also the day that Ruben junior made his first Holy Communion at St. Joseph’s church.

In order to have the home shrine to be the center of the home, a closet door in the hallway was removed and turned into the family home shrine where fresh flowers and lit candles where always present and the pictures of friends and family members that were to be remembered in prayer. Rosa was a tireless petition writer and in her confidence and loyalty to Father Kentenich and the Blessed Mother many notes where written on the back of photographs and little papers. The couple treasured their Schoenstatt hour together. To make sure they remained undisturbed, Ruben jr. was instructed to watch the younger siblings while the parents held their weekly Schoenstatt Hour. In 1994 the Blessed Mother received a crown in the home shrine. In time, the Montez children grew up and found their spouses. Eventually, numerous grandchildren filled the home with laughter and joy. All worries and joys were taken to the home shrine and no one would leave without a blessing by Ruben senior in the shrine where the Blessed Mother was “alive” and very much the Heart of the Home. After Ruben and Rosa became “empty nesters” they transformed one of the bedrooms into a “shrine room” where they spent many hours of the day in active spiritual community with their covenant partners. Several of their children longed to have a home shrine set up in their own family homes as well and it became a tradition even for some of the grandchildren to erect the MTA picture in their home.

But the Montez Family also helped build up the Schoenstatt movement in Corpus Christi. With the help of Sister M. Margaret and Father Locher, the family engaged in working with the Schoenstatt Boys youth and were involved with the start of the Annual Boy’s walk in 1970 as well as numerous fundraisers. Ruben and Rosa also led a Schoenstatt couple’s group in the late 1960s and Ruben led a boys youth group named the Flame Carriers.

Both Rosa and Ruben helped build the wayside shrine located at the home of Joe and Katie Rodriguez on Marguerite Street in Corpus Christi. In the early 1970s, the little Marguerite Street wayside shrine was the center of Schoenstatt life in Corpus Christi. Many covenant celebrations on the 18th of the month, prayer meetings, and youth programs took place there. As often as possible the family visited the Confidentia shrine in Lamar which was dedicated in October 1959, the same year and month that Ruben and Rosa got married.

Their five daughters attended Schoenstatt girls youth meetings and Belinda became the first Schoenstatt girls’ leader. The Montez family also helped to organize the first US pilgrimage (North and South USA) to the original shrine in Schoenstatt, Germany in 1970.

Rosa passed away on August 24, 2021. There was no day on which she did not have the MTA near her. Her favorite prayers which she prayed out loud until the end of her life were: ” I trust your might your kindest Mother dear I DO believe that you are always near…” and the Covenant prayer.

Ruben Montez senior, Schoenstatt Family League, Corpus Christi, TX

Greetings for December 15, 2021

Advent calls us to become aware of the truth that our Savior is coming: Not yesterday, not tomorrow, but today, now! At a closer look, this is a continuous present, that is, an ever-continuous action: it happened, it is happening now, and it will happen again. At every moment, “God comes.”

This blissful reality – the reason of the season – may not get lost in these last days before Christmas – often filled with Christmas preparations. Our God is the-God-who-comes.  He is a Father who never stops thinking of us and, while respecting our freedom, desires to meet us and visit us; he wants to come, to dwell among us, to stay with us. His coming is motivated by the desire to free us from evil and death, from all that prevents our true happiness. God comes to save us.

Many Advent customs help us to prepare the crib of our hearts for the coming of our Savior this Holy Night. Our model for that coming of Christ, which we might call a “spiritual incarnation” is always Mary. Just as the Virgin Mother pondered in her heart the Word made flesh, so we with the entire Church are invited to wait for Christ who comes and to welcome him with faith and love ever new.

We sisters remember you in the Confidentia Shrine during our novena before Christmas and we pray that the Blessed Mother will intercede for us the graces that our heart will be prepared to receive our Savior, 

Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary

Greetings for November 16

Today we celebrate the birthday of our father and founder. We give thanks for his person and calling to found the Schoenstatt Work. The Schoenstatt Press Office congratulates Father Kentenich with a series of witnesses who shed light on their relationship with him in the here and now. These short videos will be posted every Monday on: https://schoenstatt.com/father-kentenich-today-a-series-of-videos/`

Next week we celebrate Thanksgiving. Many churches and homes are decorated with the fruit of field and garden. The photo on top of this page shows the Thanksgiving altar in the Adoration Church in Schoenstatt (in Germany Thanksgiving is celebrated on the first Sunday of October). The fruits of the harvest are a symbol for all the gifts we have received in the course of the year.

Holy Scripture reports that the apostle Paul and his companion Silas rejoiced when they were beaten with rods and thrown into prison. In the Acts of the Apostles (16:25) we read: “About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns as the prisoners listened…” (Acts 16:25). Despite their misfortunes they were able to praise and give thanks because they felt God’s nearness and love which sustained them.

Likewise, in the Dachau concentration camp, an environment that didn’t really encourage gratitude, Father Kentenich formulated a prayer of thanksgiving that is well known:

For everything, yes everything, let me give heartfelt thanks, clinging to you, Mother, with tender love. What would have become of us without you and your motherly care.

Because you delivered us from great need and bound us to yourself in faithful love, I will give you thanks, be grateful evermore, and dedicate myself to you with undivided love.

Guided by our year’s motto “Lead from the Shrine with Trust in Divine Providence and Charity to All’ Thanksgiving may be an opportunity for us to ponder all the gifts we have received during the course of the day and past year. Concretely:

  • Each evening, try to discover at least one good gift from God and give thanks for it.
  • Be more attentive to the good that others do for me and thank them for it. In gratitude, return to others small gifts of love.
  • Reflect on difficult situations that, in retrospect, have had a positive effect after all? Did I mature through them? Did I learn something new? Was there perhaps an unexpected solution which emerged? Can I also give thanks for that?

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving and praying for your and your intentions in the Confidentia Shrine,

Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary

Lead from the Shrine… Fruit of the Vine.

Our family Fruit of the Vine Home Shrine was blessed on March 18, 1981, at the home of my parents, John R. and Elisa Garza, in Harlingen, Texas. All the family, including my married sister and her family, chose the name and made contributions to the capital of grace in preparation for the blessing of our home shrine.  We chose the name Fruit of the Vine thinking of Jesus as the Vine, who leads us to the Heavenly Father and we as the branches, who are called to be fruitful. Our home shrine is truly a family shrine where all our needs and those of our relatives and friends are presented to our Blessed Mother and she has glorified herself and been victorious many, many times over the years.

After my father died, we decided to crown the Blessed Mother in his memory. We designed our crown as a family, my niece made the drawing, which was sent to the Schoenstatt Brothers in Germany where our crown was handcrafted in their goldsmith shop. All our family is represented on the crown with our birthstones and the name of our shrine is etched on the front of the crown. We again prayed and made contributions to the capital of grace in preparation for the crowning. Our contributions to the capital of grace were represented with colored beads of each our birthstones. All the beads were placed in a small glass replica of a shrine and they were offered during the Crowning Mass on February 4, 1986. Afterward, the beads were taken to Lamar and Sr. Philomena made several rosaries for us. These rosaries and our crown have become family treasures. We have the tradition of adding birthstones of new additions to the family when the baby is baptized.  The crown is also taken to church to be blessed when the children receive the other sacraments. Our crown now represents five generations.

Our home shrine has always been open to all our family, relatives and friends. It also welcomes our Schoenstatt Fathers and Sisters of Mary and is available for Schoenstatt meetings and activities.

After my mother died, I became the custodian of our home shrine although it has always been with me since I always lived in the family home.  When I moved to San Antonio, Texas in 2008, our Fruit of the Vine Home Shrine came with me and it continues to be the center of prayer for me and all my family, and the Blessed Mother continues to answer all our pleas and needs. My current desire and striving are to obtain a scepter to present to the Blessed Mother in honor of my mother. Thanks, a thousand thanks dearest Blessed Mother for thirty-nine years of blessings you have bestowed on all of us.

Celina Garcia, Women’s League, San Antonio

Greetings for November 15

The name of our Home Shrine was chosen after much thought. There is, it seems to us, a lack of purity and an absence of belief in God in the world. Faith is a gift—one that the Blessed Mother wants to offer us through her immaculate presence in our home. This gift then becomes, through us, part of our hearts, our home, and our church community. From there it spreads into the whole world.

Our Home Shrine was dedicated during the Marian Year on October 3, 1987. It is a refuge. Here we experience the presence of the Triune God, the Blessed Mother, Saint Joseph, and the Angels and Saints. In our home shrine we strive to cooperate with God in becoming one with Him according to his Holy will. The Immaculate Heart of Mary is thereby victorious through us and in us.

In our Home Shrine we:

  • Encounter the mission, vision and charisma of our founder, Father Joseph Kentenich.
  • Receive the graces of the Original Shrine and the graces connected to the mission of our home shrine.
  • Are united with all the daughter and home shrines around the world.
  • Gather personally and spiritually with the Schoenstatt family.
  • Welcome other people to come and enjoy the peace and graces that the Blessed Mother gives to her children and that open their hearts.
  • Evangelize with our devotions, talks, and visits.

Sanjuana and Guadalupe Serrano. Women’s League, Laredo TX

Lead from the Shrine… Bethany

At the time of its dedication we were both working and our children had “a bit much” extra-curricular activities.  We led a life of “busyness” and yearned for quiet and stillness that would help us develop a deep prayer life.  We chose the name Bethany because it was there that Jesus visited the home of his friend Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha. In this home in Bethany is where Jesus’ “human” nature was most apparent.  We wanted this presence/nearness with Jesus as experienced by the family in Bethany. Our home shrine is the special place of communicating with our Lord — of “visiting” with Him in personal prayer. 

Our Bethany home shrine was dedicated on May 24, 1990, Ascension Thursday. We have been richly blessed with the graces of our home shrine. In and from our home shrine, we experience fruitfulness in our apostolic life…”Go therefore and make disciples….”

For thirty years, three generations of our family have received our Mother’s care and education.Every home shrine has its “uniqueness.” Our Bethany home shrine has been domestic church for our grandchildren with Grandma and Papa. Since 2002, we have had Camp Grandma – an annual summer camp for our grandchildren (Papa is facilitator for outdoor activities.)  Our Home Shrine is our campers place to start and end the day with prayer, to learn about our Catholic faith, to enthrone or renew the enthronement of the symbols.  Learning activities for feast days that are celebrated in the Church on the days of camp are included in the program.  It is a place to present flowers to Mary and to offer paper crowns designed by each camper and which are offered to Blessed Mother in the wayside shrine (first years), then in the Cor Unum in Patre Shrine.  This pilgrimage is special – other camp outings are field trips. 

Although the summer camp in 2002 started with three days a week for four weeks with either two or three grandchildren per year – fast forward, in 2015-2019 it has been only three days for the entire summer.  Each year camp has had a different theme. The time with Blessed Mother in the home shrine is a constant.

Julian and Pilar Huerta, Apostolic Family Federation, TX

Lead from the Shrine… Childlike Acceptance

The story of our home shrine under the title of Childlike Acceptance began with the purchase of our first home in Corpus Christi in 1986. We married that same year. Both of us were members of the Schoenstatt Movement prior to our marriage so it was very natural to invite the MTA into our new home as newlyweds. The main desire was to always be faithful in our marital commitment and faithfulness to our Church.

In 1987 and 1989 we welcomed our first two children, Anna and Philip respectively. In between Anna and Philip, we experienced a miscarriage that deeply saddened us but through prayer and belief that our MTA takes perfect care, we were soon blessed with our son Philip. Our home shrine was an integral part of our lives especially during the times when our children were little. One experience that we will never forget is when our oldest daughter Anna contracted a very unusual autoimmune blood illness that almost took her life in 1990.  It was on a Saturday night in the hospital that together our family, Schoenstatt couple’s group, and Schoenstatt Sisters and Fathers all connected through the Confidentia Shrine, home shrines, and heart shrines that Anna pulled through. The path to full recovery took about six months and during this time our home shrine became the place where our worries, joys, successes, and setbacks were placed daily in our MTA’s care. We asked especially for Father Kentenich’s prayers to help in healing our little Anna and also to protect Christel as we were at the same time expecting our third child. It’s in this way that we realized how important it is to have that special little place in our home where we experience our Mother Thrice Admirable’s motherly love and care for us!

Our home shrine has moved a few times since our first home in Corpus Christi. We were blessed now with four children (Anna, Philip, Clara, and Magdalena) and of the joys and challenges that come with raising a family. We formally dedicated our shrine in May 1993 in Corpus Christi, TX. We invited the Blessed Mother to help us understand God’s will that eventually led to a move to central Texas. We chose “Childlike Acceptance” as our home shrine’s mission because like the Father and Founder of Schoenstatt we wanted to always remain open to what God has in store for us in our life together. This also led to temporary moves to China and Germany. 

Just like the Original and Daughter Shrines, the home shrine is where the Blessed Mother takes care that we always remain faithful to marriage and family. As with many families there are so many instances we can recall where the MTA led us to feel the love of her Son and to understand God’s will for us. Whether we experience issues related to health, financial struggles, job, faith crises, or raising teenagers – for examples – we learned to trust in a childlike way to accept the challenges that present themselves in life, but always knowing that we can expect the graces needed to endure and overcome these. Our home shrine has been and continues to be an important part of our home!

Servus Mariae nunquam peribit!           Christel and Ruben Montez, Apostolic Family Federation, TX