Greetings for September 15

Greetings from the Confidentia Shrine, 

Today, September 15, 2022, the liturgical calendar invites us to the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. One day after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, we also think of her who stood beneath the cross and in John received all of us as her spiritual children. Today, the Schoenstatt Family also commemorates the death of Father Joseph Kentenich (1885-1968), father and founder of the Schoenstatt Work. His life’s charism was to proclaim the two-in-oneness of Jesus and Mary which is especially prominent on Golgotha.

The process for the beatification and canonization of Father Kentenich was opened on February 10, 1975, in Trier, Germany. Of his published and unpublished writings (letters, notes of presentations, personal writings, etc.), which comprise almost 100,000 pages, about 32,000 documents, have been catalogued. Research was carried out in 111 ecclesiastical and civil archives in different countries. About 200 people who knew Fr. Kentenich personally and worked with him were heard as witnesses. His “call of holiness” is widespread. People from over 90 countries have so far contacted Father Kentenich’s secretariat in Germany. Almost two million answers to prayer are documented.

On May 3, 2022, the Bishop of Trier, Stephan Ackermann, in whose diocese Schoenstatt is located, issued a communiqué in which he announced that he was suspending the diocesan beatification process for Father Kentenich. The suspension of Father Kentenich’s beatification process does not mean that the case is closed and over. “Suspension” in this context means that the bishop and those who act responsibly on his behalf are not actively advancing the process at this time.

Therefore, on the part of the Schoenstatt Family, the “call of holiness” of Fr. Kentenich can be spread as usual.  The Church’s judgment on the holiness of Fr. Kentenich should not be prejudged.

What can we do? The Father Kentenich secretariat recommends the following:

  • Prayers for a favorable process
  • Living the charismas of Father Kentenich and proclaiming them
  • Passing on to others informative materials and prayer texts
  • Reporting testimonies, answers to petitions and intentions to: JKSecretariat@schsrsmary.org
  • Financial support through donations 

Gratefully remembering you in the Confidentia Shrine,

Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary

 

Desde el Santuario lidera … Lazos con María

Desde el Santuario lidera … Lazos con María

Somos una familia mexicana establecidos al Norte de Houston, lejos de nuestro país, tratando de adaptarnos a nuestra nueva vida y cultura, tuvimos la suerte de educar a nuestros 3 hijos:  Pamela 27, Josemiguel 23, Cynthia 21 años con la ayuda de nuestra Mater Tres Veces Admirable de Schoenstatt hace más de 15 años; siendo invitados al Movimiento en el año 2007.

En aquel tiempo tuvimos la fortuna que la Hermana Mara Medina y el Padre Patricio Rodriguez trabajando muy duro para coordinar los grupos de Houston se dieron un tiempo para formar un grupo de niñas y otro de niños para educarlos los sábados una vez al mes, esto enriqueció mucho la educación de nuestros hijos para integrarlos al Movimiento de Schoenstatt que estábamos viviendo.

En abril 08 del 2017, en el Santuario de la Confianza en Lamar, Tex., sellamos nuestra Alianza de Amor Matrimonial a cargo del Padre Raimundo Costa, acompañados de nuestro grupo “Fortaleza de Maria”.

El significado de nuestra Alianza nos llevó a descubrir un momento único, real, tomados de las manos dimos el SI a nuestra Madre Santísima en el Altar. Ese fin de semana fue clave, nuestra Fe estaba expuesta abierta al corazón de María y sentimos la transformación que nuestras vidas dieron en todos los aspectos, eso nos llevó a volver el siguiente fin de semana a Lamar, Tex., hospedándonos en el Centro, pero ahora acompañados por nuestros 3 hijos.

El mismo año nos fuimos preparando y conquistando cada símbolo para la bendición de nuestro Santuario Hogar, los símbolos con los que ofrecimos nuestro Capital de Gracias fueron los siguientes: Pam: Espíritu Santo, Josémiguel: San José, Cynthia: Corona, Miguel: Cruz, Nancy: Lampara o vela, tomando conciencia de la importancia de cada uno de ellos.

Se llego el día tan esperado el 28 de octubre, un día hermoso de otoño listos para la Ceremonia y bendición precedida por el Padre Raimundo Costa., nuestro Santuario Hogar “Lazos con María” se estableció y ella vino para quedarse. a través de nuestro Santuario Hogar confirmamos que el lugar lo escogió nuestra MTA y ella nos dio su cobijamiento, nos educa y nos da un camino de vivir para conquistar la entrega hacia el Padre.

La casa de Nancy y Miguel, nuestra “Casa” ya no solo es nuestra es de nuestra Madre que acepto unirse a nuestra vida y se transformó en un “Hogar” de acogimiento, donde nos conduce a cada miembro de la familia a refugiarnos por nuestras preocupaciones, relajarnos, reponer fuerzas y aprender a aceptar lo que la vida nos ofrece bueno o malo, con la bendición y Gracias recibidas de nuestra MTA.

El Santuario ha sido nuestra Fortaleza en tiempos muy difíciles y desesperados donde hemos experimentado con enfermedades inesperadas y desconocidas difícil de asimilar, hemos seguido en el Movimiento con algunas responsabilidades que gracias a eso pudimos sostenernos y fortalecernos como familia, creo que si no estuviéramos en el movimiento no hubiéramos podido salir adelante por tanto caos en nuestras vidas.  Vimos como en esos momentos nos unimos aún mas como familia, tratando de buscar soluciones y nos aferramos y  conectamos con la Cruz de la Unidad viviendo el sufrimiento, orando al Padre que hubiera una Esperanza y que aceptábamos que se ha hiciera su voluntad y no la nuestra!   

Y así paso en el momento menos esperado después de seguir tratando nuestras metas, pasados 3 años en menos de 11 días se acomodó todo para programar una cirugía cerebral de alto riesgo para nuestro hijo Josemiguel, llegado el día con una espera eterna en el hospital, nos dieron la noticia que todo había salido bien, un Milagro de nuestra MTA y de nuestro fundador Padre Kentenich a quien le pedimos su intercesión y agradecemos infinitamente.

Otro de nuestros testimonios respecto al sufrimiento y dolor de perder a mi madre la Sra. Mary Silva, fue que mi corazón también se sentía muerto, nada me daba alivio o me hacía sentir mejor, ya no tenía lagrimas me embargaba la tristeza y una llamada del Padre Raimundo, me hizo reaccionar y sentirme feliz, aliviada al ver las gracias que Dios y nuestra Madre nos había enviado, el día que mi Madre muere  fue  el mismo día que nuestro Padre Fundador José Kentenich había muerto 15 de Septiembre y con la misma edad!  fue la señal que necesitaba para aceptar la perdida de mi madre.

Creemos que el Movimiento, nuestro Padre Fundador, la Alianza de Amor y el Santuario Hogar han ido llenando nuestras vidas y vemos la confianza y Esperanza para vivir el “Nada sin Ti, Nada sin nosotros”.

Familia Cisneros Silva, Houston, Texas

               




Lead from the Shrine… Lazos con María (Bonded with Mary)

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

               




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…

The Pilgrim Home Shrine is the late Gene Raulie’s home shrine in Austin-Cedar Park. Gene is remembered as the Schoenstatt pioneer in Austin. Together with his wife Marion, he was loyal to the Schoenstatt Movement all his life following a daily prayer schedule inspired by Father J. Kentenich whom he honored with all his heart.

For many years, Gene worked tirelessly to make Schoenstatt known in Austin by establishing several wayside shrines, bus trips to Lamar, and in 1976 he attended the first Men’s retreat there. Since then, he never missed the Men’s retreat which is held annually in early December.  He made his Covenant of Love in 1980 and his Blank Check in 1997. In 1988, he became one of the first Rosary Campaign coordinators and brought the first traveling shrine to Austin. Gene received one of the first 3 Pilgrim Shrines that were made in Corpus Christi by Joe Rodriguez.  Laredo and Corpus Christi received the other ones. He led several Rosary groups, provided numerous people with MTA pictures, held monthly 18th devotions at the wayside shrine at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Cedar Park, was a long-time member of the Knights of Columbus, and organized the prison ministry taking the MTA to the local prison every month.

                   Gene’s home shrine was erected and blessed in 1983 and for many years, it became the place of prayer and devotion for him and his dear wife Marion. Eventually, the home shrine was moved to. one of the spare bedrooms after their 6 children, 5 boys, and 1 girl had grown up and left the home.  His son David made the huge frame where the MTA picture resides and it served many people and friends as a place of grace and peace.  Gene’s home shrine always radiated its mission ” Pilgrim Home Shrine” as it was often filled with prayer groups, friends, fresh flowers, and pictures of loved ones. Holy Family Catholic School in Cedar Park, TX received an MTA picture for each classroom so that the young students could look at the Blessed Mother during their daily prayers. Holy Family also enjoys a wayside shrine on their school premises that was dedicated by the late Father Jonathan Niehaus.  Gene was a true servant of Mary and never stopped bringing Christ into the life of other people.  He passed away unexpectedly and peacefully on May 28, 2021, at his home surrounded by friends and family close to his beloved home shrine.




Greetings for July 15

Greetings from the Confidentia Shrine, 

These days pilgrims to the Confidentia Shrine encounter a painful scene: the demolition of House Confidentia. It is the last remnant of the destruction caused by Harvey in 2017. 

House Confidentia was built in 1989 with abundant spiritual and physical sacrifices from the sisters and the movement. It was the home of the sisters who lived in Texas and Mexico. There they received their formation, came for their annual retreat, and celebrated the major feast days together. From there they were sent out as apostles to serve Schoenstatt’s mission. House Confidentia also provided a home and care for our sick and elderly sisters. After Harvey, most of the sisters were evacuated and found a new home at the provincial headquarters in Wisconsin.  

During many negotiations including the Diocese of Corpus Christi, a full assessment of House Confidentia by a forensic architect revealed that the entire outer structure of the building is not safe and it needs to be removed if we wanted to restore this house. Needless to say, such an undertaking is a very expensive and long-term project. Led by Divine Providence, a realistic look at our sisters’ community made it obvious that neither the present nor the coming generation will be able to maintain such a large facility. 

We gratefully remember the kindness of our benefactors, who contributed to building House Confidentia. We ask our Mother and Queen to reward them abundantly.

Though it is painful to let go of an important part of our history, we hold on to the words of our father and founder, Father Kentenich: “Faith in Divine Providence convinces us that the Father-God has designed a plan of the world, namely a plan of love (…) and that the Father-God realized the plan precisely at the right time, at the right moment.”

With prayers and in gratitude,

Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary 

Happy Father’s Day

The human being is made in the image and likeness of God. 

In the Image of God the Father.  Do we ever think of what this is? Have you ever wondered what it could mean in your life? How often we travel through our days never contemplating the depth of this thought

Some years ago, I was given the chance to ponder these words. As one of our children struggled through the senior year of high school, life’s struggles fell heavily on her shoulders.  Not only were there the common teen struggles hovering over her, but the mystery of who am I was strong in her life. Growing up between two very strong A-type sisters and not always sharing their outlook on how to do things, was tough. She was surrounded by rebellion, and the friends she chose were also struggling greatly in their own lives.)

After a while, it became apparent to us, the parents, that this was not the healthiest of situations. As time went on and graduation approached, the separation from family grew wider and wider. In the family, we had developed a tradition of taking the graduate out for dinner after the graduation. On graduation night we were told, not asked, that she would be going to one of her friend’s homes. I took the announcement as a personal slap in the face and was very angry, to say the least. Sad to say, I let this hurt and anger come between myself and my child.

As summer began, we would not see or hear from her for days at a time. We didn’t know where she was or what was happening. All we could do was pray and ask the Blessed Mother to care for her. As time went on, I began to think about God the Father. How often have I turned from him? How often have I been unfair to him in my actions! Then these words popped into my head: “We are made in the image and likeness of God.” Needless to say, I had questions to ask myself and to answer!

If I am the image of God, how should I be responding in this situation? Is God angry with me when I hurt him by sin and failure? Does he turn me away or “kick me out of his life? No, just the opposite! He tries to lead me back and welcome me with open arms. So what should I do for my child?! Later, I shared this re-awakening with my wife.

The first time an opportunity arose, I asked my child if I could have a word with her. We sat in my bedroom and I told her of my pain and my discovery. If I was to be like God the Father, I must act like God the Father would. As a father, I am called even more to be like him. God does not turn away from me when I hurt him or leave him but awaits my return with open arms. I have a place awaiting me in heaven if I want it, so she would always have a place in our home. When I am hurt and down I can turn to God and our Blessed Mother and find comfort, so too can she turn to us in time of need. I may not react with a mother’s unending blind love, but I will always try to act with a father’s unending care.

After my talk with our daughter, my wife and I discussed how we could best assist healing and growth for her. Realizing that one of the biggest problems facing this daughter was the conflict she perceived between herself and her younger sister (four years and opposite personalities can be very unsettling for a teenager), our first solution was to offer to purchase a used travel trailer that she could live in on our property. She would be responsible for the upkeep and when she had a job some rent would be expected from her. This solution opened a door so that she might feel free to join the family again.

A physical return home would be short-lived. Still feeling pressured to conform and realizing that the friends around her were not the best for her, she decided to act upon an offer to leave Texas and move to California. Though we had phone contact with her and many calls, it would be five years before she would visit. For our fortieth wedding anniversary in 2016, our children planned a family reunion. This daughter would come with the young man she was dating. In two and one-half years more, she and her fiancé would come to live with us while awaiting her wedding day.

With God’s grace and our Blessed Mother’s intercession, she has been able to bring her life together. She has returned to God, Faith, and Family. She is a successful young woman. Her life’s journey continues as a newly married wife and one who travels with a husband at her side.

Is trying to live in this image and likeness of God easy? NO! It is a challenge for a person. At times we are called to move and act in a manner contrary to the way we might feel at the moment. But to do so may also open unseen doors which may never have had a chance to show themselves in our life. Our life can be enhanced and blessed beyond our dreams.

Rick Otto

Apostolic Family Federation, San Antonio, TX

Lead from the Shrine…

Bethlehem – A New Beginning

                 We sealed our Covenant of Love on August 17, 1997. We did this on a pilgrim’s day in Lamar, as our daughter Alaina was due to be born very close to the family retreat date. Later we sealed our Covenant with the Family Branch. 

                Our Home Shrine Dedication was held on February 11, 1998. We had a beautiful Holy Mass and Ceremony with Father Langsch. 

                While we were preparing, we read the book My Home A Shrine. There was no question about what name we would give our shrine: Bethlehem – A New Beginning. Our family especially enjoyed the Advent and Christmas Seasons and we were inspired by the words in the book about the name Bethlehem. “We are reminded of the birthplace of Jesus. In this Bethlehem Home Shrine, the Blessed Mother will offer us special graces to begin each day anew with joy and ardent zeal. We have a great task to fulfill; We are called to let Christ be reborn in us each day, to adore and serve Him, and to bring Him into the world around us.”

                We each chose a symbol to strive for in the shrine. The Foundation, the Crown, Saint Michael, the Sword of Saint Paul, and a pink rosebud which later became the Key to the Shrine.

                Throughout the years of family life, many offerings were made to the Blessed Mother and many graces were received. Gifts, flowers, report cards, diplomas, Cum Laude BA Degree, acceptance letters for ballet schools & company contracts, acceptance into elite hockey teams, achievements of the rank of Eagle Scout, and many more were always offered first to the Blessed Mother. The ups and downs of being small business owners and family life were also offered and accepted. Many graces were received. The Blessed Mother is never outdone in generosity.

                In conclusion, let us pray the 3:00 AM Office from Heavenwards:

“Your Shrine is our Bethlehem, pleasing to God through its sunrise.
There you gave virginal birth to the Lord who chose you as his bride and mother.
In your miraculous fruitfulness, you brought forth the Sun of Righteousness.

You have graciously established Schoenstatt so that our times can see the eternal light.
From there you want to go through our dark world as the Christbearer sent by God.

Jubilantly place the Lord into my soul anew, so that like you, I may perfectly resemble Him.
Let me be a Christbearer for our times, that they may shine in the brightest radiance of the sun.

Glory be joyfully given to the Father through Christ with Mary, highly praised,
in the Holy Spirit full of splendor from the universe now and in all eternity. 

Amen.”

Blake and Loretta Eaton, Trophy Club, TX, Apostolic Family Federation