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.

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