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