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