Lead from the Shrine…

On the feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1983, we welcomed the Blessed Mother of Schoenstatt to be the Queen, Guide, and Protector of our home and our family. Initially, the name of our homeshrine was Queen of Peace which we changed later into Queen of Divine Grace.

Our children ranged in age from 1 to 13 and we needed guidance to raise our children since both our parents lived far away. The only guide we had was our pediatrician who was Catholic.

As years moved on, we were invited to learn about Federation and we met with other couples for several years. It was a time of learning more deeply about Schoenstatt. We made our final consecration in our Federation Course in 2002. 

During this time, we became more involved in our parish. Our pastor asked us to help him with marriage preparation.

Our home shrine has been the center of all our family celebrations, one of which was the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of our marriage in 2019.

We continue on our path through life trusting in Jesus our Savior, God our Father, and our life companion, and our Mother Thrice Admirable. 

We depend on the Holy Spirit as we lead our family and those entrusted to us onward to the Kingdom promised to us. 

                                                         Nos Cum Prole Pia …


Maria and Joe Rodriguez, Corpus Christi, TX, Apostolic Family Federation



Lead from the Shrine…

Hello, we are Gina and Ricardo (Ric) Vega and we live in Austin. We became involved with Schoenstatt in 2014 after meeting Fr. Hector at our St. Paul Parish. He informed us he was a Schoenstatt Father.  I told him that as a young professional woman I had been involved with the movement with Sr. Bridget and Sr. Christa Marie. He invited us to the dedication of the Shrine which we attended with great anticipation of what the Blessed Mother was asking of us.  After being caregivers for Ric’s dad in Corpus Christi and my mother here in Austin, Ric and I lost both of them during the same week in 2012. Both of us started to quietly discern where God needed us next.

For several years, we made pilgrimages to churches in and out of the country. In August 2016, we were invited to attend a Schoenstatt “Forta,”, a couples retreat in Lamar. We were so excited and we felt that the Blessed Mother was calling us. The retreat was intense and very personal. Was this what we were looking for? Yes, it was just what we needed. Since we had no children because we married late in life, we felt somewhat lost. We had never before lived alone in our home as a couple… Remember, we were caregivers before and after getting married. The retreat opened up places in our souls and hearts that we had not felt before as a couple. It was intimate, yet welcoming and fun. We met many wonderful couples of varying ages who gave heartfelt testimonies. We instantly felt the love that only a Mother could give. Our Schoenstatt life would not be what it is today if the couple sitting in front of us, David and Pita Sanchez, had not opened their hearts to us. We knew at this moment that all of this was our Blessed Mother enveloping us and rewarding our caregiving days with this supernatural retreat! What a gift!

At this juncture, we knew we wanted to learn more about the movement and share this love that was shown to us. One way to do that was by becoming shrine guardians. Being guardians gave us opportunities to be involved with various activities. Soon after, we also started to attend the Couples Time Out, monthly day retreats dedicated to marriages.

By early 2017, we had already embraced our encounter with our Blessed Mother and we knew we were in the movement forever. We started our Couples Group in February at our St. Paul Parish. In June, we were both commissioned as MTA missionaries and shared our MTA with our families and with patients during visits to the nursing homes. By September, we knew we were ready to offer ourselves completely to our Blessed Mother through the Covenant of Love. The Sanchez’ graciously accepted our request for help to learn about it.

A year later, in June 2018, the Sanchez’ led a pilgrimage to Waukesha, Wisconsin where we were even more immersed in the movement. The pilgrimage encompassed visiting the Shrines and learning about Fr. Kentenich. We met a diverse group of people who were on the same journey and whom we now call friends. The greatest experience was when we formally told our Blessed Mother in the Exile Shrine how thankful we were for bringing us into the movement and that we would gladly be her instruments.

In 2019, our next goal was to learn even more about the home shrine. We had heard the Fenelon’s story during the pilgrimage to Waukesha and now we were ready to have our home shrine. Again, the Sanchez’ spent time educating us about it and we began discerning the title for our Blessed Mother. Over time, we put our home shrine together and we waited to decide her title. We were already praying there and just needed a title and to have it blessed. With the arrival of the COVID pandemic, we were unable to have it blessed in person. Fr. Cristobal scheduled the blessing via Zoom in May 2020. We decided to crown her “Queen Mother of Peace and Healing of the Family.” This title was important for us since we come from large families and the virus was very contagious and many people were dying. We wanted every family member to come to know our Blessed Mother and to find peace with what was happening. If they were contracted, we wanted them to ask our Blessed Mother for her intercession for healing. We crowned our Blessed Mother with a red crown. We continue to pray for the end of the pandemic and for the healing of everyone who contracted the virus, not only our family. 

Our home shrine continues to be our place of prayer where we find peace, love, and healing for ourselves and our loved ones. Many prayers have been answered through our commitment to our Blessed Mother. We continue to be grateful for our encounter with our Blessed Mother, for her love for us as individuals and as a couple. We pray for peace, healing, and the conversion of the hearts of families who do not know our Blessed Mother. The Blessed Mother is Victorious! She is a Miracle Worker! We remain devoted and faithful to our Covenant of Love!

Gina and Ric Vega, Schoenstatt Family League, Austin, TX

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Hola, somos Gina y Ricardo (Ric) Vega y vivimos en Austin.  En 2014, nos involucramos con Schoenstatt después de conocer al P. Héctor en nuestra Parroquia de St. Paul. Nos dijo que era un padre de Schoenstatt. Le dije que como joven profesional estuve involucrada en el movimiento con la Hna. Bridget y la Hna. Christa Marie. Nos invitó a la dedicación del Santuario a la que asistimos con mucha anticipación de lo que la Santísima Madre nos estaba pidiendo.  Después de ser los cuidadores del padre de Ric en Corpus Christi y de mi madre aquí en Austin, Ric y yo perdimos a ambos durante la misma semana. Ambos comenzamos a discernir en silencio dónde nos necesitaba Dios a continuación.

Durante varios años, realizamos peregrinaciones a iglesias dentro y fuera del país. En agosto de 2016, nos invitaron a asistir a un “Forta” de Schoenstatt, un retiro de parejas en Lamar. Estábamos muy emocionados y sentimos que era la Santísima Madre  quien nos llamaba. El retiro fue intenso y muy personal. ¿Era esto lo que estábamos buscando? Sí, era justo lo que necesitábamos. Como no teníamos hijos debido a nuestro matrimonio tardío, nos habíamos sentido algo perdidos. Nunca antes habíamos vivido solos en pareja en nuestra casa. Recuerde, fuimos cuidadores de nuestros padres antes y después de casarnos. El retiro abrió lugares en nuestras almas y corazones que no habíamos sentido antes como pareja. Fue íntimo, pero acogedor y divertido. Conocimos a muchas parejas maravillosas de diferentes edades que dieron testimonios sinceros. Instantáneamente, sentimos el amor que sólo una Madre puede dar. Nuestra vida en Schoenstatt no sería lo que es hoy si la pareja sentada frente a nosotros, David y Pita Sánchez, no nos hubieran abierto su corazón. ¡Sabíamos en este momento que todo esto era nuestra Santísima Madre envolviéndonos y recompensando nuestros días de cuidado a nuestros padres con este retiro sobrenatural! ¡Qué regalo!

En este momento, sabíamos que queríamos aprender más sobre el movimiento y compartir este amor que se nos mostró a nosotros. Una forma de hacerlo era en ser guardianes del santuario. Ser guardianes nos dio la oportunidad de involucrarnos en varias actividades del movimiento. Poco después, también empezamos a asistir a los Couples Time Out, retiros mensuales de un día dedicados a los matrimonios.

A principios de 2017, ya habíamos logrado nuestro encuentro con nuestra Santísima Madre y sabíamos que estábamos en el movimiento para siempre. Comenzamos nuestro Grupo de Parejas en febrero en nuestra Parroquia de St. Paul. En junio, ambos fuimos comisionados como misioneros de la MTA y compartimos nuestra MTA con nuestras familias y con pacientes en hogares de ancianos. En septiembre sabíamos que estábamos listos para ofrecernos completamente a nuestra Santísima Madre a través de la Alianza de Amor. Los Sánchez aceptaron con gratitud nuestra solicitud de aprendizaje.

Un año después, en junio de 2018, los Sánchez dirigieron una peregrinación a Waukesha, Wisconsin, donde estuvimos aún más inmersos en el movimiento. La peregrinación abarcó visitar los Santuarios y conocer al P. Kentenich. Conocimos a un grupo diverso de personas que estaban en el mismo camino y a quienes ahora llamamos amigos. La mejor experiencia fue cuando le dijimos formalmente a nuestra Santísima Madre en el Santuario del Exilio lo agradecidos que estábamos por invitarnos al movimiento y con mucho gusto seríamos sus instrumentos.

Nuestro próximo objetivo en 2019 era aprender aún más sobre el Santuario del Hogar. Habíamos escuchado la historia de los Fenelon durante la peregrinación a Waukesha y ahora estábamos listos para tener nuestro propio Santuario Hogar. Una vez más, los Sánchez dedicaron tiempo a educarnos sobre lo que era y empezamos a discernir el título de nuestra Santísima Madre. Con el tiempo, armamos nuestro Santuario Hogar y esperamos para decidir su título. Ya estábamos orando allí y solo faltaba un título y que lo bendijeran. Con la llegada de la pandemia del COVID no se pudo bendecir en persona. El Padre Cristóbal programó la bendición vía Zoom en mayo de 2020. Decidimos coronarla “Reina Madre de la Paz y Sanación de la Familia”. Este título era importante para nosotros ya que venimos de familias grandes y el virus era muy contagioso y mucha gente estaba falleciendo. Queríamos que todos los miembros de la familia llegaran a conocer a nuestra Santísima Madre y encontraran la paz con lo que estaba sucediendo. Y si se contraían, queríamos que le pidieran a nuestra Santísima Madre su intercesión para la sanación. Coronamos a nuestra Santísima Madre con una corona roja. Seguimos orando por el fin de la pandemia y la sanación de todos los que han contraído el virus, no solo de nuestra familia. Nuestro Santuario Hogar sigue siendo nuestro lugar de oración donde podemos encontrar paz, amor y sanación para nosotros y nuestros seres queridos.

Muchas oraciones han sido respondidas a través de nuestro compromiso con nuestra Santísima Madre y seguimos agradecidos por su amor por nosotros como individuos y como pareja. ¡La Santísima Madre es victoriosa! ¡Ella obrará milagros!  ¡Seguimos devotos y fieles a nuestra Alianza de Amor!

“… Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)

Lead from the Shrine…

“… Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)

It was during one of our deserts, i.e., a day of prayer, at Lamar, that I came upon this passage.  This was a great moment of DIVINE GRACE.  I was touched very deeply by it.  I prayed and asked God, “Lord help me to carry my cross with patience and love.” After meditating for a while, I walked slowly to the shrine, went inside and then, it hit me.  As I looked at our Mother Thrice Admirable, I knew that SHE was my answer. I was overwhelmed with tears of JOY. 

A few months later, Carlos and I, joined Jose and Maria Rodriguez, and several other couples for some special talks about Schoenstatt. Soon after, we made our Covenant of Love at a couples retreat in the spring of 2005.   As our love for our Mother Thrice Admirable grew, we talked with Sr M Daniela Rensing, about preparing us for our home shrine.  Our home shrine was dedicated on September 4, 2011, as Mother of Faith, Hope and Love.   During the beginning years of the recent pandemic, we crowned her as, “Queen and Refuge of our Family.” 

We are on pilgrimage here on earth and are very blessed to know that we have a mother in heaven who is always there for us, to guide and to teach us the way to holiness.

We are Carlos and Ana Rosa Everett originally from Corpus Christi, and now more recently living in San Antonio, Texas.  We have been blessed with 2 sons, Carlos Jr. and his wife, Amanda; Christopher Javier and his wife, Ashley; and our daughter Celeste Marie and her husband, Edison.  We have been blessed with 6 grandchildren—5 living and one deceased. 

Ana Rosa and Carlos Everett, San Antonio, TX

Apostolic Family Federation, USA

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

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