My Home Your Shrine – A Gift for the Church
USA, Joe Yank, Margaret and Michael Fenelon. My Home Your Shrine – A Gift for the Church is the theme for a Home Shrine Congress to be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA – June 27 – 30, 2013. The Schoenstatt Family of the United States, our Founder’s Exile Land, is offering a four day workshop for those who may wish to discover the early beginnings of the Home Shrine from Father Kentenich’s perspective as he worked with families to establish what he came to call the third order of Schoenstatt Shrine. We will celebrate together the 50th Jubilee of the “Founding Document” of the home shrine this coming year ~ 1963 – 2013 ~
Our Father and Founder on October 14, 1962, almost 50 years ago, spoke these words to a family in Milwaukee on the occasion of the dedication of their Home Shrine and their offering of themselves as a Living Shrine:
Eternal Father God in simple simplicity we believe that you have sent our Blessed Mother into this our present world as the permanent helpmate. You have, so to say, sent her into the mountains and the hills in order to search and find houses and homes where she can show and develop her effectiveness, her work in these families. But, innumerable people lock their doors, don’t let her in. Yes they also lock up the gate to their own hearts, but the sanctuaries of Schoenstatt have widely opened their gates so that the Blessed Mother can work from there and from there go into the world.
Thus she has found her way tonight into our hearts and into our family. Widely we opened the doors, the gates, to our hearts. Animated by deep, sincere love we beg you, “please, Mother, settle here in this house – yes dwell here and work from here as you are used to working from your Schoenstatt Shrines.” Please bring your Divine Son into our house just as you brought Jesus to Elizabeth and Zacharias. Yes, Mother, work here the same miracle you have worked the minute when you entered the door of Elizabeth.” Taken from notes and recording by Sr. M. Winfriede
Dedicating another family as a Living Shrine February 24, 1963 our Father and Founder said in his opening prayer, “we are united here now in order to form, from now on, one great living Sanctuary … we wish to form as Schoenstatt children a Living Shrine. Therefore we ask our Mother Thrice Admirable and Queen of Schoenstatt accept us as we dedicate ourselves to you today.” Ibid
A heritage to share
These are two of the opening prayers our Founder prayed for Home Shrine dedications in Milwaukee during the time of his exile. There is recorded history, word for word, of prayers Father Kentenich prayed for eight families during the establishment of Home Shrines/Living Shrines in Milwaukee during that time. This great heritage that has been given to us is what the Milwaukee Schoenstatt Family would like to share with the International Schoenstatt Family during the upcoming Home Shrine Congress.
Many know the famous words of our Founder in his letter to Fr. Johannes Tick in April 1948: All of us without exception are interested in this new Pentecostal miracle. Therefore, we unite and beg and petition with great fervor for a new and effective miracle of transformation. Take the picture of the Blessed Mother with you and enshrine it in your homes. Then they in turn will become little shrines where the venerable picture will prove to be a source of grace, create a holy family atmosphere, and form holy family members. – The Birth of the Home Shrine – Second Edition – Fr. Jonathan Niehaus
Many of our Schoenstatt families throughout the world have taken these words of our Father and Founder to heart and have dedicated their homes as Home Shrines where our dear Mother Thrice Admirable and her divine Son have taken up residence to live and work and form the family according to the Heavenly Father’s wish and will. Father Kentenich’s dream has grown and flourished worldwide.
The Home Shrine Stream
We don’t know how many Home Shrines exist worldwide, like we do have a count of daughter Shrines, but there are some who are working on seeing if a count can somehow be taken. Here in Milwaukee we are concerned not only with the number of Home Shrines but also, and in particular, with the depth and growth of the Home Shrine Stream itself.
In the 1950 conferences for families our Founder took another step in deepening the life of the Home Shrine: We listen to Holy Scripture: “Lord, how good it is for us to be here!” (Mt 17, 4) We want to take the shrine, just as it is, with us into our families. Our family should be a living MTA Shrine. Who will transform our family into a Church in miniature - into the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church? Mother takes perfect care! (….)
You, too, want to stand in holy watch (around the shrine), but you do not want to just stand around the shrine. You want more: You yourselves want to become a living shrine. My family life a living shrine of the MTA! Sooner or later the affinity between you and the shrine will become clearer. On the one hand we find the walls, dead walls. On the other we find ourselves, living stones. Now I can rediscover all the symbols that we have in the shrine in my shrine, in my family. – Ibid
At the conclusion of a dedication of a Living Shrine in February 1963, after he prayed a special prayer for each symbol chosen by each family member Father prayed: Thus we ask you dear Mother Thrice Admirable and Queen of Schoenstatt again bless our resolution. Take care that what we have said and decided in the prayer before this silent and solemn hour of devotion will become a reality. Show dear Mother that you, still in our modern times, have the power to work miracles. Through your intercession still today let water be changed into wine. Work through our Savior the miracle of transformation and change every member, every child of the family into the symbol she or he has confessed himself to, the symbol each has chosen. Make the whole family one wonderful Living Shrine that draws the attention of the environment to themselves and take every one of them and lead them up, higher to the throne of the Triune God. Amen. Taken from notes and recording by Sr. M. Winfriede
The birth of the Home Shrine
Father Kentenich watched and observed the life of these Home Shrines he had so solemnly dedicated and toward the end of 1963 he was ready to make a declaration concerning this Home Shrine stream and where it was flowing in relation to the order of Shrines in Schoenstatt:
First let me list three things in succession: We have the Original Shrine. We have daughter shrines and among the daughter shrines central shrines. (…) Now comes a third expression, which is perhaps unfamiliar to you in this form. It is the home shrine.
What do we mean by “home shrine”? Many of us have not only dedicated their house to the Blessed Mother in general, but also offered it to her as a Living Shrine.
What I am about to say is of elementary importance for the future: Everything which holds true for the Original Shrine and for the daughter shrines also holds true for the home shrines. The Birth of the Home Shrine – Second Edition – Fr. Jonathan Niehaus
This is the depth and growth that we in the United States want to celebrate and acclaim. In the United States the year 2013 has been proclaimed the Year of the Home Shrine where our Father and Founder, during his almost 14 years of exile, worked diligently with families and helped our Mother Thrice Admirable and Queen of Schoenstatt develop a new order of shrines.
Home Shrine Congress
To that end the Schoenstatt Family here in the US will be hosting a Home Shrine Congress June 27 through June 30, 2013 for the 50th Jubilee year of our Founder’s declaration of the Home Shrine as a third order of shrine for our Schoenstatt family. Come celebrate with us this Home Shrine Jubilee in preparation for the great Jubilee of 2014. We will explore the history of the actual foundation of the home shrine and how Father developed the life and world around it. We want to look at the clear link between the home shrine and the Domestic Church as it was being developed at the Second Vatican Council at the same time. We will hear the testimonies of the reality of grace of the home shrine in the lives of those who have experienced its transformative and educational power. And we will explore the home shrine as a gift for the Church and how it is a powerful means of grace for evangelization.
There will be more details to follow for those who are interested.
Contact and information: firstname.lastname@example.org