USA, Texas, by Carlos Cantú •
The Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary came to work in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas – which was then a part of the Diocese of Corpus Christi – in 1959. They began their work at St. Francis Xavier parish in La Feria and its mission, St. Mary’s, in Santa Rosa. After fulfilling their parish obligations, and in their spare time, they would begin introducing the Schoenstatt Movement and its spirituality to those who were interested. Their first efforts were with young girls and mothers. Some of these mothers invited their husbands, and from that the first group for couples blossomed. Sr. M. Corelia Bechold assisted them. This was in 1965– 50 years ago, so it is very fitting that this group be recognized for its loyalty and fidelity.
The founding members of the group were: Gustavo and Josefina Cisneros, Oscar and Ofelia Gómez, Senaido and Tina Martínez, José María and Margarita Villalón, and Esteban and Cristina Villarreal. Deceased members are: Oscar and Ofelia Gómez and José María Villalón. Margarita Villalón is unable to attend due to her living in a retirement home, and Gustavo Cisneros is unable to attend for health reasons. Noé, Jr. and Angie Moraida joined the group in 1971, although they have belonged to Schoenstatt since 1968 having participated in a different group.
Those still attending the monthly group meetings are: Josefina Cisneros, Senaido Martínez, Tina Martínez, Angie Moraida, Noé Moraida, Jr., Cristina Villarreal and Esteban Villarreal. Although four of them use canes, are victims of numerous ailments – and probably all or most are over 80 years of age – they continue to prove to Blessed Mother that they really love her. Their loyalty and fidelity is a constant reminder to all of us in the Schoenstatt Movement.
Senaido and Tina Martínez are the long-time leaders of the group, and with the assistance of Carlos Cantú and a leaders’ letter, they make every effort to meet on a monthly basis. They make every effort to attend the monthly 18th devotions at the Wayside Shrine of Loyalty at St. Francis Xavier parish in La Feria, and together, they are responsible for the devotion each January 18th. As a group, they have been striving to crown the MTA picture enthroned in the parish church of St. Francis Xavier in La Feria. As the Schoenstatt Movement at St. Francis Xavier parish in La Feria, we are hoping to help them realize their dream in the near future.
Celebration and thanksgiving
The celebration was held on Friday, August 21, 2015, in the home of Carlos and Elizabeth Cantú in La Feria. The event was blessed with the presence of Schoenstatt Father Héctor Vega, advisor to the Schoenstatt Movement in the Diocese of Brownsville. He officiated at a Holy Mass of thanksgiving at 6pm. Several of the group members discussed some of the ups and downs throughout the past 50 years, but all felt so grateful to Blessed Mother for what they have received throughout the years and truly believe that they cannot outdo Blessed Mother in generosity. They make great use of their Home Shrines and are always willing to be of service to Schoenstatt in any way they can. Father Héctor Vega expressed his gratitude to them for their loyalty and fidelity, and especially thanked them for being such a good example to the rest of the Schoenstatt Movement. Holy Mass concluded with a beautiful renewal of the Covenant of Love which expressed 50 years of thanksgiving, love, loyalty and fidelity to our Schoenstatt Mother and Queen.
After Holy Mass, everyone was treated to a delicious supper and a beautiful aura of fellowship permeated the atmosphere. It was indeed a beautiful experience for all!
Senaido and Tina Martínez are also members of the Family Federation, belonging to the first course in both Texas and the USA (Cor Fidelis Patris/Faithful Heart of the Father). Josefina Cisneros is also a member of the first Mothers’ Federation course in Texas (Laetitia Patris/Joy of the Father).