FRANCE, François-Xavier and France de Marolles •
There is now a Schoenstatt Mother Thrice Admirable wayside shrine in the Castille Seminary’s St. John Paul II space in the Diocese of Toulon (France), in the department of Var. France situated 190 km from Italian border; it is the first Schoenstatt Wayside Shrine in southern France. —
A wayside shrine born from a father’s sorrow
This beautiful wayside shrine was built with stones from the Provence region; it is project conceived by the artisan, Benoit Mark, who offered to do the work with much faith and love for the Blessed Mother. Like a maestro, Benoit led the team comprised of people of all ages from children to adults. Everyone wanted to collaborate in this unique moment for the Schoenstatt Movement in southern France. The construction began on 31 October 2017, and lasted throughout the month of November with a great deal of work, prayer, fellowship, and the intercession of the Saints. The construction attracted the attention of many people who usually pass through this area. Some of them etched their names on the stones used for the construction; even Bishop Dominque Rey, Bishop of the Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon, added his name on a stone at the base of the wayside shrine. Throughout the entire month of November 2017, contribution to the capital of grace intensified with many rosaries and prayers.
The cross dominating the wayside shrine is full of meaning, love, and sacrifice, since it was a work created by a father, who in August 2016, tragically and unexpectedly lost his two-year-old daughter, who died after swallowing a small stone. During this time, the MTA’s picture had just arrived in France as a gift from the Toulon Diocese; it was sent from the Original Shrine.
Blessing with guests from Barcelona and Paris
Bishop Dominique Rey, Bishop of the Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon with the presence of Fr. Theodore Shanika, of the Institute of Schoenstatt Fathers and Fr. Louis-Mrue Guitton, Episcopal Vicar and leader of the Family Pastoral of the diocese celebrated at the blessing of the wayside shrine on 8 December 2017. There were friends of the Schoenstatt Movement in southern France, many of who collaborated actively for this historic moment, like, girls that belong to the Schoenstatt Girls’ Youth from Barcelona, and traveled especially to Toulon for this day of grace and France’s Schoenstatt Movement coordinator, FX Thieulloy from Paris, also attended.
The International Family accompanies Mary’s new dwelling
We can only wind up this beautiful story of faith with thanksgiving for the conquest of this wayside shrine, built by stones and with the effective participation of the many ‘living stones,’ that collaborated in many different ways to make the first Schoenstatt Wayside Shrine in southern France a reality. Moreover in the foreseeable future, they desire to form a family that is the foundation of the Schoenstatt Work in this blessed place chosen by the Blessed Mother as her newest dwelling.
We want to especially thank so many people from the world’s Schoenstatt Family from Germany, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Burundi, Chile, Spain, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, RD Congo, Switzerland… that have supported this project through their capital of grace with much faith, hope, and goodwill.
Now from this place, the silent work of our Mother begins in many hearts, which will also depend on the loyalty of each and everyone here.
Original: Spanish. 15 April 2018. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA . Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA