By Maria Fischer and Ani Souberlich •
“Thirty more stars were blessed on Friday, 12 May for the carpet of stars located at the north entrance of the Cologne Cathedral. The twenty-five small and the five large stars were donated this spring,” this was Cologne’s Domradio radio message. Among them, there was also a star from 1. FC Köln soccer team, the ‘Kölner Dom’ cultural foundation related. With the star of 1. FC Köln, two of Cologne’s passions grow closer: the cathedral and soccer,” commented Fr. Gerd Bachner, Provost of the Cathedral.
Since the beginning of the “11,000 stars for the Cologne Cathedral” project in 2013, 346 stars have already been donated. With a 5,000 Euro donation for the foundation, donors are honored with a small, handmade bronze star that can be fitted with an individual heading. With 11,000 Euros, the donor’s name is placed on a large, high quality basalt stone.
A carpet with stars for the cathedral of Cologne… And the thought emerged: how beautiful a carpet of stars for our Original Shrine depicting our more than 200 daughter shrines all over the world? … For love of the Shrine, a carpet with stars woven from the “Show me that you really love me” for the encounter of cultures, for the covenant culture that becomes solidarity, just like Pope Francis’ message to us for the Jubilee. However not actually a “carpet of stars,” instead a “carpet” made up of the small, deep red colored brick houses of the “100 houses” Project, a crown of the more than 200 little houses woven from covenant solidarity and that received the gift of ten more houses last week.
A real Home Shrine
It happened again during the first week of May: in the settlements, in the metropolitan area of Asunción, where families live in indescribable situations of extreme poverty, several simple, but solid houses emerged with a firm floor, brick walls, and a good roof. Ani Souberlich was there; she obtained the construction materials, and she encouraged those building their houses, their future, and a more just future with their own hands.
The construction in May was possible thanks to several donors from Germany, Austria, Argentina, Paraguay, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Switzerland, who wanted to be a part of the “100 houses” project. All the donations that arrived since Christmas until now have been a great help, because in a few weeks, the short winter will begin in Paraguay. The temperatures can descend to 10° Celsius (50 °Fahrenheit), and those who live beneath plastic foil tarps tied to a couple of poles will be very cold, especially if it rains. Every house that has been built becomes a real shrine home, where people experience warmth and security.
Every house has the name of a daughter shrine, Home Shrine or a heart shrine proposed by the donor.
“Why have we not heard about this until now?” was the question we heard during the last weeks at gatherings with Schoenstatt members from Paraguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.
Others asked themselves: Why haven’t we collaborated until now?
“Why is it so clear that we cannot stop at 100 or even at 200 houses?” The schoenstatt.org team asked of ourselves. Perhaps because many families are still waiting for a house. Perhaps many daughter shrines, many Home Shrines still do not have a house of solidarity. Perhaps because many more people should experience the joy that reaches the depths of the heart, when one sees that their large or small donation of 200 €/$, can change the life of an entire family forever for something better. And it also changes ones’ own life, ones’ own covenant of love, ones’ own Christian life.
“100 houses” – This project emerged in May 2013 within the circle of schoenstatt.org collaborators as a Jubilee gift, as an expression of covenant solidarity with Pope Francis.
“100 houses” – This is Schoenstatt reaching out to the peripheries of human existence. Everything began with the encounter of a Schoenstatter from Paraguay with families, who lived in situations of unimaginable poverty; beneath plastic bags tied to a few poles buried in the ground, in 40⁰C (104⁰F) with humidity and beside a hole in the ground that served as a toilet, and even more terrible beneath torrential rains, flooding, and on some days with terrible cold in winter. Although we cannot not alleviate all the poverty in this country and in the world, we simply cannot stand there and do nothing.
“100 houses” is a courageous decision, but we will simply try it. A small team in Paraguay is in charge of obtaining parcels and material donations and whatever is needed, so that a family can build a simple house with their own hands and with the help of neighbors: four walls, a floor and a roof over their heads. The things needed in addition to the donated material and their own work are donated by people from allover the world. Those incredible 200 Euros (or its equivalent in guaranies, pesos, dollars, Swiss francs…) make a house of solidarity possible.
“100 houses” is what remains from the 100 years of the Covenant of Love Jubilee. The houses of solidarity have the names of daughter shrines, Home Shrines, and heart shrines as an expression of the “Jubilee step” from the shrines towards the world outside, toward the existential peripheries. And Pope Francis knows about this project, and he is happy with it.
“100 houses” that in the meantime have moved beyond 200. If they were all together, then they would be a small neighborhood. It is not only about 100 or 200 houses. There are more than 200 families with two, three, four, five… children whose lives now have a floor beneath their feet in the real sense of the word.
Agujé, Agujé Ndeve, Thank you: this is what the posters state that Ani Souberlich placed during the construction of a future house.
Agujé Ndeve– This was also written on the cards, which beginning this month, will be presented to families who live in one of the 200 houses, an initiative that emerged within the schoenstatt.org base team. A letter of gratitude in covenant solidarity, from the grateful friends of these families, grateful because the families in their poverty make it possible to experience, see, and touch the joy of solidarity.
A thank you note is found in the world’s first daughter shrine in Nueva Helvecia, Uruguay; another note is in the Original Shrine as of 9 May, and one or another donor has one of these notes in his/her Home Shrine. These are signs of that network that emerges when people encounter people… Whoever wants to have one of these notes can write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
On the 30th of every month, Fr. José María García will celebrate a Holy Mass in the Shrine of Madrid for those who through their donation have “built” a house and for all the families who live in one of the houses of solidarity. It is a network that is extended throughout the world, and between heaven and earth. Covenant solidary.
It takes 200 €/US$ to build a house.
Attention: the form is spanish, but self-explaining. We will add an english form as soon as possible (it is a question of money….).
or scan the QR Code
Ana Souberlich/M. Fischer
Intended use: 100 houses (and name of Shrine, Home Shrine…)
All the articles about the 100 houses project
Original: German. 18 May 2017. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA