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Jubilee Gift Honors Legacy of the Founder Number 2 in Series of 3

The celebration of the Texas Schoenstatt Family on July 12, 2014 commemorated the arrival of the founder, Father Joseph Kentenich, to the city of Corpus Christi, Texas in 1948.  For article and photos: In this second part we will follow our founder’s footsteps on our Texas soil in his mid-June 1948 visit in Corpus Christi.

Father Kentenich’s visit to Corpus Christi

Father Kentenich, accompanied by Father Wilwers, flew from Milwaukee to Arkansas to meet with Abbot Paul Nahlen (1882-1957) at the New Subiaco Abbey in Subiaco, Arkansas.   Abbot Nahlen had invited and arranged the trip for Father Kentenich’s visit to Arkansas and Texas.  In 1947, Abbot Nahlen had discovered the Schoenstatt Sisters in Germany and was interested in them coming to help his friend, Emmanuel Ledvina, bishop of the Diocese of Corpus Christi.  The bishop himself was very interested in having the sisters come to his diocese.  Father Kentenich, Father Wilwers and Abbot Nahlen made the long road trip from Arkansas to Corpus Christi, Texas.


The places our founder visited in Corpus Christi:

·         Former Bishop’s Residence

Father Kentenich came to fulfill the request of Bishop Ledvina for Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary.  Discussions were held and an agreement reached that the sisters would teach in the diocese which was experiencing a shortage of religious.  This place later became the home of the Schoenstatt Sisters for many years.

·         Former Carmelite Convent

In his visit to this convent, Father Kentenich very likely thought of the Schoenstatt Sisters who would be coming to this diocese.  And, far beyond the beginning that soon would take place – his thoughts would likely have been of our Mother Thrice Admirable giving a home to all.

·         College Academy – Benedictine Abbey

We are not sure how long Father Kentenich stayed at the Benedictine Abbey.  In his America Report, Father Kentenich wrote:  We sat together in the evening and I had to talk.  Many of the Fathers came from old German settlements.  A cheerful atmosphere prevailed.  Before I knew it, the room re-echoed with genuine, old German folksongs, the words and tunes of which were remembered from childhood days.

·         Old Corpus Christi Airport

When Father Kentenich left Corpus Christi from this airport, it was a busy terminal.  Here people came to greet those arriving and to say good-bye to loved ones and friends.  Who came to see our founder off to return to Milwaukee, we do not know but with confidence we can say that he left his fatherly blessing here for future Schoenstatt children of the Mother Thrice Admirable.

·         The Cathedral

It is believed that Father Kentenich visited the Cathedral which was under construction during his visit.  He would have stood there and with his great love for Mary, would have asked her to glorify herself in this city, this state, this country through her future Schoenstatt children.

We have “walked” in Father Kentenich’s footsteps as he visited Corpus Christi.  Our founder came as an instrument of peace with the offer of a great “Marian and Patrocentric” mission.  He came to fulfill a request from the bishop.  In September 1949 the first three sisters arrived in Corpus Christi and in November of the same year another three sisters joined them.  

Today, 66 years later we rejoice with gratitude that our father and founder, himself, planted the seed of Schoenstatt in our State and marvel at the fruitfulness of the plan of God – the Confidentia Shrine in the Diocese of Corpus Christi, the Cor Unum in Patre Shrine in the Archdiocese of San Antonio and the soon to be dedicated (September 13) Bethlehem, Cradle of Sanctity Shrine in the Diocese of Austin.  In this Jubilee Year, a united Schoenstatt Texas Family celebrates its history and its abundant blessings.

Pilar Huerta


Niehaus, Fr.  Jonathan.  Visit to America, Waukesha, 1999

Footsteps Pilgrimage.  Published by Schoenstatt Movement of Corpus Christi/Rockport




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