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We Celebrate Our Golden Jubilee, Part Two

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By Pilar Huerta

The story of the holy history of the Schoenstatt Movement of San Antonio continues.  It is now 1972, three years after the dedication of the Shrine of Unity in St. Lawrence Parish in 1969.  The young Schoenstatt family wants to see more growth in numbers in the branches.  They see growth as the means to realize the deep longing in their hearts for a replica of the Original Shrine.   

Part Two:  The preparation for the crowning

In June 1972, Sr. M. Margret Gruendig took the design for the crown to Schoenstatt for the crown to be made.  In a letter to the Schoenstatt family, she writes:

“ . . . The idea and ideal of unity seems to move farther and farther from us people of today.  In its stead, discord, resentment, strife, hatred and indifference seem to take their place and at times even may seem to get hold of us.  And yet amid all this we have the courage to crown our dear Blessed Mother as Queen of Unity and have the firm belief that she will glorify herself as Queen of Unity with us and everywhere, for what we do in love and faith has immeasurable and far-reaching effects.  The greater our confidence–the greater God’s answer!  . . .

In the October 18, 1972 devotion prayer we read:  ‘As a sign of our unity with each other we have united all our group symbols in this crown and ask you to unite always our hearts deeper in love and our minds in truth.  . . . Bless this crown with the special presence of your love and power and especially make it an instrument of your unity.’  As you visit our homes in this symbol, give to our families your love, peace, happiness and harmony.  Make this unity so strong that no power may ever sever it.”

In 1973, there was a crowning pilgrimage around the city of San Antonio.  There were three cars with Sr. Margret and the following members:  Margaret De la O, John & Star Elizondo, Hope Falcon, Charles & Margaret Gill, Jesse & Theresa Ochoa, David & Ofelia Rodriguez, and David, Sr. & Aida Sanchez.  They drove around Loop 410 which at the time was the city’s outer loop.  In their pilgrimage drive, they prayed the Rosary.  When the pilgrimage began, the crown was with the members in the first car.  As they traveled, they would exit the loop, stop and get out and pass the crown to the next car and then the cars would enter the loop again to continue the pilgrimage around the city.  This was done several times as they continued the drive all around Loop 410.

In the pilgrimage prayer we read: . . . With this crowning pilgrimage we come to you . . . our greatest petition is that you will select a special place here in San Antonio for your Shrine and retreat house.  . . . We thank you for this Shrine . . . but our great desire is a true replica of the Original Shrine here in San Antonio or nearby, together with a house, so that your message may be spread.  . . . Draw us ever closer to your heart, transform and change us with the sweet power of your love and deepen in us the desire to bring your message of love and grace to others.  Do this from this Shrine and even more so from your new Shrine that we hope to build for you in the future.  We want to give you also for your new Shrine already many prayers, sacrifices and conscientious fulfillment of the duties of our state of life, so that when we can offer you the throne you can already dispense favors in abundance.”

In the last sentence of the paragraph above, we see already the laying of the spiritual foundation of the future shrine through contributions to the capital of grace.  This was in 1973 – the new replica of the Original Shrine would be dedicated in 2008, 35 years of prayers, apostolate, service and sacrifices -- both small and great, very great.  Only our loving Father and our Mother Thrice Admirable know the great number and the depth.  But also, only our loving Father and our Mother Thrice Admirable know the effect of the abundant grace of unity that the Schoenstatt family, not only of San Antonio, but of eight dioceses in Texas received.  During these years, we went to the Confidentia Shrine in Lamar for retreats or on pilgrimage.  We became children of confidence – formed and transformed by the special graces of the shrine, receiving the grace of confidence in great measure.  Countless covenants of love were sealed in the Confidentia Shrine over the more than three decades – sustained by grace, we would persevere and would be rewarded by our Mother’s victory.

From a letter of Sr. Margret in June 1973, we read:  “We all know many examples of disunity.  In Schoenstatt, God has given us Mary as our Mother . . . close to her our hearts soften, remain open for God and each other.  From her we learn this complete forgiveness which restores lost peace and confidence.   Our Mother Thrice Admirable unites us also by leading us to the Father.”

I want to repeat the last sentence above:  “Our Mother Thrice Admirable unites us also by leading us to the Father.”  More than 30 years later, these words would be an inspiration during the period of discernment for the name and mission of the new shrine.

 

© 2019 Pilar Huerta, some rights reserved for entire document, request permission to make copies

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