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We Celebrate Our Golden Jubilee, Part Three

We Celebrate Our Golden Jubilee, Part Three

By Pilar Huerta

With gratitude, we continue to recollect the experiences of God’s blessings and our Mother’s loving care as we celebrate 50 years.  Today, jubilee graces abound.

Part Three – The crowning of our Queen of Unity

The first crowning of our Mother Thrice Admirable by the San Antonio Schoenstatt Family was held in the Schoenstatt Shrine of Unity in St. Lawrence Parish on Petaluma Street on July 15, 1973.  Our Mother was honored with the title “Queen of Unity”.  The beautiful crown was adorned with the symbol of every group in the branches that had been established by 1973.  Some members of the Schoenstatt Family that were in attendance were:  Jesse & Theresa Ochoa, Hope Falcon, Margaret de La O, Mrs. Sczepanik, Mrs. Balderama, Charles & Margaret Gill, Sister Margret and many others from the four branches active in that year.  The crown was placed on the picture of grace of our Mother Thrice Admirable by Fr. Dieter Haas, the Schoenstatt Father assigned in Texas.

From the sermon by Fr. Dieter Haas we read:  “We come together here to celebrate the coronation of Mary, our Queen.  . . . It is of greatest importance what we are doing here now.  We may even say that what we are doing now is of great importance for San Antonio as well as for the whole world. . . . The crowning today is the center for San Antonio, the church and the world.  We celebrate her already for the day when she will reign.  In many ways the world is on the way to become one.  The communication media tell us of happenings in all parts of the world in a very short time. We crown her as Queen of Unity and ask her to be rooted here as Queen of Unity for the whole world. . . . She helps us recover in our lives the person of Christ. . . . She helps us as Queen of Unity to unite with Him in a deep way.  We believe that in the future Mary will be recognized as Queen of Unity. . . . Let us also invite her to be in the center of our families thus uniting us and keeping us united as family.  She will go forward as a powerful Queen.  She will reign as Queen.  She will be victorious.”

Soon after the crowning of our Mother and Queen, Sr. Margret received a new assignment.  On August 13, 1973, she wrote the Schoenstatt Family of San Antonio a farewell letter with this message:  “Our longing is for unity.  We have crowned her our Queen of Unity.  We know that she will glorify herself in all of us, not only every day but every moment of the day.  She will give us peace, unity in our families and all the love and joy that comes with it and for which we always long.  She will give this to us because she is our Mother, our Queen of Unity, because we crowned her and because we are her children.  As our wonderful Mother and Queen she cannot do it any different.  Even though this will be her free gift to us, she nevertheless expects our NOTHING WITHOUT US.  We also must make efforts toward unity.  What can these efforts look like?

Trying to remain united with Mary during the small and great events of everyday life.  In a letter to Father Kentenich, Joseph Engling gives us a beautiful insight into his heart which was one united with Mary.  But this grace of such a deep union with her was not given him from the start.  His sole endeavor was always to please his heavenly Mother.  And this is also what we can do, trying to love her to please her, to offer her small and big sacrifices, to talk with her during the day, to give her gifts of confidence and surrender.

Being thus united with Mary will make it easier also to preserve our unity with all those with whom we live together.  Yet also here our efforts may not be wanting.  One great obstacle in preserving unity is that I see things only my way.  Once I start seeing things, events, circumstances the other person’s way, it looks quite different.  This is a very essential and natural prerequisite for unity in any community.”

Many of our family members will remember that in recent years Sister spent her retirement at the Confidentia Shrine in Lamar.  We were able to greet her and listen to her greeting to us – always words of encouragement and inspiration.  Sister would carry a tote with little gifts of pamphlets or holy cards to give to us and to our Mother’s visitors to the Shrine.  Our loving Father received Sr. Margret home in March 2017.  I want to share this insight – the picture of grace of our Mother Thrice Admirable in the Cor Unum in Patre Shrine was a gift from Sr. Margret.  It is a high-quality print from Schoenstatt, Germany that she gave to Sr. Corelia Bechold to present to the San Antonio Mothers Branch.  The light frame on the altar with the picture of grace of our Mother Thrice Admirable was the gift offered by the Mothers Branch in 2008 for the Cor Unum in Patre Shrine.  Of course, also, the crown from 1973 is a reminder of Sister Margret, the other Schoenstatt Sisters and the Schoenstatt Fathers that secured a firm foundation for the Schoenstatt Family in the early years – the late 60’s and 70’s.  The Schoenstatt Fathers assigned in Texas in the 1970’s were:  Fr. Locher, Fr. Brugger, Fr. Haas, and Fr. Vega.

May we strive together, in the spirit of cor unum, to enliven the unity which has been our ideal since the founding of our San Antonio Family.  Then we can be assured that the  Triune God and our Mother “Queen of Unity” will bestow the same abundant blessings which we have received for 50 years of our holy history.

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

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We Celebrate Our Golden Jubilee

We Celebrate Our Golden Jubilee

We celebrate our Golden Jubilee


By Pilar Huerta


November 23, 2019 will be the 50th Anniversary of the Schoenstatt Apostolic Movement in the Archdiocese of San Antonio.  In gratitude to God, to our Mother Thrice Admirable, and to our father and founder, Fr. Joseph Kentenich, we honor our history and the thread of the Covenant of Love that is woven throughout.


Foundation:  The arrival of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary to San Antonio on August 21, 1961.  Four sisters came to teach at St. Lawrence Catholic School:  Sr. Anne Mary, Sr. M. Annerosa, Sr. M. Antoinette, and Sr. M. Renata.  The sisters resided in St. Lawrence Parish on Petaluma Street from August 21, 1961-December 18, 1988, offering 27 years of dedicated service to the Archdiocese of San Antonio and the Schoenstatt Movement. Other Schoenstatt Sisters that also served in San Antonio during the years above, were Sr. M. Margret, Sr. M. Ludhelma, Sr. M. Hildegard, Sr. M. Carmen and Sr. M. Gwendolyn.


The first Schoenstatt Father, sent by Fr. Kentenich in 1967 to work in Texas, was Fr. Peter Locher.  He made frequent visits to the Schoenstatt Family in San Antonio during his three-year assignment.


On November 23, 1969, the first shrine in San Antonio was dedicated in the parish of St. Lawrence (which was celebrating its 10th anniversary on that day.)  The shrine was built by the loving hands and hearts of the first Schoenstatt members.  In the dedication prayer, we read . . . “But most of all we give you our hearts.  Take and receive them, form and mold them, dear Mother, in the fire of your love.  Burn out of them what burdens and hinders them.  . . . Unite them with your heart . . .”   The original intention (idea) of the shrine was to unite the parish. 


On this day of dedication, four couples sealed the covenant of love.  Thus, this date also marks the 50th Anniversary of the Schoenstatt Family League in the Archdiocese of San Antonio.


Part One:  The origin of the ideal of unity

“On the first anniversary, November 23, 1970, the shrine is named Schoenstatt Shrine of Unity (the name which the founders have already considered before the shrine was built).  In the anniversary celebration and naming prayer, we read . . . ‘through the history of this your Shrine, you have shown us that in this shrine you would like to dispense in a special way the grace of unity to our time that is so much torn by discord and strife.  Show yourself to us and to all who come here to pray as the Mother of unity, who unites all hearts in the love of her Son.  In union with our father and founder, we ask you, dear Mother, give us that deep and strong faith in the Divine Providence of our heavenly Father that we come to an ever deeper peace and unity with ourselves, with our families, with our neighbor.  Be the Mother of unity who unites the children of this parish to one warm parish family, bound together by the covenant of love with you and each other.’  . . . We include in this covenant especially all members of our parish, but also our city, our country, and all of mankind that they may find back to the deep unity with God that comes through faith.” 


The idea of unity of the young Schoenstatt Family was to become its ideal.  With the abundant grace of a loving Father from the shrine, the young Schoenstatt Family made efforts to realize its ideal through its lived covenant of love, many contributions to the capital of grace, and with the education of a beloved thrice admirable Mother and Queen.


A special visit, a blessing and a confirmation:

In Spring 1969, the groundbreaking and the offering of the foundation stone for the shrine was held.  At this time, April 1969, it happened that the Father Eye symbol was on international pilgrimage (after the death of Fr. Kentenich on September 15, 1968) and visited in Texas including San Antonio.  Father came to us at the time of the groundbreaking for the Schoenstatt Shrine of Unity in San Antonio -- a true blessing!  Was this a confirmation for a future daughter shrine in our archdiocese?  This writer believed this at the moment of grace of sealing the covenant of love, together with my husband, Julian, in 1988 and believes it today, as is attested by the holy history of the Schoenstatt Family of the Archdiocese of San Antonio. 


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