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Schoenstatt
Apostolic Movement

On this Covenant Day we celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Home Shrine

By: Patricia and José Köstner

On November 18, 2023 we will celebrate 60 years of founding of the Home Shrines. For our Father & Founder, Joseph Kentenich, this was a journey along the path that Divine Providence showed him through his children. Life was pulsating, rich in connections, revealing to us the great gift of the Home Shrine, based on the Promises and Demands of the Covenant of Love.

We can say that we have grown on this journey of life, but there is much, much more to do. We must fully live the reality of the Home Shrines, as well as multiply them numerically for Schoenstatt, the Church and the World.

When things get complicated…

As children of Schoenstatt, we are called to look at life from the perspective of practical faith in Divine Providence. This is precisely what our Father & Founder did to take the step of founding the Home Shrines. In the founding document he says: “Since it primarily involved the children, and children tend to show interest quickly but also to change quickly to other things, so that today it’s this, tomorrow it’s that, the next day it’s something else, I was afraid that it would not take long for them to want something new. As happens so often in life, an inspiration takes hold for a few days, maybe a few weeks, and then vanishes as quickly as it came. But this time it was not like that. I don’t know, how long has it already been since we dedicated the first ‘Living Shrine’? That is quite a long time, especially considering the small children involved, and the teenagers. Then consider all the blessings it has brought! Especially original is that this has been something the parents and children have done together.”

The families of that time became participants in the life stream of the Living Shrines. Thus our father was encouraged to take the step of founding the Home Shrines. Then, Workshop on the valley that is the Original Shrine multiplied and became each of our homes, with the same demands and promises.

In the founding document of the Home Shrines our Father shows that the world is falling apart and Christian influence is disappearing. The pluralistic society has emerged, there is no longer a Catholic atmosphere in the environment. Evolution has increasingly led us to a diaspora Christianity. In this context, which over the years has only grown, the COVID 19 pandemic came. Nobody expected nor imagined it. An unknown, highly contagious, serious, painful and deadly disease. Health systems collapsed. Society was invaded by fear and anguish. The world came to a complete standstill in 2020. And our temples were no exception.

And what was the response?

And what was the response? We lived intensely that religious atmosphere in our Home Shrines. In them we received the graces that the Mother gives us. Our contributions to the capital of grace became more conscious and intensified. Just as our Father prophesied, we remained “really at home and built a little world there, we perceived with an inner joy all the atmosphere of home and land that it carries with it.”

Thus we coped with a very big crisis that humanity faced. And, using the tool of social networks, all those floating islands came together and kept our Schoenstatt family and its spirit very much alive. The network of Home Shrines was activated like no one expected and became especially vital. From these, Mary was repeatedly and insistently recognized and crowned as the Queen and Mother who would take perfect care of her children.

The multiplication of Home Shrines has no limit

In 1929 our Father & Founder prophesied that in the shadow of the Shrine the destinies of the Church will be co-decided. And, beyond the context in which this was said, it has been extended to the point that our Home Shrines are also a guarantee of life for the Church of the future, which will probably once again be the Church of the catacombs. This is what our Father anticipates when he says that “the Blessed Mother wants to create a new world. And how does She want to do it from our home shrines? Establishing herself in each family, assuming, continuing and carrying out her great educational task.”

Now the multiplication of Home Shrines has no limit. The floating islands will continue to expand to serve and renew the Church as well. It only depends on the families who want to take our MTA into their homes and assume the demands that this imposes by living the Covenant of Love with Her with deep conviction.

We are witnesses and we have experienced it vitally. “What is valid for the Original Shrine and for the Daughter Shrines, is also valid for the Home Shrines.”

We invite you to meditate on how we have experienced our Home Shrines in each of our families, what it has meant for each person, and to renew the commitment assumed with our MTA by asking her to establish herself in them, living intensely the Covenant of Love that each of us sealed with Her.

Patricia and José Köstner,
Superiors General of the Schoenstatt Institute of Families

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