When I first heard there was a college age retreat at Schoenstatt, I was ecstatic. I am not able to visit the Shrine very often, being at St. Norbert College in De Pere, but this was an exciting opportunity. My expectations going into the retreat were to take some time away from the chaoticness of life, recenter myself, and catch up with old friends. As the retreat was centered around Fr. Kentenich, we were able to hear many stories about Fr. Kentenich and some of the Schoenstatt Sisters interactions with him. By retreat’s end, I had a new view and understanding of Fr. Kentenich; he became more real to me as a human person. Each story I heard increased my appreciation of his genuine attentiveness to each person he met and the very simple ways which he showed God’s love to others.

I was also able to spend quite a bit of time in silence and prayer in the Shrine and recenter myself. We all experience the constant busyness and stress of life, we all need that time to unwind and remind ourselves of what is really important. Sr. Paulette told us that “the main thing must always remain the main thing”. In other words, each day, each moment in our lives has its own purpose. If we are constantly focused on what is going to happen next or what has happened in the past, we are not focused on what is happening right now; the moment we have right now is a gift.

This weekend reminded me to appreciate the here and now, to spend more time with those I love and care for, and take time to appreciate the simple and joyful moments everyday.

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Hello Everyone!

Greetings from the great state of Texas! My name is Beth Crawford, and I am the North Texas Diocesan leader for the Schoenstatt Girls’ Youth and Young Women, and I am also currently on the National Team.

I hope that everyone had a blessed Advent, a holy Christmas, and a happy New Year! Down here for the SGY, during the month of December, we had an older girls Advent Retreat. The theme of our retreat reflected the motto of the year with, “The time is now, be a little Immaculata!” The retreat happened to fall on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and so it happened to revolve around not only Marian theology, but also about how to reflect the Blessed Mother in our lives as little Immaculatas.

We started the day with opening prayer. Following opening prayer, Sr. Danielle Peterson gave a talk on the theology and history behind the Immaculate Conception. We had a break for discussion and reflection among the girls, and then we preceded to the next talk by Sr. Mara Medina on the Immaculata Spirit and how it influences all parts of our lives. After her wonderful talk, we all headed over to Holy Mass, and then had lunch. A guided meditation followed, as the girls pondered on the Blessed Mother’s yes and how they could say yes to the will of the Lord in their lives. The capstone of the beautiful day was with a group dedication of new girls to Schoenstatt. The group name they decided on was Daughters of the Cross, for they hope to bear suffering joyfully in their lives as did the Blessed Mother.

It was such grace-filled day, guided by the Mother Thrice Admirable! She truly was present, helping to smooth things over and even choosing the day for the retreat (long story).

I hope that your Christmas break was holy, joyful, and restful, especially as we move forward into this year filled with school, work, or other responsibilities. And despite the unrest and uncertainty that seems to be in the world right now, may we always know that our Mother and Queen is guiding us and she will never abandon us.

The time is now, burn fearlessly!

Beth Crawford

Christmas Shrine

What another wonderful Christmas Holiday I had again this year. Each day we had amazing music to wake up to, had morning prayer in the shrine, ate breakfast, then we would have a talk to listen to by Sr. Faustina or one of the camp missionaries, we had Helping Hands and would help with the dishes being done, so the dining room and clean the tables and sweep, we would help sister in the kitchen and make cookies. After we would get together again and have a talk or a activity outside!! It was such a beautiful time to be at the shrine during the Christmas season with the shrine decorated with lights and the manger scene out. I love how the atmosphere is there and all the beautiful times we had together. We had Adoration in the shrine for an hour one of the days. I really loved it so peaceful and calm in the shrine. One of the nights we drove into town and saw the Christmas lights up in the park and all the displays up…. it was very pretty and VERY cold to walk around to see all the different things that were up. Every day we had Mass in the shrine it was so cool. I love having Mass in the shrine so much. The most thing I enjoyed there was the sisters and the individual girls that came for the Christmas Holiday. It was very nice to see all of them and meet them. I definitely can’t wait for next year’s Christmas Holiday!!!!!!!!

 

~Kate W. MN

 

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On December 1st, 2018, standing in the Schoenstatt Shrine in the humble town of Sleepy Eye, I made my covenant of love and began my Schoenstatt mission that would change my life. However, this isn’t where the story starts. The story starts with the formation of a girls’ group back in 2010. After 8 years of monthly meetings that formed the hearts, minds, and souls of us six girls, Sister Faustina decided it was time for us to make our covenant of love. We began our immediate covenant preparation the night before with a lovely dinner full of laughter, jokes, and delicious food. After that, we listened to testimonies of girls who had already made their covenant. I was finally beginning to understand just what I was getting myself into – and I was so excited! We decorated what would be our covenant candles and in them, you could see the personality of every girl; personalities that would soon be joined with the personality of our Blessed Mother. After nearly an hour of beautiful adoration in the Shrine and the writing of our personal covenant prayers, we settled in for a night of peace before the big day. I was so excited that I woke up early to spend time with my Christ before committing myself to His Glorious Mother. Then, the ceremony began. As we read our covenant prayers and declared our promises to the Queen of Heaven and Earth, to our families, friends, and fellow participants in the covenant, my heart began to grow with the love of my Mother. I could sense her very real presence and feel the joy of committing myself fully and totally to her and her Son. What I share with Mary now is a total exchange of hearts. The covenant is so important to me because it has changed the way I live. I am so much more in love with the beauties of this world and so much more intertwined with God’s divine will for me. There is nothing quite like the covenant of love. To receive the heart of Jesus’ mother and to give your heart to her is to seal a vow to strive for sainthood. Because of all of this, I can truly say: I have been changed; I am no longer the same.  

Written by Regina from Minnesota.