Meet Olivia and Claire!

Oregon and Ohio Ver Sacrum Missionaries

Claire Bias is happy to be embarking on her first Ver Sacrum Mission summer! Claire lives in the country near Wells, MN. Her family has been involved in Schoenstatt for a very long time and she has been attending summer camps all her life. Claire’s favorite memory of Schoenstatt is making her Blank Check Consecration at the Original Shrine in Germany in 2014. This coming fall, Claire will be a freshman at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. Claire is pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and hopes to one day achieve a Doctor of Musical Arts! When she’s not in school, Claire enjoys musical theater, cats, history, camping, and more cats. Claire is extremely excited to start this adventure and bring Schoenstatt to more people!

Olivia Lippert is a returning Ver Sacrum Missionary, and she is excited to be back at it! She hails from the tiny town of Easton, MN, and she became familiar with Schoenstatt when she was about 7 years old. Since then she has participated in numerous summer camps, retreats, and group meetings. Olivia has made her Marian Apostles, Room Shrine, Covenant of Love, and Blank Check dedications, and all of them were made with Claire. She will be starting her sophomore year at Bethany Lutheran College this fall in Mankato, MN, where she is studying Communication, Theater, and Spanish. Some of Olivia’s favorite hobbies include camping, fishing, gardening, baking, cooking, photography, reading, traveling, writing, and being creative!

Camp Dates 2016

July 11-16, 2016 Salem, OR
 July 19-21, 2016 Maria Stein, OH

Become a Ver Sacrum Missionary this summer!

IMG_7615Before you plan your summer, I wanted to ask you to please consider the Ver Sacrum Mission camps. Something we started to offer last year, thanks to the generous young women who gave of their time, strength, and experience, so that other girls, in other states, could learn about Schoenstatt.
The following link will allow to watch a very nice video, so that you can see what the young ladies did last year.
You don’t have to commit for the whole summer, and you will receive a stipend for each week of camp.
Right now we are fine tuning the weeks of camp in the different places: Oregon, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Florida.
I take your intentions into my prayers in the Shrine, and ask the Blessed Mother to grant you a most blessed time of Lent,
Sr. M. Isabel

Hello from Miami!

Hello from the Ver Sacrum Missionaries!

What a special blessing that we were able to land in Miami, FL and be at the Shrine for Covenant Day (July 18)! This date held special significance for us since it was the one year anniversary of our Covenant of Love and Blank Check Dedications in Schoenstatt, Germany. The Blessed Mother certainly poured out her graces upon us (No pun intended. It was pouring rain when we arrived!). We were greeted by a beautiful piece of land filled with avocado, mango, and coconut trees! Palm trees line the path to the shrine and cement footprints lead the way to the door. In Miami the shrine is called, “Light and Way to the Merciful Father.” The Hispanic population is very large near the shrine, and so we were emerged into their Spanish culture for the week. It was so beautiful! One of our favorite experiences was attending Mass in Spanish and learning their prayers and songs. Everyone was so excited to meet us and thanked us for coming to lead the camps for the girls.

The first camp we did was the day camp for the younger girls. They had SO much fun! The day went by fast and was filled with lots of activities: talks, crafts, games, snacks, and lots of laughter. We were often struck by the depth of their understanding and their questions. These girls were very excited to learn more about Jesus and Mary and gave us a great witness and example of childlikeness. The energy was certainly contagious! After camp was finished, we attended the Spanish Mass in the Shrine with many of the families. Sr. Miriam surprised us by calling us forward for a recognition, and Father gave us a special blessing with a relic from the true cross!

Our second camp was for the older girls and we began on Sunday night. We were blessed to have 12 girls attend camp, and most of them had never heard of Schoenstatt before. It was an honor to bring them to the shrine for the first time and share all of what we love about Schoenstatt with them. “Into her heart” these girls dove. Our days consisted of all the regular fun camp activities: talks, crafts, games, snacks, songs, movie nights, and many visits to the shrine. Since our afternoons were hot, a fun highlight was always the water games after lunch. Overall, their favorite part of camp was “Question Time!” During camp, we invited the girls to write down (anonymously) any questions they might have about the faith and put them into our “Question Box.” Then, we would have special times when we would go through some of the questions and find the answers in the YOUCAT. Everyone had such a fun time, and we all benefited from the deep faith discussions. For us as leaders, it was so beautiful to see how eager and excited the girls were to learn more about the faith! We enjoyed discussions about Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, Confession, God, Mary, and everything in between! As part of the closing program, many of the parents were able to come and join us in the shrine. We thanked the Blessed Mother for a wonderful week and brought her our gifts and strivings. We left the girls excited to come back next year, and in the meantime, they want to start a few girls’ groups in the area! Keep them in your prayers as they begin these new initiatives.

A visit to Miami certainly wouldn’t be complete without some sightseeing adventures. On Thursday afternoon, Nellie, one of the dedicated Schoenstatters, showed us around the city. To start off the day, she took us to the Miami Seaquarium. We had so much fun watching the dolphin and whale shows, walking around the gorgeous tropical grounds, visiting the various animal exhibits, and cooling off with dip n’ dots. For our afternoon lunch, we were treated with high class style while we dined in a restaurant in downtown Miami. Our personal server helped us enjoy a delicious meal in an atmosphere of beauty! Nellie also took us to a part of the city called Wynwood Walls. Local and famous artists alike have lined the streets with beautiful artwork on the sides of the buildings. It was interesting to see the various styles of art as we walked along the streets and park area. The highlight of the day was our visit to Miami Beach!! The gorgeous sandy shore felt so soft under our feet and we ran into the blue water with delight. We could have stayed there all day relaxing on the shore. It was certainly hard to leave Miami, the beautiful shrine, the tropical trees, mangos, beaches, and sunshine. We hope to visit again soon!

Hello from Maria Stein!

Hello from the Ver Sacrum Missionaries!

A warm welcome from Maria Stein, Ohio! After a full day of flights starting bright and early at 6am, we safely traveled through four time zones on three planes with no delays, damages, or disasters. In Ohio we were greeted by Deb Smith, who quickly showed us Ohio hospitality by taking us out to supper and showing us around. We also met with Debbie Smith (not to be confused with Deb Smith!) and discussed plans for camp. The next morning, young and enthusiastic girls arrived for the day camp, which was held at Deb Smith’s farm. The beautiful “barn” was equipped with a kitchen, classroom, bathroom, and gym! The day passed quickly as we taught lessons, worked on our shrine craft, sang songs, played games, ate lunch and prayed together. The only disappointment of the day was a torrential rain storm, which cancelled our afternoon swimming in the pond. Still, the day was a huge success!

The next day, we began our camp for the older girls at the Maria Stein Retreat Center. The beautiful facility offered a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere for the 12 girls. Some of the highlights included our picturesque rosary walk through the forest, a special trip to the wayside shrine, the bonfire and sharing of personal “power of prayer” stories, fun socializing time, and growing closer to the Blessed Mother. We found that the girls in Ohio are very eager to learn more about Schoenstatt and desperately want to have a shrine for their state. A few years ago, a small wayside shrine was dedicated to the Mother Thrice Admirable and placed at the Maria Stein retreat center. It is right next to the lake and makes a great prayer place. Plus, it was great to have the MTA with us during camp!

As in every other state, our host families proved to be nothing but generous. Deb Smith & Debbie Smith (or as we called them, “The Debbie Duo”) went over and above to make us comfortable and happy during our stay. They brought us to some of the best places the area had to offer, including the 2nd largest collection of relics in the world and a fabulous Mexican restaurant. It was so beautiful to see how much they are doing for Schoenstatt in their area. We especially enjoyed our stay at Deb Smith’s beautiful family farm and the peacefulness of the country.

In Ohio there is a special treasure: an outdoor shrine! It was one of our favorite places. smile emoticon They have created their own outdoor shrine in the forest area near a Diocesan Retreat Facility and have outlined the area with hedges in the exact dimensions of the shrine. Talk about creativity! They even have a bell to ring! It is certainly a beautiful place. The people have been praying for a long time that someday they will be able to have a “real” shrine in the Ohio area. In the meantime, they have invited the Blessed Mother to their state in this unique way.

Hello from Pendleton!

Hello from the Ver Sacrum Missionaries!

Welcome to the land of Pendleton, Oregon. If you just thought of a hot, dry desert land of 103 degrees than you’ve got the right picture in your head. However, despite the intense heat, our two camps were a big success! St. Andrew’s mission is a retreat area located on the Indian Reservation near Pendleton, Oregon. Fr. Mike lives at the mission and ministers to the many Indian people who live on the reservation, as well as some other parishioners from the city. It was a beautiful location for camp. There was a large hall for talks, activities, crafts, and meals and lots of outdoor space for games (and sprinklers!). The Church was only a short distance from the hall and we had A/C in our trailer house smile emoticon

At the first camp there were 20 girls who were between the ages of 11-17. Some of the highlights from that camp were our Marian Procession during Mass, a fun movie night (with popcorn of course!), and lots of great talks and discussions. For our second camp, there were 18 girls who were 9-13. These girls were full of energy and enthusiasm! They really enjoyed the dancing night and learning about being “Royal Children.” This group of girls especially bonded together as friends and by the end of camp we were one big family!

Even though there is no shrine in Pendleton or Hermiston (yet), it was beautiful to see how much love the people there have for the Mother Thrice Admirable. Some of the girls traveled up to 5 hours to attend camp and experience the love of our Heavenly Mother. We felt so blessed to be able to meet each girl, learn more about them, and watch them deepen their relationship with Mary.

The Blessed Mother was also at work among the mothers who were helping out at the camps. They are now planning a training weekend for themselves and have exchanged contact information to stay in touch with one another!!

Another great blessing was the wonderful host families who adopted us for the week! We can’t thank them enough for their love and care. They were so generous and hospitable and made sure we always were comfortable and felt right at home. We enjoyed homemade banana bread and strawberry jam, a relaxing night in a hot tub, a trip to the mountain viewpoint and lots of famous Hermiston watermelon. During our free day, they planned a full day of sightseeing so we could get a true experience of Oregon. One of our adventures took us to the SAGE (Sustainable Agriculture and Energy) Center, where we learned about the agriculture at the interactive visitor center. It was so much fun to learn about this new state and all that they have to offer.

Please continue to keep us and the mission in your prayers. Everything has been amazing so far and we know that we could not accomplish any of this without the spiritual support! Many many thanks! Know that you are all in our prayers as well.

Hello from Crete!

Hello from the Ver Sacrum Missionaries!

What an amazing week in Crete, Nebraska! The Blessed Mother never ceases to amaze us with all the gifts she gives us. The Cor Mariae Shrine captured our hearts in a unique way and we both quickly fell in love with the simple, yet breathtaking, atmosphere and landscape. It was such a blessing to be able to stay at the Shrine and have the MTA so close.

Everyone was so welcoming and they gave us the full Nebraska experience. They even made sure we got to eat a World Famous Runza, which is a specialty sandwich of Nebraska. Spiced meat, cabbage, and onions are all wrapped in a warm and soft bun. Yum!

Since it was a smaller group of girls, we were able to become close like a family over the week. We enjoyed picnics, bonfires, visiting the nursing home and singing for the patients, water fights, Holy Mass, decorating t-shirts, scavenger hunts, adoration, candlelight processions, talks, videos, and meditations. We also got to see the new wayside shrine that the Schoenstatt Girls’ Youth erected! It was a full week of fun!

The Nebraska high school mission camp was a success and everyone had a great time! The main focus of the camp for the high school girls was to prepare a day camp for girls ages 6-9. The high school girls were in charge of preparing the talks, meditations, prayers, games, activities, and crafts. Taking the messages of Fr. Kentenich of the New Image of the Father, the New Image of the Child, and the New Image of the Community, they incorporated these ideas into the camp theme. One fun part of the camp was the “Royal Child Fashion Show.” The girls prepared a fashion show of fun, modest, and Marian outfits for various occasions for the younger girls in order to give them examples of Marian dress. Then, each of the youner girls got to practice walking down the runway and like royalty! Another highlight of the day was the water games and the massive water fight! It was so great to see the leadership of the girls and witness the graces from the Shrine at work.

Hello from Lancaster!

Greetings from the Ver Sacrum Missionaries!

Our first week of mission work reminded us how truly blessed we are. The beginning of our mission has been wonderful and full of so many surprise blessings and graces. Our camp in Lancaster was a huge success! Thank you for the prayers!! It was so beautiful to see how quickly the girls attached themselves to the MTA image. Our days were filled with singing, praying, learning, games, snacks, lunch, and other activities. We were able to have Mass and the Rosary on both days and Fr. John was gracious enough to offer Confession as well. The camp was held at St. Clement Parish in Lancaster, WI. We stayed at the old convent, which was attached to the church and the school. With a whole convent to ourselves and the Marian Chapel only 10 feet away, we felt quite at home!

Our time in Lancaster also allowed for some time to sightsee, explore the adorable downtown shops, and visit with various parishioners from St. Clement. The ladies and families in Lancaster were so generous and made sure that we were welcomed, comfortable, and well fed at all times smile emoticon On Wednesday night (June 17), two ladies took us on a mini road trip to Dubuque for supper on the Mississippi River! On Thursday night (June 18), we had supper with a few young college-aged women from the parish. It truly was a joy to work with Fr. John (who just recently made his Covenant of Love in May!) and all the staff at St. Clement Parish. We are excited to see what the Blessed Mother has in store for them in the future!

Hello from Waukesha!

Hello from the Ver Sacrum Missionaries! Our time in Waukesha was busy and very productive. Our days were spent preparing material, printing booklets, gathering craft supplies, writing talks and meditations, and finalizing some late minutes details. Most importantly, we were able to be spiritually renewed with time in the shrine and meditations from Sr. Isabel.

We were also able to join the high school missionaries in Waukesha. On Sunday evening (June 14), the high school girls arrived for the high school mission camp. There were over 30 girls who came to offer their service as missionaries for the Hispanic children of the area. Each day, about 50 children came for a day camp offered by the girls. It was beautiful to see how the young ladies each shared the love of the Blessed Mother with the children.

On Tuesday morning (June 16), we had a beautiful send off from the shrine with Fr. Roberts and the high school girls. We were given a special blessing and each received a missionary cross. We could feel the Holy Spirit coming down into our hearts and the Blessed Mother smiling at us! We were ready to be sent out!! As we drove out of the Waukesha parking lot on that Tuesday morning with sunshine and blue skies, we could hear the Father say, “Do you go with me?” And we shouted back, “Yes, Father, we go with you!”