April 22, 2020

United in Mary – in a Time of Crisis

from Sr. M. Isabel Bracero

In the midst of this unparalleled time of crisis in our world, initiatives are taking place to draw the Schoenstatt Family of the USA – and all who join us – into a greater unity under the protective mantle of the Blessed Mother.

The Flu becomes an Open Door

Shortly before the third Sunday of March, that is, when we celebrate our covenant renewal day with the Schoenstatt Family here in Wisconsin—known as Covenant Sunday—we had to cancel our gathering because we had the flu among the sisters. Wanting to provide the material necessary for everyone to renew the covenant of love in their home shrines and continue reflecting on the year’s motto (Unite in Mary—on fire, we go forward!) we decided to send out an email blast with the corresponding texts, announcements, and other inspirational things. Little did we know that this was a dry run of what we would repeatedly offer in the following weeks.  A couple of days later our archbishop here in Milwaukee, and many other bishops around the United States, restricted public liturgical gatherings. By the time our people opened this first email, they were more than eager to receive something like this.

Highlighting the Home Shrine

A first article reflecting on the necessity to focus on the home shrine, inviting people to counterbalance the quarantine days with a period of intense contributions to the capital of grace was sent out and posted on our website. This reflection was followed by some significant words from Father, from 1966, on the relevance of the home shrines in our modern times.

As things intensified, we saw the need to record a few sisters praying the rosary and the stations of the cross. We have highlighted the use of Schoenstatt’s prayer book Heavenwards, especially the Prayer In Times of Need. A separate reflection was offered on the prayer Hold the Scepter In Your Hand. This was done in view of the 75th anniversary  of its authorship and in connection with the invitation for people to (re)crown the images of the MTA in their homes.

A Threefold Admonition

A threefold admonition was offered, in particular, to the missionaries of the Schoenstatt Pilgrim Mother. With the concern that they do not continue visiting each other and handling material in a time when measures cannot be overlooked (we already had a missionary with the virus), we stressed: Stay home; pray the Rosary; and crown the MTA!

Fostering Faith and Hope

A number of live transmissions have been done to broadcast moments of prayer in the shrine, one holy Mass, and stations of the cross. We hope to continue offering a few more such opportunities. Among the most recent reflections, we find thoughts on spiritual communion, taking Joseph Engling as our model. An online Holy Week Retreat is in the making.

The people are in need of anything that brings them hope and turns their glance to God. They are also very grateful for this service and constantly tell us about it.

Turning to our Heavenly Mother

The international effort uniting us in the campaign for 100,000 contributions to the capital of grace has also strengthened our cyber-apostolate in this time of distress. The idea of responding to the coronavirus with the #coronamater, as an international movement, directs our attention to what our father and founder would have emphasized the most. Often it was his concern that when things turned dark and difficult the most important thing was to give honor to the Heavenly Mother, as he called her here in Milwaukee when he would speak in English.

Here is a link to the blog posts. Feel free to browse… https://schoenstattwisconsin.org/

Mary, Protect Us with Your Mantle!

May our MTA protect us with her mantle, but also continue to use as her instruments in every situation. May our faith in Divine Providence keep us always focused on the essentials!