Thursday, June 6, 2013

Sister, Sister, Sister

"Take this picture of the Blessed Mother and give
 it a place of honor in your home. Then your home
 will become a little shrine in which the picture of
 grace will mediate many graces, create a holy family 
atmosphere, and form holy family members."
- Father Joseph Kentenich  Founder of Schoenstatt
My daughter Sarah and I drove slowly down the drive wondering where exactly Our Lady had led us in this place named Waukesha. We had been at the Religious Book Trade Exhibit in St. Charles, Illinois and ventured up to Wisconsin to do a little Shrine hoppin. On the way we visited Marytown and now arrived at Schoenstatt. Near the end of the property, we found a small chapel beside which two sisters were planting flowers. Another sister was driving around in a golf cart with a family in tow. We slowly approached, not knowing what to expect and asked if we could enter the chapel. "Oh yes. Please." Short and to the point. I liked it. We entered and found kneelers, a small altar with a Tabernacle, a crucifix and candles and a picture of Our Lady holding Baby Jesus. We wandered down the property to the Stations of the Cross and the Cemetery. It was beautiful. Every plant, every rock in place. We walked back up to the Chapel and entered for a few more minutes then took a few moments to talk to the gardeners. As I mentioned the project I am working on, the sister in the back, Puerto Rican, jumped to her feet and wielding a butcher knife said, "You go to the retreat house and ask for Sr. Maria.  She will tell you the story." I couldn't help myself. "Sister, with you pointing that butcher knife at my that way, I feel inclined to go." Both Sisters laughed and said, "Yes. Go."
The sister at the door to the retreat house said that Sr. Maria was busy but invited us in after hearing of our project and told us the entire story of Schoenstatt. She offered us the gift of her time. She told us the story of a young girl entering the Chapel and immediately recognizing it as the Chapel of her hometown. Sister said that one of the special gifts is that every Chapel is identical, giving the visitor the feeling of being at home, being in a familiar place. She could not have been nicer and she did make us feel at home and started our trek of Shrines through Wisconsin on the right foot. She called it Divine Providence that we were there, the butcher knife sister said the same and today as I read the little booklet Sister gave to  us, Fr. Kentenich said the same thing. Divine Providence. No doubt.

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