Schönstatt - Begegnungen

"Family Oscar" Award for Schoenstatt Project "Open House Sharing"

Upper Austrian Government Gives First Prize to Schoenstatt Families

Verleihung des "Famlien-Oskars" durch den stellvertretenden Landeshauptmann von Oberösterreich, Hiesl, an Familie Breuer am 30.12.2000
The "Family Oscar" award is given to the Breuer Family by the Vice President of Upper Austria, Hiesl, on December 30, 2001
Foto: Haslinger © 2001
Der "Familien-Oskar" mit Urkunde und Blumen im Hausheiligtum der Breuers
The "Family Oscar", along with the document and flowers, was placed in the Breuers' homeshrine
Foto: Haslinger © 2001
Hausgespräch: Impuls zum Wunschthema und anschließender Austausch der Ehepaare
Open House Talk: An input on the chosen subject is given, then the couples are encouraged to share
Foto: Haslinger © 2001

(Siegfried and Andrea Breuer, Austria) The Upper Austrian Family Award 2000, called "Family Oscar," in the category of "Families and Individuals" was granted to the Schoenstatt Project "Open House Sharing" sponsored by the Austrian Schoenstatt Family Movement. On December 20, the prize was given to the Breuer family, who had sent the required documents to the committee. Another Schoenstatt project, "Family Oasis," was awarded the 4th prize.

The "Open House Sharing" is a simple and effective means to support couples in their marriage and family life. One couple invites friends or neighbors for an evening in their home; they also invite a Schoenstatt family or a couple that was trained in the Schoenstatt Educational Program for Family Spirituality. The Schoenstatt people are asked to give a short and significant presentation on a subject chosen by the host family, and then the guest couples are encouraged to share their own experiences. The "Open House Sharing" ends with refreshments and informal discussion. This project is offered in all regions of

Austria, sponsored by the Schoenstatt Family Movement and the Schoenstatt Educational Program for Family Spirituality. This program earned a federal award already in 1994, and since then has been supported from time to time with federal funds.

Effective and Contagious

The "Open House Sharing" project earned the first prize from the Upper Austrian Family Award 2000, in the amount of öS 30.000 (app. $1,900) and the bronze statuette "Family," worth öS 25,000 (app. $1,500). Upper Austrian Vice President Franz Hiesl especially mentioned the project being effective and contagious. Several couples who took part in the program invited other couples into their own homes because they wanted to share what they experienced as helpful and motivating. With six Austrian newspapers and the Upper Austrian Online News reporting about the prize, the Breuers and all the other couples hope for more people to learn about this program and join in. So far, over 70 of the "Open House Sharing" sessions were held in Upper Austria, with a total of 950 participants – with rising numbers! The Breuers hosted 14 "Open House Sharing" sessions. What is their motivation? Siegfried and Andrea: "We want to do something for young couples, and we enjoy it tremendously. True friendships grew in the course of time. We see how the Blessed Mother helps the couples to grow. From her simple, hidden place in our living room, she works miracles of grace. When the families leave, they most often say, 'It was super, just what we needed right now!'"

Families for Families

On January 3, 2001, the people in charge of "Open House Sharing" in Austria met in the Schoenstatt Center in Vienna, to celebrate receiving the recently earned award. This, they decided, should motivate them to continue with future promotion of the program. The Blessed Mother obviously wants to show that this is to be one of the main pillars of pastoral effort, families for families, opening their houses and home shrines to others and giving support for

Marriage and family life, sharing from their own experiences, rooted in Schoenstatt's family spirituality. The responsible couples worked on new strategies to spread this project so more families would know about it, take part or offer "Open House Sharing." The couples also joined in the happiness of another Schoenstatt project, "Family Oasis," being awarded the 4th prize.

More information (in German only) will soon be available at:

http://www.hausgesrpä, or contact the Breuers (


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