Queen of our Heartland – Show us Where you Want us to Build your Shrine in Nebraska!
Schoenstatt in Nebraska longing and preparing for a Future Shrine
USA, Sr. Marie Day. The Schoenstatt family's hopes for a future Shrine in Nebraska may be 'earthing' with a piece of land, including a house and a chapel, donated for Schoenstatt by the diocese of Lincoln. When the Schoenstatt Family of Nebraska celebrates the tenth anniversary of the beginning of Schoenstatt in 2003, they hope to have the interior of the shrine to place in the chapel until the shrine will be built. The little Chapel is now the "home shrine" of the growing Schoenstatt family who crowned Mary as "Queen of the Heartland".
It was on August 4, 1948, that the first Schoenstatt seeds were sown in Nebraska - the day Father Kentenich visited Boys Town in Omaha...
Forty-five years later the seeds, being prepared all those years by Divine Providence, were ready to break through the ground and begin to grow into a beautiful plant that would one day bear abundant fruit.
In August of 1993, invited by the Bishop of the diocese of Lincoln, Bishop Bruskewitz, to begin Schoenstatt in his diocese, the first contact was made with three parishes and introductions into the movement were offered. Within a short time our Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt "drew many youthful hearts " to herself. Pilgrimages were made to visit the Shrine in Sleepy Eye, covenants were sealed and homeshrines were erected! Our Mother and Queen was on her victory march in the heartland of America!
Crowning the Blessed Mother as "Queen of the Heartland"
By 1999 the longing for their own shrine had grown in the hearts of the Schoenstatt Families in Nebraska. In response to this longing, the decision was made to follow the example of the Schoenstatt Family in Minnesota and crown the MTA with the petition: "Show us where you want us to build your Shrine in Nebraska!
In 1998, the year of the Holy Spirit, the Schoenstatt Family in Nebraska received the MTA picture for their future shrine as a gift from a Minnesota Schoenstatt couple. So this was the picture they would crown.
After a beautiful spiritual striving, 350 Schoenstatt members gathered on December 10, 1999, at St. Teresa Parish in Lincoln with the Bishop and eight priests for the crowning. The Bishop crowned our Mother Thrice Admirable as the longing of many hearts begged for the gift of a shrine in the heartland. She was crowned: "Queen of the Heartland"
On Pilgrimage from Parish to Parish
The crowned MTA picture—until she would have her home in the shrine—began a pilgrimage to the many parishes in the diocese where Schoenstatt had been established. She would spend several weeks at each parish where she was given a very special place of honor. She would continue these visits until…
Meanwhile all were searching for the next step of Divine Providence. A door opened—a piece of land—medals were buried, prayers said, the MTA taken out to look at the land—a door closed and then another opened. Another place—and then another. The longing grew! The search continued! One year passed!
On December 10, 2000, the Schoenstatt Family gathered once again around the throne of our Queen of the Heartland and reminded her of their great longing: the shrine.
How long will she make her children wait? Prayers continued. Contributions for the capital of grace of the "new shrine" continued to be offered to our Queen. Many sacrifices were asked of the Schoenstatt families in Nebraska and much was offered for the shrine. It seemed as if the Blessed Mother was preparing a firm foundation for the shrine by the many sacrifices asked of her children.
A Door Opened…
Then in April 2001, another door opened very wide! In December 2000, two monks had come to Nebraska—to a town twenty-three miles from Lincoln, Crete. At the edge of the town they had purchased ninety-three acres of land and build a chapel and a home. By spring it became clear that Divine Providence had other plans for them. They would leave and had decided to give the land with the two new buildings on it to the diocese. Isn’t it interesting that these buildings were being built and placed on the land as we renewed our crowning!
Bishop Bruskewitz knew well that the Schoenstatt Family was looking for land to build the Shrine. He thought this land in Crete might be a possibility.
This door opened and we walked through. Could this be the place?
"Heart of Mary"
A long, winding driveway of small stones, two buildings in the middle of a corn field, no landscaping, ninety-three acres of a little paradise!
In July of 2001, the Schoenstatt Family made the first pilgrimage to the land with our crowned Queen. In the chapel we prayed and sang and thanked! Our hearts were filled with joy! All felt we had found our home, our Schoenstatt home! It was an overwhelming experience! We did not want to leave anymore!
The diocese has given this land to the Schoenstatt Family to use for Schoenstatt—for our family gatherings, our summer camps, our group meetings. The crowned MTA was placed into the chapel in September 2001. It is now the "home shrine" for the families and members of Schoenstatt.
Then of course we needed a name for our little home. After much prayer and being open to the Holy Spirit our little paradise is called "COR MARIAE", Heart of Mary.
Bearers of Father Kentenich's legacy in the Heartland
We often say that the Blessed Mother cannot be outdone in generosity. As she saw the serious striving and longing of the families, and as she graciously accepted the crown they prepared for her, she was preparing the gift of the land with two buildings on it but even more: She was touching the heart of a lady in Minnesota who knew of Schoenstatt, who somehow had heard about the longing for a shrine in Nebraska and contacted the diocese saying that she would like to donate the altar for the future shrine.
When the Schoenstatt Family of Nebraska celebrates the tenth anniversary of the beginning of Schoenstatt in 2003, they hope to have the interior of the shrine to place in the chapel until the shrine will be built.
Yes, indeed, the seeds our Father so carefully planted in 1948, are bearing rich fruit. In this jubilee year as we commemorate our founder’s arrival in Milwaukee in 1952, we are grateful that he returned again to America and that we too may be the bearers of his rich exile legacy here in the heartland.
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