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 published: 2003-04-17

Home Shrine Foundation

40th Jubilee of the "Founding Document" of the Home Shrine
November 18, 1963 – 2003

Barb y Ray Yank, Jr., en el Santuario Hogar de su familia, en el año 1964

Barb and Ray Yank, Jr., kneeling in their family home shrine, 1964

Barb und Ray Yank, Jr., im Hausheiligtum der Familie, 1964

Foto: Fenelon-Yank © 2003


El Padre Kentenich en un Santuario Hogar en Milwaukee

Fr. Kentenich in a Home Shrine in Milwaukee

P. Kentenich in einem Hausheiligtum in Milwaukee

Foto: Institut der Schönstattfamilien © 2003


El Padre en el Santuario Hogar del matrimonio Yank, 1964

Fr. Kentenich at the home shrine of Mr. & Mrs. Raymond Yank, 1964

P. Kentenich im Hausheiligtum von Familie Raymond Yank, 1964

Foto: Fenelon - Yank © 2003


Margaret Fenelon (Yank), McHenry, Illinois, Estados Unidos

Margaret Fenelon (Yank), McHenry, Illinois, USA

Margaret Fenelon (Yank), McHenry, Illinois, USA

Foto: POS Brehm © 2003




USA, Margaret Fenelon. "What I am about to say is of elementary importance for the future: Everything which holds true for the Original Shrine and for the daughter shrines also holds true for the home shrines." Father Kentenich spoke these decisive words on the evening of November 18, 1963, to the group of couples gathered for his weekly Monday night talk. "What I am about to say is of elementary importance for the future..." "Everything…also holds true for the home shrines." The great emphasis that Father put on these words indicates the significance this idea, this reality, held for him. Because of the importance of the home shrine, Margaret and Michael Fenelon want to share this article originally written for the Schoenstatt Family Magazine, USA, via

Though the Blessed Mother and the Holy Spirit had been working with the organic development of the home shrine over many years and across many miles, Father Kentenich gave his definitive blessing to this stream forty years ago here in Milwaukee. Here the life stream of the home shrine was able to develop in a more concrete manner under the watchful eye of our founder, and our Mother chose this time and place for the "foundation." (This may be a good year to read once again the history of this development in Father Jonathan Niehaus’ book The Birth of the Home Shrine.)

A new beginning urged by a concrete need

As with every new beginning in our Schoenstatt movement, the home shrine grew out of a heartfelt need. One such need was the sense of helplessness the parents felt in the education of their children, especially in their education of the faith. They desired a means to help their children navigate through the stormy waters of the times and at the same time find a way to make their faith a living reality. Father was always acutely aware of the needs of the times. He knew in the depths of his heart that the greatest help he could give these families, and all families in the future, was the complete trust and confidence in our Mother’s real presence as educator and Queen.

Invite the MTA into our houses?

When certain families came to Father and asked him whether it was possible to make the same invitation to our MTA to come down "and erect her throne here in a special way" also in their homes, and then took upon themselves the initiative to try to "build" these shrines, Father saw this as a sign of Divine Providence. Yes, he believed it was true that our Mother desired to take up her residence in each and every home. The same promises and the same demands, which she holds effective in the Original Shrine and in every other shrine, would now also be a reality in the home shrines. Through their own lives of prayer and striving, offering all into the capital of grace, the family members could invite and now draw down our Mother Thrice Admirable into their home to become the real educator of their hearts. What a joy and consolation this was, especially for these parents.

On February 23, 1964, our house became a shrine

Several months after Father gave his "foundation" talk to the couples, he was asked by my parents to come and dedicate our home shrine. He agreed, and on February 23, 1964, our home officially became a shrine. We are grateful to have our own little "founding document," Father’s words for our home shrine. It is important for us to hear what Father felt in his heart, his innermost thoughts about the home shrine. And now we feel we would like to share these words which he spoke that day so many years ago, realizing how timeless and universal his message is.

Father Kentenich's home shrine prayer

In our home shrine Father knelt and prayed:

What we are going to do here today seems to be a new beginning or a new epoch in the development of our family. We are so glad that all our children are filled with the idea of the Living Shrine, that they love you, our Mother Thrice Admirable and Queen of Schoenstatt.

We want to remind you once more, our Mother and Queen, what it means that our children will go now through their teenage years. It may well be that we, their parents, will hardly have any visible influence anymore upon them. So much more do we beg you therefore, our heavenly Queen, to draw our children, especially in this particular age, with a tender love, to yourself.

From our whole heart do I ask of you what we say in the Scepter Prayer: "Hold the scepter in your hand. Mother, guide your Schoenstatt land."

Your "Schoenstatt land" is now the heart of our children over which we want you to watch. We think here again mainly of those children who discover more and more the world and take it in themselves and want to be more and more on their own.

"Hold the scepter in your hand. Mother, guide your Schoenstatt land. Here you are the only Queen, save us from our foes unseen." Mother, be the only Queen in the hearts of our children as well as in our home. Save us from our foes unseen!

Take care also, dear Mother, that we have in our family a kingdom of truth, a kingdom of love, a kingdom of justice, which unfolds itself more and more.

"Love must rule here all the day, truth and justice must hold sway, oneness but not of the mass, nor enslavement of the class. Show the world now all your might in this dark and stormy night, let it see how you can sway, things on earth when e’er you pray." Let this home shrine be your favorite place where the spirit of apostles and of EVERYDAY SANCTITY is fostered.

The Blessed Mother's presence - a reality in our home

Our Mother’s presence and education truly became a reality in our home. The 60’s were difficult years for families. A time of rebellion of the youth against all authority, especially parental authority, and the beginning of the sexual revolution affected many hearts In the aftermath of Vatican II many young people left the Church as a measure of confusion reigned. As parents sought ways to keep the faith alive and to find a balance in the changing times, they were quite often unable to give needed guidance and understanding especially to their teen-age children. Through Father’s guidance as he lead our family into the heart of our Mother, placing all needs and cares into her loving hands in the home shrine, we were able to navigate those stormy seas.

Run to Mary

One of the children in our family, who was a teenager at the time of our home shrine dedication, recently wrote these words in a testimony for Father’s beatification.

With a heart broken and rebellious, hurting and confused, I encountered Father Kentenich – an ocean of mercy and calm in an age of turmoil and upset – family, church and society. His presence of peace brought healing to my soul, strength to my spirit, a gradual awakening to Christ, WITH MARY, in the Holy Spirit to the Father. He left me with a rich legacy, a simple mandate – Run to Mary and she will lead you home.

Our home shrines, places of grace where we can "run to Mary" with all of our heartbreaking needs and cares. From our shrines, with our cooperation, she will continually work miracles of grace, miracles of healing, miracles of love. And though we may not see it in our own lifetime, she will lead each member of our family "home."

This year of rejoicing in the 40th Jubilee of the Foundation of the Home Shrine may be the perfect time to have your home shrine dedicated if it has not already been dedicated, or to renew your dedication. In the Third Founding Document Father tells us that each renewal brings a new in-break of the divine, a renewed stream of graces. How those graces are needed!

It is a joy to see the uniqueness of each individual home shrine, each one signifying a newness of grace. The many rays of our dear Mother are beginning to shine out throughout our world. What a great hope we have for our future! Or rather—in Father’s own words—our home shrines are "…of elementary importance for the future."


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