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 published: 2004-01-13

Bringing radiance and commitment to the Church

Five Sisters of Mary Received in the Shadow of the Schoenstatt Shrine in Milwaukee, USA

Las novicias durante la celebración

The novices in bridal white, during the celebration.

Die Novizinnen in ihren weißen Kleidern am Beginn der Feier


Tapa de la invitación

Front  of the invitation



En procesión al Santuario

Novices process to shrine

In Prozession zum Heiligtum


Las nuevas hermanas en el Santuario

Novices in shrine

Die neuen Schwestern im Heiligtum


Monseñor Dolan con Hna. Jennifer y su madre; con la Hna Emily desde Nebraska.

Archbishop Dolan congratulates Novice Jennifer and her mother at the dinner. Sr. M. Emily of Nebraska shares the congratulations

Erzbischof Timothy Dolan gratuliert Novizin Sr. Jennifer und ihrer Mutter beim Festessen; Sr. Emily aus Nebraska reiht sich ein.


Bailes de Irlandia

The Stephenson sisters perform Irish dances

Irische Tänze, aufgeführt von der Geschwistern Stephensen


Juventud Femenina de Minnesota

Minnesota youth congratulate

Glückwunsch der Mädchenjugend aus Minnesota


Hna Iris María con su tía

Novice Iris Maria and aunt

Novizin Iris Maria mit ihrer Tante

Fotos: Swedzinski © 2004


Amigos de Ecuador con la Hna Maria Elena

Friends from Ecuador with Sr. Maria Elena

Freunde aus Ecuador mit Sr. Maria Elena

Foto: Santos © 2004




USA, Sr. M. Jean Frisk. On January 10, 2004, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of Milwaukee officiated as five young women received the dress of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary at St. Vincent Pallotti East in Milwaukee (formerly Holy Cross Parish). Well over 500 guests were in attendance as Sr. Iris Marie Barreto (Chicago), Sr. M. Jennifer Carlson, Sr. M. Catherine Ditto, Sr. Cara Maria Hubly (Minnesota), and Sr. Maria Elena Vilches (Ecuador) received the symbols of consecrated life in the Secular Institute of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary.

It had been the wish of the novices to have their reception as close as possible to the shrine where Schoenstatt’s founder, Father Joseph Kentenich, spent close to fourteen years. October 2004 marks the shrine’s fiftieth anniversary. The founder celebrated major anniversaries in Holy Cross church and the parish hall; for example, his fiftieth jubilee of priestly ordination in 1960. He was also present there for the celebrations such as those in honor of St. Vincent Pallotti’s canonization.

On the day prior to the reception, large gentle snowflakes delighted the guests from Ecuador and Austin, Texas, many of whom experienced snow for the first time. On the day itself the bridal white of the winter landscape and the many decorations of white lilies, roses, and carnations enhanced the bridal white of the novices. The remaining decorations for the end of the Christmas season added an extra festive joy.

"You are the soul of my soul"

You are the soul of my soul was the motto selected by the novices for the day. On their invitation, they used a photograph of the Unity Cross – Mary gazing into the face of Christ while she holds the chalice to his open wound. A banner for the ambo echoed this theme.

The choir of the Schoenstatt Sisters led the singing. In addition, youths from Ecuador and the US sang hymns of the Schoenstatt Girls Youth for their friends who were being solemnly received.

Archbishop Dolan’s homily was a singular praise of God for the great things he has done by giving this call to these five young women. The archbishop began, "This beautiful and joyous reception ceremony gives me the opportunity to praise the Schoenstatt Movement as leaven, light, and blessing to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee." Here he mentioned all the branches to indicate the many vocations of the movement which bring radiance and commitment to the Church. He thanked the parents and families of those who were received by saying: It is a temptation to think in terms of the great things these young women are doing for God. "We can look at them with admiration and awe; we can appreciated what they are doing for God and His Church today" – giving themselves in love and in a nuptial bond. The major reason for gratitude and praise today is what God has done for them.

Rejoice Mother Church!

The archbishop quoted Blessed John XIII’s opening words of the second Vatican Council: Gaudet Mater ecclesia! Rejoice Mother Church! These young women have been given rich graces, blessings, mercy, and salvation. They were called for mercy, grace, blessings, and the sharing of their virtues and talents. He then spoke of the holy women of sacred Scripture who rejoice in God’s might. Mary’s Magnificat is repeated here! The Gospel of the Annunciation was read five times during the Christmas season, but we never tire of it for it expresses the pivotal moment of our salvation, the Incarnation; we never tire of hearing about the Blessed Virgin Mary’s love, obedience, trust, and humility. And this is what is happening today! The Word takes flesh in you today.

"A mobile tabernacle, a mobile church"

The archbishop addressed the novices as walking, living shrines – like the Schoenstatt Shrine on these grounds. He stated, "I love that shrine! Very often I stop there and pray. The Presence there is vivid, real, warm, a tangible reminder of God’s presence… God is with us – is with us in that shrine." He turned to the novices: "What you become is a walking shrine, a mobile tabernacle, mobile Church. When we see you we see the shrine, the Church, a living example of the Incarnation! The Incarnation is still going on. We all need the reminder, tangible and visible. We are all called to be alter Christus, altera Maria.

After holy Mass, the new novices processed to the shrine with the archbishop, priests, and provincial council of the sisters. A formal dinner followed immediately in the hall.

In the afternoon a program was provided at the International Schoenstatt Center in Waukesha for the young people in attendance. In the evening the Schoenstatt Girls put on a congratulatory program for the novices and their families. Singing, festive national dances, and much laughter filled the conference hall of the Sisters’ provincial home.

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