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 published: 2005-07-15

Soil from the Original Shrine and from Belmonte in your Home Shrine

An artist from Argentina offers ceramic "little shrines" and religious articles

Elva Gonzales, im Patris-Buchladen, in Buenos Aires

Elva Gonzales, en la Libreria Patris en Buenos Aires

Elva Gonzales, in the Patris Bookstore, in Buenos Aires

Elva Gonzales, im Patris-Buchladen, in Buenos Aires

Foto: Crivelli © 2005

Tita Ríos mit dem Mini-Heiligtum im Hausheiligtum  

Tita Ríos con el „Santuarito“ en su Santuario Hogar

Tita Ríos with the “Little Shrine” in her home shrine

Tita Ríos mit dem “Mini-Heiligtum” im Hausheiligtum

Foto: Ríos © 2005

Auf der rechten Seite einige Mini-Heiligtümer  

Al lado derecho, unos de los „Santuaritos“

At the right side, some “Little Shrines”

Auf der rechten Seite einige “Mini-Heiligtümer”

Kreuze der Einheit und Wiegenbilder  

Cruces de la Unidad y cuneros

Unity Crosses and crib medaillons

Kreuze der Einheit und Wiegenbilder

Wiegenbilder und Vatersymbole

Cuneros y simbolos del Padre

Crib medaillons and Father Eye symbols

Wiegenbilder und Vatersymbole

Kreuz der Einheit  

Cruz de la Unidad

Unity Cross

Kreuz der Einheit


Fotos: Crivelli © 2005


ARGENTINA, Elva Gonzales/mfk. "Soil from the Original Shrines and little stones from Belmonte in my Home Shrine!" writes Tita Rios, from Parana, Argentina, enthusiastically about the gift she has just received. Since she has never been to those two beloved places for the Schoenstatt Family, she is very excited to be able to touch the soil that unites her to the place of her dreams… thanks the great idea of an artist of ceramics from Argentina.

Monsignor Dr. Peter Wolf was pleased to receive one of the "little shrines" made by Mariana Layota. "They really placed some stones from Belmonte, that touches me…"he added, smiling. Then after a pause: "We still have many more stones in Belmonte, so continue making them!"

"Them", are the small ceramic shrines, with a "garden" in front, that contain soil from the Original Shrine and stones from Belmonte. "I have never seen anything like it in Schoenstatt", commented a Schoenstatter from Germany, "there is something like it in Fatima and other pilgrimage centers, so people can take some soil from those places". "I am going to give some to the missionaries of Senegal", said Martina Rasch, from the Professional Branch of Germany. "It is a beautiful idea!"

How the idea came about

"My daughter Mariana studied in the National School of Ceramics and she would sell her work", Elva Gonzales, from Buenos Aires, relates. "Noticing that there was a demand in the market, she later turned to religious art, since there are few articles or they are old. When she entered Schoenstatt she started making the symbols, such as the Unity Cross, the Father Eye, medallions for cribs with the MTA among other things". The Unity Cross that Mariana Layota makes is unique: its looks like metal but it has the warmth and softness of ceramic. "What I like the best is the Blessed Mother’s face," says a young man from Brazil. "She looks like a child and her look of tenderness touches me…and one would like to be in the place where the Blessed Mother is to receive that warm gaze from Jesus!" A few days ago, Birgit, from the Professional Branch, took a symbol of the Father Eye, which is silver in color, and placed it in her Home Shrine. "I always looked for something like this, I am very happy!" The crib medallions – in blue or pink – a traditional baby gift in Argentina, are also beautiful: they are small medallions with the face of the MTA which is embossed. They are called crib medallions since they are placed on the baby’s crib.

Souvenirs of a time of grace

But how did the idea about the "little shrine" come about?" Elva shares the story: "The Little Shrine came about from my trip to Schoenstatt. I wanted to get some souvenirs for my friends, but they are so many. Suddenly I remembered that at the anniversary of their Shrine, the Schoenstatt Fathers had given us some small dishes with soil from Sion, in Florencio Varela. My daughter told me to bring some soil and that she would make the container. When I returned from my trip, I was surprised to see the "little shrines"! I placed some soil and also some little stones that I had brought from Belmonte. My friends were thrilled with the gift, and from then on they asked that more be made to sell, since so many persons wanted to have: "Soil from Schoenstatt and stones from the new Shrine of Belmonte, in Rome". That is how the idea of the "souvenir little shrines" developed. A precious souvenir for those who have not been to Schoenstatt yet…and at the same time a marvelous remembrance of the moments of graces that were experienced by those who have been blessed to visit the original source of grace. And furthermore, for many Schoenstatters, who place themselves daily in the Original Shrine whether they have been in Schoenstatt or not – it will surely be an invaluable treasure.

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Translation: Celina M. Garza, Harlingen, TX, USA

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