Last September, fourteen families from Houston, Texas, gathered at our retreat center in Lamar for the annual Family Retreat in Spanish organized by members of the Family Branch of the Schoenstatt Movement. Sister M. Danielle Peters, Schoenstatt Sister of Mary, and Father Hugo Tagle, Schoenstatt Father, accompanied the retreatants.
Inspired by the year’s motto of the Schoenstatt Family in the US – “Lift up your hearts!” – the aim of the retreat was to help the families grow in their love for the Eucharist. Through activities, talks, holy Mass, prayer times, the opportunity for confession, etc., the families could enjoy a God-filled weekend and grow in their relationship with him and with one another.
We asked Sr. M. Danielle to share some memorable experiences from the weekend:
Seven couples made their covenant of love during the retreat, consecrating themselves and their families to the Blessed Mother. One lady couldn’t come because her parents were in a predicament and she had to be with them in Mexico. However, her husband came, and she connected via FaceTime to join him in making the covenant of love and renewing their wedding vows. It was a very beautiful moment!
Another couple was attending a family retreat for the first time. The husband had suffered a stroke a few months ago. He couldn’t walk well and depended on his wife for many things. This was a tangible reminder for us of the importance of the promises a husband and wife make to each other on their wedding day – for better or worse, in health and sickness. The wife, who also had two little ones to care for, was always smiling and radiating the love she has for her family.
One young woman came along with her parents and two sisters. She is getting married in January and appreciated the family-centered time she could spend with her loved ones.
Family retreats are often a much-needed time of grace for each participant. Each family brings along their own situation, challenges, blessings, etc. And they have the opportunity to place it all in the hands of the Blessed Mother in the shrine and ask for the graces they need. It’s nice to see how they go out of the retreat with renewed strength and hope.