Statements of three women
Changing and marking the "climate", foster
relationships, and take responsibility - three components of a way in which
women can help to create a beautiful place. Members of different Schoenstatt
branches shared first-hand experiences in the morning of March 25th.
Rita Busch, Schoenstatt Mother from the Speyer diocese, shared about her experiences working for pregnant women in need, on an anonymous telephone line. This was part of an ecumenical initiative of women from all areas of Germany. Advertisements in newspapers read: "Involuntarily Pregnant? Call ..." Climatical changes happen gradually – but effectively. Rita Busch emphasized the importance of a general change of climate regarding the acceptance of unborn and born children in our society. Very often, women would consider abortion because of financial set-backs, pressure, being ridiculed, or just the lack of someone who listens to them. "Peter's" father was against a second child. His mother called in desperation – she just needed someone who listened and comforted her. "Lena's" mother called and said: "I'm hungry", and replaced the handset. Is that possible in Germany? Will she call again? She did, and Rita Busch could help – with food, with a temporary job for her husband, clothes and baby equipment donated by a local business man. She got a phone call when she had just put Christmas cookies into the oven. "Please wait – can I first remove the cookies?" – The woman had waited, and a conversation started about the cookies, and the recipe. "In two years, you can bake these cookies with your child," Rita Busch said. A sobbing at the other end of the line, she hang up. "What had I done? The life of an unborn child for these cookies? I could not eat one of them." Three years later, around Christmas, another phone call. "Do you remember the recipe for Christmas cookies you shared? I just baked them with my son." Pause. "Maybe in a few years, I'll tell him that his life depended on that."
Dr. Barbara Buck, Professional Woman, has a doctor's degree in chemistry and is quality l manager in a big chemical corporation in Eastern Germany. She shared about the problems she had when she began this job – not with chemistry, but with her co-workers. The atmosphere was marked by fear – whether the new boss would value their long-term experiences ("We always did it this way"), whether she would stand for their interests; fear caused them to fee personally attacked when objective problems like measure results were discussed. Endless discussions, waste of time, jealousy, and lack of communication resulted. "The turning point was an insight I got in Schoenstatt. Leading co-workers is more than knowing chemistry. I began to reflect on the situation more consciously, and to actively foster relationships." It was decisive, to realize the fears and then find ways to reduce them – by personal interest, listening, sharing of good experiences, acknowledging their work. "I had to learn to go to the lab with problems, not with solutions!" Accepting each other with the different knowledge, education, professions, tasks and responsibilities was the crucial point. Today, the atmosphere is marked by mutual trust and responsibility, joy, and honesty. Problems are discussed in an open way, information passed on, after business trips, they mutually share what went on. "It is not a picture-perfect lab, there are tensions and problems. But we stand on a different ground and find ways to cope with the tensions. Together, we fought for a different working climate, which makes it possible to have a genuine human relationship in the hectic, insecurity, pressure, toughness and tension of a modern industrial plant – and to do successful work, also!"
Christine Kaiser, Schoenstatt Family movement, is a mother of six children age 6 – 18. She shared about managing a family. "When we married, we dreamt of a large family and an open house. Our door is always open, everybody can step in – and sometimes, half of the poeple in our small town are there!" Responsibility, said Christine Kaiser, means to alos fee responsible for oneself. "Each day, I take 20 or 20 minutes 'off', a time only for me!" Responsibility for her children means, to have time for them; and for their friends. Two foster children included. For lunch, friends of my children just show up. Then, we discuss all the things that linger with them – disco rock (including practice), or premarital relationships. "I prepare kids for the first holy communion. Then, some years later, I see them again in the preparation for confirmation. You can do a lot, then. The same kids whom I drive to the disco, I also drive to the holy Mass!" She also feels responsible to support her husband who runs a building corporation. "The office in our house, and 10 or 15 workers walk in and out all day. For coffee break, some 10 or 12 persons gather round the table – my husband and I, some of the kids, some of the workers." Managing a family does not mean to be born with a natural inclination to house work. "That's the moment of Divine Providence. Visitors are late – so I am ready when they come. Someone brings a cake when I need one." For Christine Kaiser, responsibility also means to consciuosly try and find time to be spent with her husband. An, most of all: not only to take, but also to pass on responsibility to God, to let go and trust his care.
During the alternative programs in the early afternoon, small but intensive discussion groups took place. Women met Rita Busch, Christine Kaiser, and Barbara Buck to share theier own experiences and discuss the items. One participant shared: "When we mete with Rita Busch, we discussed a very wide range of questions regarding a positive climate for children. It was inspiring." An other one: "We were only a small number of women with Barbara Buck. But I enjoyed the sincere discussion and the many different ideas and experiences shared. It was so enriching and encouraging for me."