A "Chilean Week" in Schoenstatt
Mothers from Santiago Cordillera, Chile experience Schoenstatt as a Special Place of Grace
(mkf) Since March, 24 Schoenstatt mothers from Santiago Cordillera, Chile, had prepared for their pilgrimage in the Jubilee Year (August 19 - September 7), which brought them to Cambrai, France; Schoenstatt; Dachau; Assisi; and Rome. They spent a week in Schoenstatt, their stay at this place of pilgrimage being marked by adoration, prayer, pilgrimages from shrine to shrine, and learning more about Schoenstatt's spirituality and its practical application in daily life. At the same time, Chilean Schoenstatt pilgrims from Nuevo Belén (who had been in the Holy Land) and 20 Schoenstatt girls from Chile were in Schoenstatt, making the last days of August a real Chilean week.
On Sunday, August 27, the majority of the participants at the 9:00 AM Holy Mass in the Adoration Church were Spanish speaking, and the T-shirts worn by many of them made it clear that they came from Bellavista, from Chile. One reading and some petitions were read in Spanish. The Chileans just took oove in front of the Adoration Church after Mass. Some Germans thought they were back in Chile! A Schoenstatt mother from Germany met with friends of the lady in whose house she had stayed while in Chile in 1999. Perfect joy on both sides! Some professional women from the group from Nuevo Belén went to House Marienland after Mass for a visit in the Founder room there, where they presented a Holy Spirit symbol.
Souvenirs From Every Place - Memories to Take Home from Schoenstatt
"We learned a lot about Schoenstatt in Chile," shared Maria Gloria Swette, of the Schoenstatt Mothers from Santiago Cordillera. "We know everything from the history about the place, and yet it is so special to be here. Here we touch the rich history of Schoenstatt, we gain a more complete image of Schoenstatt, we study, we take in so much, we get a different idea of the richness of our spirituality. It is interesting - questions come to me here that I never asked in Chile, questions about our method of learning, our self-education. What is the reason for that, I asked myself. I guess I found the answer: 'Heaven touches earth in Schoenstatt.'"
In March, the different groups had started to prepare their part of the pilgrimage. One group was responsible for morning and night prayers, another one for the liturgies. One group prepared information for the stay in Cambrai, France (the place where Joseph Engling, one of the first Schoenstatt members, died in World War I), another for the arrival in Schoenstatt, for Dachau, and Assisi. "Each group shared something that was special. Each one of us is involved," said Andre Del Villar.
"At each place that we visited, we learned about different aspects of Schoenstatt. I collected little souvenirs from these places in my pilgrimage book to help recall the 'flavor' of these experiences after returning home from Schoenstatt. With this book, I will sit in my homeshrine and spiritually visit Schoenstatt often." Each day the mothers received a little gift from a rainbow-colored box in their dining room. "On the first day, we got a notepad," shared one, "so I could begin to write down all my personal memories immediately. That was a good idea. I took notes each day."
What impressed others? "The number of shrines in Schoenstatt – more than in Chile, I think!" – , the flowers, the blue skies: "Last time when I was here it was so foggy. Now I can see where I am!" The different houses and chapels were impressive for other mothers.
The Most Important Places: Original Shrine and Founder Chapel
The Original Shrine and the Founder Chapel with Father Kentenich's tomb, however, were unanimously named the most important places. Already on their arrival on August 21, though tired from the trip, the mothers went to the Original Shrine to pray. Each night following, they went to the Original Shrine for prayer, and celebrated holy Mass there often.
The other favorite place for holy Masses and benedictions was the Adoration Church.
The Founder Chapel, the place where Father Kentenich died and which contains his tomb, was the place of many common and very personal encounters in the course of this week. "I go there as often as possible," said a young mother. "He is waiting for me!" Another one shared, "I am deeply affected by the tomb of Father Kentenich. I really feel him."
Meeting with German Schoenstatt Mothers
On August 29, the group met with German Schoenstatt Mothers in House Marienland. They had tried hard to study German in order to be able to communicate a little, causing a good laugh when one, being asked in German, "How are you?" answered in perfect German, "From Chile!"
Father Raul celebrated a Holy Mass with the mothers from Chile in the shrine at Marienland.
Then Sr. M. Violaine, responsible for the Schoenstatt Mothers in Germany, gave them a tour of the house. A special highlight was prayer time in the Founder Room, with little red chocolate hearts as a gift for each. After lunch and a break for personal meetings and discoveries, the mothers from Chile and from Germany got together. "Father, your name resounds in my heart" was sung in Spanish and German. The monstrance, the Schoenstatt mothers' common symbol and ideal, was at the center of the meeting. The "original monstrance," the first one striven for and given for the Adoration Church by the Schoenstatt Mothers, was in the middle of the room, beautifully decorated to highlight its importance. A German Schoenstatt mother gave a testimony on the development of this symbol and ideal. This, and mutual sharing of living out of this ideal, enkindled love and mission zeal.
"My husband and I began with a family group in our parish when we joined," said Patricia Gil. "Now there are four or five groups of girls. When I come back, I'll try to begin the Mothers' League in our parish. It's so important."
On August 31, the mothers departed from Schoenstatt to go to Rome via Dachau and Assisi.
English edition: Joan Biemert, New Franken, WI, USA
Letzte Aktualisierung: 24.09.2000 1:09 Mail: Redaktion / Webmaster
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