"She Brings the Grace From the Shrine to All"
From the Original Shrine in Schoenstatt, Ladies from Speyer Bring the Pilgrim Mother to Many Families in their Diocese
(mkf) During a festive Holy Mass in the Original Shrine, ten ladies from the Speyer Diocese – participants of a Women's League retreat – committed themselves as missionaries of the Pilgrim Mother for new groups of families or for the new from of the "Pilgrim Mother for Visits" in a hospital in Ludwigshafen, AIDS patients, in a nursing home for terminally ill patients, or simply for visits with lonely persons in the neighborhood. More than 30,000 families or individuals in Germany are visited by the Pilgrim Mother for two or three days each month - she comes "to make it a bit more beautiful at home," as the motto for 2001 says.
For a long time, a lady from Speyer has been a volunteer in the social service, visiting AIDS patients whom she wants to give human contacts and help in the needs of the soul. Several times she found herself a surprise participant in a Schoenstatt Covenant celebration in her parish church, where she was invited for a retreat in Schoenstatt. Here she found the chance to add a new dimension to her social activity – the grace from the Shrine. She sealed her Covenant of Love on March 22, and on March 23 dedicated herself as a missionary of the Pilgrim Mother. "I will take the Pilgrim Mother on all of my visits with AIDS patients," she said with real joy. "Maybe I can't place her openly during my first visit, but she will be with me and she will work." Like her, several other ladies want to take the Pilgrim Mother to lonely people whom they visit – in a hospital in Ludwigshafen and in various towns of the Speyer Diocese. The pictures were sent out with a solemn celebration in the Original Shrine on March 23. Receiving the pictures was a special moment of commitment and mission for the ladies.
Responding to the Growing Fate of Loneliness
A growing number of people in Germany are suffering from loneliness; the German Caritas' theme for the year 2001 highlights this fact with the single word: "Lonely." Caritas Director Puschmann said, "Numerous people in our society are excluded from what is called one of its greatest values: communication and public life." The "Pilgrim Mother for Visits" is a response to this need. The missionaries commit themselves to visit at least five lonely people each month and take the Pilgrim Mother along. Many older Schoenstatt members especially feel encouraged and called to work for this apostolate.
The Gift of Time
Since the Covenant of Love was sealed in the Original Shrine on October 18, 1914, Mary, the Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt, has set out to dispense gifts and graces from over 160 daughter Shrines all over the world and from countless home shrines. On September 10, 1950, in the Tabor Shrine in Santa Maria, Brazil, João Pozzobon, the apostle of the Pilgrim, who loved to call himself "Father Kentenich's small student," accepted the mission to carry the picture of the Blessed Mother from the Shrine to families. "What is Mr. Pozzobon doing? He carries the Blessed Mother where ever he can, and she has to work. In a certain way, this is exactly what we always wanted and emphasized," said Father Kentenich on April 4, 1968, commenting on the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign initiated by João Pozzobon -- a stream of life and grace from the Shrine, born from a simple beginning that today touches millions of people in over 80 countries. "What moves us most with our visits is the Blessed Mother's presence and her amazing work" João Pozzobon wrote to his bishop on December 8, 1972. "All the doors are open to receive her - the doors of schools, hospitals, jails." The Pilgrim Mother is visiting with over 30,000 families and individuals in Germany. Once each month, the families receive the picture for two or three days, then pass it on to the next family in the group. They experience that Mary comes to make it a bit more beautiful at home. The gift of time – in a time when being busy and not having time for each other seems to be the norm – is a special mark of these visits. When the Pilgrim Mother arrives, the families try to make a little gift of time – to the Blessed Mother for a prayer, and to each other: "It does not need to be much, but a little bit of time – given out of love. It makes a difference."
Opening for a More Profound Religious Life
Testimonies from missionaries and participants may illustrate how the Pilgrim Mother works.
Imitating the Example of João Pozzobon
Being Missionary Christians: "We Need to Share ..."
"Again and again I talked about the Pilgrim Mother with my friends – and I have many! I simply said: I feel this is good for me and for my family, and then I shared how we do experience
Building up Relationships
English edition: Joan Biemert, New Franken, Wisconsin, USA
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