New Motivation and Strength to be Instruments for the Evangelization of the World
Missionaries of the Pilgrim Mother and Professional Ladies from Ecuador in Schoenstatt
(mkf) Pictures of the Pilgrim Mother everywhere, crowns, rosaries - and each night a smaller or bigger group of pilgrims walking from the valley to Mount Schoenstatt, heading for the Founder Chapel: the missionaries of the Pilgrim Mother, who made this pilgrimage to prepare for the crowing of the Auxiliary Pilgrim Mother for Ecuador marked the atmosphere in Schoenstatt for the time of their stay: with their spontaneous joy and excitement and their organic love for Jesus and Mary. What they took home from their stay in Schoenstatt can be summarized in what one of the participants expressed on the day of their leave for Ecuador: "New motivation and strength for the work of evangelization." The missionaries are convinced that the vibrant faith in Jesus and the love for Mary that they experience in Schoenstatt can change the predominant currents of society. They are ready to co-operate, bringing Jesus and Mary to the remotest places.
Come December 8 will be a crowning feast in Ecuador as all missionaries are to crown the Pilgrim MTA pictures and at the same time the Auxiliary for Ecuador, the replica of the "Peregrina Original", the picture that Don João Pozzobon carried to the families. Crown and picture were present in Rome and in Schoenstatt. Together with the missionaries, are lively and animated group of professional women came to Schoenstatt.
For both of the groups, the Covenant Day in Schoenstatt, and the Corpus Christi procession on June 17, were highlights of their stay – and, as many of them shared, also the prayer times at the tomb of Father Kentenich.
Each night seveal of them, usually 20 or so persons, walked up Mount Schoenstatt. Sister Consuelo: "On the first night I only told then tgat I would go to the tomb of Father Kentenich. Spontaneously some joined. Then, we walked there each night, often twenty of more persons. We felt right at home there with all our pictures and treasures placed on the carpet, and as we came each day." Karin Rumbea confirms: "Being together by the tomb of our Father was the highlight of each day!"
A Pilgrimage of Faith – with Mary to Jesus and the Father
The youngest participant is 17 years old, the oldest 87. She said: "This pilgrimage was God's gift to me for the rest of my life." The framework for the pilgrims' personal experience of Schoenstatt are visits in the Original Shrine and in the other Shrines in Schoenstatt, in Gymnich near Cologne – Father Kentenich's place of birth -, in Koblenz Metternich – tomb of Sister Emilie -, tours of the valley and of Mount Schoenstatt, and of course a boat trip on the Rhine and shopping in Boppard. It's a pilgrimage of faith, being on the way with Mary to Jesus and the Father, in an atmosphere of prayer and joy. Angela Diaz de Clabrera would have liked to stay longer in each of the Shrines visited, because "in each one I experienced the blessing of Christ's presence. Schoenstatt is for my peace and love – but with a lot of joy!" – "Schoenstatt is a Marian movement, alive, excited, contagious; you feel moved and urged to change something in your life, to apply your faith to every day life,"said Delcie Echeverria de Ruales. "I want to pass on this faith to my family and to the church.
A Place to Experience God's Closeness
"This is place mirrors the kindness and love of God," said Lupe Suárez R. de Arce. "Maybe I can be a little Schoenstatt at home and mirror this kindness and love." Lastenia Guiterrez de Cedeño experienced the Original Shrine as a place, where "I feel the presence of God, because Mary touches the heart." Along with four other women and two men, she made her Covnenant of Love in Schoenstatt. "I want to take this joy back home and tell all about the beautiful place I have been, where one actually touches the presence of God and Mary. In my daily life, I want to give myself entirely to the others."
"I am so happy and joyful that I don't have words to express this," said Elvira Cedeño Pólit, Guayaquil. "In one special moment here I was given the grace to understand my entire life, all was in light. I will for ever be grateful as for a short while I was privileged to live very close to God."
Where Father Kentenich is not studied but understood
"I read a big lot about Father Kentenich," shared Astrid Ulloa de Campos; she is from San Salvador and lives in Ecuador, where she belongs to the Professional Women. "Here, however, I experienced him first-hand, and I understood that he is still close to us and accompanies us when we try to fulfill his mission." The stories shared from the life of Father Kentenich made him and the Schoenstatt history "tangible" for the pilgrims.
New Strength for the Work of Evangelization
The pilgrims experienced a lot of natural-supernatural joy in Rome, and in Schoenstatt, but what they specially emphasize is to have gained new strength and motivation for the work of evangelization. "When we bring Mary to others," say missionaries Eduardo and Maria Viteri, "then we contribute to the evangelization of the world, that is the mission Father Kentenich entrusted to us." Teresa de Valarez, 37, summarizes her Schoenstatt experience in one sentence: "I am an instrument for the new evangelization of the world." But not on her own, not out of own geniality, but "because Schoenstatt makes me strong to go ahead," says Mirella E. de Polit. "It makes me so strong that I, like Mary, want to say yes to all that God wants from me, that I want to be an instrument for God's kingdom as missionary of the Pilgrim Mother."
"This vibrant faith in Christ that marks Schoenstatt has the Potential to Change our Society"
"It was like heaven," said Dolores Cuillas, 86, about the Corpus Christi procession. Like her, the pilgrims from Ecuador share a deep love for Jesus in the Eucharist. José Aizco, 62 years, holds a leading position as civil engeneer; he was in Schoenstatt for the first time and made his Covenant of Love. "When there are paradises on earth, " he said, "then Schoenstatt is one – with its spirituality, the communities, the peace and love. What I take home from here is the testimony of faith in Christ and Mary, a testimony that I want to give in gratitude for all the graces I have received here. I have personally experienced the full commitment of love, the faith and hope that mark the communities of Schoenstatt. This vibrant faith in Jesus and the love for Mary that they experience in Schoenstatt can change the predominant currents of society, I am convinced. Here, our own attitude towards life changes. I experienced priests, sisters, people from different nations who are all marked by the same deep faith in Jesus and Mary. For me, the Corpus Christi procession in Schoenstatt was a clear expression of that and an unforgettable experience.
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