Destined to bring Schoenstatt' stream of life to the ends of the world
The Footsteps of the Pilgrim Mother and her Simple Instruments
INTERNATIONAL (mb/mkf) Destined to bring Schoenstatt's stream of life and grace to the ends of the world and to the widest spheres of the populace, the Pilgrim Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign of the Pilgrim Mother is a genuine and significant concretization of what Schoenstatt wants to offer to Church and Society since its founding. In many countries, on December 12 – feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Latin America – the birthday of Don Joao Pozzobon was celebrated. Following his example, missionaries all over the world bring the picture of the Pilgrim Mother from the Shrine to millions of people of all walks of life so the she may work as Mother, Queen, and Educator.
On December 12, 1984, John Pozzobon was visited by Father Esteban Uriburu with a group of pilgrims who had come to Santa Maria to celebrate with him his 80th birthday. It was to be the last birthday he would celebrate on earth. As a new anniversary has just passed the words then said by Father Esteban, during Mass in the Tabor Shrine, may resound again; what then was an expression of longing and faith, now has proved to have become a reality in the development of the Campaign; the testimonies in this article being only a tiny proportion of the stream of life and grace that meanwhile has reached the ends of the world: "On December 12, 1983, we crowned the Blessed Mother as "Queen of America" and now we are about to crown her as "Queen of the new evangelization if America and the entire world". By fortunate coincidence we celebrate today also the 80th birthday of John Pozzobon."
God chooses the Small Ones to Work his Biggest Works
"For us the mission of May 31st and the Rosary Campaign
are linked very
"Parallels exist between the mission of Juan Diego and the mission of another 'Juan', in our case, Joao Pozzobon. In Mexico, the Virgin said the indigenous: 'Juanito, smallest one of my children, know and understand that I am the Virgin, the Mother of the true God for whom I live...' In the case of John Pozzobon, this law in God's realm was once again put into practice: Normally, god chooses the small ones to work his biggest works." (P. Esteban Uriburu, 12.12.1984)
"My Mission is Simple – Helping the Pilgrim Mother"
In Schleswig-Holstein, the most Northern province of Germany, predominantly Protestant, a young woman from Croatia, mother of 5 children, has begun to bring the Pilgrim Mother to the Croatian communities. Now, six images are visiting Croatian families. Recently, she was able to organize a meeting with the Croatian Chaplain for this area; the children and young people of the families who receive the visit of the Peregrina proudly carried the picture. "Since the Balkan war, more than 40,000 Croatians live here," the missionary said.
"I know that the Pilgrim Mother is visiting our country, Croatia. She also wants to visit the 40,000 Croats living here and bring them graces and a home. Often, I talk about Schoenstatt to others, and encourage them to go and visit this place of grace. I offer not being able to go there, due to the small children, to the Blessed Mother to make this visit a fruitful one. I would so much like each one to get to know Schoenstatt and the graces of the Shrine, and I dream to bring the Peregrina also to Hamburg. There are so many Croatians, and I started to make contacts. I cannot do much, I cannot go out of the house too often, but my mission is simple: to give a hand to the Pilgrim Mother, helping her so she can work."
"The mission that John Pozzobon received was great, very great, was far beyond his human possibilities. But with a total confidence in the Blessed Mother he knew how to go ahead, becoming more and more a child, trusting in his heavenly mother ever more and more."
A Surprise Visit in the Cathedral of San Isidro
The land around the Shrine of San Isidro, Argentina, is marked by the presence of John Pozzobon and the wayside shrine that he blessed there in 1985. A missionary from this diocese gives talks in the cathedral for persons working in private households. Although she does not take specific Schoenstatt subjects, her talks are born from the Schoenstatt spirituality.
One of these groups recently made their Covenant of Love in the Shrine. Immediately after, the missionary asked the responsible person of the Campaign for a Pilgrim Mother for this group, and brought her as a surprise to the next meeting. It was impressive to see the emotion of the ladies when receiving this important visit; and they already want to bring the Pilgrim Mother to persons beyond their group.
On October 12, anniversary of the death of Fr. Esteban, the "1,000 Ave Maria" were prayed for the first time in "San Gabriel de la Dolorosa" parish, and the Illumined Rosary in "Huerto de los Olivos" parish.
A Return Visit in the House of the Pilgrim Mother
Sunday, October 14, close to the anniversary of Schoenstatt's founding, was the day of the families receiving the visit of the Pilgrim Mother connected with the "Tabor of Hope" Shrine in Brasilia, Brazil. Unexpectedly big was the number of pilgrims who came for this return visit to the Shrine to thank for the Pilgrim Mother visiting their houses – 6,000 or so from the Federal District and the diocese of Luziânia! They all came to spend this day of joy and gratitude by the fountain of "Hope".
The highlight of the day was the Holy Mass, presided by the Military Archbishop of Brazil, Geraldo do Espírito Santo Ávila, and the Military Chaplain, Father Reni. In his sermon, Archbishop Ávila underlined the importance of receiving, in faith, the visit of the Pilgrim Mother in the houses, to make a Covenant with her and to allow her to transform us to give to the world and to the families the testimony of a life that matches with the devotion. Before the missionary blessing, the Dedication of the Families took place. In this moment the missionaries raised their Pilgrim Mother pictures, thus expressing the offerings of all the families. Many people could visit the Shrine of our Queen and give their contributions to the Capital of Grace to her, their petitions and thanks. The echoes of these day resounded in many places. The other day, a TV station aired a report about this day in the "Notes from the Federal District".
"911 Emergency"- A Pilgrim Mother for Emergencies
"When we crowned Mary four years ago, as "911" emergency, we didn't know about September 11, "911", but to me it was a clear sign of Gods Divine Providence", says a California (USA) missionary of the Pilgrim Mother who works in a police department. The small picture of the Pilgrim Mother, "911" emergency, has become a lifeline at the Police department. The "Pilgrim Mother 911" will visit for a number of days or longer in any emergency case. One of the missionary's co-workers, Lynda, was diagnosed with cancer some weeks ago during an operation to remove a growth from her thyroid gland. After this discovery, she had to take a radioactive pill for treatment. The Pilgrim Mother was Lynda's companion for two weeks after the operation, and then again after her radiation treatment. Lynda reported that the Blessed Mother had given her courage and brought her closer to Jesus especially when she was depressed. She said that she offered her suffering for the Capital of Grace.
The Taxi Drivers of Bariloche
Despite of the economical problems, the Campaign continues to grow. New initiatives with a strong internal dynamism, energy, and balance have started. On June 18, anniversary of the crowning of the Blessed Mother as 'Queen of Unity' all the missionaries met at St. Cayetano's – the place where the picture is that was crowned in 1987. Some made their Covenant of Love, the rosary was said, and all renewed the crowning.
In this church, the new diocesan bishop, Monsignor Maletti, who was ordained on an 18th of September and became bishop of Bariloche on September 22, one day told me: "I made my Covenant of Love so I belong to the Movement!"
This time when I visited Bariloche, she was surprised with the news that the modality of – the Pilgrim Mother in the taxis was to start! I met with the committee and some of the taxi drivers' wives. They got more and more excited, and the meeting ended with the organization of the definite beginning; it was suggested to ask Father Jorge to bless the cars, and the rosaries. The result was that Father Jorge got very excited, and the date was set for June 27, anniversary of John Pozzobon's death. Some days before, on June 20, when I went to the bus terminal to return to Nuevo Schoenstatt, I met three of the committee members; they were overjoyed with the project. I promised them the rosaries in light blue and white, the colors of the taxis in Bariloche, made by the missionaries in the rosary workshop of Comodoro Rivadavia. Father Jorge blessed all on the 27th and said a Holy Mass for the taxi drivers. In September, when I came back to Bariloche, the taxi drivers had organized an "asado" (special dinner) with their families and some missionaries. The result was very productive both for the personal attachments that grew as for the mutual enrichment through the sharing of experiences and the questions about Schoenstatt that arose. The taxi drivers of Bariloche are making their way straight towards the heart of the Mater, of Father Kentenich, and of John Pozzobon. Ready for the "Grand Prix"…
A Day Forever be Remembered in the History of Schoenstatt in Nigeria
Since the International Meeting in Santa Maria in 2000, the Pilgrim Mother has set out to at least three countries, Turkey, Senegal, and Haiti. The Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign is recently present in at least 83 countries of the world. To begin her visit in a country, she searches and finds instruments with a missionary Herat, ready to bring her to the people who need her and her Son. This is how it happened in Nigeria, one of the "young" countries of the Schoenstatt Pilgrim Mother Campaign that began there in 1999 when Fr. Pablo Pol from Argentina, then seminarian, brought a picture of the Pilgrim Mother from the Original Shrine in Germany. On October 1, one of the students of the Schoenstatt Fathers expressed his willingness to begin with the Pilgrim Mother Campaign. "It is often said that Charity begins at home", this student shared, "so on October 3, this picture began visiting the rooms of all the brothers here that were interested. The type of support and courage given me by my brothers made me think that such a day would forever be remembered in the history of Schoenstatt in Nigeria. On November 7th, the Pilgrim Mother ended her pilgrimage in Father Fred Kistler's room". On this same day, four students dedicated themselves as missionaries. With the first two pictures – the one from Fr. Pablo, and one from Fr. Roman, from Poland – that were sent out to two families in Ibadan, the Campaign started in Nigeria. The families, on receiving the pictures, were so happy and immediately requested that the picture should be kept more than the three days it is suppose to stay. One of the families, on removing the picture from their house, requested that the picture should be enshrined in their home. The mother of the family further exclaimed: it is as if you brought the whole church into our house where Our Lady is like a woman carrying her child inside that church.
More families showed interest, more students wanted to spread the Pilgrim Mother initiative in their home areas during vacation. It was kind of a adventure to get fitting MTA pictures in, and it was a real event when 100 pictures finally arrived on November 10,1999. A carpenter had been instructed in the art of making the images, and the first picture "made in Nigeria" was ready on November 13. Since then, the Pilgrim Mother has not ceased to visit her people in Nigeria.
"Fascinating how easily the Pilgrim Mother Crosses the Borders…"
Dubrovnik, the beauty of the Adriatic, this marvelous city in Southern Croatia, is open for the Pilgrim Mother. A missionary in downtown Dubrovnik is in charge for 10 pictures of the Pilgrim Mother, she has made up her mind to conquer the entire city for her! The Pilgrim Mother is now present in 5 parishes of Dubrovnik.
From Dubrovnik, I went to a Schoenstatt member who lives in Montenegro. Spontaneously I took three pictures of the Pilgrim Mother along. Two of them stayed in Herceg Novi, one in Kotor. The Pilgrim Mother has started to visit people in Montenegro, a country still belonging to Yugoslavia, with only 2% of the population being Catholic. Meanwhile, I got the urgent call for more pictures for Montenegro. It is fascinating how easily the Pilgrim Mother crosses the borders. Altogether, after 15 months, we have 50 pictures in the Southern part of Croatia and the nearby areas.
For the first time, we had regional meetings of the Schoenstatt Pilgrim Mother Campaign in Croatia. All missionaries brought their pictures that were blessed and sent out again. On November 17, 300 persons joined in the meeting of the Campaign in Zagreb; 500 came to the meeting in Nijemci in December 2. During the Covenant celebration in the afternoon, some missionaries, among them also two handicapped persons, made their Covenant of Love. The testimonies about the work of the Pilgrim Mother were the most impressive moment of these days, a real inspiration.
Our Lady of Schoenstatt – Patroness of the Kennedy quarter
On October 18, the day of Our Lady of Schoenstatt is celebrated in Formosa. For us, the missionaries, it was a special feast as a Catechetical Center was inaugurated under the title of the Mother Thrice Admirable of Schoenstatt. From October 9 through 17, a novena in honor of our Mother was held. It began with the cars, bikes, trucks, and motorbikes accompanying the Auxiliary Pilgrim Mother from the parish "María Auxiliadora" to the St. Michael's parish. During the novena, gifts – clothing, shoes, and different goods – were offered to be distributed among the most needy communities. The feast of October 18 began at 6:00 AM with the "Rosary of Dawn". At 7:00AM, the Auxiliary Pilgrim Mother picture was brought from the Catechistical Center to the way side Shrine, where the 1,000 Ave Maria were prayed until 5:00PM. At 5:30 PM, we made a procession with her through the streets of Kennedy and Textil. All the inhabitants had been asked to decorate their houses for the Auxiliary. She deserves this honor! The day climaxed with the Holy Mass at 8:00PM.
The Mother goes ahead. She is the great missionary, she works miracles: The community of the St. Michael's parish has offered itself as a home to the Auxiliary. The main altar of the Catechetical center will have an MTA picture, and a chapel to be built on the same land will have her name; with this, our Lady of Schoenstatt will be the patroness of the new parish and quarter of Kennedy, Formosa. Humbly we can say that all this is the fruit of the silent and missionary work of children, youth, and adults who in faith, love, hope, and perseverance live to their vocation and task as instruments of Mary.
We also want to ask to keep us present in the prayers in the Shrine so we continue to receive the graces, and can go on with our contributions to the Capital of Grace to do our little share in the construction of the Father Kingdom on earth.
Reaching out to Persons with Visual Impairment
Since November, a third picture of the Pilgrim mother for blind persons – pictures completely made of wood with the contours of the Mother and the child carved in so that blind people can touch and know them – are visiting in Germany. Rita Henning, diocesan leader of the retired professional women of the Archdiocese of Freeburg, started with the Pilgrim Mother in her parish. During a meeting in Schoenstatt she shared about one couple from Russia who receives the Pilgrim Mother. The woman is blind; with endless patience and empathy he described the MTA picture to her so she had an idea. When Rita Henning heard about the Pilgrim Mother for Blind People, she was at once excited, specially when she heard that one picture had been brought to Schoenstatt in August and was "available". – On the last day of the convention, she received the picture, sent from the Shrine in Villa Ballester, Argentina, to bring the Mother of the Blind People, the Queen of Light, to the blind lady in her hometown.
"When I brought the Pilgrim Mother to this couple, the blind woman was sick. I gave the picture to her without any comment, only saying: I brought you a gift! She touched for the contours, and with tears in her eyes, she said: 'This is Mary, this is my mother! This is the veil, this is her hand, this is her baby… They came to me!" I was too moved to say a word and also had to fight the tears. Not a picture, Mary had come to this woman! Then the woman found the rosary and said: I love the rosary so much! While she kept touching the picture and understood that this was the one her husband had always described to her, she said: I remember… Now I remember Schoenstatt from Russia…" We found out that she actually had, long ago, had been in contact with Schoenstatt in Russia, and she now "remembered" the picture. I was so moved that I spontaneously promised that the Pilgrim Mother will stay with her for Christmas…"
Mary, Queen of Hope
To celebrate the 7th anniversary of the dedication of the Schoenstatt Shrine in Salta, the first one in Northwest Argentina, on October 18, at 7:30PM the two Auxiliary Pilgrim Mother pictures were carried in procession to the Shrine. There, the Archbishop of Salta and the whole Schoenstatt Family crowned them as "Mary, Queen of Hope in our Heart Shrine". At the same time, all the Pilgrim Mother pictures were blessed and crowned; their missionaries held them high while, commitment resounding in their voices, they renewed their dedication.
Archbishop Mario Antonio Cargnello of Salta, and Father Antonio Mallea, parish priest of St. Mary of the Miraculous Medal's parish, concelebrated the Holy Mass; a big part of the congregation were pilgrims who had come from the interior areas of the province. The festivity closed with a big crown of balloons rising to the skies for "Our dear Mater".
The first Auxiliary Pilgrim Mother picture was brought from Santa Maria, Brazil, by Fr. Ernesto Martearena (recently assassinated parish priest of Our Lady of Fatima), together with the first group of missionaries of the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign on the petition of Fr. Esteban Uriburu who was in charge of the passing on of the Auxiliary on April 29, 1991.
They were instrumental for the growth of the Campaign in Salta that God the Father and the Mater wanted to make possible. In each October, month of the anniversary of our Shrine and of Fr Esteban's call home to the Eternal Father, they are very much remembered and present for us. Ten years after the first pilgrimage to the origins of the Campaign we wanted to crown this Auxiliary picture united with them in the community of hearts, tasks, and fates, was our Father and Founder expresses.
The second Auxiliary became necessary because of the life of this Campaign – that brought a strong growth of the family, of the missionaries and of families visited. Therefore, on August 2, at the time of a new pilgrimage to Santa Maria, we were granted the passing on of a second Auxiliar for the archdiocese, to fulfill in the interior areas of the province of Salta the mission to support the Campaign and link it to the origins.
The Miracles of the Pilgrim Mother for Babies and Children at Risk of Life
In all countries where Schoenstatt is erected, Masses are celebrated to commemorate the 18th of October, Schoenstatt's founding day. Where the Campaign of the Babies and Children at Risk of Life is, on each 18th a Mass is said as "Celebration of the life of the babies that recuperated". The missionaries of this modality of the Schoenstatt Pilgrim Mother Campaign bring a small picture of the Pilgrim sitting in a white baby basket and crowned with a rosary to the babies at risk and their parents. In this modality, the miracles of the Pilgrim Mother are tangible. Ana Flores, catechist in the Catechetical Center of Schoenstatt in Pilar, Argentina, dedicated herself as missionary end September for the Pilgrim Mother for babies at risk. She was in a hurry to get the "expert" Pilgrim Mother to accompany a baby to undergo a cardiac surgery. Some days before the operation, when she was on the way to the hospital to bring the Pilgrim Mother, her car was stolen! What worried her most was to not have the Pilgrim Mother now! The other day the police called that the car was found. She went with her husband to get it, because it was at a remote and "lost" place. They found the car completely dismantled, even the seats had been taken out – but the Pilgrim Mother for babies was still there, and arrived on time to be with the baby.
A nurse working on a big gynecological ward in a hospital in Germany is missionary of this modality; she has named her "Pilgrim Mother for babies at risk and babies without names" – the stillborn babies, those who don't get a chance to live, to whom she gives a name and with the name the honor of being regarded as precious human beings. "I write all the names in the book that accompanies the Pilgrim Mother, I ask her to be their mother, and to comfort their parents. Since September, 10 babies have been in the care of 'my' Pilgrim Mother. Since she is with me, I feel like doing my work in a totally different way; I feel such a comfort and strength at the same time, knowing her being with me and the women on the ward. I know that I don't carry a picture, that I really bring Mary."
She is the Great Missionary
"She is the great missionary, she will work miracles…" These words resounding in the Campaña again and again, often quoted by Father Kentenich, are words spoken by Vincent Pallotti. On September 18, and during almost the whole month of October, a small picture of the Pilgrim Mother, originating from Santa Maria, could be seen by the statue of Vincent Pallotti in the Original Shrine. With the Original Shrine being closed since early November for the renovation of the roof, nails and shingles have been sent to the ends of the world where Schoenstatt members longed to have a visible sign from this place of grace, and many of the symbols from the interior came into "temporary custody" of communities in Schoenstatt. The small picture of the Pilgrim Mother came back to the person who brought her to the Original Shrine – one of the sons of Vincent Pallotti, Brother Martin, one of the sacristans. Earlier in the year, he had "fallen in love" with a small picture of the Pilgrim Mother. A missionary from the group of pilgrims who had a Holy Mass in the Original Shrine had placed this picture in the Shrine. Not ready to give "her" Peregrina away, she offered to Brother Martin to bring him his own one – and he gladly agreed to then place her in the Shrine, by Vincent Pallotti, on each 18th of the month!
Some days ago, someone placed a small Pilgrim Mother picture from Santa Maria, the place where Don Joao received and accepted his mission on Sept 10, 1950, by the tomb of Father Kentenich; a birthday gift for and from John Pozzobon, the great "ally of the Father."
"I want to say to all that we have been chosen, not because we are better than the others but because we have been ready to work a bit more than the others. Maybe we listened a bit better to the Mother; so she entrusted this great Campaign to us." (John Pozzobon, Santa Maria, May 1984)
Contributing: Sr. Alejandra, Kristina and Don Blan, Brigitte Allan, Sr. Clades, Marta Liotti, Marta Blas, Victoria Bareiro, Rita Hennig, Fr. Christoph Horn, Miguel Sánchez, Patricia Schelstraete
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