"Bringing the Pilgrim Mother Everywhere – and She has to Work"
Following the Paths of the Pilgrim Mother
INTERNATIONAL. "What does Mr. Pozzobon do? He brings the Blessed Mother everywhere, and she has to work..." This is what Father Kentenich said about the work of Don Joao on April 11, 1968, anniversary of the dedication of the Tabor Shrine in Santa Maria, where the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign of the Pilgrim Mother was born in 1950. – What do the missionaries of the Pilgrim Mother do today? The same. Following his example and the advice of Father Kentenich, they bring the Blessed Mother everywhere – to Dakar, Senegal, and Oregon,/USA, to the poorest in Guayaquil and to a truck carrying fugitives from the Indian/Pakistani border... and she has to work. Indeed, she does.
January 1, fist day of the year 2002. Reports about war, violence, and crisis dominate the TV news. India and Pakistan are at the brink of war. People living in the small villages at the border are forced to leave their homes, to pack the most necessary belongings and flee, huddled on trucks that carry them and what they can carry - no more than two or three bags - to places in the interior supposed to be safer. The camera zooms in the face of a man, surrounded by his family, and then, clearly visible, focuses his hands that hold the Pilgrim Mother. He did not leave her in his abandoned house, he took her to accompany him and his family. The clip ended, the next news is read – but for several persons those who in the evening of January 1 watched the TV news in Germany this was the strongest message of hope at the beginning of a new year.
From the Shrine to the Poor
John Pozzobon was marked by a preferential love for the poor, for the children, for the most forgotten ones in the rural zones, for the sick. Uncountable examples exist. It is enough to mention the "Noble Village of Charity of the Mother and Queen", that he founded in 1952 – the 50th anniversary this year! It was his express wish, repeated short before his death, that the Way of the Cross that he donated would unite the Shrine with "Noble Village", from the Shrine to the Poor (see Document of Consensus S.M.1989, II.2.g). Faithful to his model, the missionaries of Guayaquil, Ecuador, like in each year celebrated Christmas 2001 with poor families. Sr. Consuelo: "All the years we unite as missionaries, and each brings a family basket with all sort of food and supplies helping for a Christmas celebration and Christmas dinner. All the families bring their basket, and then we go to several parishes where families receive the Pilgrim Mother, and are very poor. We celebrate Christmas with them, we sing, pray, and then give them a little gift: we leave them a rich meal for their Holy Night. It is impressive to see such poverty, there are extremely poor families, but all try to share with those who are yet poorer."
In Mendoza, Argentina, began the Initiative "S.E.A. solidario", "Schoenstatt in Action: Solidarity", an initiative of the Family Movement together with the Campaign: the missionaries bring, along with the Pilgrim Mother, food (donated to the Mother Thrice Admirable in her Shrine by members of the Schoenstatt Movement) to extremely poor families. Lilian and Miguel Mateu commented: "SEA Solidario was born in a group of the Family Movement with the objective of reaching out to the most needy ones, but not as a "unique" action but to stay in supportive contact, what works out perfectly through the missionaries of the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign.- Up to now we support only few families as the economical crisis does not allow us to widen the range of our help, but of we join forces and good will we should succeed in bringing effective consolation through the Mother Thrice Admirable toher poorest children. It's really a "joint venture" with the Family Movement as initiators, the donations of the entire movement and the Rosary Campaign as distributor. In these times of crisis we have a surplus of need and a lack of resources, but our heart glows in love for the poor."
One of the interesting characteristics of the Campaign in Mendoza is the fact the couples make their missionary compromise to reach out to other couples passing on the legacy of John Pozzobon and his concern for the families. Thus, the work becomes more effective, turning into a "from families for families" approach that envolves that reaches the family as a whole.
"Send us as your Instruments to Change our Modern World…"
Recently, a young couple, leaders of a families' group in the Washington D.C./USA area, announced their move to Florida/USA where they wanted to find other Schoenstatt members and of course start to work for Schoenstatt. Suzanne Bears does not live in the Florida Town where they are moving to, but nevertheless started contacting them to unite forces… Several years ago, Joanne Ryndak told her niece, Suzanne Bears, about the Home Shrine. On a trip to Medjugorje, she shared this news with other young women – and on their return, she began a Schoenstatt group with six of her pilgrimage companions in her home town, Jacksonville, Florida. Suzanne: "For about two years the group stayed together, but then one got married, three moved and now there are only two of us from the original group. However, we now have picked up about 8-10 more from my rosary group and Our Lady has been with us for let's see about 5 years. We sometimes keep her more than what is recommended because we are all spread out in Jacksonville, and sometimes Our Lady seems to want to stay with a family if they are having difficulties, illness or death. So, we are doing well!"
"More and more devotees of our Mater!"
"The Pilgrim Mother is doing fine, visiting families as is her mission. I have good news to share: My parents, devotees of the Mater like me, will bring two more pictures from the Shrine in Mar del Plata (from where my Pilgrim Mother came!) as soon as they come to visit with us here. I am really super happy! The Campaign here is gaining speed! The families who receive her visits for now are really pleased and the children in the kindergarten of my daughter keep asking when she would visit them again! Thanks to the help of God, many families here already know and love the Mother Thrice Admirable!" In September 2000, Geraldine Tiscornia Kunc moved to Purley, England, a town 25 minutes at the South East of London, with her husband (who is studying for a PH.D.); her oldest daughter Michelle (4) visits a Catholic kindergarten there, the younger daughter, Josephine, is one year. Geraldine brought a picture of the Pilgrim Mother along – since quite a time visiting the parents of her daughter's kindergarten, the classes in the kindergarten and the teachers. Geraldine: "I found it really difficult to insert the image within the English people, as they are not used to Pilgrim images, but Our Lady and my devotion to her are fortunately helping me!!!!" Also Michelle is already missionary – and immediately fell in love with a small MTA picture for children that was sent together with some information in English: "My eldest daughter keeps in joy with the picture and seems to have decided it is hers and was since ever meant to be hers. At the moment, the Pilgrim Mother is visiting in the kindergarten again, and all are really happy, they pray each day. Now I am starting Rosary groups, and many other activities would be possible… I would love more and more people to become devotees of our Mater!" In March, Geraldine spoke to the parish priest whether other people might be interested in receiving the Pilgrim Mother. Two more pictures are now to come to Purley with Geraldine's parents: "You can't imagine my joy in this moment! I feel so honored with the task entrusted to me!"
Missionary Compromise in Dakar – The Jubilee Pilgrim Mother for Senegal in the hands of a Senegalese Missionary
After one year in a voluntary youth mission service in Dakar, Senegal, Hellen Otero, mid April returned to Córdoba, Argentina. She left the Jubilee Pilgrim Mother for Senegal in the parish Saint Paul de Grand Yoff en Dakar, in the hands of three young men from Senegal who dedicated themselves as missionaries of the Pilgrim Mother. On February 28, Hellen wrote: "I ask you for special prayers for a youth who has dedicated himself to the Mater to be responsible for the Campaign in Senegal. His name is Adam Sambou and he is ready to do all out of love for the Blessed Mother ... In March, the Pilgrim Mother will begin to visit families! Great, isn't it?"
Three young men are in charge of the Pilgrim Mother after the leave of
Hellen: Adam Sambou,
"Our Pilgrim MTA is Blazing the Oregon Trail Anew!"
In less than a year, the Pilgrim Mother has visited more than 500 people in Oregon/USA, where Marge Rolen began the Campaign in March 2001 with one picture of the Pilgrim Mother. Now there are more than 50 pictures are visiting – The Pilgrim MTA is again blazing the Oregon trail!
The Oregon founding began with a bishop from Nebraska: "In October 2000 our new bishop, Bishop Vasa, suggested that we look into the Schoenstatt movement," shared Marge Rolen of Hermiston, Oregon. "He was very familiar with Schoenstatt from Lincoln, Nebraska, where he had been before coming to Oregon. After discovering how to spell 'Schoenstatt' we began our search! In March 2001, I travelled to Waukesha, WI to learn about the Pilgrim MTA.
On March 19, 2001, the feast of St. Joseph, I was sent forth from Waukesha by Fr. Vega and Sr. Elizabeth with one Pilgrim MTA. I felt like a babe sent into the wilderness of the Northwest, but I knew it was the Blessed Mother who began her journey down the "Oregon Trail." We have the following Pilgrim MTA pictures visiting homes: 13 in Hermiston, 6 in Pendleton, 3 in The Dalles, 2 in Heppner, 2 in Boardman, and one in Athena, Enterprise, Milton-Freewater, Corvalis, Mt. Angel, Standfield and Echo towns, along with 15 visiting Spanish speaking families in Hermiston. In Washington state we have 2 in Pasco and 1 in WallaWalla. That is over 50 Pilgrim MTA pictures! Also, and not least, my sister, Jean Kiser is coordinator in Logan, Kansas. She had a couple the other day, in their 70’s, who prayed the rosary for the first time in their lives. They were so happy and grateful to my sister. Father Hector and our pastor, Fr. Joseph Reinig, accepted seven covenants of love; six on October 6, 2001 and one on February 11, 2002. Six ladies and one man have now made the covenant of love in Oregon. "Nothing without you, nothing without us" is the covenant dynamics." Other groups are preparing for the Covenant of Love, several homeshrines and one office shrine have been erected in Oregon.
In Pasco, The Dalles, Hermiston, and Milton-Freewater, Hispanics account for 50 to 60% of the Catholic parishioners, so material and formation of the Campaign is necessary in both English and Spanish. Marge: "Please help us give thanks for the gift of Schoenstatt!"
A Smile Towards Heaven
"We want to confirm the presence of our Auxiliary Pilgrim image to preside over a worksahop in the jubilee 2002, and know about the advice regarding the transport and arrival. It will be a great blessing and honour for our community of Concordia when our dear Mother will pilgrim to the Father Shrine on this important day." - "The Auxiliary of Concordia is listed as image # 16 to preside over one of the workshops of the Jubilee of January 20, 2002, and should be here before January 10, 2002." – The central commission of the Golden Jubilee of the Father Shrine in Nuevo Schoenstatt, Argentina, asked for the presence of Auxiliaries to preside over the 18 workshops to be offered on January 19, 2002. The Auxiliary of Concordia, #16 on the list, was one of these, representing the Capital of Grace, the love and commitment of the missionaries of Concordia, of whom many could not participate in the celebration of the jubilee due to the big distance and the high travel costs. The Auxiliary # 16, that on October 3, 1991 had began the journey from the Shrine in Santa Maria towards Concordia, the "Queen of Hope", was sent from Concordia for the Jubilee – but never arrived at Nuevo Schoenstatt.
Liliana Laurent, in charge of the Campaign in the diocese, wrote: "I have to tell you the painful news that our Auxiliary image that was to be at the jubilee was stolen from the road transport company ANDREANI S.A., when armed gangsters held up the car that next to the image transported goods and mail to Buenos Aires. The robbery took place in CAMPANA, Province of Buenos Aires, near the stadium of the River Plate club early in the morning of January 10, 2002. This news really was a sword for my heart! Here, we at once began a prayer chain for her return to us!" The missionaries of Concordia still don't have any notice about the whereabouts of their beloved Auxiliar. "I offer my pain for the fruits of the jubilee," said Liliana Laurent. The missionaries of Concordia, and many others in Argentina and beyond prayed – and keep praying, and offering their Capital of Grace that may move the hearts of those who robbed the Auxiliary: "We already started the spiritual contributions for the return of our dear Auxiliary Pilgrim Mother, the pilgrimage to the wayside Shrine on the 18th is for this intention, and for our country.
"Love quickly transforms the sadness into joy". – Short time later, Liliana wrote again, sharing a joy born from this pain: "A priest from our diocese will for two years go to the diocese of Paysandú, Uruguay. Our bishop, in solidarity with this church, offered priests because due to the lack of vocations there they otherwise would have had to close a church. This priest would also go as missionary. He asked me if he could take a Pilgrim Mother picture along as the Campaign is not yet known in this diocese."
"The life of sacrifice and renouncement, offered in love, is a smile towards heaven," said John Pozzobon.
Standing in Line was Transformed into a Marian Vigil
January 22 through January 31, Fr. Carlos Cox, Chile, again visited Cuba. In the context of report about Schoenstatt in Cuba nowadays, he shared the following testimony: "In this small community of young people, a profound style of mutual care is developing. They care for each other and one really experiences the 'Look how they love each other'. One example that I witnessed during my stay: One of them had to stand in line all night to get a ticket for a flight. To make sure he would not be alone, two of his friends accompanied him with the Pilgrim Mother. Standing in line was transformed into a Marian Vigil."
For the Growth of Schoenstatt in Atlanta
The Atlanta State Auxiliary Pilgrim MTA was able to visit and be present when one of the young mothers was called heavenward. On Feb. 1st at 8:45 p.m. Gloria Quintana died, offering her life for the growth of Schoenstatt in Atlanta, USA (as Sean Caldwell had done Mar. 11, 1995). She was born in Uruguay and is survived by her loving husband, Enrique, and their children, Eric, Gabriel, Nicholas, & Daniela Mary. Her mission on earth, cut short by leukemia, continues from above. Her picture has been placed in the wayside shrine. This shrine-sized building is home to the MTA picture for the future shrine to be built in Georgia, a chapel of much prayer and devotion. Much life unfolds there. Angelo and Lydia Concepcion are the state coordinators for all English and Spanish coordinators in Georgia. Their family home is next to the wayside shrine, where a gathering room, patio area and a two car garage are generously placed at the service of the local Schoenstatt Family.
"I'll continue to come to the Wayside Shrine each day..."
On April 5, the diocesan council of the diocese of Nueve de Julio, Argentina, met in Bragado; Schoenstatt in this diocese was founded through the Campaña that is very strong there. A statistical date: Henderson, a town of 5,000 inhabitants, has 60 Pilgrim Mother pictures. With an average number of four persons per house, the Pilgrim Mother is visiting more than 50% of the total population. During this meeting, in the style of "Life incites Life", the testimonies and ideas shared left all of the participants inspired and enriched.
The first wayside shrine of Pehuajó is called Garden of Mary. It's really an awesome sight, surrounded by a park with areas of silence, prayer, etc. There's another wayside Shrine in Pehuajó, blessed by Father Esteban Uriiburu, at a place that is often flooded through the heavy rains that in the recent years have devastated fields in the whole dioceses, agriculture being the predominant economic sector. The couple living in the area and taking care of the wayside shrine already was pretty old, so the place was left a bit abandoned and neglected, with high weeds and pasture. Last year Marta Vázquez, leading a group of missionaries, decided to "revive" the wayside shrine, and they made the resolution to pray the rosary there once a week, always at the same time and hour. She noticed a man who was always there when they prayed, and when she talked to him, she heard his story: Some years ago his wife died and soon later they discovered him having a lymph tumor. As he lived close to the wayside shrine, he went there and told the MTA: "If you help me to be healed or to live well, I'll come here each day of my life!" Since then he does so, and when Marta asked him whether he would like to take care of the wayside shrine he gladly accepted. Some months later, in a conversation, the man commented: "I continue to come each day!" – One of the missionaries asked him: "And when you visit with your daughter in Bragado?" – "It's true, but then my sister comes for me", he said, explaining that she would pray in his name. Not one day missing…
On come July 3, the "Day of Pehuajó" is celebrated; the parish priest asked the Campaign to pray the "Thousand Hail Mary", announcing it and advertising for it in all the Masses. They in turn presented to him the program of the activities of the year. It also contained the idea of praying the rosary on the market place once a month, depending on the permission of the parish priest. How this idea came up? "Well, first of all, many people don't love to go inside a church, and anyway many can't due to work, today more than ever. Praying the rosary on the market place would give them the chance to join in, even if only for one Hail Mary while walking by… As things are today, with everybody being in a hurry, we need to go where people are and not wait for them to come to us or complain that they don't come…"
Come and Go at the Shrine – Thanks to the Children's Campaign
"In the year 2000, in Portugal we started the Pilgrim Mother Campaign for children and it was a great success. We clearly sensed that the hand of God was showing us the way. Luizinha, a very dynamic and active person, is in charge, and God willing we may get to more places, more schools, and more families", wrote Xana Veiga Araujo. With her husband, Pedro, she is in charge for a Pilgrim Mother picture that visits all of the families of the Federation. "The idea was passed on to us and another couple of the Federation, the Cravos, when we participated in the Jubilee of the Federation in Schoenstatt. A couple from Brazil, the Toledo, brought a Pilgrim Mother as symbol of the courses in Brazil. We were excited and brought the idea to Portugal. As we meet in monthly rhythm, the Pilgrim Mother stays for a month with each familiy. Last year I suggested that one of the first pictures of the Campaign for the children could visit together with the other one. With this, the growth of the Campaign for the Children woul be protected by the under the protection of the original Campaign. On the other hand, the Campaign for Children (that was being born) could give strenght to the Federation, also being born. This exchangeof love and strength would bear fruit.
The Campaign for children continues and has produced a real "come and go" of pilgrimages to the Shrine. Children, teachers and educators with the Pilgrim Mother pictures keep coming. The pictures that were on the way in February also visited in March.
A small group of children with a teacher of the "Casa pìa" were approaching the Shrine while Luisinha was waiting for another group. The initial dialogue created a little confusion end ended with the planning of the presentation of the Children's Campaign in "Casa Pia".
A teacher of a group of children in the school at S. Domingos de Benfica shared about the visit of the Pilgrim Mother in this school, and the kindergarten:
"We received the Pilgrim Mother with much faith and joy in our institution. We prepared a welcome song in our room, and each day we prayed and sang to her. Each day one of the children could take the Pilgrim Mother home, some had the privilege of keeping her over a whole weekend. The enthusiasm was enormous as well as the care for the transport.
Also some employees of the institution had the same opportunity, it was a real honor for all of them to receive the Mother in their houses. We hope that we can take the Pilgrim Mother into our school and kindergarten once again this year."
The children of a preschool were in the Shrine at Restelo, carrying the Pilgrim Mother pictures and offering the gifts that they and the families had prepared. At the end, five-year-old Felipe turned to one of the responsible persons, saying: "I carry the Pilgrim Mother in my heart!"
During come May, the "Dice of Joy" will accompany the Pilgrim Mother pictures for children. "The Focolare's Dice of Love inspired me," shared Xana. The dice has six different pictures – the logo of the Campaña, the Peregrina, a picture with Don Joao, an inspiration to "always smile", a picture of God the Father, all combined with a short text about that inspires to see or to yield joy.
Crowning of the Pilgrim Mother in Villa Franca, Italy
On Sunday, April 14, 2002, the Pilgrim Mother was crowned in the parish church of Villa Franca, Italy, in presence of all of the families that receive the Pilgrim Mother. The Sisters from Peruggia came for this occasion. Teresa de Velarazo, a missionary from Guayaquil, Ecuador, who during a pilgrimage to Rome and Schoenstatt in 2001 got to know the Schoenstatt Sisters in Italy and the Campaign there, wrote: "I hope that the prayers from the Original Shrine, together with our prayers here from the Guayaquil, accompany the people in Italy. Congratulations, Sisters Mà Ines, Ivonne, and Adriana for this important sep for the renewal of the world in Christ, especially in these moments when all need the love of the Mother so much."
Biking Rosary Pilgrimage to the Shrine in Madison
On March 4, 2002, four families of the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign in the Dodgeville, Wisconsin area, USA, made their covenant of love in the Shrine in Madison. The coordinator of the SRC in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, Susan Currie, worked specially towards the involvement of the whole family, including the children. In August 2001, for example, they organized a biking rosary pilgrimage for girls. One of the mothers preceded the cyclists by car and placed five religious markers at strategic locations. At each station the girls prayed a decade of the rosary with correlating meditations. The pilgrimage culminated with a prayer celebration in the Madison Founder Shrine followed by ice cream treats before heading back home.
Also in many other places, young people feel attracted to the Campaign and find their own expressions as to live as a missionary. For example in Villaguay, Paraná, Argentina, 60 young people organized a rural mission, setting out "two by two" with the Pilgrim Mother from the Parish Santa Teresita de Paraná, in cooperation with the Parish Santa Rosa de Lima, under the guidance of Father Silverio Cena. They left a big picture of the Mother Thrince Admirable there that was attached by Fr. Fabián Miniguti, parish priest of Santa Teresita.
"Saying the rosary is good for You" – according to the British Medical Journal
"Saying the rosary is good for you" is the title from a London CWNews clip of December 21, 2001. Writing in the British Medical Journal, Peter Sleight of the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, England, in conjunction with doctors from Florence and Pavia, Italy, claims that the formulaic nature of the rosary helps harmonize breathing cycles with involuntary rhythmic fluctuation in the blood pressure to an optimum of six per minute. They monitored the blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing of 23 healthy men and women and found their respiration rate slowed down from an average of 14 breaths a minute when they were not seeking the control of it , to seven when they were talking rather than chanting, and to six when they were deliberately controlling their breathing - or reciting the rosary. The doctors say the rosary may have evolved because it synchronized with inherent cardiovascular rhythms and thus gave a feeling of well-being and perhaps an increased responsiveness to the religious message!
Contributions: Lilian & Miguel Mateu, Mendoza, Argentina; Sr. Consuelo, Guayaquil, Ecuador; Teresa de Velarazo, Guayaquil, Ecuador; Suzanne Bears, Jacksonville, USA; Liliana Laurent, Concordia, Argentina; Xana , Portugal; Hellen Otero, Córdoba, Argentina; Geraldine Tiscurnia Kunz, Rurley, England;P. Carlos Cox, Chile; Sr. M. Jessica Swedzinski, Madison, USA; Marge Rolen,
Resources: Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign USA, Newsletter Jan. – March 2002; Vinculo Misionero N°. 20, Nov. /200, Argentina; Veiga Araujo, Portugal; Vínculo Marzo 2002, Chile; Documento de Consenso Santa Maria 1989; CWN London, Dec. 21, 2001
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