Schönstatt - Begegnungen

Salt and Light ­ Let me always be your instrument!

Vocational Program and international encounters around the reception of five novices from five countries in Schoenstat

Schoenstatt: Five novices from five countries received the dress of the Schoenstatt Sisters on September 1,2002.
Schönstatt: fünf Novizinnen aus fünf Ländern erhielten am 1.September das Kleid der Marienschwestern
Hungarian Sisters and youth from Romania sang a typical Hungarian song.
Ungarische Schwestern und Jugendliche aus Rumänien mit einem typischen ungarischen Lied.
Schoenstatt Youth from Portugal during the ceremony of the reception
Schönstattjugend aus Portugal bei der Einkleidungsfeier
Each novice said a petition in her mother tongue.
JedeNovizin sagte eine Fürbitte in ihrer Muttersprache
Procession from the Adoration Church to the Shrine.
Prozession von der Anbetungskirche zum Heiligtum
Congratulation for Sr. Heidi from South Africa
Glückwunsch für Sr. Heidi aus Südafrika
Song for Sr. Paula from Portugal
Lied für Sr. Paula aus Portugal
Sunday afternoon, Father-Kentenich-House: testimonies of Schoenstatt Sisters
Sonntagnachmittag, Pater-Kentenich-Haus: Zeugnisse von Marienschwestern
Group from Portugal around the statue of Father Kentenich
Gruppe aus Portugal bei der Pater-Kentenich-Statue
Saturday: The four Hungarian actors of "Salt and Light"
Samstag: Die vier ungarischen Spielerinnen von "Salz und Licht"
Youth Choir "Salt and Licht"
Jugendchor "Salz und Licht"
Approximately 250 persons in the audience on Saturday night.
Ungefähr 250 Personen waren am Samstag bei "Salz und Licht" dabei
Exhibition: The cross is the entry fee.
Ausstellung: Das Kreuz ist der Eintrittspreis
Fotos: POS, Fischer © 2002
Switzerland, Quarten: clothing day for two novices
Schweiz, Quarten: Einkleidung von zwei Novizinn en
The Swiss novices in their bridal dresses
Die Schweizer Novizinnen in ihrem Brautkleid
Petitions of the new Sisters
Fürbitten der neuen Schwestern
Schoenstatt Girls' Youth from Switzerland
Schweizer Mädchenjugend
Fotos: María Pérez de Lema © 2002

SCHOENSTATT, Sr. M. Jessica Swedzinski, mkf. Five novices from five countries ­ Germany, England, Romania, Portugal, South Africa – on Sunday 1, 2002, in Schoenstatt received the dress of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary. Relatives and friends from these countries, smaller pilgrimages from Scotland and Ireland, and approximately 200 girls and young women from the Schoenstatt Girls' Youth joined in the ceremony and the activities of this weekend. On the same day, two novices received their Sisters' dress and Quarten, Switzerland, and the day before, August 31, five novices from Chile, and Ecuador, celebrated their clothing day in Bellavista, Chile.

When on Sunday afternoon, during the Spanish Mass in the House Chapel of House Marienau, Father Sidney Fones thanked and prayed for the new Schoenstatt Sisters and spoke about the incredible gift of each vocation accepted by the one called by Jesus and Mary to be their instruments, a beautiful weekend of love and dedication was ending in Schoenstatt.

Excitement was at a high level and Mount Schoenstatt buzzed with the four different languages of our novices! There were families from South Africa, England, Portugal, and Romania, these families, like the novice, belonging to the Hungarian minority in Romania. Pilgrimages from Ireland and Scotland, and the many Schoenstatt members who had come from England, provided a rise of English words on the Mountain, while in the valley also Czech was overheard: a group of girls from the Czech Republic had spent a good time in House Sonnenau, closing their stay with the clothing day.

Because he called me: Come!

Around 200 girls began invading from Friday evening onwards for the traditional Holy Mass of the Youth at 9:00 AM in the Original Shrine, and a full program of workshops on Saturday afternoon, centered on vocation, and on the preparation of "Salt and Light" in the evening, a presentation with music, theater, and dialogue. At 20:00 on Saturday in the Fr. Kentenich, approximately 250 visitants in the Father Kentenich House witnessed a firework of ideas and testimonies in songs and scenes. Although many of them needed translation, the message was understood immediately. Four girls from Hungary presented a beautiful play of five acts entitled: "Salt and Light". Playing multiple roles with a totally memorized text they took a standing room only audience on a vocation search through the eyes of a disciple 2000 years ago in the Holy Land. Like when the rich young man was listing off all his flocks and herds and yards of purple cloth and jewelry that Jesus asked him to give up, a conversation between Anni and Katharina, two young women from the Girls' Youth, made clear what the new novices had to give up now to follow Jesus. The play made a deep impact on all who participated in it as well as the audience. It made the calling to follow Christ very real for our present time – not just something that happened millennia ago. "We did not just perform a theater," one of the Hungarian girls said, radiant with joy after the standing ovations at the end of the theater, "we wanted to share our experience, we wanted to pass on the joy we feel in being called…"

When he goes into the desert with me, the desert is a garden

The scenes on the ignored and lost vocation and the sadness that follows this decision, and the scenes of making the decisions to leave home, family, and plans for the future to follow Jesus, were interpreted also by songs with the subject of salt and light, picking up the motive of World Youth Day. One workshop of the afternoon had been dedicated to practicing these songs.

"When he smiles at me, I don't care when the others laugh about me;
when he is sitting in the boat with me, I don't fear the storms,
when we goes into the desert with me, my desert will be a garden…"

The evening closed with a night prayer outside the Father Kentenich, in the star light, with little candles lit, the participants forming a wide circle around the statue of Father Kentenich. It is also he who has called thousands and thousands from all areas of the world to be share his mission in the wide variety of the Schoenstatt communities.

To become a blessing and joy for others

A sea of banners, altar servers and sixteen priests with Monsignor Zimmerer, processed in before the beaming brides of Christ accompanied by trumpet, choral and organ music – very moving. The uncle of one of the novices, Fr. John Cooper, was a main concelebrant. Fr. Grill was the Master of Ceremonies and the deacon was Mark Niehaus. The Sisters' choir, and the choir of the Girls' Youth, provided the songs.

In his welcome Monsignor reminded of the novices in Brazil, Chile, and Switzerland, who on this day or some days before had gotten their Sisters' dress, and the novices in Argentina preparing for this day. He based his sermon on the gospel, which was Luke’s account of the visitation of Mary to Elizabeth. He highlighted two points in his sermon:

1. Wherever people encounter Mary in faith, something wonderful happens, there is healing and joy. Why? Because wherever we meet Mary in the Shrine or as Pilgrim Mother, she gives us some idea of God, brings us closer to Christ and transforms our entire being. In our encounter with her we become different, happier and free.

2. There is no better way to bring healing to the world, to bring grace and joy to people than to attach ourselves in a deep way to our Lady. Fr. Kentenich experienced this during his lifetime as have and do all who consecrate themselves to her. Through the covenant of love, our novices place themselves at the disposal of Our Lady so that she and Christ can work through them and in them. They want to be little Marys and – like Our Lady in today’s gospel become a source of blessing and joy for others.

And now they are Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary

After the sermon, the five went forward together to receive their dresses. During the next fifteen minutes until they reappeared as Sisters of Mary, the Youth Choir, a group from Portugal, and a Sisters and youth from Portugal, did an excellent service along with two selections from the Family choir. Then came the joy of seeing Sister Paula (Portugal), Sister Heidi (South Africa), Sr. Beata Marie (Romania), Sr. Francine Marie (England), and Sr. Petra Marie (Germany, she has two older sisters already in the community) for the first time in the Sisters Dresses and then seeing and hearing them each read a petition in their Mother tongue.

Congratulations, Meeting and Greeting in Family Joy

Shortly after 11:00 the procession began to the Sisters' Shrine where the novices prayed and sang to the MTA before being congratulated by the sisters and their eagerly waiting families, friends, the Schoenstatt Girls' Youth, sisters, Schoenstatt Fathers and seminarians, and some who had just happened to drop in like Don Blan from Texas who had some hours between flying an airplane to and from Frankfurt, or a man from Bavaria who as a boy had once been to Schoenstatt and, from camping near Rhens, made it to Schoenstatt. Singing, laughter, meeting and greeting, photos, flowers, congratulations, tears … All participants from England wore a white rose on their dress, sign for the rose of England. Meeting old friends again: several of the girls who had shared Sr. Francine Marie's time during her extended stay program in Schoenstatt a couple of years ago, had come for her feast day – Donna from USA, Erin from Scotland, Theresa from Ireland. The majority of the Sisters to participate in the Congress to begin on come Saturday already were in Schoenstatt, what made for a number of surprise meetings. Some persons from the USA all had to come to Schoenstatt to finally meet!

Testimonies and Open House in the Mother House

There was a programme in the afternoon with various options. ‘Open House’ in the Mother House was a much appreciated invitation to once enter the Sisters' dining room or see the rooms of the sisters. A cycle of pictures by Paul Cooper, "The Cross is the Entry Fee", was displayed in the Father Kentenich House. Father Franz Brügger, who knows him and his work since years, gave tours in English and German on the meaning and history of these pictures around grieve, loss, loneliness, and the answer and the light in the Shrine.

Two Sisters of Mary, Sr. Raphaela (Germany) and Sr. María Julia (Argentina) gave testimonies about their calling to the family, and their work and apostolate. The solemn Benediction in the Adoration Church was at 15:30, followed by festive coffee-breaks and congratulations.

While many of the guests left home after the benediction, the novices, and their families and friends continued to celebrate together on Monday and Tuesday. The English-speaking guests for example had a celebration of singing in the Founder Chapel along with the two English speaking novices and their families. On Mondey afternoon the whole English speaking contingent plus the novices and their families went to nearby Maria Laach.

In Quarten, Switzerland, the ceremony took place in the parish church of Quarten, which was filled with guests. The Schoenstatt Girls' Youth actively participated here as well. After the days of celebrating with family and friends, the novices will continue with their formation time in the Novitiate House.

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Last Update: 23.09.2002 12:41 Mail: Editor /Webmaster
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