A crown of living roses – "An impression of what currently moves people in Germany"
First Illumined rosary in the Adoration Church in Schoenstatt
SCHOENSTATT, mkf. "Yes, I am here for the rosary, I'm from Koblenz and read it in the newspaper." – "Is this where the Illumined Rosary will take place? We are here for the first time..."- When time before 3:00 PM on Saturday, February 22, 2003, the Adoration Church was filling with people, the eyes of the 25 members of the Professional Women's League widened with awe. They were the sponsors of this first Illumined Rosary in Schoenstatt "open" for all and for all petitions. One hour later, when the rosary – as a crown of living roses, with candles and an International Auxiliary of the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign in the center – was completed on the steps of the altar, and the 240 – 260 participants, at least a third of them first-time visitors to Schoenstatt, remained in prayer, the initiators were overwhelmed with joy and gratitude. From many places in Argentina, home of this way to pray the rosary – from Tucumán, Villaguay, San Luis, Paraná, Buenos Aires, Goya..., from Chile, Texas, Zimbabwe, Bolivia, Paraguay, Florida... communities, groups and individuals had joined in with their petitions, prayer of the rosary, and capital of grace. A stream of prayer around the world, was tangible on that sunny winter afternoon.
Already before the Year of the Rosary, and specially since the Holy Father started to incessantly ask to pray the rosary for peace, the Professional Women felt called to promote the rosary, especially the "Illumined Rosary" that was born in the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign in Argentina. "We wanted to open what for us is a source of joy two and a half years, so that people can participate, and the Illumined Rosary here in Schoenstatt, the place of origin, was also our gift to all those who with their prayers and their faithfulness to the rosary created this treasure of prayer that you just sense when the crown of roses is growing…" It was like that. It was tangible that this was not a method to easily create a prayerful, Marian atmosphere. While praying the rosary, a living rosary was created, made of the sorrowful and joyful mysteries of the participants' lives. "The petitions made for an impression of what currently moves people in Germany", Father Ángel Strada said. In the days before, he had accompanied the retreat of the Professional Women and in the morning celebrated Holy Mass with them in the Original Shrine.
"When we pray the rosary in this way, I think, the Blessed Mother will soon be present…"
"When we pray the rosary in this way, I think, the Blessed Mother will soon be present…", said Father Kentenich in his talk on the rosary as crown of living roses, in Villa Ballester, Argentina – when we pray it seeing "each pain and each joy in the light of the faith". Already during the first mystery the first participant approached that did not belong to the Professionals', a man that with emotion prayed imploring justice to the places of work. While he lit his candle and placed his rose, another person approached, and another more... praying their own Hail Mary for their parents, mothers, children, sick grandchildren, for the peace in the world, for the husbands, children, neighbors without work, for the broken marriages, for the youths in her exams. Adriana, member of the Mothers' Federation in Argentina, and Father Angel Strada prayed an Hail Mary in representation of Argentina, where the Illumined Rosary was born. The Hail Mary war heard in Polish, French, Spanish. The needs, yearnings and challenges of the Schoenstatt family all over the world, were named, as well as those of many of the Schoenstatt communities present – the Girls' Youth, Sisters and Schoenstatt Fathers, members of the Federation of Women, of the Federation of Men, the Mothers' League... It was a moment of emotion, of tears, smiles... a personal moment of encounter with the Blessed Mother and her son Jesus. Faithful to the title of this rosary announced in the newspapers and in Internet, people carried "the world and their people" to the Mother of God and her Divine Child.
A woman of 89 years, accompanied by a younger friend,during the third mystery – The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem – approached the microphone, tears in her eyes. "Mother, I give to you my son that last week killed himself; you accompany him, Mother, in his road toward God... Hail Mary, full of grace…". When she could not continue, spontaneously all prayed with her; with great effort and decision, she lit her candle and placed her rose. "It hurts, still hurts", she said , "but since the moment in which I saw the announcement in the newspaper I wanted to come to bring my son to this rosary. Nevertheless, I did not think to find something so pretty here, I have slightly more peace in my heart looking at my rose...".
"The great family that we are"
In between, the professional ladies prayed their Hail Mary for all the ones that united spiritually to this rosary, through their petitions, their confidence, their rosaries : "From Villaguay, Province Entre Ríos, Argentina, we ask to be incorporated to the Illumined Rosary on February 22, we from here will accompany you at 6.30 AM with a pilgrimage from the Chapel of San Miguel to the wayside shrine of the Mater, praying the 20 mysteries and contributing our Capital of Grace, as we do all Saturdays. We ask you to pray with us for the peace of the world, for the unity of the Schoenstatt Family, for the education in the Province Entre Ríos, for the realization of our Daughter Shrine, for the recovering of the moral values in Argentina... we accompany you with our prayer. Mirtha de Guido for the Apostolic Schoenstatt Movement of Villaguay" – "From Tucumán, Argentina, as responsible persons for the Family Movement, we want to communicate that we will join the rosaries for the peace of the world and also for the peace of the hearts, and for a world with more LOVE. I wanted to ask you to keep very present in the Original Shrine (to which we want to como some day) the name of our country, since we need a great deal of "divine grace", that illuminate the hearts and the minds of each one of us. Many thanks. We feel very much united as 'the great family' that we are, Claudia of Rodriguez".
All the persons, cities, countries that responded to the invitation to participate were named – a family moment of unity, a moment of family grace, of divine love.
Almost all remained... "trapped" by the crown of roses
When the last decade was finished, Father Angel Strada gave his priestly blessing, a song was intoned, of several stanzas, the booklet with the talk of Father Kentenich about the rosary was given to all, all wereinvited to the next Illumined Rosary on April 5, another closing song was sung... but did nobody move to leave! "I believe that if we would have continued with another rosary, nobody had left", said Inge Cleven, and Alexa Clemens added: "Today I understood the Thousand Hail Mary ... one rosary does not suffice for so many needs!" –" The view of the rosary was just wonderful ", said Gabriele Sudermann.
For the Professionals (none of them ever was in an Illumined Rosary with more than 30 persons), this rosary was the crowning of a "Model Schoenstatt Day" that closed "an extraordinary retreat" given by Father Angel Strada on the art of mastering conflicts, with hurts, disappointments, and guilt, how to mobilize the positive forces through looking at to the future instead of analyzing the past, and to live for a mission. February 22 had all the elements of a Schoenstatt day, each one with special intensity: the linking to God in the Covenant of Love, realized in the Mass in the Original Shrine, to celebrate in natural joy as family, with a special brunch in House Sonnenau, the apostolic commitment in the offering of the rosary, and the family encounter in the "Argentine Night" with typical food from Argentina (a luxury that Hans and Pitty Reiche made possible!), with music, the video of the Golden Jubilee of the Father Shrine, and a talk by Father Angel Strada on the history and mission of Schoenstatt in Argentina.
Next dates of the Illumined Rosary in Schoenstatt: April 5, May 31, and August 9.
Rosary for peace in the Original Shrine: March 5, 12, 19; daily rosary in the Original Shrine, at 7:30 PM. : 26 of March – 31 October.
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