A living rosary, made of roses, candles, and the joys and sorrows of life
Second Illumined Rosary in Schoenstatt marked by the war in Iraq and solidarity
SCHOENSTATT, mkf. "I pray this 'Hail Mary' for the quick end of that terrible war, for the dead, the wounded, the families of the killed soldiers and civilians, for the orphans of this war: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you…" On April 5, an "Illumined Rosary" was offered in the Adoration Church in Schoenstatt, with approximately 300 persons present, among them Schoenstatt Mothers from the diocese of Freiburg participating in a retreat, and youth from Ecuador, Paraguay, Poland, and Romania. The Professional Women from Northern Germany, as part of their retreat, offered the Illumined Rosary, born in the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign in Argentina.
On the same day, children in Borken, diocese of Münster, prayed an Illumined Rosary for peace; in the Shrine in Bellavista, Santiago de Chile, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazúriz, prayed for peace with directors of Catholic schools; as on each Saturday, the missionaries of the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign in Argentina, prayed the rosary for peace at more than 800 wayside shrines dispersed in the whole country. In most of the 170 Schoenstatt Shrines of the world, people gathered to pray for peace, as they did since war broke out and before, answering to the urgent call of the Holy Father.
"We are thus participating in and contributing to a stream of grace and prayer that encircles the world," Gabriele Sudermann said as she greeted the participants, and introduced the "Illumined Rosary". Like on February 22, many of those who attended had only heard about the Illumined Rosary through the local newspapers and radio, and were in Schoenstatt for the first time. A special joy: a number of children, and many young people were present!
"It is a living and lived rosary; with each Hail Mary, we add a rose and light a candle of the rosary that is formed here on the steps of the altar, with the Auxiliary Pilgrim MTA presiding - reminding not only of the origin of this rosary, but the special grace offered with this rosary, and the participation in the power of thousands of thousands of rosaries lived, offered, and prayed by the missionaries of the Pilgrim Mother and all those who join in." Gabriele Sudermann then encouraged each one to come ahead and pray a Hail Mary on one of the decades, and to offer it for someone - thus dedicating this person not only to Jesus and Mary, but to the prayer of all those present.
Personal: My life in my prayer
The "Illumined Rosary", Gabriele Sudermann explained, has its origin in a talk that Father Kentenich in June 1949 gave to a small group of women in Villa Ballester, encouraging them to form a living rosary, a crown of living roses, by praying, offering, and living the rosary, uniting the joyful and sorrowful of their personal life with the joyful and sorrowful mysteries of the Holy Rosary.
Hesitantly first, after the initial "Hail Mary's" prayed by the Professional women, participants walked ahead. The war in Irak, the immense pains and fears of the Iraqi people, of the soldiers and their families on both sides, were named. But in the urgent prayers for the end of the war in Irak, the suffering and needs as well as the commitment, love, and dreams of so many other peoples and persons near of far were not forgotten. A young woman from Paraguay prayed for the elections on April 27 and those who commit themselves to working for a new Paraguay, girls from Ecuador entrusted the Girls' Youth in Quito and Ecuador to the prayers of all. With these girls praying in Spanish, other young people got the courage to pray in their first language too - so that the Hail Mary resounded in Hungarian, Polish, Slovakian…
A man stood up and, fighting for composition, prayed: In the presence of you, dear Pilgrim Mother, I pray for a man who has received you so often and who is battling his cancer, give him hope and strength, I entrust him and his family to you!
A little girl, six or seven years old, prayed for her older brother who was preparing for First Holy Communion, and proudly lit her candle.
When the last decade of the rosary was coming to an end, Alexa Clemens, who lead the prayer, had no chance for the "Glory to the Father…" - although all candles were lit, people still came to pray for their loved ones.
"Can I take my rose, and my candle home?", a women asked. She knew exactly the place of her candle. "I want to remember the moment when 300 persons prayed for someone who is special to me."
We suffered a little and the Mother worked miracles!
"Who had thought that these words, said to a small group of women in Ballester, would more than 50 years later have such a resonance in Germany... Well, not in vain he was a prophet," commented a missionary from Argentina after learning about the Illumined Rosary prayed on April 5. Not in vain he was a prophet, and not in vain those who with open hearts had begun and continued to offer the rosary as crown of living roses, had remained faithful to to his words. "Of course the Illumined rosary creates miracles," another missionary said. "When we did it for the first time in this city, the missionaries wrapped a flower in film, and a candle with that, and the Blessed Mother accepted this capital of grace and made the work fruitful. Another time we offered the Illumined Rosary again, with a red rose and a candle, and we were questioned by the priests, because they did not like it, they said it was ugly! It was said from the pulpit and we did not know what to do.
That made me sad and angry, and I started to check the magazines with photos of the Illumined Rosary, and asked for an appointment with our bishop, then Bishop Stockler. He listened to me, and when I wanted to show the photos to him, he told me he would already know this rosary, and all that we were doing for Our Lady would be fine! We suffered a little, and the Blessed Mother worked miracles!"
After the rosary, the professional women asked for donations in order "to return something to Schoenstatt in Argentina in gratitude for the gift of the Illumined Rosary". With these donations - they got appr. 75.00 $ - the women support the Day Care Center "Maria de Nazaret" in Ballester. They also offered booklets with the talk of Father Kentenich, and the already famous macramé rosaries made in Argentina.
"The most beautiful part of a beautiful retreat!"
The little group of Professional Women did not regret to have "lost" three hours of their meeting for the Rosary; on the contrary - "it was the most beautiful part of a beautiful meeting", they told Father Dr. Lothar Penners, Director of the German Schoenstatt Movement, the other day, when they presented to him what they see as their mission - and their vision of Schoenstatt as "Open Shrine". "International, family, open, uniting life and ideals, apostolic!"
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