A Spectacular Semester at Marquette University, Milwaukee
Update on "Operation Mario" after the return of "Team 8" to Chile
USA, Marge Fenelon. Having had a very fruitful past semester, Team Eight has now "retired." The three young men from Chile like the seven teams before, dedicated one semester studying in Milwaukee to the formation of a Male Students' Schoenstatt Youth in the United States. The original group of eight Marquette students made a conscious decision to learn more about Schoenstatt's spirituality and history, thus continuing to deepen their Schoenstatt knowledge and attachments. A second group has started to meet on a regular base, and female students both from Chile, and from the USA, have decided to give a similar endeavor a try this year.
During an overnight retreat at the International Schoenstatt Center, the students from the first group congealed their commitment to each other and the movement, writing a group prayer that they say together frequently. With the help of Fr. Niehaus, they learned more about Fr. Kentenich's exile during one of their weekly meetings at the Operation Mario apartment. Additionally, they spent time discussing life issues and their relationship to Schoenstatt 's spirituality each week. By the end of the semester, they had taken possession of the group, leading their own group meetings with limited input from The 8-Team. This is a very big step and shows the group's grasp of Schoenstatt's pedagogy of self-education!
Group one has taken charge of themselves just in time, because Operation Mario now has a second group of seven Schoenstatt-committed young men meeting at the Operation Mario apartment on a regular basis. This group, which includes two students from Milwaukee School of Engineering, has great enthusiasm and potential. Two of its members already have their own home shrine, modeled after the Operation Mario Homeshrine, Living Cenacle.
In addition to the excitement among the guys, a group of four-to-five young women has stepped forward and asked to be taught more about Schoenstatt and are interested in forming a group that would meet on a regular basis. Soon, they will meet with Margaret Fenelon and Sr. Marie Day to discuss their needs and desires.
Testimony of the "Operation Mario" students
Before leaving back to Chile, Eugenio, Andres and Carles shared how they lived their time in Milwaukee: "This last January was different from all the other Januaries in our lives, it was the beginning of a completely different semester, a semester with a lot of cold and snow, a semester with a different language, a semester completely dedicated to the Blessed Mother. It was in that month of new things when the MTA started working our hearts through lots of people, in different ways, in conclusion, in every moment of every day.
But without doubt, there's a thing that we will always take in our hearts, and that is the big effort that the families make for us, all the love that you give us, the care, the dedication to us and to your own families, in conclusion, your families are examples for our families in the future. You cannot imagine the big gift that you are for us, every story that you tell us about your life and about Fr. Kentenich lights our hearts and encourages us to give ourselves every day for the mission, for Operation Mario and for the every day sanctity. Thanks to your constant support, the MTA is establishing herself every time more in the middle of the Catholic Marquette Community and a lot of our friends have personal attachments with our Blessed Mother and with the Shrine. The fruits of Operation Mario have been so big that there are already two Schoenstatt groups of universitary youth working."
A new beginning in Madison
Benjamin Wilkinson, one of the original members of the Marquette group, made his Blank Check Surrender in the Exile Shrine on May 31! It was a beautiful and heart-moving ceremony with Fr. Langsch and Deacon Mark con-celebrating. Afterwards, there was a congratulatory party for him at the Fenelon home.
Preparations for Team 9 are currently (and joyfully) under way in Chile.
This coming August, three young women from the University Women's Branch in Santiago, Chile, Daniela Ryan, Pascuala Morel, and Trinidad Aguilar, will arrive in Madison. They'll be simultaneously attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison as exchange students while working on building a university women's branch in the USA. They will work primarily in Madison, but they've pledged their support to the Milwaukee area in whatever way they're able and needed.
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