I was born to bear a Flag
The Schoenstatt Girls' Youth of Guayaquil conquered a new banner as an expression of their ideal, "Yes Father, a field of lilies"
ECUADOR, Guayaquil, Angie Santos. The Guayaquil`s Girls`Youth, whose ideal is "Yes Father, a Field of Lilies", gathered on December 13th, 2003 to present in a very solemn manner, the reproduction of their banner that they had been spiritually and physically stitching for a long time. The culmination of this ceremony was in the heights at the top of the Santa Ana mountain, a tourist and emblematic place of Guayaquil, near the shores of the Guayas River.
"And the so long awaited moment arrived.. until today, the flag had been wrapped on the pole. No one had seen it, so for that reason there was a dance around it. Eight girls dressed with typical costumes of four regions of Ecuador, danced and playing in the background is the song of "Bandera Azu l" (Blue Flag). Nobody could believe it when Tati Correa showed up holding the flag, unrolled it and let it wave," Maria Cecilia Aviles relates the emotion of the moment, "Many of us were crying and singing very loudly." Maria Cecilia Aviles is one of the many loyal and enthusiastic Girls' Youth leaders.
Like life’s wallpaper
With its blue background and white and silver stitches, the new Guayaquil´s Girls Youth banner is a symbol of this youth's history. It is comparable to the image that our Father and Founder used as a symbol of the Divine Providence. Through our lives we see the backside of the flag, its knots and stitches, its contradictions and complexities. But God can see the tapestry from above, from the right side and He sees it whole. He contemplates the realization of the previewed design. The girls could see these knots in two happenings. First, the loss of the crown of the International Girls Youth, the RTA crown (Regina ter admirabilis, Thrice Admirable Queen), blessed by Father Kentenich , that he gave to the Girls’ Youth of the diocese of Münster, Germany. It got lost when it was sent to Germany from Ecuador, in 1999. Also, the original banner of the "Field of Lilies" was lost in 2001. But these two happenings, far from discouraging the girls, fired the courage in them inviting them to live more loyally the youth ideal that our Father and Founder left for them: to become the image of Immaculate Mary.
Renewing themselves in the Sources
After the banner got lost, they made a simple reproduction, but soon they knew they needed another. They could simply order the stitching, but they knew that each stitch should be backed up by offerings to the Capital of Grace and prayers. They began the quest. Every group worked the flag’s symbolism and the Ecuador Girls’ Youth history.
The Schoenstatt Girls' Youth conquered the original flag at the beginning of 1980’s. A loyal and sacrificial youth they are now still committed to Schoenstatt in the different adults' branches. Their daughters are actively involved in the present youth groups.
Also the original from the current generation
Among the original banner symbols there was a crown, image of the one that the youth had conquered at the beginning. Now, the new generation thought about the possibility of changing the crown’s design to one with that they would identify themselves with best; of course, with that of the RTA. The high school girls adopted that image of the crown in 2002 and crowned Mary, their "Queen of pure love and loyal sacrifice". In August 2003, the Youth organized a journey where members from different Girls’ Youth generations gave their testimony. After they talked and thought it through, as the bells rang, the Girls’ Youth announced they had a new crown and its image would be ordered to be swen in the reproduction of the banner.
Joyfully, some girls youth from the Members' Circle said that some years ago they received from Sr. M. Monsterrat a small reproduction of the RTA crown. Another Schoenstatt Sister of Mary had sent this crown, made by the same course that crowned our Queen together with our Father, as well as initiated the crowning current that is still in place.
To the top: 444 steps to the top to set the flag
When the banner was almost ready they planned the delivery date for December the 13th. "It was a beautiful moment, we were around two hundred people" Maria Cecilia says. "We began the ceremony in the Father Corner, next to the shrine, where Sr. M. Virginia gave Father a paten (symbol of the Ecuadorian Schoenstatt family, Ed.) and she read the letter Father sent to the Ecuadorian Family as his spiritual legacy, (and remembering the first generation of Ecuadorian Girls youth.)
Then, we went to the shrine chanting, where Mapi Medina, representing the second generation, gave to the Mater(common name of the Mother Thrice Admirable of Schoenstatt used in the Spanish speaking countries: Mater ter admirabilis) a picture of the bell as symbol of that generation’s conquest of the Shrine and every one of its elements.
After that, we left the lilies for the Mater and we lit a candle as a symbol that from there and with her blessing we would go to the Guayaquil lighthouse, which is located at the top of the Santa Ana Mountain, at the Guayas River shore. The day was spectacular, it was not too sunny, and we hiked the 444 steps to get to the top of the lighthouse and be able to reveal the banner there.
We were chanting and remembering those generations that gave us the heritage.
Half way through the hike, we stopped to remember the third generation. Their heritage was our ideal of Girls Youth and the banner. Lorgia de Loor, as representative of that generation gave us the symbol "Father’s presence, Home to the World" We went on with our journey and said the Rosary as we hiked to the top. We were all tired, but our Queen deserved this sacrifice, all of it for the Capital of Grace. We cannot waste anything!"
Stitches in every situation of their lives
Many stories were told and the new reproduction is a symbol of a youth with a solid Schoenstatt foundation, and hundreds of lives committed to the Queen of the Lilies Field.
"When we got to the top we settled there and began the solemn act. The last generation participated first. Lorena Sanchez gave the crown to the MTA as a symbol of that generation’s high school girls' crowning.
Then, a flag was being formed with each one of the symbols that we have conquered, and the flag that we made throughout the year and we were gluing our offerings to the Capital of Grace."
All year’s youth work was focused on the conquering the banner. Its symbols were tied to the Schoenstatt spirituality: Father eye, Divine Providence; the great lily and the Shrine, The Covenant of Love, the smaller lilies in the world, everyday sanctity and the rays that come from the world and instrument spirituality. Their Capital of Grace was many sacrifices and prayers, "stitches" for the new banner.
Half of the Girl’s Youth had their heart in the river…
"So we sang a hymn for the banner.. This was composed by Silvia, one of the girls, and was read by Magda (a youth leader) and Mariuxi (a high school girl). It was beautiful! Then we finished the act. We entered the chapel and then we had the opportunity to raise the banner.. We secured it very well, and Magda and a girl from Quito began to raise it. When the flag was almost at the top, suddenly, the twine broke. The flag came down in a couple of seconds and the wind was blowing it away. Half of the Girl’s Youth had their ‘hearts in the river’, and were ready to jump in the river to rescue it. Thank God we recovered it, and of course, after the jolt, we wanted to put it in a safe place, but decided to raise it to the top again. Afterwards, the flag was taken to the Shrine.
It was a spectacular afternoon. I believe the tiredness we felt was nothing compared to the joy we felt when we saw it there, flying, and with it, our most high ideals of sanctity."
Translation: Vera Gamez, Austin, TX, USA/ Paula Dudgeon, Minnesota, USA
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