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From a novena of Our Lady of Schoenstatt to the Shrine…
VENEZUELA, Mercedes Manrique. I have been a devotee of Our Lady of Schoenstatt since a novena came to me in 2011, at a time when I was suffering extreme pain. I prayed and continue praying it with faith and fervor. Parallel to my situation, I was preparing for my research work to be presented at a Medical Congress in Switzerland. The theme was on the psychological support for patients suffering from breast cancer, something that I specialize in as a clinical psychologist. The novena I had came from the Shrine of Querétaro, Mexico. I called and requested them to offer my prayers to Our Lady and asked help for my children and their father, as well as my intentions to attend the congress and present my work since it had already been approved, but I did not have the finance to travel.
To my great surprise, I discovered that there was a Shrine of Our Lady in the city where the Congress was being held… and to add to that, the date for the presentation of my work was scheduled for the 18th of March, 2011. Thanks to Our Lady, and keeping in mind the words of the Covenant, "nothing without You, nothing without us", I interpreted all doors as possibilities, and at last, a few days before the date when I should have been leaving, I did meet certain people who helped me, and I gathered enough money for my ticket and expenses…
As soon as I reached the site of the Congress in St. Gallen, Switzerland, I asked for the address of the Shrine to thank Our Lady. It was very near the Congress site, and it was moving to feel how Our Lady helped me and allowed me to be present there with Her and with my work, just on Covenant Day. Since then I have been grateful, and I have spread her work through the novena to whomever I could help.
At this moment, I was again looking for the telephone number of the Queretaro Shrine to thank her for all the favors and graces that my girls, their father, and I have received these last months. I noticed in the Schoenstatt Shrines map of the world that in Venezuela, we do not have a Shrine of Our Lady… I wonder if you could inform me if this is possible and what we have to do for the first Shrine of Schoenstatt in Caracas to exist?
The Shrine already exists in my heart
A day after having sent this to schoenstatt.org and having received an answer, November 18th:
Thank you for the prompt answer and the beautiful words. Yesterday they made me feel that the physical Shrine, which I thought that Caracas needed, already exists in my heart, and thanks to your words, I could realize it.
When I read the novena for the first time, what helped me most were the exercises that reminded me daily on how to follow the example of Our Lady, as Mother and Daughter of God. More than once, when I found myself in situations that frightened me, or those of suffering, I recalled this exercise, I put it into practice and serenity and peace
I feel that these coincidences, these incidents that I cite, such as: that we should know each other exactly on a day like today, or when events happen like happened this afternoon: I needed to know something about a loved one, I asked Our Lady about him, and in some minutes a car horn honks and that person was beside me… I feel then that Our Lady reminds me that she is there, at my side; that she listens and answers me with the sweetness and love of a Mother who loves, accompanies, guides and protects her children.
I understand perfectly what the construction of a filial shrine implies, and when I read what it means to maintain it, not only financially, I think: My God, I will not have the time nor the strength for the work that this requires; but then immediately I told myself, I will not be alone, and I remembered the words of the Covenant that makes possible every wish, desire, and need that we entrust to OUR Lady, and we could ask her to present it to her beloved Son, all these will be answered in the same way that God considers for our own good…
With much gratitude, I await the next step, trusting that God will do what is best.
When I sent this testimony I felt like I had launched a bottle into the sea. I am so grateful that you have received it, and that you answered me. So eagerly, I can now publish it in the Web.
Original: Spanish. Translation: Kohnie Valderamma, Madrid, Spain