The mission of the Mary’s Volunteers of the Schoenstatt Movement in Argentina is: to help the sick with their physical and spiritual needs, offer them consolation and affection in their anguish and loneliness, bring them peace, joy, and hope so that can live with dignity as children of God at every moment.
Presently, there are more than 300 volunteers who offer their assistance in about twenty-five hospitals throughout Argentina, and they have already visited more than 1,800,000 sick people.
With contributions from people and institutions, Mary’s Volunteers have built and equipped the Ave Maria Intensive Care Unit at Muñiz Hospital for those who have AIDS. It is the first of its kind in South America, and it has a waiting room for relatives. The Oratory and Chapel, where so many sick people and their relatives, as well as the hospital personnel, find a place of peace and spiritual shelter, were also built at that hospital.
The Volunteers of Mary donated an echocardiogram and an ultrasound machine to the Ramos Mejia Hospital (Buenos Aires), an infusion (IV) pump to Santa Rosa Maternity, and a Computed Tomography scanner (CT or CAT scanner) to the Florencio Varela Hospital.
In 1999 the organization collaborated with the Source of Life Foundation to build Mary’s Home for mothers and children with AIDS.
They have provided medicine, diapers, food, clothing, sheets, towels, and articles for personal hygiene to the sick through donations from different institutions and parishes.
A call from God to serve, to be transparencies of His love for us
Raquel Sáenz Valiente, who died on September 12, 2005, founded Mary’s Volunteers. She was a doctor’s daughter, and she know about the spiritual needs of the sick in the hospitals. Encouraged by Father Esteban Uriburu and as an instrument of Divine Providence, she founded Mary’s Volunteers of the Schoenstatt Apostolic Movement.
Raquel entered a Schoenstatt Shrine in Florencio Varela for the first time in 1981, and the Blessed Mother’s gaze changed her life forever. “I left the Shrine and I knew that nothing would be the same. I wanted to take that gaze to the world,” Raquel related when remembering that encounter. Always having Mary as a model, she discovered the road to reach the holiness she always aspired to in Schoenstatt and in the Covenant of Love.
Raquel Sáenz Valiente was not only concerned about providing attention to the sick; she was also concerned about the spiritual formation of the Mary’s Volunteers. In personal contact as well as when talking to large audiences, she radiated her certainty that the mission of the Volunteer was a call of God to serve, to be transparent in His love for us. In this way, like little Marys, she established fraternal bonds with the Volunteers in a hospital setting and within the Schoenstatt Family. In 2005 when she was asked what her next project would be, Raquel, said with simplicity and conviction: “I want to found the Volunteers in Burundi”.
Elvira Martín (President)
CP 1116 Capital Federal