PARAGUAY, Marcela Encina •
I met the Blessed Mother through my mother. She did not belong to the Schoenstatt Movement nor did she belong to any Branch, however, I believe that I saw the most fervent Schoenstatter in her.
The picture of the Blessed Mother was present in my house since I can remember. I vividly remember her during my mother’s months of pregnancy waiting for my brother. My parents had prayed to her to grant them a boy after three girls, and I remember they were so grateful for the gift after the long-awaited birth, which they were sure she had sent them.
But mother’s devotion was stronger since September 2000, when she was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer at the age of 45 that had metastasized to other areas. Her days of tests, surgery, being hospitalized for chemotherapy sessions, radiation sessions were all accompanied by the Blessed Mother, in whom she had great faith,
It was an unbreakable faith, even when they informed her that the treatments were not working, that the cancer was continuing its course without stopping, and that the only thing they could do was to try to give her a little more time with us.
I have to admit I was angry in my heart and with the great egoism of a daughter. I did not understand how she could continue to trust the Blessed Mother when evidently, in my eyes, she was not listening. I criticized her, and I told her with impotence and sorrow that perhaps it was time to trust in some else or to pray to another saint. It was at that time when her illness reached her bones, when the morphine did not calm the pain, which kept her awake all night, that mother asked me to take her to the only place where she felt the peace her soul needed and the calm her body wanted…this place was our Youth Shrine.
I witnessed that the Shrine was her refuge, that place where the Blessed Mother welcomed, loved and consoled her like only a Mother is capable of doing for a daughter who came to be with her. The hours there passed, she slept on the first pew in the front, and her countenance only transmitted, at last, a good rest and peace.
Mother never stopped praying the Consecration Prayer, and a day before departing, shortly before losing consciousness and entering a profound sleep, she again gave the Blessed Mother “her eyes, her ears, her mouth and her heart, in a word her entire self…to finally finish the battle she had to fight, on 23 May 2003.
I was “angry” with the Blessed Mother for many years, but ironically, I never stopped going to the Shrine. Over the years, my faith and love for her, our Mother, who always forgives and welcomes, was reborn.
The Blessed Mother gave me the place at that pew on the first row, where the soul of her loyal daughter, Alba, my mother is, she, who loved her so much and never abandoned her and who I want to imitate someday.
Source: Magazine Tupãrendá, 03/2017
Original: Spanish, April 2, 2017. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA