BOLIVIA, Chochy Ortiz •
We have journeyed together through many ups and downs, through narrow or closed doors, forcing us to change direction several times. But through all this we remained united and did not lose our hope and joy in our wonderful common dream. Finally today the Schoenstatt Family in Santa Cruz de la Sierra – Bolivia is just a few hours away from the dedicaton of our “Living Fire of Hope” Shrine. And it will happen in September, our town’s anniversary month. —
On 24 September every year, we celebrate the anniversary of our freedom with great civic fervor. The Blessed Mother, like every mother who knows her children and knows that our “youthful hearts beat harder,” wanted to come down at this precise moment when our town becomes an orchard of flowering Tajibos [pink trumpet trees that decorate the streets and avenues. “Santa Cruz flowers in September” … Everything is very green with pink, yellow, and white trees. Our shrine sits in the shade of a pink tajibos tree, covering the workers who built it with its freshness.
The emotions grow stronger each day, just thinking that physically the heart cannot continue to be filled with such joy and still beat at the same time!
The ladies of the Family do not become discouraged but get down to work
After three attempts to have our shrine dedicated, a group of 16 women preparing to become consecrated members felt that our Blessed Mother was asking for one more step in our ascetic, apostolic and community commitment to prove that we were serious in inviting her to come down over our homeland. We reflected on this and did our part, the “nothing without us” and with gentle violence, great prayer, fasting, prayers for one another, daily Mass, rosaries, deeds of love … A little bit of everything! Each one handed her heart, her time, and her great love for Mary.
They decided to go even further in their commitment
This is how we decided on the date and time for our consecration, 15 August, the feast of the Assumption (also a symbol of great love). Two weeks after this decision, the family directors told us officially that the dedication for our shrine would take place on 4 September 2021. Without a doubt, it was an answer to our actions!
Consecration day arrived…
After everything that we have experienced and received over the last 600 days of waiting, our consecration as the first membership consecrations in our town was very emotional. It was the most beautiful “special” ceremony and in keeping with the signs of the times, it was also virtual. We were spiritually united with the Montahue shrine in the presence of our spiritual director, Sr. Ma. Silvia Beltrán and Fr. Francisco Jensen. It is too much to explain the intensity of our emotions, feelings, and “God-cidences” experienced during our preparation and during the wonderful live transmission of the Eucharist.
I had no doubt that from this shrine will come countless graces for our family, our city, our country, and the whole world. On this long journey, we filled thousands of jars in contributions to the capital of grace and the Blessed Mother is ready to give them to whoever needs them most.
Original: Spanish. Translation: Sarah-Leah Pimentel, Cape Town, South Africa