SPAIN, pdb •
On the island of Mallorca in Spain, we began a new retreat day with the theme “Mother, behold your children”, centered on the Unity Cross. —
We began on Friday evening with a vigil in front of the cross. Everyone wrote on a piece of paper what they wanted to offer to Jesus and the Blessed Mother, united in the Unity Cross, so proper to us Schoenstatters, what we wanted to ask or what we wanted to give thanks for.
The following day, Saturday, the retreat began with 42 people in a beautiful convent of nuns in the center of Palma, the capital of the island.
A convent that is an oasis in the middle of a busy city, where so many foreigners are busy and miss the beautiful landscapes of the island. A convent with its orchard, its beautiful cloister and some nuns who, despite being cloistered, opened wide their doors and their hearts to us.
It was a day of retreat – or rather living together – with children and with a Mallorcan “specialty” prepared by our hosts.
Giving your life for Schoenstatt
Father José María García’s talk on the Unity Cross and our Crosses was a wonderful introduction to Holy Week to prepare us for the days when we accompany the Lord on his Passion. Always in unity with his Mother.
In the afternoon, the decisive moment arrived when six people sealed their Covenant of Love (photo above) after each one had given a testimony that showed how Mary had entered their lives: simple, serene, but with a deep touch of the heart.
Focused and concentrated, some with tears in their eyes, they sealed their Covenant of Love, explaining that they give their lives to Schoenstatt because the Blessed Mother wants it. It was an exchange of hearts. It was truly lived.
A short retreat, but it filled all of us who were present.
I would like to insert here the testimony of a 13-year-old girl, the youngest “adult” who participated in the retreat:
And what is the next step?
Well, in addition to the Apostles of Mary (Girls’ Youth, six to twelve years old), which are already a great reality on the island, there is now a large group of Girls’ Youth (13 – 18 years old), thanks to the leaders from Madrid, Barcelona and Mallorca. And now the “Knights of the Cross” (Boys’ Youth six to twelve years old) are beginning with the youth who have sealed the Covenant of Love and who are totally enthusiastic; they want to begin this branch of children that is so important to lay the foundations of the faith and the Schoenstatt charism from a very young age, as the Apostles of Mary do.
Mallorca is growing. The Blessed Mother has decided to establish herself on this island. Mary chooses small instruments. Like all foundations, it has cost something and it will continue to cost something. But they are putting all their strength and capital of grace into it. Thank you also for the help given from Madrid and Barcelona, which give so much support and also capital of Grace. Thank you to Father José María for all the work he does and for going to the Island and doing so much good. And finally, thank you to so many people who have given their prayers, their time and their affection to make Mallorca a Land of Mary, not just a dream, but already a tangible reality.
Time of foundation
I do not want to end without saying that the time of foundation is a difficult time, a time of effort, disappointment, fatigue and the feeling of being fragile and small because we lack the certainty that we are only instruments of the Lord and our Mother…. But the time of the foundation, as I experienced it as a child and youth in Spain, in Madrid, was a precious time of living the “first love,” of “risking” everything to take Schoenstatt to the world through night vigils around the shrine, foot pilgrimages to Pozuelo, visits to our Mother at dawn before going to school…. A particularly blessed time where there was no place for structures, no divisions, no “clichés”… Where there was only a small united family that had the desire to carry the faith that was given to us to the world.
There was nothing more than just a little family united in one heart to serve the world and bring it to God. And this is the great gift that we often fail to appreciate. How important is the “refounding” when the years pass. Like a marriage that needs to be revived after many years and where the spouses need to re-engage with each other.
And this is what we brought back from Schoenstatt in Mallorca. We returned with the feeling of having experienced a family day that ignited everyone: Big and little, new and old, with the feeling in our hearts that we have a Mother and Father who invite us to the mission of taking Schoenstatt to the world.
Therefore, we say together once again: “Nothing without you, nothing without us”.
Original: Spanish. Translation: Maria Fischer @schoenstatt.org