ARGENTINA, Juan Barbosa •
When I took my first steps in Schoenstatt in 1986, I was told that there were many shrines like the one in Villa Warcalde, Córdoba (Shrine of Solidarity, inaugurated in 1968), but one was very special because it was the first. Through the initiative of the Sisters of Mary, the Shrine of Nueva Helvecia, Uruguay, has poured out its graces since 1943. A great love story with our Mother Thrice Admirable and so far from the Original Shrine! —
As always…Mary surprises us at every moment!
On the way to Montevideo, Matilde and I decided to go through Nueva Helvecia. It was a great opportunity that we couldn’t pass up. We typed “Nueva Helvecia, Schoenstatt” into the navi and everything else was a breeze. We parked in front of the shrine, just a few meters from the entrance, and our hearts beat faster… Will it be open?
Will we be able to just walk in? We got out of the car and with quick steps we arrived at the door, which was open and – it was Eucharistic Adoration! Our Mother and her Son were waiting for us!
What faces we must have made when Sister Clara Maria (later we learned her name) asked us where we were coming from. Matilde answered, “From Cordoba, Argentina.” I turned to greet her, and she said, “I know you, aren’t you Madrugador?”
Sister is also Argentinean, and a few years ago we had made contact through the Father Kentenich Office. Father Kentenich brought us together, and Mary and Jesus did it again!
A tour of the grounds…where another surprise awaited us!
It was with great joy that we were able to visit the house where Father Kentenich, the founder of the Schoenstatt Movement, lived during his visits to the shrine. Let us remember that at the time of the blessing of the shrine, he was in the Dachau concentration camp… Schoenstatt is without a doubt a work of Mary! It was the Sisters who tried to remember the dimensions of the shrine in Dachau in order to build a shrine that corresponded to this beautiful place, because it lacked the pearl that would adorn it. Differences in the length of the steps, the “hand widths” taken with hands of different sizes, meant that the shrine did not correspond 100% to the dimensions of the original shrine, but… Perfection is reserved for God! It is incredibly beautiful!
Not only is the place beautiful, but it also houses a school (built in front of the shrine) that we were happy to visit as if we were real “homeowners”.
We reported to the gate and a very friendly secretary told us that a Sister …. would receive us. It was Sister María Laura! A very dear Sister with whom I worked on many audio-visual recordings and photos that will remain for history. What a beautiful surprise that the dear Blessed Mother had prepared for us!
We left happy, renewed, and with a mission…Out!
Our love for Schoenstatt is inexhaustible and can withstand any trial, because the many visits to the Original Shrine have “chained” us there, and no matter how many storms come, we will always be in the Blessed Mother’s heart!
It was there that we sealed our Covenant of Love, and every time we visit one of the places in Schoenstatt’s holy land, our hearts remember it and vibrate as they did on the first day. Sister could not resist her ingenuity and made a “live” video on Instagram that we loved and “chained” us again…This time in Nueva Helvecia, the first daughter Shrine in the world!
Original: Spanish, 18.06.2023. Translation: Maria Fischer @schoenstatt.org