ARGENTINA, María Elena Cruz Sanchez •
On October 1st we celebrated the 97th anniversary of the founding of the Secular Institute of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary and being this date so special to give thanks, we want to give testimony of our recent trip to the Shrine of New Schoenstatt, in Florencio Varela, province of Buenos Aires, with the Mothers’ Branch of La Emilia. We are grateful because when we arrived at the doors of the Shrine, Sister Maria Ester was waiting for us on the walkway and her presence and care transmitted to us the open arms and attentive heart of our “Blessed Mother”, the Mother Thrice Admirable of Schoenstatt. —
Providentially we traveled on September 10th, the 73rd anniversary of the beginning of the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign. For us it was a blessing! We arrived late to participate in the 10:00 a.m. Holy Mass and we were informed that the priest who was celebrating the Mass was also late. As we entered the Church of God the Father we were welcomed by a Sister who mentioned that we were coming from the city of Mary, San Nicolas de los Arroyos, where the Virgin also has her Shrine. At the same time, we live in La Emilia, where the Shrine of Merciful Jesus is located. We left from there, accompanied by the auxiliary image of the Mother Thrice Admirable Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt. As João Pozzobon points out, “She travels the world… to be known and loved, linking shrine to shrine”.
The Auxiliary Image brought from Santa Maria
Our dear Father José Alfonso, who died during the pandemic, brought the Auxiliary Pilgrim MTA from the Shrine of Santa Maria, Brazil, when he traveled with Mrs. Ana Lima in the mid-nineties. They, along with other mothers, spread the presence of Schoenstatt in the diocese and strengthened ties so that the picture of the Merciful Jesus brought from Poland is now in La Emilia. It was Ana Lima who prepared my mother, Rosita Cruz, to seal the Covenant of Love and encouraged her to be a missionary of the Blessed Mother, to visit the Shrine, to pray the thousand Hail Marys in adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and to continue preparing for the Covenant with the Blessed Mother.
Getting to know the Church of God the Father
The generational change of new mothers in La Rama was the reason for this blessed journey. We experienced the Holy Mass with joy and excitement. In the afternoon, Sister María Ester offered to show us the symbols of the first church in Latin America consecrated to God the Father. We began our journey from the garden. There, she invited us to walk in silence and think about our loved ones who led us to the encounter with God. Then we stopped in front of the flower path. Sister explained that the church has two colors, one dark and one pink, and from above, you can see that it has the shape of an ark. In the midst of the world’s storms, it wants to lead us to the love of God the Father. The path leading to the church is pink. On this occasion, Sister invited us to think about those people who reflected the feminine face of God.
We entered the first enclosure, which contrasts with the outside. From the sunlight, we entered a dark environment symbolizing the tempest. On the wall, we saw the interplay of colors. Above the dark, there is the pink color symbolizing the love of God. We continued our journey, gazing at the face of God the Father. The Father holds the awakening resurrected Son with His right hand and sends us the Holy Spirit with His left hand. In this artwork of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit has no face, and Sister María Ester explained that the face is the Church, meaning that each one is a reflection of the merciful love of the Father and the Son. This reminds us of the words of Father Kentenich, “Everyone who meets us should have an encounter with God.”
Very special and precious moments
On this day of grace, Sister María Ester and every person we encountered were the merciful love for each one of us. We remember an older sister who made a bow before the auxiliary image and stepped aside to let it pass, what a lesson! We can also mention a married couple and their daughters who offered to carry the pilgrim image with devotion and emotion. We pray to the Mater to grant us the graces of the Shrine in every pilgrimage so that we too may reflect the love of the Father and the Son through the action of the Holy Spirit.
Original: Spanish. Translation: Marcela Fernàndez, Toronto, Canada