CHILE, Maria Fischer •
“Today, while the bells were ringing at 12:00 noon in Bellavista, our dear Kiki Quiroz de Tagle departed to heaven. The mass will be tomorrow in Bellavista, her shrine, her home, her home, her mission”. On January 17, this news went around the world. Whoever wrote it managed to summarize the life of our dear Kiki Tagle, of the first group of the Family Federation in Chile, in a few words. The Bellavista Shrine was her shrine, her home, her home, her mission…and beyond, as the Founding Document says. Her big heart embraced all of Schoenstatt, all of her large family, the magazine Vinculo, schoenstatt.org and much, much more. “I am very proud to belong to our great SCHOENSTATT FAMILY,” she wrote in October 2020. Kiki from all of Schoenstatt, until forever —
I met her, without knowing her, when her children launched a great prayer chain after the serious accident that left her in a coma with a very serious prognosis. The Internet was still in its infancy, a prayer chain via e-mail -which crossed the borders of countries and languages- was something very new. More surprising, at least outside Chile, was that Kiki’s children asked, in this prayer chain, the intercession of Mario Hiriart… who still could not be googled because there was no Google. I prayed in the Original Shrine, I encouraged many to unite in prayer, I followed the news through the emails and I joined in the joy and gratitude when after a long time of waiting and having trust Kiki awoke without any brain damage…We had the “miracle of Mario Hiriart” (for us it was and is), but even more important: we had Kiki among us, giving everything again for Schoenstatt and for all Schoenstatt.
Later, I believe that as a gift from their children on the occasion of their Golden Anniversary, Guillermo and Kiki Tagle went on pilgrimage to Schoenstatt to express gratitude for the miracle in the Original Shrine. It was there where we met in person, for the first time – and in spite of a great longing to see each other again – for the last time. A meeting at the Original Shrine, followed by a couple of meetings in my office. But that first meeting was crucial. I was overwhelmed and speechless (not only because of my poor Spanish at that time) in front of these founders, of the “miracle of Mario Hiriart”, of such famous people… “It is the first time I see a living miracle”, I told her, and Kiki, with that very affectionate smile, answered me: “Not only to see, but to embrace”, and she hugged me with an extraordinary naturality and simplicity. It was the beginning of a lifelong friendship, a friendship via e-mails, sharing our love for Schoenstatt and our passion for communication.
Longing for the Shrine
Kiki was a friend of mine for the weekly emails – usually sent on Sundays or Mondays, that is, the days when I received the schoenstatt.org newsletters, compiled and sent week after week by Monina Crivelli.
In several of her last emails, received during the pandemic, she told me of her longing for the shrine – the shrine all closed up.
“Thank you!!! I enjoy your News so much!!! … so alive. Imagine what it is like to be SO MANY DAYS without a Shrine, without Mass … everything is closed. You don’t know how I miss it … at least I can see the Pope’s Mass, he does it alone, …a translator, a hymn, and hear him preach every day. It is a great consolation! …and spiritual communions. I am fascinated by your News, may Jesus and the Blessed Mother fill you with blessings,” she wrote to me in April 2020.
“Your News (the schoenstatt.org newsletter) are always exciting! Thank you for the very good work you do. Now we can’t go to the Shrine. Everything is closed. I used to go there every day… I miss it so much! It’s not easy … Isn’t it? The heart is there,” she wrote in September 2020, and a week later, “What a joy to receive your News!” she wrote in September 2020. “I am joining spiritually … but we can’t go to the shrine! I don’t know how long this rule will continue. I walk to the end wall of the house, I see a tree and I spiritually unite with the Father, I thank him because I met him and he changed my life, I continue to the Shrine, I go over everything inside, and in the Church I remember how I have a grandchild there in every little flame…and I hope when I will be able to return!”.
In April 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, the MTA was crowned Queen of Health in the Bellavista Shrine. Kiki was present:
“I was chosen to participate in the Crowning ceremony of our MTA! It was a wonderful experience! There were only a few of us! Everything was very well prepared. They gave us a booklet with everything that was going to happen afterwards, two announcers were announcing each step, everything that was being said to the Blessed Mother, the Shrine without pews…They kindly placed a little chair on the side, my heart was bursting in my chest. On the way there I did what I did every time I went to the Shrine …. I left my crutch to the side, I took Father’s hands, I looked into his eyes that seemed to be looking at you and I said thank you, because I met you and you changed my life. We were saying the prayers “step by step”…it was very, very touching. The crown was on the altar, and after each prayer, they put the crown at the end! My heart was bursting with excitement. I am so happy. I feel so lucky. Since it was broadcast on the Internet, all my children and grandchildren were able to see it. I have received several calls, thank you dear Blessed Mother for this gift you have given me.
The gift of being in the shrine, her home and her mission.
Lunch at her home
Who was (or is, better) Kikí? Rafael Mascayano tells us:
“A wonderful woman, when we began the “School for Leaders” (when we left most of our university studies to live in community and serve the movement and the church) she and Ma. Teresa Rivas were our godmothers, taking care of our meals and other things: when I began to work as a teacher, I went to live near the Shrine and still had little income… and she would invite me to lunch at her house (and with the number of children she had). She was concerned about the natural and the supernatural about us, about the youth that was being born again in Bellavista.
Editor of “Vinculo”
“Yesterday we heard of the death of Kiki, beloved and remembered Editor of Vinculo Magazine, a task she carried out from June 1987 to August 1999,” shared the editorial team of Vinculo, the monthly magazine of Schoenstatt Chile. “For all the Editorial Team of that time it was an enormous gift to have worked with her; soul of the magazine during all the time we were able to share so many joys. As Editor, she had a column that was much awaited and highly valued: ” Bonding “. What she shared in this space was her view of the life that God and the Blessed Mother awakened around us; it was very gratifying and enthusiastic to read it. On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the magazine, and no longer being part of our Editorial Team, she wrote a greeting in which she reflects her experience with us and tells how she came to join Vinculo.
The following is what she wrote:
My dear Vínculo celebrates 20 YEARS and I want to honor it. Why do I say “my”? Because that’s how I feel. I have worked as an editor for 13 years. It’s a story of many satisfactions, sleepless nights and worries. I remember like yesterday the call from Father Rafael Fernandez. At his request I said, “I can’t, I’m not a journalist, I don’t have time, this is too big for me! He gave me a day to think about it. We were in charge of the Pastoral del Verbo Divino with a lot of work. I went to the Shrine to tell the Blessed Mother, and I asked her to send me a clear signal if it was not convenient for me, if it was going to stress me out. Of my nine children, five had married and I had four left in the house. I had prepared a good meal. One by one they called me to tell me that they were not coming to eat, and finally Guillermo called me, that a problem had arisen and he was not coming. This was very unusual. I put my food away and said, “Blessed Mother, this is the sign. You showed me that I will have more and more time and that I will be able to do it”.
The next day I met with Father Rafael. My sociologist brother-in-law had insisted that it had to be a paid job, only then things would be efficient. As if I had guessed it, Father began his conversation by telling me that they did not have a single penny, a situation that has continued for all this time and that makes us a permanent miracle of survival. It costs so much to get subscribers! Our best time was when Guillermo Subercaseaux, then Head of the Couples’ Branch of Santiago Cordillera, decided to subscribe to the Branch by payroll: together with registering for the Journey, they subscribed to Vinculo. Then The Apostle came along and we dropped 600 at once. But we managed to move ahead.
I remember how difficult those first issues were. I started with No. 15. Fr. Carlos Cox was the Director. He had created it to promote Father’s Centenary year, and they found it so valuable to involve the whole Family that they decided to continue with it. At first I did it on a typewriter, but what a difference it made when the computer appeared! What a big change! To be able to erase, paste, cut with just a click. On top of the computer the Blessed Mother, a Christ and the Holy Spirit, honorary member. When the inspiration was cut off, a mini coronation. She made little crowns out of anything, disposable. She is and will always be the Queen of Vinculo.
I would not have been able to do anything without the patient and kind help of Octavio Galarce. He was there from the very first issue, with an innate journalistic vocation, and he always managed -I don’t know how- to make each issue go ahead. We shared a love for Vínculo and became soul friends. It was so motivating to think that we were uniting the Schoenstatters who shared the Covenant of Love, spread throughout Chile and beyond, transmitting life, telling about the wonders that the Blessed Mother does in this Movement that is so original, so multifaceted, so diverse, that came from the heart and head of our Founder.
I remember the deadline always looming, and the promised articles that did not arrive or those that arrived too long and had to be trimmed and shortened. I always wrote at night. At about twelve o’clock I would get dressed as Vínculo, and wrote all night long. In the morning, a little pill to sleep for about three hours, and back the next night to deliver. So many memories! The inaugurations of Shrines, the search for people to interview, reporting Jornadas, the first volunteer correspondent, Teodoro Ulloa. Then Mónica Airola de Rivas and Eva de Petterson so faithful. I always had space problems because I wanted to tell everything, just like now that I started short and never finish.
I loved it very much and I still love it. Every issue that arrives gives me immense joy and I find it better than the previous issue. (…)
Cristina Quiroz de Tagle»
Sundays with schoenstatt.org
About 6,000 people receive the schoenstatt.org newsletters every week, in four – and if there are Italian translations – in five languages. Sometimes we receive a reply or a thank you. But no one experienced the newsletters, that is, the news from schoenstatt.org, as much as our Kiki. She did what Father Kentenich and the best of the congregants recommended – no, even more, they insisted with respect to the MTA Magazine: you have to read each contribution attentively, make it your own, answer from the heart, asking yourself: What does God want to tell me through what they tell me.
In 2012, she wrote to me:
“It’s past my Sunday lunch, we’re off to the Sisters’ blessing, an hour in the Shrine and then the great prize of reading the Schoenstatt News. It’s fantastic! It inflames the heart! Too good!
Each article is better than the other: the young German volunteers working in the Church of Belmonte; the Dawn Breakers, a super evangelizing stream of life; Covenants of Love of Professional Women in Costa Rica; the 19th Mass united to the Vatican with the novelty of Guards with Covenant of Love; the encounter in Portugal with German and Spanish families showing the successful “Academy of Family Pedagogy”; the video that is being prepared to promote 2014 where they clarify that it is not a Conference, Journey, expositions but a “pilgrimage” how beautiful! … and for dessert, those three families leaving with their children for Milwaukee. What a beautiful thing! We lived it and we remembered every detail of this experience that gives us a new discovery of what our Father lived in exile, the richness that his presence was able to produce in people. One comes back from Milwaukee loving the Father much more deeply, and I congratulate you! You are doing a wonderful job and no doubt the Blessed Mother will take care to reward you accordingly.
Dear friends, I enjoyed your news and I ask you to continue with the same enthusiasm…”.
Another comment from Kikí on March 5, 2019:
“You have no idea how much your “Schoenstatt News” touches me! It is like falling in love with Schoenstatt a little more. How can you not be touched to see that Father Alexandre Awi Mello, whom we remember with great affection for his precious book about the Blessed Mother, will be participating in a celebration in Spain to honor the Blessed Mother in the “Grandimana” to honor the participation of the Blessed Mother as the great referent of history. How wonderful what has happened in Costa Rica! Great work of Father Jose Luis Correa who in the last Mass said goodbye to Chile, asking us to pray for vocations. And all the things we read about Costa Rica …. the arrival of Father’s image and the multiplication of Home Shrines in the neighboring country, …. How Schoenstatt grows! How Father Kentenich grows with his contagious faith in our MTA and the Shrine. Those Germans who came ahead of time to prepare for World Youth Day! All the work that was also done in Panama by those who welcomed the visitors. We were able to follow the entire World Youth Day step by step. …. and suddenly you could see images of the Pilgrim Mother. And the parish “San Francisco de la Caleta” with Schoenstatt Fathers, what a beautiful work they did, welcoming and spreading …. what a pride! They also came from Texas to collaborate and motivate. I was also touched by the departure of Father Michael Marmann, a great person committed to the Movement, a witness of the reunification of Germany, Superior of the Schoenstatt Fathers, a faithful son of Father Kentenich. Here I take the opportunity to tell you that I always take you to the Shrine. Later I will tell you about the two more chapters. Love, Kiki.
She always did a “re-reading”, recalling her own experiences, commenting them to me (and how much I regret today not having found the time then to answer her every time…):
“It is so inspiring to read this Schoenstatt News!!! It leaves you with a heart filled with love for the Father, for the Work, for all the heroic things that some do, for the way the Movement grows … sometimes in such an unexpected way!
Those early risers that start a few, then start to grow … and change to bimonthly! Unbelievable! To some people from Argentina who told me the same thing, I answered them and advised them to leave it as it was … so as not to have, little by little, some drops. I found the journey of 1,000 kilometers to cross the whole of Paraguay to be incredibly heroic. I remember my visits to Paraguay with such affection. When we went to the inauguration, the hosts (unforgettable!) had us stay in their bedroom and set up somewhere else. I always remember my trips to Paraguay with great affection, so much love for Schoenstatt, how affective they are!
The narration of the Mass in Rome at the Santa Maria dell’Anima Church with so many Fathers, so many Schoenstatters, with beautiful homilies…it was a beautiful narration. Nineteen girls from the Girls’ Youth of the Diocese of Resistencia, Chaco, Argentina, who sealed their Covenant of Love at the place where the future Daughter Shrine of the Province of Chaco will be built. There were members of the Youth and High School girls, a very beautiful gesture!
In Costa Rica, couples from the Federation made a retreat during the weekend and it was evident how happy everyone’s face was at the end of the retreat. They worked intensely and founded the Federation of Families of Costa Rica and wanted to be custodians of Father’s charism and mission.
Our Pope Francis is incredible with his second Journey for the poor and his surprise visit to the ambulatory center where the sick will be cared for. I will take you to the Shrine every day! Thank you for your work. I told Father Rafael one day that I missed my dear hubby so much and he told me: it is very easy … the remedy is Jesus. I realized that when I took communion I had him entirely in my heart … there we become one again … then I go to the Shrine and stay until 1:30. Mass is at 12:00. Now, in the month of Mary, I go at 12:00 and then at 7:30 it is the month of Mary. It starts from here and goes with the Blessed Mother going all the way around, we pass by the Unity Cross, the statue of Father, we continue to the tomb of Mario and we arrive praying the rosary until we get to the Shrine where all the seats are set up and at 8 o’clock is the Mass, with different Fathers…”.
Thank you, Kiki, for your giving of self to Schoenstatt. And thank you specially, for your devotion to schoenstatt.org and your prayers for us and our work. Keep praying… please. Until always, Kikí of Schoenstatt.
Original: Spanish. Translation: Marcela Fernandez, Toronto, Canada