COLOMBIA, by Fanny Vásquez •
Fanny Vásquez is a coordinator for the Schoenstatt Movement at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Bogotá, Colombia. Her testimony as the Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt’s daughter has been very important for the conversion of many people.
I am a textile designer and am currently retired due to physical disability, but thanks to God, who looked upon me with mercy with the visit of the Schoenstatt Pilgrim Mother, my life has taken another direction, serving as an instrument in the hands of our Mother Thrice Admirable. She helps and strengthens me through the Covenant of Love.
After suffering from a difficult illness (multiple sclerosis for thirty-three years) the Heavenly Father looked upon me with mercy, and now I can say that I am living again since the Lord has blessed me through the Blessed Mother.
The Pilgrim Mother’s gaze
On 30 May 2006, the Schoenstatt Pilgrim Mother visited me for the first time. The Blessed Mother and the Child’s gaze and the novena attracted my attention. I had finally found a special prayer for the sick, inviting us to live the process of the illness every day like the Blessed Mother. I did not know anything about Schoenstatt. At that time, I was leading a support group for multiple sclerosis patients, and I wanted to give them the novena, but I did not know where to obtain it. I had heard about Alida Becerra (who promotes the Schoenstatt Movement in the parish) but I did not know her and at that time. At the end of 2008, I could not leave the house because of my health.
One day, after receiving communion, I was introduced to Alida. The Blessed Mother knew of my desire, and she brought her to my house. I was very happy; I was able to distribute the novenas as I had wished, and the Pilgrim Mother began to visit me. She spent Christmas with me, so I did not feel lonely.
In March 2009, I left the support group and she was my greatest consolation. I did not go out of my house with the sorrow of having left the patients without spiritual help. Alida proposed that I become a missionary, and on 12 August 2009, I received the Pilgrim Mother along with my mother.
You have your home and family here
Everything was providential; it was a wonderful gift of the Blessed Mother’s love. At the end of 2009, Alida spoke to me about the Home Shrine, and we began to pray since for me it was a great responsibility because of my condition. Once again, there was another providential response: She wanted to establish her dwelling in a home. “You have your home and family here,” I read in the prayer “Bread of the Word” during the lunch hour. It was the answer. All of this occurred at the same time that the Pilgrim Mother came. On 6 March 2010, my Home Shrine was blessed: naming it Zachariah and Elizabeth’s House.
I was very happy, but my health worsened. I received the invitation to seal the Covenant of Love with the Blessed Mother, and I began the preparation on 28 March 2010. I could not believe it; I was studying and doing homework! The Blessed Mother had increased my hope and trust in God, I accepted everything she wanted. On 19 June 2010, the picture that is in the St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish came to visit me; it was a surprise! I had wanted to see it very much because I had been told about the monthly 18th devotions.
The Lord delivered me
Providential events continued to occur, the Blessed Mother showed the cause of my illness since the diagnosis had never been conclusive. During that time, some pilgrims came to stay at my house. They were going to participate in the National Gathering for the servants of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. When they saw the Blessed Mother, one of them told me that this picture of the Blessed Mother was in her prayer group, in a frame that the bishop had brought from one of his trips. She did not know the name or the movement, but I told her that Blessed Mother had called her in my Home Shrine. Later she told that she belonged to the deliverance ministry, and that she wanted to pray for me. The Lord showed her the true origin of the illness that I suffered for 33 years, but for the glory of God.
The Lord has been delivering me, I have attended Holy Mass for a week, I walk from the house to the parish, and I feel very well. Today I want to share that the Blessed Mother came to my life to transform it. I feel like a daughter that is loved by God and her, to live in the presence of the Holy Spirit at every moment, to renew hope in Jesus, to renew faith, to trust greatly in God’s power and to re-integrate myself into the church community, to trust in Divine Providence, and to know Fr. Joseph Kentenich, Joao Pozzobon and to belong the Ladies’ Branch.
Thanks to God’s infinite kindness, no one is unfit for his service!
Thank you Mother for sheltering me beneath your mantle, and teaching me to live Fr. Kentenich’s spirituality, who truly “Loved the Church,” thanks for making me feel a part of the living and praying Church that did not abandon me, but supported me during the most difficult times. Today the boat of my life is directed toward the Heavenly Father and only he knows the direction to come, the only thing that I know is that I go by Jesus’ and Mary’s hand, and with the action of the Holy Spirit.
Thanks to my family, my mother, siblings and nieces and nephews, my parish priest and to all the Eucharistic Ministers and the Schoenstatt members. Thank you for your prayers and for being those disciples who took the paralytic to Jesus, and lowered him through the roof of the synagogue so a miracle could be worked. I want to express gratitude to my family and the Schoenstatt family for their support and help that makes the work with the children, women, missionaries, the choir and all the apostolates at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Bogotá possible.
I conclude my testimony with one of Joao Pozzobon’s quotes “God in his infinite mercy did not judge me unfit. He used me as I am. He entrusted his Blessed Mother to me for a Holy Rosary Campaign…Nobody is deemed unfit for the service of God.” (Hero Today Not Tomorrow, p.5).
Schoenstatt website in Colombia: www.schoenstattcolombia.org