PARAGUAY, by Amada Girett and Maria Liz Ibaizabal •
This is María Liz Ibaizabal’s testimony: she lives in Santa Rita, Alto Paraná, Paraguay. After the event that she relates, she felt called to be a missionary by the Blessed Mother, and on 18 March 2016, she received a Pilgrim Mother. She believes she is a miracle of the Blessed Mother, which happened a year ago. We heard about it when she shared it with the missionaries from Santa Rita. It is a testimony of how the Blessed Mother works. All the missionaries prayed for María Liz; some like me, did not know her until after her convalescence.
27 June 2015. A year. A date that is very significant in my life. Few people know my testimony. Today, I want to tell everyone.
Today, exactly a year ago the struggle for my life began. It was a Tuesday, a normal day. I woke up as always at 6:00 a.m. I prepared a delicious mate (herbal tea), I organized some things at home, and I left for work with my husband. At work, it was also a normal day with a great deal of activity, since the company would be audited a few days later. We worked intensely organizing all the documents. At approximately 8:30 a.m., I took some papers to the company’s reception area. At that moment, I felt a strange burning in my abdomen, and I hurried to the restroom, but I did not make it: a profuse bleeding ran down my legs. I had never seen so much blood. My colleagues helped me, taking me to the nearest hospital. The first medical diagnosis was a possible fibroid. I received medication, and I rested at home. The next day there was another hemorrhage, but it was more serious. I was unconscious when taken by ambulance to hospital, where it was determined that it was not a fibroid, instead it I was 3-weeks pregnant: I had lost a baby.
I underwent emergency treatment; after three days in the hospital and several others at home, I returned to work with instructions that I return to hospital at the least sign of bleeding. Unfortunately, this happened. A scan performed at the hospital showed my condition was very serious. The doctors told me to return the following day having fasted. But that didn’t happen: another hemorrhage sent me to Ciudad del Este, the next largest city some 50 km away, for better care, because of the seriousness of the case. Thus began the most difficult part; the bleeding did not subside and my red blood count dropped to a dangerous level. I had another periosteotomy at great risk because of my weakness, thinking that this would solve everything. I needed a transfusion urgently. No blood was available and the wait seemed an eternity. My condition was getting worse. I could not breathe, I was in great pain, with dizziness and nausea, and I had begun to swell. Remains of the pregnancy were still in my body after four days of waiting. I needed six liters of blood, and they only obtained two. My husband became desperate. Then the same doctor who sent me to Ciudad del Este decided I should go to Asunción (250 km) because of the seriousness of the case.
I clearly remember her words when I cried: “Do not think that we do not want you, on the contrary, that is why we are sending you…you will receive better treatment over there, and you will receive a blood transfusion and you will recuperate quickly.” At 11:30 p.m., I was in an ambulance. The trip to Coronel Oviedo, the next city from Ciudad del Este, already was very long. I asked my husband (who never left my side during those thirty days) “Where are we?” He answered, “In Coronel Oviedo, my love.” At that moment, I closed my eyes and having lost all human strength, I spoke to God:
Lord, if it is your will take me at this moment, I ask forgiveness for all my sins, for having offended you with my attitudes, my deeds, my disobedience. I ask that if this is my time to leave that you take me to your side so that at your side I can take care of my daughters and my husband and all those I love. Lord, may your will be done because I no longer have strength…
But something was missing: So I turned to my Mother, the Blessed Mother. “Forgive me for the many times that I did not defend you. For allowing others to speak ill of you so many times…now, I give you my heart. I give you my daughters and my family, intercede before your Son, Jesus Christ, help me Mother, since I want to continue to live, to work in the Lord’s vineyard, being your instrument. I give myself body and soul to you. At that precise moment, I do not know what happened. I fell into a profound sleep; I had not slept in four days. Hours later my forehead felt cold, I opened my eyes; I saw my husband by my side with his eyes swollen from crying. I again asked him where we were, and he answered San Lorenzo, in the Metropolitan Area of Asunción. I asked him what happened. He simply said: “You fell asleep.” Again, there was a struggle to breathe until I arrived at the hospital, and I received oxygen. I do not remember anything until the following day when I awoke with a numb body and was receiving blood. It was forty-nine hours of agony for my husband and other relatives who could not visit me. When I awoke for the first time, I saw the lights, the saline solution, and the blood I was receiving… I did not have strength to move a finger. I slept again. When I awoke the second time, a nurse asked me how I felt. I could not answer because of my weakness. After trying three times, I was able to raise my head.
Fifty hours later, they took me to a common room, where I could see my husband, my parents and my brother-in-law once again. It was the most beautiful thing that I could feel at that time. I was out of danger, but I had several after effects because of the great loss of blood. They placed me in an orthopedic bed that I needed. Surprise: The mechanism to elevate my head did not work, but I had to sit up because of my difficulty breathing. The bed was changed, and the first thing I saw was a picture of the Blessed Mother that accompanied me during the twenty-three days I was in that room.
New tests were made over the following days. They constantly pricked my veins for tests. However, there were many people praying for my recuperation. I remembered my family; I wanted to struggle for them. My husband was constantly there with me, sleeping on the floor, eating here and there.
My birthday, 12 August, approached and I hoped to return home. Impossible: my struggle was not over…
Sadness and desperation overtook me, but when the doctor on duty told me that by spending my birthday here I could have many more outside, I suddenly awoke to reality.
The day arrived: the nurses woke me singing happy birthday along with the ten students who were there for their practicum. My husband, mother and then several relatives and friends joined in. I received gifts and even a birthday cake. However, I suffered from the absence of my three daughters.
At the end of the afternoon, my cousins arrived, and they surprised me asking me to go out for a walk. I answered I could not; the guards would not allow me to go through the door. But one of them, a physician, organized a kind of “escape”. She disconnected the I.V., and I fearfully held on to her arm while my heart beat rapidly… The best gift awaited me: My brother had brought my daughters–it had been fifteen days since last seeing them. I could only spend ten minutes with them, but it was enough to fill me with joy.
Then after that, I had many visitors and finally the best news: on 25 August, I returned home. The picture of the Blessed Mother was always in front of me.
“It is my room’s Blessed Mother”
I went to my aunt’s house since I had another appointment before returning home. Chatting with her, I asked her about her son. She told me he was at a meeting to prepare to be a missionary for a Catholic movement. She brought me a holy card and to my great surprise, I saw that it was the same picture as the one at the hospital and I was now looking at the Mother Thrice Admirable of Schoenstatt.
Covenant of Love, Covenant solidarity
I arrived in Santa Rita on a Saturday at 4:15 p.m. I unloaded my things, and I prepared my daughters to go out. My husband asked where we were going. I answered to Mass to give thanks. That day our choir sang, and all the reunions and hugs were very touching. Days later, I met a friend who told me something very beautiful that she had heard: a woman placed her life in the Blessed Mother’s hands for my recovery. She made her Covenant of Love, and she placed my health under the care of Our Lady of Schoenstatt. A tear ran down my cheek, she had never abandoned me, she fulfilled the petition they had made.
Two weeks later, a woman came by who expressed her happiness to see me so well, since also she had prayed for my health. She asked if I wanted a visitor. Of course, I accepted and asked them to come in, thinking that she was the visitor. But she removed a small tablecloth, a candle from a little bag, and surprise, there was the picture of the Blessed Mother of Schoenstatt that had accompanied me every moment. I could not believe it. I began to cry, and she did not understand the reason until I told her my experience.
In summary: I had a second opportunity. The Blessed Mother, my Mother, took my life in her hands and she transformed it. I am like a new vessel in the hands of the potter, stronger than ever. My life, my thoughts, and my entire being have changed. She takes me and brings me, she is with me in difficult trials, and she gives me wisdom to overcome them. Perhaps what I underwent was necessary for my conversion, and so that my faith in her could be even stronger.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ: do not wait until you have difficult trials to seek Jesus. Open your hearts and allow him to enter, allow him to work in your lives and you will see that this world is so wonderful when we live in the love of Christ.
Today I want to express immense gratitude to every one of those people who were with me, physically or spiritually, and for all the help I received. I do not have words to express my love and gratitude to my husband, and especially, to my Lord, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and his Holy Mother for interceding for me before her Son.
A long, but beautiful story. The Blessed Mother is always present and she waits for you!
Original: Spanish. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA – Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA