ITALY, Gisela Ciola. Today is a day of celebration for me because today the Pilgrim MTA went out on her first mission! Therefore I am celebrating with great joy, and I want to wholeheartedly share this overflowing joy with all my Schoenstatt brothers and sisters; it is the first time I am sharing something this beautiful!
I am Argentinean, and since 2001, I have been living in Trento, Italy. When I permanently moved to this new country, my mother proposed that I seal the “covenant of love with Mary;” it was something that I already knew about, because she had sealed it several years ago and we had a home shrine in our home. During those years, I witnessed her protection and all the graces we received, but I had never thought of my sealing the covenant of love with “Her.” When my mother suggested it (it was something very special for me), I decided to follow the road of my life by our Mother’s hand with conviction.
Our pilgrimage to Schoenstatt
In June of 2014, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the covenant, my mother and I decided to go on pilgrimage together to Schoenstatt. We had wonderful days there; the Blessed Mother sheltered us under her mantle throughout the trip. We had thousands of difficulties, but “She” always helped us to arrive. In Schoenstatt she rewarded us with a feeling of immense love and peace. At that time, I was experiencing a very difficult personal situation. When I arrived at her Shrine, I felt “pampered” (it is difficult to explain with words). There I prayed for many things and told her, “Mother, if I am asking too much, I offer all of my being, I want to be your instrument.” At that moment, I decided I wanted to go on mission, that is what I felt, and that is what I promised. When we returned to my home in Trento, I commented to my mother about my desire to go on mission with the picture of the Blessed Mother. My mother took her Pilgrim MTA out of her suitcase – it was the same one which she had unsuccessfully tried to mission with ten years before when she lived in Trento for a time – and she told me: “When I wanted to go on mission, I could not do it, but I knew that “She” does not leave anything to chance, so I thought I had to bring her…”
I contacted the Belmonte Shrine in Rome, and I left the Pilgrim MTA well in sight until I could get organized to go on mission with her.
She is the Blessed Mother in haste…
When “She wants to go out on a mission she does not hesitate.” Ten years ago was not the time, and now she would not wait any longer! As I tried to get organized to go on mission and many people told me about their family problems or about illnesses, I still did not offer the picture because I did not have everything ready… Time passed.
Finally the glorious 18th of October arrived, and to celebrate the Schoenstatt centenary, I invited some people to my home to pray the rosary, but no one came. So I prayed with my family. Now as I consider things like this, I realize that “She” was preparing me while I was telling her: “Mother I want to go on mission, help me!”
I offered her the Pilgrim MTA
Again more time passed and February 27th arrived. My husband and I met a childhood friend of his, and she told us her mother had breast cancer that looked like it would be very difficult to operate on. My husband looked at me and the first thing he asked me was, “Do you have a holy card of the Blessed Mother to give her?” At that I moment, I did not, but I offered her the Pilgrim MTA instead…I offered it with all my heart. I asked her to ask her mother if she wanted to receive it, in which case I would take it immediately; the Blessed Mother gave me this inspiration. That same day, I understood that if the Blessed Mother wants to go on mission I have to go beyond all odds. I think that the Blessed Mother worked through me, and she gave me that firm conviction.
The next day (Saturday, February 28th) a colleague from work told me that on Monday she had to accompany her mother-in-law to a medical appointment because they had discovered another tumor, and they did not know if it was malignant. At that moment, because of work conditions, I could not comment too much. On Sunday I sent her a simple text message offering the Pilgrim MTA before the visit on Monday. She responded with a beautiful reply, she was touched by the very beautiful offer and wholeheartedly accepted. Moreover she told me that she would come for her before going to the appointment, so that she could take the Pilgrim MTA with her.
Monday she came for the Pilgrim MTA hurriedly because she just had a short time to get to the doctor. In the few minutes we had, I explained that there was a little tablet with the Pilgrim MTA in case that they wanted to write their petitions or expressions of gratitude, and I added, “Tell your son to pray to this Little Mother” (her son is 3 years old). And she replied: “Yes, I will tell him, he knows how to pray,” and she added: “What he does not know is that I prayed before this picture for him, asking the Blessed Mother to make him experience her immense maternal love…” At that moment, we both cried emotionally, and we embraced; I whispered in her ear, “You do not know, but this Little Mother was already working in your home, and today she enters your home because you have come for her.”
Some explanation of this exchange: After giving birth, this woman experienced very serious post-partum depression, she was home for almost two years with strict medication, and she could not relate to her son. Thanks to God and the Blessed Mother, she recuperated completely and she very energetically resumed her life! I am convinced that it was the work of our Blessed Mother that her first pilgrimage mission in this city was to this family; my colleague embraced her against her bosom, and she was brought to tears!
They welcomed the Mother with so much love on her first mission!
I still cry with happiness for what I experienced that day– another testimony of her immense love, of the love, which I especially feel now in the air that I breathe and in the transformation that she accomplished in me.
My friends, help me to pray for that lady who received the Pilgrim MTA so that her tumor will not be malignant, for my friend’s mother (Giglia) so that the tumor that was discovered can be removed completely, and that she will permit the Blessed Mother to accompany her…And also pray for me so that she will give me strength that I may carry forth this great mission here in this place where the Blessed Mother left her first footstep, and so that this can continue to grow and conquer many hearts!
In covenant solidarity, Trento, March 2, 2015.
Original: Spanish, Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, Texas, USA