PARAGUAY, Blanca Lila Gómez de Gamarra, teacher •
The school has really become my second home over the years, and I have done the best to provide a mother’s sheltering atmosphere for my students, to be a sister to my colleagues: in other words, to provide a family as Fr. Kentenich taught us.—
I am Blanca Lila Gómez de Gamarra, an elementary school teacher from Silvio Pettirossi School in Luque. It is still hard to believe that it has been twenty-one years since I introduced myself to my first classroom of students, the same students who are now professionals.
Fr. Joseph Kentenich’s legacy inspired me sow values in the classroom, and not just the content of the curriculum I was supposed to develop. I constantly seek to radiate love and faith to my students, the importance of family and respect. As a public-school teacher, I have been able to share different stories and realities with the children, in which on more than one occasion, I have had to be like a mother, through having our Schoenstatt Mother and Queen in my heart.
I have dedicated these years to learning and teaching with love and joy, becoming the Blessed Mother’s instrument as a teacher and taking the Gospel and making the great love she has for us known into the school, teaching for life with firmness and tenderness. Everything my husband, Carlos, and I have learned during these sixteen years of belonging to the Family Branch have been especially valuable for me, the very enriching lessons have not only helped in married life, the family, or in the group; but in life itself.
The reward is a fulfilled student
A couple of years ago, I was surprised to receive an Instagram message from one my students who lived in Spain at the time. I do not use the expression “ex” because each one of them continues to be my student regardless of the years that have passed. He was a child who had a difficult life; his father and mother abandoned him– like so many Paraguayan workers – that had traveled to Spain seeking opportunities. Although his grandmother took care of him, I could sense his deprivation, and I pampered him a lot, knowing that he suffered. In his message, he told me: “Teacher, you are a person who has marked my life, I am so grateful to you, and moreover, I have affection for you and above all, gratitude.” It was a simple, but profound message that brought me to tears, which is not difficult for me, because I am very sensitive.
My father – who is now 84 – was also surprised a few days ago because as we crossed the street going to the bank a student shouted: “Teacher Blanca, I heard your voice!” he hugged me and said “you have not changed a bit…” Our eyes filled with tears, and he introduced me to his wife and his son. Then my father looked at me and said: “How beautiful that they recognize your work.” It is really the best pay I could receive: a greeting, to see them as adults with a family. It is the best reward.
A family committed to the Blessed Mother
I will continue to do my part so that the Blessed Mother will guide my steps and shelter my students and my family: the small Valeria, who is in 4th Grade, Nathalia, who is already a dentist, and José Carlos the eldest, who is one step from building his own home. We are a family committed to her, our Queen. We are her instruments, and it was in her plan that through her, I could teach so we could reach her son, Jesus, and that the love we received is present everyday, manifested in our lives; may it continue to grow beneath her gaze and continue to be her instrument. I thank God and the Blessed Mother for being able to give a little of myself contributing to Fr. Kentenich’s dream and that someday it will be a nation of God in the heart of America.
Source: Magazine Tuparenda, Paraguay
Original: Spanish. 23 June 2018. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin,TX USA