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Posted On 2022-11-06 In Projects, Schoenstatt - Reaching out, works of mercy

Charity bags for 270 families – thanks to many “social saints”

ECUADOR, Fr. Rafael Amaya •

A long line of men and women of different ages, many of them with children by their hands or in their arms, approached the Schoenstatt Shrine of Quito on the first Wednesday of November, as they have done on every first Wednesday of the month since the beginning of the pandemic. Without jostling or fighting for a place at the front, they waited patiently, hopefully, and gratefully for their turn. They are the pilgrims of the shrine, the privileged ones of Mary, the simple handmaid of the Lord. —

The Schoenstatt Shrine in Quito, near the cable car, with its distinctive tensomembrane awning – finally one worthy of a holy place – was built more than 25 years ago, it is administered by the Fathers and its grounds are four and a half hectares. Among other things, there is a school on this site that provides free education to more than 260 low-income students from the northwestern sectors of the capital.

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A social shrine

Currently, the school not only offers children and adolescents scholarships for free schooling, but also provides them with food during school hours and social support, such as food baskets for families, as well as medical and psychological care.

The local Schoenstatt community also takes care of the special needs of the area. Therefore, every Wednesday, at least 270 families receive food bags and other essentials such as clothing and medicine.

Years ago, a good friend, Eduardo Carlos Ferré from Bella Vista, Buenos Aires, titled his book about the social commitment that Schoenstatt’s founder demands of his Movement: The Social Saint.

In Quito, social saints like those shown in this book have transformed the shrine of their city into a social shrine.

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The November issue

On this “Social Wednesday,” after receiving the bags, pilgrims gathered at the shrine for Holy Mass to pray for the deceased. And as on the first Wednesday of every month, 270 desperately poor families returned to their humble homes, knowing that their children would not have to go hungry, that there would be food, clothing, and hygiene items that would allow them to live a somewhat more dignified life…thanks to the benefactors, thanks to the Social Saints of Quito, according to the heart of Jesus.


Original: Spanish. Translation: Maria Fischer

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