ITALY, Salvatore Rallo, Claudia Geraci, Antonella Raimondi •
Finally also in Vicari, a small town inland from Palermo, on Friday, June 10, 2016, thirteen missionary women have sealed the Covenant of Love with our Mother Thrice Admirable of Schoenstatt.
It took a year of preparation, but thanks to the constant and committed participation of the missionaries, our “provocations” – which at times have possibly been or even been seemingly excessive – we have reached this milestone.
The promptings have had a positive effect when they were a stimulus and when they caused talents and potentials to emerge. The way we are walking, all together, needs talent and the blossoming of potential that will lead us, surely, towards a great goal– our salvation in Jesus Christ by means of our dear and good Mother who always assists and sustains us.
This is a growth that Schoenstatt asks us as sponsors, and this is the growth that we, who are responsible, have to ask the missionaries, and also all the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign’s families.
Lives transformed with Mary
The Parish Community of Vicari, June 10, 2016, at St. George the Martyr Cathedral has experienced a moment of grace and profound spirituality, thanks to the Covenant of Love with Mary, in the presence of Sister Ivone Zenovello, the sponsors, Salvatore Rallo and Maria Antonina Rubino.
Mary, the Mother Thrice Admirable Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt, has guided Maria Grazia La Rocca, Patrizia Di Sparti, Mary Arnone Scimeca, Alfonsa Lo Cacciato, Enza Busci, Claudia Geraci, Vita Benvenuto, Maria Giovanna Lo Monaco, Antonella Raimondi, Maria Trapani, Mary Rubino, Chiara Lazzara, the twelve missionary from Vicari, on a year-long journey, consisting of: meetings, discussions, and continuous spiritual enrichment, which led them to want to express with all their being, despite their weaknesses, their wanting to belong totally to Mary; they also joined Maria Antonina Rubino, who wanted to renew her “Here I am” to Mary.
To the Blessed Mother, each consigned their hearts that have not stopped beating strongly even for a moment, because the emotions experienced were powerful. They consigned their “miserable” but also precious lives. Their whole being has been given to her, because Mary is the safest shelter from the tribulations, the Heavenly Mother, who selected them as tools to continue the work of evangelization of her Son Jesus.
Their limits, worries, families, everything has been entrusted to her, the one who knows everything, who can do everything, the hope, the safe haven, the Consoler of the Afflicted.
During this year’s walk towards the Covenant of Love with Mary, culminating in a long retreat the day before this important event, there have been occasions in which a feeling of weakness prevailed, which made them feel too “small” to forge a “pact” with the Mother Thrice Admirable, the one who, in spite of the many difficulties of life, always knew how to firmly say her “Here I am” to God the Father, his only son, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete.
But thanks to the sweetness, the strong witness of faith and the charisma of Sister Ivone, they realized that they are not the ones who chose to do this “step”, but it is Our Lady who has called them as her “instruments.” This is why, with all their heart, have pronounced their “Here I am”, with the knowledge that they have become friends and aides of Mary, who will send and use them to evangelize families through the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign all of which have their own part.
Antonella Raimondi, from Vicari, shares a testimony about the Covenant of Love.
My acquaintance with Mary has been slow and silent.
I’ve always been a person close to the Church, as a child my parents always brought me up in Christian principles and values.
I am the oldest of three sisters, and in my life I have known suffering; the smallest sibling, due to a rare disease, passed away at just six years of age. I suffered much from her loss, and much from seeing my parents suffer. I thank God for giving us our little angel, because in our lives she has led us to unconditional Love.
Today I am a married woman and the mother of two wonderful children: Matthew and Marco.
After giving birth to Marco, I had fallen into an abyss from which it seemed I was not being able to get out of. I was terrified, scared, the little one had small tremors, normal for a newborn baby the doctors said, but for me they were the symptoms of some who knows about disease. I did not want to relive that suffering I had already experienced…
In that same year, 2007, during the first days of May, in Vicari came the Our Lady of Fatima, one of the five images that tour the world. On that occasion, together with my children, I went in procession to welcome Our Lady. Coming before her, with no more strength, I abandoned everything in her hands, entrusting her with all my anxieties. From that moment, everything changed; peace came back in my life and my family’s.
On that occasion my personal relationship began with Mary that has gone on maturing in silence.
Today I am here in church, and I find myself tying my Covenant of Love with our Mother Thrice Admirable of Schoenstatt.
I sit silently, and retrace in my mind our “love story,” and only now I’m realizing that Mary had chosen me several years ago and patiently waited for my “Yes.”
Like each one of my sister missionaries, before the Eucharistic celebration and the Covenant of Love, I had a meeting with our priest … behold, there you were, too.
In my Covenant with Mary, I offered my “unconditional” service… sacrifices do not scare me any more; indeed they make me feel useful. But certainly I did not think that Mary would ask me immediately, through Father Emmanuel, to also become Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist.
The vicissitudes of my life have affected me, and I cannot be with people who are suffering. Faced with this proposal made me unwell; I was in anguish and just wanted to say no. However bringing the Eucharist to the elderly, the sick every Sunday, is an important commitment, and I did not feel ready. Nevertheless I finally realized that God never asks us to do things of which we are not capable. I said Yes to Mary and therefore to Jesus!
In every single moment of my days, I always ask for his help and his support.
I like to think of being a colored pencil, in the words of Mother Teresa, through which God brings a little ‘color and happiness in the lives of people I meet along my way.
Translation: Valerio Salvador, Johannesburg, South Africa. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA