VENEZUELA, Maria Fischer with Mercedes MacDonough •
In the end, nobody could say who wanted this meeting more, the Pilgrim Mother, or a certain person, from a Venezuelan city, who loves her (and wishes to remain anonymous, so we will call her Rita – not her real name), “who seeks Mary wherever they speak of her.” Moreover thanks to “connected Schoenstatters,” Rita found a way to receive a picture of the Pilgrim Mother, and take her wherever she wants to go, especially now, in these very difficult times.
On 8 June 2017, one of the “founding Pilgrim Mothers” got under way and quickly to Venezuela, with a notebook, some material, and the book with Pope Francis’ text to the Schoenstatt Movement’s Jubilee Audience. She arrived on 16 June, in record time and without any problems.
That Friday, 16 June, at work, Rita asked permission to go to the Post Office to track the Blessed Mother, when she found that she was receiving the task. She commented:
“I would like to take my heart and entrust it into her hands like she gave me hers that day. My admiration and my love grows every moment recalling each step I took today, without any plan whatsoever, without thinking what I would do today, other than what I had to do at work. This combination of events today makes it even more miraculous, and it came about in this way only through God’s will along with hers. I feel blessed and honored, above all, because I know that I do not deserve this blessing. The fact that she hurried to arrive and that she pushed me to receive her as soon as she arrived at the post office is indescribable…I do not deserve this gift, but I accept it with humility, with love and gratitude, from the bottom of my heart.”
The country she desires
It is not the first time that the Pilgrim Mother has been to Venezuela. The first one was sent by Fr. Esteban Uriburu, we lost track of it…but she has never forgotten Venezuela. Several Pilgrim Mothers arrived in Caracas and other nearby places through a German couple that worked in Caracas for a few years. A young Venezuelan girl, Christel Sonnekalb, took that Pilgrim Mother twice, once when it accompanied her as a volunteer at World Youth Day in Cologne. Ultimately it was Deacon Alberto José Badaraco Ochoa in Puerto la Cruz, who asked for a Pilgrim Mother in 2015, and since then, there are several Pilgrim Mothers visiting families. And now, she wanted to go to other places…and she is in a hurry.
No keeping her for a long time
Forty-eight hours after receiving the Pilgrim Mother on 18 June, she began her pilgrimage. “It is very meaningful that she began her pilgrimage on Sunday, the 18th,” Rita the Pilgrim Mother’s new missionary commented. “She goes on her own initiative to the home of one of our most beloved sisters of the Church, who died Thursday night. Salomé was a holy woman, a very humble Franciscan at heart, with a joyful spirit. We do not feel sad, but instead we are very happy that she is already in heaven. The Blessed Mother will go to be with her family during the novena prayer. Dear Blessed Mother, I wanted you in my home, with my family, but more than that, I want to take your graces and blessings to other families. I will always be here waiting for you and accompanying you with my heart and soul”.
She did now want to stay…she wanted to go out…
“Upon giving the Blessed Mother to the R. Family, I took the opportunity to give them a talk about the Blessed Mother, who she is, everything that happened in order for her to arrive in Venezuela and also about faith and trust in God’s mercy. On 18 July, at the request of this family we had an illuminated rosary at their home. The Blessed Mother already had begun her mission. I am amazed at how quickly she works, and I laugh at how slow I am… I just wanted to enjoy having her in my home for a few days. She arranges her itinerary, and I fulfill it.”
She is a Mother in haste
At the end of a conversation about these first steps, the Rita told me: “Yes, my dear friend, you have my permission to publish my testimony. Send me your WhatsApp number, so I can continue to tell you what the Blessed Mother is doing, because I know that she is just beginning…”
Truly she is just beginning.
Original: Spanish, 25 June 2017. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA