ARGENTINA, Martha Liotti, founder of the Schoenstatt Pilgrim Mother Rosary Campaign for Babies and Children at Risk •
An encounter can happen anywhere — in a supermarket, a beauty salon, a party, a retreat center, or simply in your own home. Twenty years after the beginning of the Schoenstatt Pilgrim Mother Rosary Campaign for Babies and Children at Risk, I allow myself to write in first person and publish my testimony, my encounters, to demonstrate the bonds that Mother’s presence deepens in the families of little children that receive the Pilgrim MTA and who are consecrated to her. —
In Nuevo Tabor Wayside Shrine
Nuevo Tabor Wayside Shrine, the chosen spiritual center of this mission, is the site where the first shrine in the Corrientes Province of (Argentina) will be erected. There I met with Rocío Aymará, now twelve years old, whose baptism I attended in this very place. It was the first time the sacrament had been celebrated there. Her mother remembered the Pilgrim Mother’s emotional visit and how much her presence helped at a time when her infant daughter was fighting for her life.
Also there, in that wayside shrine, little Florencia and Morena came up to hug me. Along with their grandfather, Carlos, they never miss the 18th of the month to thank the Blessed Mother for the blessings they received. Roque Antonio, like a little rascal his age, also filled my heart with love and more. A young girl quickly pulled up cellphone pictures of her little sister, Magali, to show me: “Look at how beautiful she is now, she is already 10 years old!”
In the beauty salon, at the market
In the beauty salon on a spring afternoon, a woman with a great big smile approached, hugged me, and had me look at a cellphone picture of Gonzalo. In the picture, he is 18 year old and at his high school graduation. Remember, she told me, “how I was so small, I was at his birth, and how distraught I was! I never forget how much everything changed with the arrival of the little Schoenstatt Blessed Mother and the consecration of my young son to her Immaculate Heart!”
Between the stands at the market, I ran into a couple who embraced me with great warmth. “How wonderful to see you again after so many years,” they both said at once. They live in a town about seventy-five miles from the capital. Their second son, Facundo, is already 19 years old. He received the Pilgrim Mother when he was born at seven months, weighing 2 pounds 10 ounces, and with a low chance of survival. He spent two months in a neonatal unit of a clinic in this city, always guarded by the little Mother, to whom he was consecrated.
With Martina (pictured), it is special. I am close friends with her and her parents. Of course, I couldn’t miss her 15th birthday celebration.
But also, an encounter can be in your own home, when on just any morning the doorbell rings, and on opening the door, you see a 16-year-old girl and her mother, who explain the reason for their visit. “Milagros insisted that we come,” said the mother. The daughter, Milagros, added, “I wanted to meet the person who, without being family, stayed close by the hospital where I was born with the Blessed Mother’s image and prayed for me with my parents.” Already a little family and near the Home Shrine, we gave thanks together for the gift of Milagros’ life, born just weighing a little shy of 2 pounds 2 ounces, with a very slim chance of survival. The family is from Loreto, a town 116 miles from the city, a journey of 2.5 hours. The big hug and kisses from Milagros were a bit painful, but worth it, as she told me, “I met you at last.”
Faith, the gift received from God, becomes the vehicle in which we risk traveling on every road, creating bonds of hope during difficult moments, because of the love that unites us.
Original: Spanish. 7 April 2019. Translation: Ann Bronk, Wisconsin, USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA