SPAIN, Portal of the Diocese of Cadiz and Ceuta •
Since the beginning of the pandemic, a Schoenstatt Pilgrim Mother, “Mother Thrice Admirable,” known as the “Mater,” has been living under the same roof as more than 1,200 prisoners in the Detention Center of Botafuegos, Algeciras. —
The Pilgrim Mother accompanies all the religious celebrations and catechesis that take place in the prison chapel. During this time, Our Lady has accompanied the liturgies in many departments, and a large number of prisoners have even received her in their cells to ask for her help and protection.
In the midst of so much vulnerability and suffering
During our bishop’s last visit to the prison, at the end of Holy Mass, the prison chaplain, Trinitarian Father Manuel García, asked the bishop to give his blessing to the pilgrim image and to all the inmates who would worship it. Bishop Rafel Zornoza was surprised that the Blessed Mother was so accepted in the midst of so much vulnerability and suffering. Undoubtedly, Our Lady’s gaze conveys a message of peace, hope and strength to all the inmates; so that they can overcome all the obstacles that make them sink, in all which would break them. The Virgin Mary becomes the “MOTHER” and spreads a mantle of tenderness and love over the darkest nights of their lives. Thousands of prayer cards were distributed to the inmates of Botafuegos. Pictures of the Blessed Mother are kept in their purses and in their hearts along with photos of their loved ones. The pictures were sent to their mothers, wives and children so that Mary would take care of them and protect them during their stay in prison.
Mary, from such a small image, becomes the “Mater”, the “Mother” of all, she is a handkerchief that washes away the tears of the most needy children. From the altars of her cells, the Virgin continues to pour out abundant graces, solving difficult problems, healing wounds and hearts, giving health and strength in moments of pain. Mary is a refuge in the most bitter moments of life.
Our Lady creates soldiers of Jesus Christ in the midst of our world, our bishop said aloud as he left the prison chapel; “Servus Mariae numquam peribit”. These words are sealed in the hearts and minds of many who are imprisoned here: “A servant of Mary never perishes”.
Source: Portal of the Diocese of Cadiz and Ceuta, www.obispadocadizyceuta.es. Courtesy of the head of the press office of the Diocese of Cadiz and Ceuta.
Botafuegos is a prison located in the city of Algeciras, in the province of Cadiz, in southern Spain. It is one of the main prisons in Andalusia and has 1,072 cells, with capacity for more than 1,500 prisoners. It has 15 sections for prisoners, two for women and 13 for men.
And the Pilgrim Mother is there, this stream of life and graces, the Rosary Campaign, which was started more than 70 years ago by a Brazilian layman, Joao Pozzobon, who felt the need to go out and take the Mother of the Lord and our Mother to the families, to the schools, hospitals and prisons.
An interview with Father Manuel García is in preparation.
Original: Spanish, 16.01.2021. Translation: Lindsay Burger, Ohio, USA