On a worldwide scale, the missions are a very strong and growing current in the Schoenstatt Youth. The youths visit a community or parish for seven days, many times in pairs far from the cities. There they live with and simply share an intense prayer life, their personal experiences of faith in missions door to door with the Pilgrim MTA, and they concretely help the neediest members of the community with complete trust that Mary will accompany and help them to open homes and hearts to Christ.
“Schoenstatt reason of being is no for
itself; rather, it is in missionary
service to the church and society”
Fr. Heinrich Walter
Father Hernán Alessandri from Chile introduced the idea of the missions. The Schoenstatt Youth from Argentina and from Paraguay developed a model that currently permits thousands of youths from Latin America, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland and Italy, to truly experience what it is to be a missionary of Christ; they are something that leaves profound marks in the communities that are missioned as well as the youths themselves. In 2009 the first Missions were carried out in the Germanic countries (Germany and Switzerland): it was an initiative of German and Swiss youths, who experienced that of other countries.
A special variant is that the Missions are carried out by Latin American youths to support the founding and development of the Schoenstatt Youth in faraway places – Nigeria, Burundi, Italy, Cuba, Portugal, Spain, and United States.
“The family and youth missions
are a vital response
to questions relative to secularization.”
P. Heinrich Walter
Testimonies of the Missionaries
Every year, youths, couples, seminarians, Schoenstatt Fathers, Sisters of Mary, even entire families form the different missionary groups that presently exist. Year to year, these people go out of the comfort of their homes to announce Christ and Mary, but what motivates them to carry out this sacrifice? The easiest way to explain what is experienced in a mission is through the testimonies that are gathered after taking part in one. Through them one can feel in a small or larger measure the experiences of the missionaries, and perhaps to understand the reason for all of this.
“It is about not thinking of oneself; but rather, of going out to encounter others, those who need it the most. When one has this experience, you understand that you are giving Christ, taking the Blessed Mother to the heart of the people. It is at this moment that you understand that in reality God also goes to their encounter through the many faces and life stories.”
Tomás Delloca, of the community of Schoenstatt Fathers
“Sometimes it is difficult to understand what truly happens on a mission. It is thought that it is impossible to visit people and to renew them in one week, to bring them close to God. It is that when it is seen through human eyes, we understand that it would be an illusion to think that we are capable of this, then the situation change. She is the great missionary, She will work miracles”.
Angie Spinassi, a member of the Girls’ Youth of Confidentia, Buenos Aires
“If you ask me why I prefer to walk through dirt roads beneath the noon sun of summer instead of lying on the beach on the coast, I will answer: because it is one of the most beautiful experiences one could have in life. Surely, you might think that I am exaggerating that I am over the top. It could justly cross your mind that I am a little crazy, because I prefer to work than to have good time, to suffer instead of being happy. On the contrary, I enjoy myself more than ever when I am on mission, and most importantly, I am happy to make someone happy. If you do not believe me, I simply say: “come and see”.
José María, participant of the Family Missions of Plata
“We have to do it in Germany; we have to also make it possible for Germany to experience what we have experienced in the missions. We want to be missionaries for Germany.”
Marie Anne, Germany
“During four days I was a missionary: I witnessed the hope, joy, victory and the new time. Despite the heat ,rain and discomfort and my own limitations ,my heart and life was on fire, this Marian fire that each one of the youths openly carries, that escapes in gushes and that happens without thinking…giving “until it hurts”. I have seen the joy of the faces of the children seeking an embrace, a game, a different time: recuperating for a while (if nothing more) something that is lacking: the time of childhood innocence. I have seen the victory as never before. I can assure you that I saw it run through these abandoned families, I saw it flood resigned hearts at the feet of Our Mother, the Victress that works miracle. I saw a new time of promise, of solidarity and of the New Community.”
José María Sanguinetti, Mission Ignis Marie 2009-2010
“From my personal experience in the missions, I can truly say that God works miracles in each one of the missionaries. The first time that I participated, I was not sure how I could help these people, what I had to share, but once one accepts that one is an instrument, the words and gestures come naturally, many times it is not necessary to speak, rather, one must simply know how to listen.”
Francisco Grondona, Mission Ver Sacrum 2008
“If I am not mistaken, the ideal of the mission was (according to its motto) to sow the nation, to sow our seeds on this land, with the hope that someday it would give fruit, because we wanted to change something…we desired that the morning landscape would be different from the present one, we hoped that our crops would prosper someday…and strongly! We desired a different future and did not remain idle; that is why we went to Loberia to fight for our nation. I know what I wanted (and I believe that everyone also did) for this country, this country, this world, and this reality to change…I wanted something better, but doubt always emerged…can something better be accomplished? How would a world that is different from this one be? Shouldn’t I be satisfied?
And if there is something to accomplish in this mission it is …to see how the world that struggles daily would be. I believe that I accomplished (and I am grateful to God for this) seeing life in a different way that I could admire how a world would be where our seeds would give fruit. It was as if I had had a vision. Perhaps, it was that, maybe it was a vision; and I will tell how it was– it was a large family, a world where each person radiates happiness from their place, a world where each person assumes his/her role with joy and fulfills with love (and in an admirable way), a world where discords are overcome with laughter and tears are washed in smiles…a world of committed people. A world where each person does “everything for love, with joy,” where each person is happy to be as he/she is.
And I could admire how the people of this world were…
I could see how they smiled, how they raised their eyes to heaven with affection, how they embraced, how they sang, how they jumped, how they laughed, how they consoled and loved. I could see a world where shame did not exist; I could see a world of bare souls, a world of transparent people. I repeat that I am grateful to God for the vision I had, for that beautiful experience, I am grateful to God for having shared this time with you.
Because you are my vision.”
Santiago Lukac, Mission Ver Sacrum 2008