Maria Fischer •
After almost two months, on a sunny afternoon in the month of May, I finally returned to physically go on pilgrimage to the Original Shrine. I did not go alone, although at that moment no other pilgrim was seen approaching that chapel where more than 100 years ago, a young priest and a handful of teens went out to renew the world. In my purse, I carried approximately 1,000 letters to the Blessed Mother sent over the last two months via that button “Letters to the Blessed Mother” at schoenstatt.org
The majority of them had come from Latin American countries, where we have the largest number of correspondents as visitors. But they also had come from Venezuela and from Central America. There were letters sent from India, Australia, the Philippines. Europe was also a part of this fan of confidence, love, giving of self and at times of desperation: Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Croatia…
Upon entering the Original Shrine, I found that they were in the midst of praying the Rosary for peace. Here the Holy Father’s prayer request for May, to pray the rosary for peace, was being fulfilled.
The Villa 31 in the Original Shrine
At that moment, I took out my sheets with the letters and a special photo…taken with Cristina White at the end of my visit in Villa 31, a slum located in Buenos Aires’ neighborhood, Retiro. Entering this slum of approximately 40,000 residents, half of them immigrants from bordering countries is seen by many, within and outside of Buenos Aires, as an adventure (at least for my teen-age nephews, now I am ‘cool’). It is walking in the footsteps of the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio and a going to encounter a group of Schoenstatters and their friends, with a life in covenant and in an impressive apostolate, worthy of being of being known allover the world… At the end of our meeting (article, will come soon) an idea emerges: As my gifts for them had been left at Mother of Tupãrenda House, I offered to take a photo of all of them and then take all of them to the Original Shrine that they love so much and that none of them would ever be able to visit physically.
None of those who were in the Original Shrine praying the rosary knew that they were praying accompanying people who pray it daily in Villa 31. But, at this moment, those from Villa 31 received a live photo of their photo in this holy place…
The Rosary ended when a large group of women entered, candles in hand, that had come for the night blessing. Fr. Peter Nöthen also prayed for everyone who unites in prayer with this Shrine…So many of them were present, in the photo of Villa 31 with the Pilgrim Mothers and the beautiful flag with the picture of the Blessed Mother, and in the 1,000 letters…
The photo remained in the Original Shrine, the letters remained in the jar. They are samples of the love for this Shrine that we call the Original, center of a gigantic network of Shrines that embraces our entire world.
Original: Spanish. 14 May 2017. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA