SCHOENSTATT, Marisol Lara de la Cruz •
Our participation in the Leading for Love Seminar in Schoenstatt was a profound learning experience, spiritual growth and community attachment. The Seminar was held in Spanish for the third time from 14-21 August, and was attended by twelve couples from six countries: Chile, Ecuador, Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico, and the United States. Three communities, or better said the three vocations of the Schoenstatt Family Work were represented in this group (League, Federation, Institute).—
All the couples arrived in Schoenstatt with different motives and expectations. We arrived with an immensely grateful heart for God and the Blessed Mother’s action in our family life. We hoped to deepen our knowledge of our father and founder to visit the holy and grace filled places around the Original Shrine. Some wanted to find answers and inner peace for the hard and incomprehensible situations of life. Others hoped to strengthen their leadership skills to strengthen their apostolic mission. The reality is that we experienced and received much more than we could have imagined.
Attachment of hearts among the participants
The seminar was organized by Raúl and María Luisa Rivera from Chile and Benjamín and Lorena Feliz from Ecuador, with the support of Pepo and Patricia Köstner from Argentina, the new General Superiors of the Schoenstatt Family Institute. They ensured that the entire week was planned and executed with perfection. Every moment of each day was filled with detail and affection in every activity.
The first part of the day was mainly dedicated to talks and experiences presented by priests and the leading couples. During the afternoon, we visited the holy places of historic relevance to our father and founder and = the Schoenstatt Family. We also had special activities and profound experiences in the places of grace attached to the Original Shrine. Moreover, we enjoyed the time that was carefully planned for community life and to promote the exchange and attachment of hearts among the participants.
A broader vision of the different family realities
The talks and workshops allowed us to travel through the history of Fr. Kentenich’s life and the formation and consolidation of the Schoenstatt Movement. We were able to better understand and clearly see how God has guided history through people and in every small event of life. However, sharing the reality of families in our countries with the couples of different nationalities gave us a very broad vision of the problems that we share and a common goal with respect to what we want to improve in our families and our societies.
The historic places attach us more to Fr. Kentenich and his mission
Every place we visited marked us in a special way and it attached us more to Fr. Kentenich and the mission we have in Schoenstatt. The planned activities at every site allowed us to internalize what happened there historically and the relevance this has for our future. These experiences touched our hearts and they were the source of great spiritual growth for everyone. As the week progressed, each day was more interesting and touching than the previous one.
Throughout this experience, we not only acquired the skills necessary for leadership and apostolic activity, but we also formed a community of hearts with common concerns and ideals. We shared difficult trials and happy moments of our lives. We established beautiful friendships and plans to meet again in the near future. We will all return to our countries with a very clear goal and a mission. We have the great task to lead others in the respect for the dignity, originality and freedom of each person. We want to be good shepherds who lead others higher, recognizing that we always find a reflection of God in every person.
Original: Spanish, 2 September 2018. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA. Edited: Sarah-Leah Pimentel, Cape Town, South Africa