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Apostolic Movement

Mary, make us like you: a “yes” to consecrated life in Schoenstatt

“Show everyone that you follow Christ and put his Gospel into practice, filling your heart with happiness. Infect those who are near you with this joy; and then many people will ask you for the reason and feel the desire to share with you your splendid and enthusing Gospel adventure”[1]. This advice by Pope Francis, addressed to all consecrated persons, was lived with enthusiasm by nine young women from three continents at an international celebration held in Schoenstatt, Germany, this weekend. On January the 27th they gave their “yes” to God, paving the way for the beginning of their novitiate in the Secular Institute of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary.

The new Sisters come from six countries: Andrea González from Mexico, Catalina Duggan and María Elina San Román from Argentina, Estrella Almada and María Belén Gómez from Paraguay, Verónica Rina from Spain, Małgorzata Andrzejkowicz from Poland, Christy John and Margreate Anthony from India.

The heart exults with joy

As is customary in the community, at the beginning of the celebration the young women lined up in their white dresses and veils. With joy and great expectation, they enter the large Adoration Church, where many family members and friends are waiting for them.

Catherine Duggan tells us about her vocation: “As soon as I let myself fall into God’s arms, I felt an inner peace and calmness that I had never felt before. Today, after many difficulties and a long time waiting, I can say that I have received much more than I have given, and I could not be more grateful”.

Mary, make us like your image

The Eucharist was presided over by the Director General of the Sisters of Mary, Father Dr. Bernd Biberger. During the solemnity, the young women received their community vestments.

Biberger explained in his homily: “Today the novices will receive the Sister’s dress. It expresses their vocation, to make Mary present in this world through themselves. Each Sister has the task of pointing to Mary. In the encounter with them, people should be able to experience something of Mary. This is only possible if every Sister strives to become like Mary, as today’s motto expresses it, becoming like her image”.

The great desire of the young women from now on is to be a living image of the MTA for the world. Biberger compares this desire to the representations of the Mother of God made through works of art over the centuries. He says: “In asking today for the dress of a Schoenstatt Sister of Mary, the young women express their desire to also experience something of Mary in themselves. Thus, they ask for the grace to resemble the image of Mary, not as a cheap copy but in a totally original, individual way. Each one of them must make visible something of Mary according to her own, original way, defined by her personality”.

Where there are those who are consecrated, there is joy

During the celebration, the novices leave the church for a few moments to put on their new vestments. Meanwhile, friends and family remain in deep prayer, praying for their vocation.

The moment of welcoming back the young women elicits deep emotional feelings and tears in many. They are presented with their new names for their consecrated life: Sister M. Rafaela, Mexico; Sister Maria Elina, Argentina; Sister Christy Maria, India; Sister Estrella Maria, Paraguay; Sister M. Małgorzata, Poland; Sister M. Consuelo, Argentina; Sister M. Margreate, India; Sister Maria Belen, Paraguay; Sister M. Veronica, Spain.

Now called Sister Maria Elina, a young woman from Argentina, says: “When we want to live a life with God, our life becomes a continuous conversation with Him…. our life becomes prayer. He asks, I answer, He proposes, I dispose, I ask, He answers me, I rejoice and so does He… He speaks through my affinities, desires, the problems that arise, the talents He has given me and also through my difficulties…. Thus, we walk together and that’s how I know what and how to respond to what happens in my life.”

The investiture ceremony was broadcast live and followed by people from several countries. Javier Fuentes writes: “Many Congratulations to all our Sisters, we send you a warm embrace from Leon, Mexico.” Ania Bartczak writes in Polish: “Thank you for your beautiful testimony and beautiful celebration. Blessings to all the Sisters.

Watch the full video:

“Where there are those who are consecrated, there is joy,” says Pope Francis. And it is with joy that the new novices embark on this journey of surrender, love, and commitment, which has only just begun, towards a future of self-giving and love.

[1] FRANCIS, Pope. Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for the opening of the Year of Consecrated Life. Sunday, 30 November 2014.


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