Belén Troncoso A.

Belén Troncoso Acosta, born in 1999 in Santiago, Chile; member oft he girl’s youth since her childhood; now helping in little tasks.

What experiences have formed you as a woman?

Recently, in my country you can see demonstrations every day – for feminism, for abortion, for the environment, for the rights of the indigenous peoples, for homosexuality, against sexual abuse, against abuse of power in the Church … among many other things that are coming to light. Unfortunately, I have seen my fellow students walking naked through the streets, degrading their own bodies by using them as sexual objects for the purpose of their marches: To gain greater security for the woman so that she will not be sexually abused. Another experience that left a deep impression on me was to see how, 100 meters away from me, a woman my age was attacked by three men and left unconscious and robbed in less than a minute. That could just as well have been me.

And on the other hand, there is my mother, a woman who faces the challenges God sends her every day: living with a man who doesn’t remember anything anymore, three children she cares for every day (two of us are already out of the house), the loss of dear friends, getting up early every day to go to work out of love for the family (even during the summer vacation). A woman who gives her life for others, who loves so much that she is completely detached from herself to give the best – not for her own good, but to make others feel better.

Another experience that makes me sit up and take notice is the Schoenstatt Youth. Each one swims against the current in her originality, from God (singing, praying, reading) to the world, trying to be the “little Mary” in daily life that Father Kentenich wanted to form.

And finally: Mary is the woman who has shaped me the most. She is so human, so humble and feminine, she is so holy and the Mother of God. She is the great educator of my life and so much a mother that I like to say every day: “Mary, your life is my life!” (JK)

Where have you experienced God in your life?

Throughout my life I had the gift of knowing about God. The difference lies in how I have experienced it. An educating God in my family, a merciful God, a little child. Above all, a Father God – I experience him every time I say to him: “I haven’t studied for the exam”, “it’s hard for me to get up, help me”, “I’ve been fighting with my brother again”, “Why are you doing this to me?”  A Father God, every time I get angry, when I am sad, happy or without any feeling. A Father God who speaks to me through every person who crosses my path. A Father God who gives me freedom so that I can move away from him, but when I come back, he tells me: “It is you I have been waiting for!”

When I think about where God has been in my life, a very beautiful image comes to my mind of a girl trying to run into the arms of her father. He catches her, embraces her and rejoices in the small great success of his child (small because she still has a whole life ahead of her, and great because it was not easy). The first thing that comes to my mind is this attempt to achieve something that often doesn’t work out, but I try again as if it were the first time (I know that God is there, watching me). The second is the trust to throw oneself into the arms of the Father, knowing that he will catch the child, but also that he will notice when she falls. “The greatest worry is to be endlessly carefree.” (JK) I often forget that I come from God and I worry about such little things… This girl, does she wonder how she will be received? No, she just goes and trusts that if the Father asks her to, everything will go well in the end. The third is the reaction of the Father, a man who awaits the child with open arms, and when the child has made it, he is filled with great joy.

God is so much Father that he has not left me alone, but he has sent Father Kentenich to take me by the hand and educate me to be childlike and to trust like a little child.

God is Father at every moment, in the university, at home, in all challenges, in Schoenstatt, in the most painful sufferings and in the greatest joys. Where is God?  He is in my friend’s response, in society, in my family, in the Sisters of Mary, in my group, in the girls I lead, in what I see, hear and feel. I know that at the end of the day he will tell me: “This is my beloved child.”

Challenges for the woman of today

Today woman lacks soul. She has become a woman who leaves no trace behind. She forgets herself and just lives because another day begins. In the past, the special ingredient of dessert was love for each other. Today there are no more special ingredients. Being a woman is something bad, something “macho”, because the masses say it should not be like it used to be. We often forget that we are the ones who create and strengthen bonds. How often is it the woman who invites her friends to a barbecue at home or who asks the children to reconcile.

We live in an individualistic world in which it seems superfluous to think, listen and rejoice with and for the other person, a world in which communication with the other is no longer necessary. Today I strive for my goals, from getting up to going to bed, so that the person standing next to me also achieves them as best he can.

The woman has forgotten herself. Going out at night is dangerous, being alone on the street is a risk, if someone yells stupid remarks at you on the street it is dirty. So what do we have left? “I wish I were a man”. What do I have to do then? I fight to be like a man. What is the problem? Being a woman is a gift! I am a woman who accepts, discovers, loves and gives away. Where has the greatness of the woman gone? Where is the one who is all soul, all surrender and all purity?

What would you like to change in the world through your life?

God loved me so much that he created me as a woman! And not as any woman, but as a real child. God invites me daily to appreciate others: the bus driver, my fellow students, my friends, my neighbors – they too are gifts of God, even more, they are children of God!

To be honest, I’m not so good at praying the rosary or doing door-to-door apostolate, but my appreciation for the other person lies in cleaning the house, accompanying someone to the supermarket or simply asking the teacher how his family is doing. God gave me the gift of being a woman so that I can be an instrument for him with my limits and my talents, with what I am and what I am not. God created me and gave me my authentic womanhood because he loves me.