Bettina Betzner

53 years old; Germany; Managing Director of the Catholic Family Care in the Dean’s Office Esslingen-Nürtingen
Special feature: 1990 voluntary social year in Australia, change of her professional activity in industry and administration to a social-care profession as a family care worker up to the takeover of the institution with expansion of family care in the areas: personnel, area and the expansion of the portfolio in cooperation with youth welfare.
Schoenstatt Women’s Federation

What experiences have shaped you as a woman?

My time in the parish youth of my home parish and in the Schoenstatt Girls’ Youth has had a great impact on me. There I discovered, in exchange with like-minded people, my type as a woman, my temperament, my character traits.

To experience: I only exist once – I am a great thought of God, his favourite idea, these were and are great moments for me, which have permanently shaped me as a personality.

Decisive for me were successful life plans of female personalities in inconspicuous everyday life, e.g. my grandmother. She showed me vividly how successful being a woman can be despite some life crises. My grandmother showed me what it means to put all your trust in God and not to forget the sense for the realities of life.

In the encounter with Schoenstatt, I was given the experience of how I can come into relationship with my strengths and weaknesses as a woman, how I learn to work positively on myself and to strengthen my strengths and ennoble my weaknesses.

This is how God created me! Not only could I appreciate this process more, but I could love myself in it. To enjoy my God-given gifts and to bring out the extraordinary of my feminine nature, the best in me. Not to devalue my intuition, but as a force from on high that comes from within; the voice of God that dwells within me!

Especially borderline experiences have enriched my life, especially where I took a risk, e.g. in 1990 to quit my job and go to Australia for a voluntary social year. Trying out and experimenting in a foreign country was the key to winning.

Where in your life have you experienced God?

In the little things and situations of everyday life. Beyond that there are many key scenes: My first Holy Communion, my Confirmation, the Covenant of Love with the Blessed Mother in Schoenstatt were essential experiences that deepened my faith. I came into relationship with the God of my life. All this gave me an inkling of what God is like and what it is like to feel his closeness. To experience: HE is there and HE is only there for me now!

During my time abroad in Australia, as a turning point in my life, the relationship with God as Father grew. I experienced this in the person of Father Kentenich, the founder of the International Schoenstatt Movement. During my conversation with him, I was given not only an inner certainty that going abroad for a year was the best thing for me, but also the strength to re-orientate myself professionally.

The Covenant of Love with Mary became a spiritual oasis for me. To experience her in prayer gave me orientation and a home, orientation after I took up a new profession in Germany and a home when things got difficult.

In the covenant with her I realised that no matter what problems came up now: Mary stands by me and is there, in the Covenant of Love with her I am held, I do not fall out, but she holds me tight, so that I do not lose sight of my path, but may recognise it anew.

What do you see as the challenge for women today?

I see it as a challenge:

– To live my womanhood, my femininity authentically, just as I am – to live it in a very personal way. With a style that is my lifestyle!

– To preserve my inner freedom as a woman and to shape my life from an inner centre and not to be manipulated by opinions or fashions.

– To be free for the impulses that God’s presence gives me and at the same time to be completely bound to Him.

I see this as a challenge, and that is why I wish for this, namely a greater solidarity among us women, because this creates strength and gives courage to be different. Especially in my professional life, in my leadership role of a social and charitable institution for families in need, I experience how important it is to empathically strengthen women and mothers in their everyday family life, to see them in their need and to support them. I notice that women still experience a strong discrepancy in the compatibility of family and career. Very often they have little appreciation for their work in the family. The care and support of children in the family is an admirable and indispensable task which receives too little attention in our society. In times of Corona we experience how women are challenged between home office and home schooling. I would like to stand up for this and give these women a voice.

What do you want to change through your life in this world?

I want to be a sign of the Holy Spirit. Through my way, God’s love should shine out, become permeable, touchable. I want to encourage and motivate, even challenge you to think along, to join in, to discover faith for yourself. God’s presence is real. He is a God who says YES to each of us.

Through these experiences I would like to give my fellow human beings support, consolation, but also courage and thus contribute to a successful and happy life.

Every woman has the right to experience her individual happiness in life and to be given joy in faith.

Especially the preservation of creation is an important concern for me. An ecological rethinking in my own everyday life is my very personal contribution to a society that treats its natural resources responsibly. I receive great confirmation and encouragement from the view of our Pope Francis.