Eliana Soncin Alfaro

Age: 59; teacher of Spanish; married for 39 years to Jose Sebastian Alfaro Gonzalez; three children – Jonatan Moises, Emely Maria and Gabriely Maria; three granddaughters – Mariana and Luiza (Jonatan’s twins), and Rafaela (daughter of Emely); daughter-in-law Alyne and son-in-law Robert; lives in Espirito Santo do Pinhal – São Paulo, Brazil; First course Mothers’ Federation, Brazil.

Which experiences mark your life as a woman?

  • The experience n of being a daughter. As the eldest of three sisters I followed a trailbreaking path of challenges for the motherhood and fatherhood of my parents for whom everything was new. I experienced God in the joy of being born into a Christian family. From my parents and grandparents I received the first guidance in how to love Jesus and our Mother Mary.
  • The experience of being a wife, to find someone special with whom to share my life and the grace of motherhood, because God showed his creative love in the life of each of our three children.
  • The experience of belonging to the Church, and above all of knowing the shrine of our Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt, where I could deepen the bonds of love and life with Mary.
  • The experience of getting to know the apostolic community of the Schoenstatt Federation for Mothers, and to become a member, where I learnt how to love better in Mary’s school of love, to value attachments more, and through Fr Kentenich’s charism and the covenant of love with the Mother Thrice Admirable to contribute towards building up the realm of love as envisaged by God.

Where did you experience God in your life?

  • As far back as I can remember, I encountered God in the prayers of my maternal Grandfather, in Holy Mass with my paternal Grandmother, where still without an intellectual or theoretical foundation I experienced that through prayer there is this channel of grace that is bigger than everything my mind had known until then.
  • I experienced God through belonging to a church youth group, in training meetings such as TLC (Training in Christian Leadership), and in the challenges and insecurities of youth.
  • Later in the course of my life I experienced God’s love through getting to know my husband and partner in life, the birth of children, as well as health problems and hospital stays, and above in in the togetherness of my family and friends, my commitment to parish pastoral work, in the community of the Mothers’ Federation, and caring for nature and plants which quickly react to our care and affection.

What do you consider the challenges to women today?

I think the greatest challenge consists in preserving the identity of woman, and not allowing her nature, and hence her mission, for which God intended her, to get lost. Our present times lead humankind into a uniformity in which what may happen or not happen is independent of who is doing it. It doesn’t matter who does it, or how. Everything becomes impersonal. People are approaching the idea of “sources of work” or “function managers”; they distance themselves from the idea, or even destroy it, that life is a gift and that we have been created in the image and likeness of God, who is Father, who is Love, and who nourishes us with his love. There are differences, we are not created as part of a series, we are unique and original.

We women face the challenge to keep love alive in our hearts and to testify constantly, no matter where we are and in which situation, to the truth that life is a gift of God’s love!

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

In acknowledgement of Schoenstatt’s pedagogy, I renew my personal ideal and my membership in the apostolic community of the Schoenstatt Mothers’ Federation since 1992 every day, along with my self-surrender to God and the Blessed Mother through the covenant of love I have entered into with them, and I ask them for perseverance in these efforts and love-inspired duties. When I have achieved this victory within myself each day, I ask God fervently to use us in his infinite love to shake people awake and reach their hearts.

Through attentiveness and care I want to mirror Mary, and through service, love and understanding educate people to hope for a world that has been formed in the school of Mary’s love. This will transform events, and people will experience the joy of Tabor and say: It is good to be here!