Elizabeth Robles Field

Born 1964 in Costa Rica. Married to Alejandro, three children. Pharmacist, graduated from the University of Costa Rica. Responsible for quality management in the family business, where she works with her husband, who is the head of the company. She and her husband are members of the Family Federation in Costa Rica.

Which experiences have formed you as a woman?

One of the decisive factors that formed me as a woman was the gift of having an exemplary mother: A woman who has developed in an extraordinary way in her role as a wife, mother, as a working and intellectual woman, in living faith – and all this in a generally difficult period for women.

My profession as a pharmacist and the company that my mother built up and that my grandfather had founded allowed me to live and exercise my role both in my profession and as a mother. I was able to fulfill my professional duties without ever having to sacrifice time and attention for my children, because I could always be with them.

My husband has also contributed to my becoming more and more a woman – if one can speak of stages of growth in womanhood – and to my maturing as a person to inner fullness. He is my fan, my confidant, my friend, my complement, the unconditional companion of my life since the age of 17. In recent years, he has also become my colleague at work as we face the difficult task of advancing the company together, day after day.

And of course my three children have formed me, that is, being a mother and the mission that God has entrusted to me to care for these three lives. This meant that I had to be constantly reinventing myself, especially when it came to showing them the path of faith. Now they are my teachers in many areas.

I have also been formed by the various communities that Schoenstatt has given us. And finally, the many people that I have been able to meet, with whom I have been able to live together throughout my life: My sister, my daughter, my two sons, my girlfriends, women from my course in the Family Federation, my spiritual director – all heroic role models who constantly challenge and teach me, from the culinary to the professional and intellectual levels.

Where have you experienced God in your life?

I have now been walking for 13 years at the hand of Father Kentenich in his Schoenstatt land and I feel that I am his favorite child. Because of the way Mary manifested herself in different periods of my life, I can say today that I have experienced God through “three Marias”: Mary “of the beautiful decoration”, Mary of the Rosary, and Mary of the Covenant of Love.

Mary “of the Beautiful Decoration”

When our children were very young, my greatest uncertainty was whether I would be able to raise them to be good men and women, protected from the dangers of society. We began to visit an “ecumenical” group. There I had a kerygmatic encounter with Jesus that changed my life forever. I fell in love with him and his word, and trusted that he would raise my children for me. With a great sense of responsibility and passion, I took on the task of working with all my strength so that my children would become men and women of faith, that their life would find its center in Jesus.

Mary was present in my life through the Christmas crib or through a postcard in a drawer. She was a dignified decoration with a lot of symbolism that embellished our home… but she was just another decoration. I have very fond memories of people I admire from that time. Nevertheless, my husband and I made the difficult decision to separate from the group because we realized that we had given up almost all our Catholic customs through a misunderstood “ecumenism”. After our departure we decided to get to know our Church more deeply and to love it unconditionally.

And then Schoenstatt came into our lives. We experienced a time of pre-foundation in Costa Rica, during which we gave contributions to the Capital of Grace to build “a shrine”. The wayside shrine in Villa Bonita de Tres Ríos was a witness of the beginning: ten years with many morning vigils given for the much longed-for shrine.

A deep, fervent love for praying the rosary grew in me; it became my weapon of prayer, so to speak. Out of inner conviction, Mary of the Rosary came into my life and gradually stole my heart. Even though we never stopped going to Holy Mass together as a family during that epoch of ecumenism, it saddened me that our children had grown up in their faith without Mary, the Mother of God. And for a long time I felt a deep pain in my heart because of our little big mistake. Through the rosary I asked the Blessed Mother to make amends in some way. And I asked that she would become part of the faith of my children, so that they could live in the fullness of the Catholic faith.

And soon Mary of the Covenant of Lovecame into my life the Mary of the great transformation. Father Kentenich became my father, he led me in love and wisdom and gave me the group “Chapeadores de María”, the Covenant of Love, the Personal Ideal, the Marriage Ideal and a new community in the Family Federation: the Fidelitas Course. And through the Covenant of Love, God has given a new meaning and a new fullness to my life – to our life – because over time the MTA conquered each of our children with gentle force.

The “three Marys” transformed themselves – like a light shining through a prism – into three small and great ideals for me:

Mary “of the Beautiful Decoration”, who inspires me to echo her yes at the hour of the Annunciation, to be an instrument for those whom God entrusts to me and who cross my path; Mary of the Rosary, who, as in Cana, prays, intercedes and trusts for others, and Mary of the Covenant of Love, who receives and awaits the Holy Spirit and sends us into the world with his fire, so that every day may be Pentecost.

What do you see as the challenge for women today?

An interesting comment by a philosopher says that if one wants to evaluate the moral state of a society, one must first study the women of that society. That would give a good indication of the moral level. Woman is the master builder and the fulcrum, the cornerstone of society.

The salvation of mankind, that is, Christ, came through a woman. As mothers, wives and working women, the women and men called to form society pass through our hands, their way passes, so to speak, through our lives. As we can read very clearly in the Bible, women can be instruments of good or evil. When our eyes are turned to Mary, she will be the ideal example we need to lead to the good. The challenge for us is to be aware of our responsibility and also of the power we exercise, especially in the bosom of our family, with our children, but – no less important – also in the professional sphere. We can be either a stumbling block or a source of blessings, using our abilities to shape, guide and inspire men and women who can dream and fly as far and as high as God allows, who can be bridges to heaven, or just the opposite. We have the key in our hands for the struggles we have to fight as a society at the moment.

May no life pass through our hands without us being instruments of blessing, like Mary.

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

I wish that we could reconcile the existing differences between Catholic Christians and all the other groups. The Christians who grow up far from the Catholic faith are losing the great richness of our Church. I will allow myself an analogy – with all due respect to those who, for various reasons, have not experienced it this way: There are extraordinary people who come from families where only the father or mother was present. But that does not mean that it’s the ideal way for a child to grow up, but rather, as God intended, with a good father and a good mother. This is the great richness, the wisdom of God, and thus the wonderful difference between those who grow up close to our beloved Church and those who are far away.

I wish that we – united in the Holy Spirit – would seriously proclaim the Gospel to all those who do not know Christ and Mary. Through a first initiative, we should achieve the unity of apostolic forces within the Church, bringing together the charisms of the various movements and parishes around the “round table of communion and collaboration” in all the dioceses of the world. Then it is a matter of uniting the other Christian groups for the evangelization of the world and thus for the realization of the third goal of Schoenstatt, as Father Kentenich conceived and dreamed.

The Apostolic World Federation is no longer a dream: the model of the ’round table’ is a gift of Schoenstatt to the Church and can be implemented in all dioceses of the world.