Éva Karikó

Born in 1968 in Hungary; married for 30 years; four children and one grandchild; working as a journalist, editor and life consultant; with her husband member of the Schoenstatt Family Federation.

At the age of twenty-three I had a deep experience of God. This moment changed my whole life. I found an authentic priest who did not regret dedicating his precious time to me. For weeks, he patiently answered all my questions. I had found “home”; but the thought that I saw people everywhere longing for “breadcrumbs” from the Lord’s table left me no peace.

In the time of my great search, I found practically no book that answered the questions of people in search of God in an understandable way – rather than in abstract theological heights. If there is none, then I will write one myself, I thought spontaneously. In fact, I have succeeded in publishing 16 books, volumes of interviews and gift books with thoughts from Pope Francis and Brother Csaba Böjte. Many people draw strength from these books, which have made it onto the bestseller lists. I regularly receive feedback from readers who have found faith or have returned to God through my books. I am very grateful for this.

I grew up in an unbelieving family. Although I love children very much, before my conversion I did not want to have a child myself. That sounds really bad, doesn’t it? Deep inside me is an image that I saw after a car accident in which the whole family was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The traffic was stopped for a time, then everything continued, but the tiny shoe of the little child was left bloody on the asphalt. I felt like my feet were rooted to the ground. I couldn’t get this image out of my mind.

I was barely twenty years old when my friend, an extremely talented, sweet girl, died tragically in a car accident. At her funeral at the open grave I was confronted at close range with the cruel reality of suffering and death. From then on, I was driven by the question: What is the meaning of life if at some point an unexpected accident or tragedy can turn our lives from one moment to the next into rubble and rob us of our health and our loved ones? I found it selfish to have a child in this senseless world, a child who could also have such a senseless destiny waiting for him.

After my conversion, experiencing the love of God and the hope for a happy, eternal life changed my world view. We had four children and already have a sweet grandson. They are the absolute treasure for my husband and me.

For a long time I had problems with the person of Mary. I did not understand why I should turn to the “secretary” when I could go directly to the “boss”, the Trinitarian God. The Blessed Mother then came very close to me during one of my births. When, during a very exhausting and long phase, I could no longer pray to God, whom we still imagine as a man, I finally turned to Mary, who had lived through the same painful situation. At that moment my water broke and I was soon able to embrace our newborn girl. From then on, Mary became my heavenly Mother who loves me completely. She accepts me and has healed the problematic relationship with my own mother.

The marriage of my parents was quite turbulent. There were many things I learned that I wanted to do differently. I worked a lot to make sure that my husband did not “get left behind,” that our relationship remained alive. We received a lot of help in the Schoenstatt Family Work of Father Tilmann Beller and the Covenant of Love with Mary. We learned that marriage is work and does not simply function on its own.

The greatest challenge for women today is that we live in a crossfire of great expectations: We are measured by our professional success, we are naturally expected to be attractive women, committed mothers and at the same time up to date with the world and engaged in volunteer work. In the social media we only see women with a happy face – and meanwhile we feel terribly alone. Grandparents are often far away or busy, most of us live isolated as a nuclear family. Many of us lack a supportive environment, so many are left alone with the worries of parenthood and everyday life.

What do we do about this?

In our neighborhood we organize projects with members of our (Schoenstatt) community to strengthen and enrich relationships. In this way, we want to make marriage attractive –  making it natural to maintain a relationship and getting more people involved. We organize lunches for mothers with children, financial support for the needy and arrange lectures.

In my own family, I also try to support my grown-up children so that they never feel alone.

In my life, I experience repeatedly how right Father Kentenich was when he said: “Our wounds can become a place where grace breaks in, where God gives us a mission.”