Gertraud Wackerbauer

52 years; Music teacher, Song inventor; Germany
Institute of Our Lady of Schoenstatt

What experiences have shaped you as a woman?

The keyword “being a daughter” occurs to me spontaneously. Growing up in the parental home with a strong mother and a rather weak father, the three older siblings soon left home, I’m still there as the youngest.
Participation in the local parish youth, in summer mountain excursions with our local pastor.
Making music at youth services, being the first woman in a brass band, playing in a band.
Getting to know Schoenstatt as a spiritual home, first as a young girl, later as a young woman.
Discovering and developing your own personality in its uniqueness.
On this path, diverse encounters with women who fascinated me in their way of life, because they had an attractive, life-affirming attitude; others, from whom I wanted to distance myself because they seemed narrow and colorless to me.

Where in your life have you experienced God?

Two experiences:
Once again I’m able to spend a few days with her – how good that is.
The house is in the middle of nature. Meadows, forest, the small chapel nearby.
Good conversations, the gift of encounter – the older, experienced woman lives from her centre, connected to God and at the same time so naturally grounded.
She conveys without big words the impression of a benevolent God, listening, attentive, who simply accepts his counterpart, takes him seriously, and likes him.

The first time I was looking for a spiritual guide, it had taken some courage to write to a priest whom I had seen at a conference to ask if I could come for regular discussions.
I am grateful to this priest – who has already died – for the experience of reliability that unfortunately my father could not give me. For me, it became an experience of God’s faithfulness that we can rely on.

What do you see as challenges for women today?

Bringing in the gift of inspiration, of home, as a special strength of women, indispensable for our world today.

Again two experiences:
On a spontaneous visit to a couple of friends – the woman is currently out, but will be back soon – the man gets something to drink to bridge the waiting time.
Something feels different from usual, a little more dryer, less comfortable?
When the woman arrives, everything changes in a few simple steps: she lights a candle, turns off the big light, and instead switches on a few small lamps …
A woman who has become the point of contact for many people. The first 50 years of her life were anything but easy – a relationship crisis, a crisis at work, physical and emotional limitations. Suffering through these has changed her and it has become a special treasure from which she now draws she shares with others.

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

I would like to answer this question with the text of a song that was written on the theme of the Women’s Congress in Schoenstatt in 2003.

Your charism counts for the future of this world
that it will become fit for humanity.
Your charism counts for the future of our world,
that God’s Spirit can work through our gifts.
Tomorrow begins today.

Do you join in weaving the carpet of humanity?
Every little thread counts
where there is bare, naked ground
and warmth is lacking.
Home is formed amidst the inhospitable,
warm ground that gives support.

Do you join in painting the picture of humanity?
Every brushstroke counts
where there are harsh, cold walls
real joy is lacking.
Play of colors in the midst of desolation,
Living space is created.

Do you join in singing the song of humanity
so that it draws wide circles.
Bringing dignity to life again:
“You are precious and loved.”
Wonderful sound in the noise of time
that enlivens and liberates.

Mary, chosen by God as his way into the world.
Walk with us through time, so that bridges are built
from heart to heart, connection grows,
moved by God’s Spirit:
Veni spiritus, veni.

Your charism counts for the future of this world
that it will become fit for humanity.
It’s you who counts for the future of our world
that God’s Spirit can work through your gifts:
Tomorrow begins today.

(Text & music: G. Wackerbauer (VdHG & Co…)
Text inspired by the theme of the Women’s Congress in Schoenstatt 3-5 Oct “Your charism for a humane future”.)