María Guadalupe

40 years; Argentina; Economist
Institute of Our Lady of Schoenstatt

What experiences have marked your life as a woman?

Certainly, an experience that significantly shaped my formation as a woman was my time in the Girls’ Youth, during my university years. There I was able to discover the greatness of the ideal of woman after the image of Mary, as that woman “strong and noble, simple and kind” (HW 609), who said yes to God’s plan, and our own call to be “little Marys” for the world. Later on, I discovered another dimension of this great ideal, that is, the mission of Mary as a companion and helpmate of Christ, which allowed me to understand more deeply Mary’s ideal for today’s world. But not only the great ideals marked me, I can also recognize in my life many women that God put on my path, who just with their being and their concrete life were also a reflection of those ideals. In that sense I could mention women from my family, from Schoenstatt, from my community, as well as women from my work and social environment, who in some way also reflected for me those Marian characteristics, although not always in a conscious way, but simply through their being faithful to their own being women.

Where in your life have you had the experience of God?

God has always been present in my life, I grew up in a family which belongs to the Schoenstatt Movement and since my childhood God and the Blessed Mother have been part of my daily life. However, something that profoundly marked me was the awareness that God had a plan for my life, a plan of love, thought out from all eternity… and in this sense I can identify moments in my life where God manifested Himself in a very personal way, for example in my vocational decision or other important decisions of my life. On the other hand, something that I learned in Schoenstatt is that this God of life is not only present in the big decisions, but that he can also be recognized in the small things of everyday, in people, in different situations, in joys and difficulties… and this is especially important when one lives in the midst of the world… to be able to live in the world, but in that permanent presence of God, learning to seek Him, to discover Him… and in this learning, Mary, through the Covenant of Love, has been and is my great educator, since it is something that is not learned once and for all, but rather one grows, refines one’s senses… learning to live in that dialogue with Him, in a different way at each stage of life. 

What do you consider the challenge for women today?

Women today are much more involved in public life than they were a few years ago, particularly in the world of work, including the economic and political spheres, which poses major challenges. In addition to the practical challenges of reconciling work and family life, I believe that a great challenge that we women face is to offer the world the values that are identified as belonging to women. Many times, we women have had to give up our own originality to show that we are capable, in order to be respected and treated equally in a world dominated by male values. I believe that as women we should be more aware of our own value and of our contribution in each field through our being women, and this may be one of the keys to make a more human and more balanced world, because it is not a matter of excluding the masculine but of complementing it, by giving room to what is typically feminine and is lacking in so many fields today. Thus, for example, in the economic world, Pope Francis has called young people to work for an economy with a “soul” and one of the work areas is aimed at considering the contribution of women to the economy from their being women, from their eyes, their concerns, their abilities.  I believe that in this regard we have a lot to do, not only because we have the right to do so, but also because we have the mission to give “soul” to the world from our being women, from that which is most typical of us and which is a gift that God has given us.

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

I would like to transmit with my life all this world that was given to me, which means to live in this bond with God and with the Blessed Mother in the Covenant of Love, and through my consecrated life in the midst of the world, to be able to bring about this reality especially to those places where God is mostly absent. Through my profession I am in contact with a world that is very far from God and therefore in need of a “soul”… in this sense I would like to contribute to this task of giving “soul” to the economy and to all those places where God leads me to develop my womanhood and my consecration in the midst of the world, and thereby contribute to the development of a more human and just world, understanding that this humanization in its most profound sense is intimately connected with the presence of God in the world and that we as women have a lot to offer.