María Luisa Marchand Collazo

71 years old;  Neurodevelopmental Pediatrician; For 30 years she directed a Habilitation Center for Handicapped children and worked as a pediatrics professor in Puerto Rico Medical School.
In Puerto Rico she belongs to: the National Council, the Archidiocese and Vicariage Council of Schoenstatt; also to the board of Father Joseph Kentenich Pedagogic Institute.
Women’s Apostolic Federation in Schoenstatt

What experiences have formed you as a woman?

During my life I have lived multiple experiences that have marked my life. I had in my family: love, education and direction to survive in this difficult world. 
My University education in several countries (Puerto Rico, Spain, Dominican Republic and USA) showed me many different cultures and challenges that taught me new methods of adaptation. As a Neurodevelopmental pediatrician the children and their parents showed me the real challenges of life and the way to overcome them. Look at the water glass always as half full and not half empty!

At what points in your life did you experienced God?

God has always been present in my life. My mother had a very difficult labor when I was born. 
The obstetrician said that he had to save my mother’s life by sacrificing mine. My parents decided to place my birth and my mother’s life in God’s hands. I was born in excellent health. They always remember me that my birth was a gift of God. When I was studying in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, I was attacked by a man who wanted to steal my bag. He hit me, took my bag but did not kill me. After thanking God for his presence, I was able to travel to Schönstatt, Germany that afternoon as planned.  I was looking for information in the Women Apostolic Federation. 
I can easily testify that God always took care of me while I was an active young. He always accompanied me with illuminated people who helped me to take the “good way”. 

What is the challenge you see for women today?

A woman lives constant challenges against the dignity of her being. Modern life currents try to masculinize our feminism. 
Virginity is obsolete for many women. It is normal and common to have sexual relations before marriage. They live together before marriage, if they get married. 
Maternity is attacked in several ways. Pregnancy is prevented by various artificial methods, abortion is legally facilitated. In vitro pregnancies are also used to fulfill the desire to have children without measuring consequences. 

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

My greatest desire is to change the lifestyle of people, specially women. I have the conviction that with the apostolate of being we can transform the people around us. Whoever sees me, must see the Blessed Mother. This does not fail. 
I would also like to change the governments in some ways. It is painful to observe and even to live that in the XXI century some countries still
live under the rule of powerful countries. They create physical and spiritual poverty to keep the people under their power. I believe in the freedom and interdependence of all, that is between David and Goliath.