Maura Regina Santana de Jesus

Brazil;  63 years; Study of literature and postgraduate studies in legislative management; professional activity: Portuguese teacher in the Department of Education of the District, Head of the Secretariat of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies; current activity: Retired, in the service of her own family and the Schoenstatt Movement in the Mothers’ Federation.

What experiences have formed you as a woman?

The two deepest experiences for me as a woman were marriage and motherhood.
In marriage I learn to live a life of service to the other – to love him, to share similarities, mutual respect and care for the family. By striving for self-education, I learn to understand my own limitations as well as those of my husband and thus contribute to his growth and sanctification.

Through motherhood, I experience the most beautiful kind of love that gives itself away, I experience fulfilling moments of total surrender, uplifting moments and learning to accept all my weaknesses and imperfections. I am aware that I make mistakes, but also that I make the right choices in my efforts to live my motherhood. The Holy Spirit always guides me and as the fruit of my love for my three children, gives me the gift that they are upright, noble people who follow God’s ways.

Where have you experienced God in your life?

Since my childhood, I was introduced to the Catholic Church through my mother. She always showed great faith in God and in the intercession of the Mother of God who guided her life. Through the example of my mother, I learned to love God at home.
In my youth, I was actively involved in the life of the Church. I participated in a youth group, sang in a choir and was on the liturgical team.

I got to know Schoenstatt after our wedding. Through Schoenstatt, my relationship with God and with Mary became deeper, more intense, more alive and more uplifting. I try to connect faith and life with each other. The covenant of love is my path to holiness.

What do you see as the challenge for women today?

Women today have greater freedom of choice and can choose to assume one or more roles in society. Apart from the possibility of being a homemaker, mother and wife, she has her job or a certain place in the job market.

There are many challenges facing women today. In particular, I would like to emphasize the constant vigilance that she needs in order not to be seduced by the modern world and not to allow her feminine nature to get lost in an avalanche of behavioral patterns determined by the masses.

It is normal that the world, with its social and technological progress, also pushes women to achieve true autonomy, but they must be careful not to compete with the opposite sex, not to engage in radical positions, intolerant feminist tendencies that do not want to see man and woman equal in dignity, but different in nature.

Women must be aware of their autonomy as individuals, but they should not start competing and fighting for total autonomy from the opposite sex. This current, which is propagated in today’s world, nourishes a dream of superiority and destroys family relationships.

Today there are ideologies, spread mainly through the media, which reduce women to being a tool for the “empowerment” of women, where gender becomes an instrument of power. The woman who protects herself from this ideological influence is not attracted to this kind of power. She knows that her greatest value lies in discovering the virtues of Mary, who is the most perfect model of woman’s nature. In this way, she understands that man and woman are naturally complementary, that each sex has its own characteristics that enrich the other, and that this complementarity makes mutual trust flourish in the family relationship.

The modern woman conquers an important place in society, but it is precisely through this society that she is challenged day after day. There are many trends which want to lure her into an illusory happiness. In order for her to be able to face all the current challenges, she must be anchored in Christian teaching, she must conquer a virtuous being, orientate herself toward above and be wise in her behavior and thinking – like Mary.

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

I believe that the love that is given to others – a sincere love, without prejudice and free of self-interest, a love that is the fruit of a heart that has only the desire to see the other person happy – changes people and therefore the world.

It is not easy to conquer this love, but I constantly try to cultivate it. Through service to others and with the grace that comes from God, I want to change the world.

In my heart, I want to experience all-embracing, unconditional, unlimited love. We all belong to a single human family and love for neighbor should make no distinction in race, faith or economic power. We have been created by the same heavenly Father, who has commanded us to love one another. This is the supreme commandment.

I rely heavily on the humble, faithful and constant service of little gestures. Good deeds – a friendly word, a kindness, a smile – touch people, both those who receive and those who give. They infect the environment; they make it more human and strengthen the willingness to share.

Regardless of our profession and occupation, we can always serve our neighbor by accepting him, helping him, listening, being at his side. The willingness to seek the good of others must be our personal self-realization. In this way, the world is inspired by our concrete gestures of peace and harmony. We bring the light of Christ that is within us to shine upon those who surround us. Nothing is more convincing than the witness of our being.