Monique Vaz da Silva

Born in 1992, profession: digital designer, lives in Mairiporã/Sp – Brazil, belongs to the Schoenstatt Girls and Young Women

What experiences have formed you as a woman?

I am the oldest of five sisters. This is a gift for me, because it allows me to live with extraordinary women every day, who inspire me. I also have a wonderful role model at home: my mother, who through her love and care for her family exemplifies the true values of a woman.

My first distinctive experience was ballet. I started doing it when I was a child and have been doing it for 13 years. The ballet helped me to see being a woman as something delicate that awakened a sensitivity and tenderness in me that I still have to this day.

In the first college I attended, I was the only woman, so I had to gain respect in all situations. These experiences gave me the strength and courage to change my degree course and to choose one that was really made for me: design.

As a designer, I have had experiences that have shaped my life as a woman. It is a field of work with “alternative” people, that is, with different types and styles. This forces me to consolidate my principles and also to apply them to myself, to my whole attitude, every day. In my clothing, in my speech, in my positioning and even in my professional creations I can express my womanhood.

In addition to this, all the experiences that I have had up to now in the Schoenstatt Youth have formed me. I was already a member of the Schoenstatt Movement as a child. It was so wonderful that my parents, my sisters and cousins also joined the Schoenstatt Movement shortly afterwards; I was allowed to be the instrument in the hand of God. In Schoenstatt I learned how to educate myself to be a woman as God intended me to be, and as a leader I can also guide girls and women. It is a very great gift to be an instrument in the hand of God to lead other women.

Where have you experienced God in your life?

I was born into a Catholic family and so God was present in my life from a very young age. I had several significant experiences, but one of them changed my life: I was chosen to participate in the program “Schoenstatt Time” at the place of origin in Germany. I learned about it only a month before the program began because another young woman had cancelled. I saw that God had taken care of everything: before I received this invitation, I had saved money for the realization of a dream, not knowing what that dream would be, I had also already obtained a passport without having a reason for it and at that time I was very unhappy with my job. For me, each one of these facts was a sign of God’s love. It was the greatest gift of my life to be in Schoenstatt for two months. There I was able to rediscover my personal values, find myself and realize that I am chosen to be a beloved child of God. There I felt loved by him from morning to night. Renewed and ready to fight for my personal mission, I returned to Brazil.

What do you see as THE challenge for women today?

The biggest challenge today is “to be a woman”. We are surrounded by a selfish, macho society, far from God, and again and again by women enslaved to beauty, lacking in content, surrounded by violence, who have no ties with anyone (who no longer have the desire to create a solid family). We live daily with women who do not want to support each other and who want to be equal to men (and thus lose their very essence, their substance). On top of this, there is the pressure that is put on us to be “super-women” (who have to cope with house, work family and much more). All this causes mental and physical stress in us.

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

Through my daily example I want to recapture the essence of being a woman, as I experience it in Mary. I want to be a “little Mary”, say my yes to God’s plans and do it with love. I want to change the world by changing in some small way, through my example, the life of those around me.