Patricia Köstner

I am 62 years old, married for 35 years, and we have a daughter who is 27. I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I discovered Schoenstatt 36 years ago. I have worked for more than 30 years in education as a teacher of young children (elementary school).
We have belonged to the Schoenstatt Institute of Families for 30 years. Since 2018, we are the General Superiors, dividing our life between Germany and Buenos Aires, where our family is located.

What experiences have formed you as a woman?

I have always been an eminently observant person. In the first place, observing my mother in the role of homemaker taught me to love and care for my home. From her I also “inherited,” I believe, my vocation to take care of my family and my home, in spite of having also worked for many years outside the home.
I also observed my mother clearly in her role as wife. How she took care of my father, the small details, which above all a woman takes into account.
From her I learned a lot about “being a woman.” I remember many conversations with her, walking arm in arm, where we talked about many topics that have undoubtedly shaped my way of being as a woman. Of course, I didn’t realize it at the time. Rather, I see it now.
Moreover, later, the experience of always observing many other women formed me: teachers, aunts, friends, etc. They showed me what a simple but dignified woman is and is not.
Clearly, now that I am an adult, the example of Mary, especially in her home in Nazareth, her simplicity, her prudence, her silences… How I wish I could become a “little Mary!”  I have embarked on a journey of self-education.

Where have you experienced God in your life?

There were many times in my life when I could clearly experience that God was working in me or in what was happening to me.  But in every way, God has given me the grace to always be able to seek him in every event, in every person who crossed my path, etc. Even before I met Schoenstatt, and found out that this is called Practical Faith in Divine Providence, God gave me a lifestyle in which I intuitively put it into practice.
Later, thanks to Schoenstatt I have learned to consciously reflect on my life from the perspective of practical faith. This is absolutely wonderful, and gives an impressive peace of heart, to know that whatever happens to us, God is behind it all.

What is the challenge you see for women today?

I don’t think there is one single challenge for women today. Some might be:
The economic issue, and the need for women to go out to work all day, makes them spend less time at home, and makes their children dependent on other people. When women come home tired at night, it is very difficult to be in perfect condition to face what happened in the house during the day, to support the children and husband, with the difficulties that he has also experienced during the day. And she does not feel supported by him, for the same reason. This seriously damages family life.
Another challenge I see is that more and more women are falling into this “temptation” to be “commercial” objects.  The temptation to feel valuable only because of her outward appearance, with little cultivation of her spirit or intellect, is the order of the day. The models of women that the media and society present have little to do with the “everyday” woman, let us say. They have nothing to do with the common woman. This can generate great frustration and low self-esteem.
The pressure that a pregnant woman faces when the world tries to convince her that the life she is carrying in her womb is just a thing. If it bothers her, it can be thrown out, arguing that she is the master of her body. That is true. But what she doesn’t own is the life she carries in her womb. Therefore, she has no right to dispose of it.
In my case, thanks to a woman who became pregnant 27 years ago, did not have an abortion and decided to go ahead with her pregnancy despite all the difficulties it entailed, we have a beautiful daughter. She is not only our greatest joy but also our greatest pride. I will be eternally grateful to this woman (and we have instilled this in our daughter).

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

As an individual woman, I would love to be able to reverse the challenges that women face today, and which are described in answer 3. In every place where God puts me, I try to give witness as a Christian woman, in the midst of the world, but as far as possible, not overpowered by it.
My main vocation as a wife is to show how happy a woman can be serving her family, with simplicity and dignity. Many times this role of the woman is very devalued.
In short, wherever God places each woman, there she should be fully a woman, loved and respected.