77 years; Wholesale clerk, family carer, housekeeper; Germany
Institute of Our Lady of Schoenstatt
Our family life. I grew up with four brothers. My first experience of suffering was the death of my little brother, who was born after me and died as an infant. I would have loved to have a sister. I had a good circle of girl friends who strengthened me in my womanhood. At the same time, I witnessed the development of my brothers in a practicing Catholic family with loving parents.
Through my work in the Schoenstatt Youth I was surrounded by young women who had hardships and problems. How to give them support and security? I was limited. Bringing them to God and the Blessed Mother was the only way.
My mother became sick. As a teenager, I took on a large part of the household in addition to my work. When I later changed my job and became a family carer, I learned even more how important a good mother is for the healthy development of children. Also the father! The absence of a father was painful for the children as well as for the wife and mother. Getting in touch with families has shaped me a lot as a woman, especially as the mother’s representative. I was often asked by children: “Why don’t you have children?” I replied: “Then I couldn’t have helped you.” That made sense to them.
As a young woman of 23 years, I consecrated myself to God in the Secular Institute of Our Lady of Schoenstatt. Living in the world as a working woman, close to people, was what I wanted. God and our spiritual family give inner strength. Mary is our mother, model of my womanhood. Personal encounters with the founder of our international Schoenstatt Family have shaped me. The childlike openness to God increased. So I was able to say yes to a total of 11½ years of service in the community, in the mother house and central house, as well as in our retirement home “Am Reginaberg”. Being a heart and home for our community was an important service, alongside work and everything else.
My work, living in the neighbouring country of the Netherlands, became a special adventure for me. There, too, I had experiences that shaped me as a woman. As a “hostess” (housekeeping manager) I helped shape a new centre for family pastoral care. Our team understood and worked as the “feminine principle of the house”. Once my car was parked in front of the house for two days. During this time a blackbird built a nest on the front axle. I brought this nest into my office as a sign for my and our common task.
Voluntary work has shaped me:
– Participation in the Association for the Protection of Unborn Life (VBOK).
– Meeting with single mothers (sometimes together with the children)
– Meetings with mothers and their young children
– 15 years leader of the Schoenstatt Sick Apostolate in the Diocese of Würzburg and collaboration in the head office.
When I was 16 I came to Schoenstatt for the first time on a youth pilgrimage. On the way to the chapel, an “experienced” young person said to me: “Our Lady looks at you personally. Wherever you are, she sees you.” This experience has stayed with me to this day: she loves me personally.
My whole life journey became a great experience of closeness and guidance from God. I worked as a wholesale clerk for five years. I realized that I would prefer a social profession. I chose the family carer profession. Why? As a family, we once experienced what it is like to be without my mother’s care and devotion when she was sick. I attended the family care training in Munich. A classmate was from Munich and knew the Schoenstatt Center and was surprised that I was also involved in the Schoenstatt Youth. The Blessed Mother greeted me in the picture of grace that was on the table and SHE remained my faithful companion. In families I have always experienced God’s protection for the children entrusted to me. Once when we were searching for a child, who had just gone shopping with a neighbour, I was relieved when he came back safe.
My way to the Netherlands was an adventure with God. Darkness was also part of it. Step by step, he gave light and new knowledge. When I was temporarily unemployed, he ensured that I received support in Aachen and was able to attend a Dutch language school. God gave me good co-workers. Families, priests, deacons and all the guests were happy to come there. After a period of prosperity came a time of crisis. The closure of the centre was very painful for everyone involved. I put this event into the hands of God. It made sense to move back to Germany because my widowed mother needed my help. I immediately got a new job as a housekeeping manager and was able to live with my mother. When I was looking for a job later, I experienced God’s care and was able to stay in a newly opened educational establishment until I retired. The work with the seniors succeeded with God’s help.
To live real motherhood and always to serve life. To live this attitude in an engaging way and pass it on joyfully in education.
The willingness to live against the tide of time today. The time a mother gives her children is the most important service for our society and our future, especially in the first three years. It is a process, knowing or learning about a child’s development at this time in order to be able to give children what they need.
To maintain humility, because the service of mothers is worth more than making money in employment. Families should get more support and recognition for their dedication. It is important that fathers and husbands are also involved.
It takes a community of like-minded people to walk this path and a strong conviction that this will benefit the children and society.
A woman is only happy when she gives herself totally. Where is the opportunity for this experience today? – To live by faith in God and to receive strength from HIM, this is how women and parents can go this way.
To be thankful to God for my life, for every human life.
I would like to contribute to the success of human life, as God, our creator, planned: “As
man and woman he created them.” In the covenant with God and the Blessed Mother, I strive to remain open whenever and wherever God calls me to give myself in motherly love. I learn openness to life from Our Lady.
As a senior citizen, I want to contribute to the reverence for every human life, especially for the weak, vulnerable and old. Everyone is a child of God. In every human being I meet God who invites me to give encouragement, time, care and love.
All giving needs to be received from HIM first in times of silence and prayer. Now is the time for me, through prayer and the circumstances of life, to draw the world and with it the people home to God, from a God-distant, autonomous existence to creation and to become children of God, like Jesus, the beloved Son of the Father, who draws everything and everyone home with him through his redemption to perfection.