80 years old, 38 years widowed, 5 sons, 1 daughter, 12 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren; Study of Educational Sciences; In Schoenstatt, in the Family League with my husband, later in the Schoenstatt Mothers’ Federation, Federation course mother from 2001 to 2015
In my early years I was mostly surrounded by women, the men (father, grandfather, uncle) had died in the war. My mother kept her household in exemplary order; at my father’s sister I admired the art of cooking. My great aunt – a retired teacher – introduced me to the beauty of nature. She was able to recite a suitable poem for every situation.Being together with my husband in marriage and the birth and growing up of our children gave happy years and valuable experiences. Voluntary work in the parish and in church associations was possible in addition to family life.The adult children, who are scattered all over Germany, still enjoy coming together with me. I am called to care for my small grandchildren when necessary. The older grandchildren are grateful that I help them with their bachelor and master theses by giving them tips and proofreading. My retirement is very full, also due to Schoenstatt in the diocese. I enjoy working in the garden, where I plant fruit and vegetables.
From a very young age I was aware of God’s reality. When I was about three years old, my mother once showed me the starry sky and said that my father – who had died in Russia in World War II – was up there. The feeling remained in me that there is something else besides what you can see and touch. My great aunt Anna had a religious influence on me. She led me into the church where there was a beautifully decorated picture of the Virgin Mary – later I learned that it was an MTA picture. She took me early to the Corpus Christi procession, where I was very impressed by the kneeling.A strong faith in Providence was given to me. My life’s plan was to become a teacher of Latin and French. But when my future husband asked me at the age of 17 if I wanted to marry him, I saw this as God’s providence and said yes. Two years later we were a married couple. The death of my husband at the age of 57, and of a son at 29, let me experience God’s intervention in my life – here the warm father’s hand in “iron gloves” (J.K.) –, but also his support through my mother and great-aunt, and material security, since my husband had been a teacher.I am also grateful that I was able to find a home in Schoenstatt and to seal the Covenant of Love with the MTA.God’s closeness shows itself to me in everyday life in very small events: When too much has to be dealt with at once and I tell him: I can’t make it – an appointment is cancelled and I have air again. “You gave me space when I was afraid” (Psalm 4:2).
Women today are expected to fulfill many role models: being attractive to her husband, a partner at his side, a loving mother who is there for the children, often also as a chauffeur to their leisure activities. She has a good education and fills a responsible job.
All these tugs at the woman and she has to decide what is right for her, where she sets priorities. It would be good if she listens to her inner voice and does not look at what “one” is doing, which is what most people do and because they do it.
She is equal to the man, but not the same. I would wish her to cultivate her feminine qualities, to recognize and accept her being a woman in marriage, and being a mother as a vocation, that she would like to take care of her baby and toddler by herself – if financially possible – and that she would like to serve and not pay attention if she is doing more than her partner in the household and with the children. One of her strengths as a woman could be that she makes her home attractive for her loved ones and spreads a happy atmosphere.
Also professionally she could set other accents, not imitate men in their career aspirations, but pay attention to her fellow human beings.
As a great challenge today I see that even in an environment far from God a woman lives by faith and passes it on to her children, that her husband also experiences her faith as attractive and shares it as much as possible.
We women should adhere to Mary, she is one of us as a woman even if she is specially chosen. In the Litany of Loreto all her virtues are named. Her dignity rubs off on us women. We do not need to fight for our validity.
It is not my job to do great things. I would like to tip the scales a little bit to the side of good through what I am and do.
For me, this includes: accepting others, seeing the positive qualities in them, remaining more in the background, being ready to serve, not charging up, not demanding, leaving freedom.
To be faithful in small things, to radiate a little warmth, to cultivate the small virtues of St. Francis de Sales, which Fr Kentenich also values so highly. (e.g. overlooking the mistakes of others, sharing the joy of others and thus multiplying it, anticipating the needs of others).
Help to uphold values such as social justice, peace, the integrity of creation, and responsibility for our environment.
Above all I want to bear witness to God as our mercifully loving Father. I don’t need to be perfect and others can have their faults too.
Mary, nothing without you – nothing without us. I can do that little bit that is expected of me – do my daily work well and be attentive to the needs of others, believe, pray, celebrate Holy Mass, cultivate adoration – and put all my trust in the intercession and help of the Blessed Mother.