Born in Germany in 1926, Schoenstatt Sister of Mary, Missionary Sister in Chile. In 1963 began her prison ministry; she wrote several books for the prisoners. Sister M. Herta died on May 17, 2020, a few weeks after she gave this testimony.
One good experience that shaped me intensely was my beautiful home and the opportunity to meet other families. The community life with the Sisters of Mary also taught me many things. I learned to live with different sisters as if they were one family. All this helped me to care for others, to get close to them, to understand them and to help them.
In summary, I can say that I am infinitely grateful and satisfied with the task that God gave me in the prison. He has fulfilled one of the great wishes of my youth. My community has been very supportive. It gave me freedom so that I could act and develop in my ministry when I wanted to start working in the prison. When I organized various actions, the community trusted me and supported me; if it hadn’t been for that, I couldn’t have done anything.
I always considered my ministry as a way to help the Church and expand it. She is a mother and wants to be close to all her children, especially those who suffer because they are deprived of their freedom as children of God. The Church seeks instruments that carry the merciful love of the Father to these suffering brothers and sisters.
I was able to experience how God is especially close when we experience great suffering. In the current phase of my life I have experienced the special closeness of God in my illness. He helps me to bear and endure.
I have also experienced the closeness of God through many people in the prison. They met God there and have connected their lives with God through a slow process. I was allowed to experience conversions. People were closed to God at first, but suddenly they began to open up, gradually approaching him, getting to know him through the teachings of the Church and through human closeness, until finally they were familiar with him and could accept him. Many confessed, they also talked to me about what they wanted to say to the priest. The priest can grant forgiveness, but I, on the other hand, could guide, advise and accompany them over time.
That the woman is truly woman, motherly, open to all and not dictatorial… that she keeps a certain measure in her work, and that she does not forget her main task in all her work: motherly surrender and the effort to build family.
Today it is difficult to create a good home, to build the family and to educate the children. Many women have not experienced this in their own families and with their own mothers. There are many mothers who cannot be with their children because they have to work to feed the family. They are forced to leave their children on the street or with other people. Sometimes they bear the hard fate of having to suffer from the infidelity of their husbands.
It is a challenge for women to be a good mother and to be employed at the same time. It is also a challenge to be honest and reliable at work.
There is so little attachment to God; I want to leave a message of hope – that all will become friends of God, trusting in him, working for him and giving everything to him… that is the main thing. If you trust in God, God helps. We must trust that we can make a difference, with God’s help and with our own strength.
I wish for more Christian families and that they really live as Christians. Many of them are following bad paths because they have had negative experiences and because they have no one to advise them, to help them, sometimes because of poverty or ignorance…
There should be more equality, that we help each other, that everyone has a good home, a good job, stable partnerships, more development opportunities for everyone. Some people have no good opportunities, no education, no work, and no help.