Sister M. Virginie Ndayisaba

Born in Burundi in 1972, trained in administration, belongs to the Secular Institute of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, currently a member of the leadership of the Burundian delegation, has tasks within the community and responsibility for the Schoenstatt Movement in Burundi.

The experiences that have formed me as a woman:

For my being a woman, the encounter with Schoenstatt was especially formative. I already experienced the Schoenstatt Movement in elementary school.

During my first encounter with Schoenstatt, I heard about the founding of Schoenstatt and the first Schoenstatters. I was fascinated by the life of Joseph Engling, his love for the Blessed Mother, his apostolic spirit even on the frontlines of the First World War, and his willingness to give his entire life for Schoenstatt. From that moment on my heart caught fire for Schoenstatt. The pedagogy and spirituality of Schoenstatt fascinated me.  It was a great discovery for me that God loves me personally, as I am, that he has placed a personal ideal in me, that I have a mission to fulfill in this world that no one else can fulfill in my place. That gave me a sense of joy in being part of this Movement, and I wanted to dedicate my whole life to Schoenstatt’s mission.

That is how I found my vocation as a Schoenstatt Sister of Mary. Here I rediscover every day anew what my mission as “little Mary” consists in and how I, with my way of being, can work in the Covenant with our dear Mother and Queen of Schoenstatt to proclaim her glory to the world. In Schoenstatt I have found the meaning and direction of my life, my dignity as a woman.

Where have I experienced God in my life?

I can say that God is a reality for me. God is a Father for me, who loves me and is always close to me. I learned from my early childhood that God sees me, loves me and that I should simply confide in Him in all situations of my life.

Be it in the painful events that my country is going through or in my daily apostolate, I experience that God is with me, that he listens to me like a father and guides me.

My mother’s faith was very important for my experience of God. I would like to give an example of how my mother passed on her faith in God to us children. It was hard for us to be alone when our mother had to work outside the house for a whole day. So she told us before she left that we didn’t have to be afraid because God sees us. He will protect us, so that nothing will happen to us! And if anything frightens us, like thunder or when it’s dark, we should just pray the Our Father and Hail Mary.

Thus, trusting in the words of our mother, we stayed home on our own.

One day my little brothers and sisters started to cry because it was late and Mom hadn’t come home yet. Then I, as the oldest, reminded them, Mom told us that God is present, we have to believe. Then one of my brothers said, “But we don’t see him!” I answered spontaneously: We can look for him! We made the game of turning around in a circle to discover him. That took away our fear and we became calm. This experience of my childhood, that God is always with me, has strengthened my faith until today.

In your opinion, what is the challenge facing women today?

The challenge women face varies according to the customs and cultures of the countries.

For my country, I think it is important to enable women to experience their dignity as persons in a new way. They often experience themselves dominated by their husbands who do not want to recognize their dignity and their rights! People often think that women are only there to bring children into the world.

Women are often blamed for all the problems that occur in the household.

Women have to defend their dignity and their rights. Women must stand up for their rights, because they have a lot to give to society. They can only do this if they have the Mother of God, an authentic woman, as a model, as Father Kentenich showed.