April 9, 2020


Sister M. Paula Blum, Guayaquil/Ecuador


LATAM announces the boarding of flight 0548 to Quito… It was the early morning of February 10th, when I started my return journey to Guayaquil, Ecuador, at the airport of Santiago de Chile. I had completed my last period of formation as a Sister of Mary and I wanted to return to my homeland to finish my studies in dentistry.

There I was: I wanted to
•   make preparations for re-entry into the university;
•   buy civilian clothes, because I’m not allowed to enter the labs in our Marian dress;
•   I wanted to refresh my knowledge of dental anatomy and morphology so that I wouldn’t miss the start of classes;
•   I wanted to open an observation office in a dental practice and
•   finally plan my vacation with my family…

But the plans of God and the Queen were very different: Everything I had planned was put on hold because of the Corona crisis. All the Sisters who live in the Ecuadorian Delegation had the same experience. The government has taken strict measures to prevent the spread of the virus. It declared a state of emergency, closed international and national borders and urged citizens to stay #StayHome.

This painfully led to the closure of the doors of the three Schoenstatt Centers that we have in our country. But we know that there are many people who would like to come to pray, to calm their hearts and to ask the Blessed Mother to put an end to this virus and to show herself as Queen. So the Sisters who live in Guayaquil took the initiative to create a Google form where people can share their concerns, prayers and thanksgiving that we want to take to the Shrine in their name. If they cannot come, we will bring them to the Shrine with their requests and wishes.

The Sisters of Mary here in Ecuador are very active and apostolic, because the life of the Movement and of our Church is so alive that we constantly serve others, just as Martha served the Lord in her home, as St. Luke says in his Gospel (cf. Lk 10; 38-42).

Our Father and Founder told the Sisters that we are called to be like Martha, always active, but at the same time we have the task to be Mary, to come close to the Lord, to listen to Him, and to choose the best part that is not taken away from us. The Sisters of Mary, who live near the Shrine in Samborondón, have put some of our usual tasks on hold for the moment so that we can bring all the people who need it to the Shrine, so that we can take our place at the feet of the Lord and His Mother for them. We have temporarily become Adoration Sisters. Each one of us takes on one hour of adoration daily before the Blessed Sacrament, where we present the intentions that reach us at the following link: bit.ly/hnasdemariaecuador

We know that the Shrine is our great treasure and we do not want to deprive anyone of the privilege that we have with this Shrine in the courtyard of our home. Rather, today more than ever, we have the “obligation” to open its doors online to all who wish to connect with our source of grace. This is why we have begun to broadcast the Rosary live at 6:00 p.m. (Ecuadorian time) for all those who want to go with us to the Shrine during this time of uncertainty. Facebook link: bit.ly/schoenstattecuador

In this way we unite with the entire Schoenstatt Family of Ecuador and the whole world who are preparing to crown the Blessed Mother. May she prove to be the Queen of the world, the Queen of physical and mental health.

How long will this continue? We do not know yet… In the meantime, we offer our daily life: Adoration, the rosary, Holy Mass, which we must also follow online, accompaniment through the networks and media, meetings via Skype or WhatsApp with the branches for which we are responsible; cooking, cleaning, washing, and in my case, studying anatomy. An authentic and simple sanctity of daily life, of weekday sanctity.

During this Lent, Jesus tells us: “The Lord replied: Martha, Martha, you have many worries and troubles. But only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better part, that will not be taken away from her.” (Lk 10, 41-42)

What is the best of our vocation as Sisters of Mary? To be with Jesus and Mary in the Shrine and to intercede for the needs of so many people, and the gift of sharing a beautiful family life as Sisters!