A conversation between Sr. M. Linda Wegerer
and Sr. M. Margarete Hanenberg, Schoenstatt
Sr. M. Linda: Sr. M. Margarete, we are celebrating 100 years of the Women’s Movement in Schoenstatt. And of these 100 years, you have witnessed and shaped exactly half of them. You came to Schoenstatt 50 years ago. Tell us a little bit about how that came about.
Sr. M. Margarete: In April 1970, the Schoenstatt Sister of Mary who lived and worked with us in the village, visited us at home and asked me if I wanted to join a Schoenstatt girls group. I knew these groups from my younger sister. And that is why my spontaneous reaction was clear: “Under no circumstances do I want to be in such a group! This needlework, this knitting and crocheting is not for me! ”
The sister did not let herself get away so quickly and said: “I promise you that you do not have to do that.” I still did not trust the thing. Nevertheless, I went there the next Saturday. And – it was like the sister said. We had talks about things that were important to me. It was about the interior design, as I would say today. Yes, and I really liked that. From that point on I never missed a single group meeting!
Just two years later, I was leading a group myself and finally became the district head of the girls’ youth in our diocese. For me Schoenstatt was and is the great gift of my life!
So it was somehow not surprising that I joined the Sisters of Mary in 1979.
Sr. M. Linda: And – thank goodness – you were not asked if you would like to train as a handicraft teacher.
Sr. M. Margarete: Fortunately I had already made my career choice! Before I started, I had worked in the office of a construction company in my hometown for five years. And I really enjoyed doing that.
Sr. M. Linda: So your professional path in our community continued in this direction. You were in the secretariat of our school in Borken and on February 20, 1985 you came to the secretariat of the Schoenstatt Movement for Women and Mothers in Schoenstatt. Another anniversary! It was 35 years this year!
Sr. M. Margarete: I also celebrated this anniversary in my heart and was happy because I still enjoy doing this task as much as on the first day!
Sr. M. Linda: What is special about this job?
Sr. M. Margarete: It is a combination of practical work, administrative tasks and contact with the women of our community. I enjoy everything.
Sr. M. Linda: What do you like to do best?
Sr. M. Margarete: From all the practical tasks I like best to send our magazine “Encounter”. Although it is physically demanding and has to take place “underground”, in other words in the basement, the thought that our magazine with its beautiful and good content will be sent all over the world to all five continents makes me really happy. For me this is a nice apostolate!
Sr. M. Linda: After working with the women and mothers for many years, I know that it is important for women to visit the secretariat when you are in Marienland, to clarify questions, to clear things up do and exchange a few words with you.
Sr. M. Margarete: It is also nice for me if I can help the individual in this way. I am not a person for large events, but the contact with people is important to me. And I am grateful that I can take these women into myself. I am impressed by how much they live their faith, how deeply they are connected to Schoenstatt and also how they perform their leading tasks in the Schoenstatt Movement for Women and Mothers.
In them I see the ideal of this community to be a living monstrance, that is, to carry Christ within themselves and bring him to people.
Sr. M. Linda: Sr. M. Margarete, a large women’s congress was planned for this anniversary year. The preparations have been in full swing for a long time. The boxes with the materials for them were stacked in your office and in all storage rooms. When everything was ready, “Corona” came and the congress had to be postponed to next year? How is it for you? Are you frustrated?
Sr. M. Margarete: No, I’m not frustrated because the congress is still taking place. There are again 20,000 invitations with the new date. And my wish for the women in this anniversary year is still valid until May 1, 2021: I wish that you discover even more the depth dimension of your life and thereby be strengthened; that you recognize how much is already moving and how much you can move something from within.