June 8, 2021

There with a Heart – A Beacon of Light

Sister M. Ediane Batalin and Sister M. Anne-Meike Brück

Interview of Sister M. Ediane Batalin by Sister Anne-Meike Bruek

Sister M. Ediane Batalin was born in Brazil. Currently she resides in Germany at Marienland, a provincial house of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary. She is taking a correspondence course in pedagogy which is given in the Portuguese language. She completed, under conditions difficult because of the restrictions due to the coronavirus, an internship at A Beacon of Light – A Pregnancy Help Center. In an interview by Sister Anne-Meike Bruek, a co-founder of A Beacon of Light, she tells about her experiences.

Sister M. Ediane, among your many other activities you used your time here in Schoenstatt to take a correspondence course in pedegogy. Can you tell us a little about it?

The months of my internship at the Pregnancy Help Center were a great enrichment for me personally and for my professional development. I experienced the love and the tireless commitment of people who volunteer alongside their profession and family obligations. They are inspired by the spirituality of Schoenstatt and the desire to save and promote life. Through this work, many children are given the chance to be born, and through the example of authentic women, the mothers receive support and find new meaning for their life and for their motherhood.

From what situations do the women come? What was it like for these women at the Pregnancy Help Center to meet a Schoenstatt Sister of Mary?

Before I began the internship I was unsure how the mothers and children who participate in the program would react to me. It was immediately obvious that I was a Schoenstatt Sister of Mary.  But that didn’t bother them. On the contrary. I was very surprised how good and how positive the relationship was from the beginning.

We have mothers in the program who are from Syria, Afganistan, Turkey, Iran, Armenia, Eritrea in Africa (refugees, who sometimes speak only their mother language among themselves), but the majority of the women are from Germany. We have mothers who are single, others who are married or live with a partner, some with psychological problems, some who have suffered domestic violence or have had an abortion. A variety of problems become evident. Knowing the background of the family from which the children come makes it easier to understand their way of acting and their difficulties and to modify the program according to the situation.

Were there challenges for you?

One of the greatest challenges I had was the art of adapting flexibly to the circumstances and attending to the needs and rhythm of the children.

A few times I had a magnificent lesson prepared, but  when it was time to gather the children and to motivate them  to participate, it was difficult to awaken their interest. Then I would have to quickly find an alternative plan in order to enthuse the children. Another challenge was that the mothers were in the adjoining room. The children always wanted to go there. However, each of the mothers had her own topics that needed to be discussed and the mothers were happy to be among themselves for once.

With all the challenges there have been, we the staff of A Beacon of Light have communicated well with each other. This strengthens cooperation among us and gives us courage even when something fails.

Do you have tip from your experience that you can share?

Difficulties are tasks! These words helped me much. Difficulties caused me to reflect on my actions and to analyze in context and holistically the children and the different situations with which I was confronted and to put everything into context. Difficulties provide a chance for growth. They motivate, they spur the search for alternative ways to solve and overcome problems and unforeseen events that occur when applying pedegogy.

Do you have a final word for us, something that you will take with you as a lasting impression from your intership at A Beacon of Light?

One of the most impressive experiences during this intership was how much the staff at A Beacon of Light recognizes, appreciates, and strengthens the good and the positive in each child and also in each mother. The fact that most of the women and children do not have a stable family structure influences their behavior. Trust and  benevolence is an essential factor in relationships. What is remarkable is the openness for dialogue, the exchanging of experiences, the willingness to self-sacrifice, the joy and commitment of those involved in the work doneIn recent months, for example, because of the coronavirus restrictions, opportunities for learning and for discussions could be not carried out as before.

The “Clothing Store,” where it was always possible to obtain clothes, shoes and everything needed for a baby and children’s equipment, now is offered twice a month; there is a “Beacon of Light” supermarket where we offer perishable and non-perishable food, hygiene items, and other useful things. In this way contact is maintained [with the women and children]. Communication with them is not lost. It’s always a joyful reunion and the families can be helped very much. All of these experiences are very valuable for me personally and for my professional life. I am very grateful for this time when A Beacon of Light has become my heart’s desire.

Thank you, Sister. M. Ediane, for this interview and for giving your time, your creativity, and above all else, for being at A Beacon of Light with your heart .

A Beacon of Light

a project of the Schoenstatt Movement, is commited to protecting the life of unborn children, to giving financial and and non-material support to pregnant women in difficult situations, to their families, and to those who have had an abortion. In the Beacon of Light House Vallendar-Schönstatt there is an excellently stocked clothing store that is frequented much, an area for events, an apartment for mother and child, and an outdoor area that is of vital use especially in this time of the coronavirus pandemic. (It is used for talks, meetings, outdoor markets). Please feel free to inform yourself more through our website: www.lichtzeichen.org


Fotos: Ulrike Eichenberg