January 11, 2023

A gift and grace from God

Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary in Rome

Pope Benedict XVI and his return

to the Father’s house

We are currently all blessed by many contributions from all over the world and can also experience what is in the hearts of the faithful. It is clear that there are varied opinions and reactions, but we want to share with you what we Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary in Rome have received as a gift and grace from God.

First of all, we were impressed to see the thousands of people who made their way to be with the late Pope Emeritus for the last time. Many teemed into St. Peter’s Basilica after a long wait yet there was silence, much prayer, sadness. Most of the pilgrims could only look at him for a few seconds. Many continued to pray at one of the Holy Masses which were celebrated at the Cathedra altar almost every hour and also reverently prayed the Rosary.

Pope Benedict XVI once expressed himself with the following words:

“I am now facing the last chapter of my life and I do not know what awaits me. I know, however, that the light of God exists, that he is Risen, that his light is stronger than any darkness, that the goodness of God is stronger than any evil in this world. And this helps me to go forward with certainty. May this help us to go forward, and at this moment I wholeheartedly thank all those who have continually helped me to perceive the “yes” of God through their faith.”
(Pope Benedict XVI., spoken on his birthday on 16th April 2012)

Making God’s yes certain through their faith is what Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary have been able to do since Pope Benedict came to Rome as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Sr. M. Birgit Wansing served him as his secretary since 1983, first in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and then further during his pontificate and continued following his resignation. Pope Benedict could rely on her and her absolute discretion.

We had the good fortune and grace, as the Roman branch of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, to be able to pray with the deceased Holy Father in the house chapel of the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery and several times in Saint Peter’s Basilica. His face breathed peace. Everyone who came to visit him was able to pray and converse with him, savouring what he meant to them and how he strengthened their faith.

These experiences were crowned by the participation in the funeral. Our Superior General, Sr. M. Joanna Buckley, who travelled to Rome from Schoenstatt, Germany was also present and we all were able to witness the celebration at a close vicinity. Father Dr. Bernd Biberger, the General Director of the Community, concelebrated along with approximately 5,000 priests.

After the celebration a photo was taken with the “delegation” of the Secular Institute of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary.

We join in the words of Pope Francis:

“God’s faithful people, gathered here, now accompanies and entrusts to him the life of the one who was their pastor. Like the women at the tomb, we too have come with the fragrance of gratitude and the balm of hope, in order to show him once more the love that is undying. We want to do this with the same wisdom, tenderness and devotion that he bestowed upon us over the years. Together, we want to say: “Father, into your hands we commend his spirit”.

Benedict, faithful friend of the Bridegroom, may your joy be complete
as you hear his voice, now and forever!”