May 7, 2023

A Victory of our Covenant Queen

Sister M. Louisa Harerimana
Photos: Sister M. Lisette Seitzer

The Dedication of a Training Center 

in Muyinga, Burundi

There was great joy in the community of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary on February 18, 2023. It was the day our new training center in Muyinga was dedicated. Since 1997, we have been visiting the members of the Schoenstatt Movement in the Diocese of Muyinga regularly.

Since 2017, three Sisters of Mary have been employed by the diocese. The sisters are involved in family ministry, social work in the SOS Children’s Village, the diocesan radio, and in the leadership of various branches of the Schoenstatt Movement which exists in all of the parishes in the diocese. The Three Times Admirable Mother has established this home for her children; that is why we dedicated this Schoenstatt Center in Burundi to her, the Queen of the Covenant. Everything that has come about is her work: The purchase of a piece of property, the construction of a house for the sisters, a house for visitors, and a large hall for the education of the people.

A great event

A few days prior to the dedication, a few sisters came to the center to clean and prepare it. Early in the morning on February 18, many sisters from Mutumba and Bujumbura arrived in Muyinga to participate in the great event of the house dedication.

Before the blessing, Sister M. Lisette Seitzer, our delegation superior, presented the building to Bishop Joachin Ntahondereye and mentioned that this is the third place in which we have established a house in Burundi—the two other houses were established 61 years ago in Mutumba and 29 years ago in Gikungu. With great joy and gratitude, she invited the bishop to bless the building.

Gratitude for the spirituality of Schoenstatt

The bishop thanked God for the gift of the sisters’ houses and training centers that help us spread the kingdom of God. He thanked the Blessed Mother for the gift of the spirituality of Schoenstatt. He pointed out that the blessing is not only for the center but also for everyone who lives there and will visit it. The bishop prayed for the sisters, that with all their heart they will be faithful to the evangelical counsels and that in Christ the community will remain loyal to the Church.

Be aware of HIS presence

The reading from the Gospel of John followed. (Jn 1, 35-42). The bishop said that we, too, should ask Christ where he lives and always be aware of his presence. Faith and unlimited trust would give us the courage to show others the way to Christ. We hope that from this Queen of the Covenant Center many will be given the grace to be apostles of Christ.

The heart of the house is the chapel. The bishop blessed the tabernacle and the liturgical objects. This was followed by the blessing of the entire building and of the crucifixes and images of the Blessed Mother that will be hung in the house.

Sharing the joy of the Sisters of Mary 

A Holy Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated in the large hall of the center. Fourteen priests concelebrated with the bishop. In his homily, the bishop showed that faith is the true foundation for our trust in God. He said that it was our faith that led us to this day of sharing the joy of the sisters. It was our faith that drew different sisters from the most varied regions to join the community of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary founded by Father Joseph Kentenich–to work as a member of the community and to find their happiness in it. This is the faith the priests profess and which reflects the faith Christ radiated on Mt. Tabor.

Reveal the goodness and beauty of God

Jesus lived with the people of his time as we live now. The people were amazed at what he did, but they didn’t realize they were walking with God. How does it show that we are children of God? It shows when we reveal the goodness and beauty of God. This center of the Sisters of Mary should be a house where the glory that God has placed in each of us shines forth.

The music for the Holy Mass, sung with enthusiasm and joy, was arranged by the youth choir—the Holy Spirit Choir. At the end of the Holy Mass, the Blessed Sacrament was brought to the chapel of the sisters’ house. It is a great joy that Jesus now lives with us in our house.

Joyful fellowship

Following the Holy Mass, there was a reception in the large hall of the center. During this joyful fellowship the candidates of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary also sang and danced.

In her address, Sister M. Lisette thanked everyone who contributed to the construction of the building. In this center, the Blessed Mother will guide and educate people to live the covenant of love with God and with each other. She will build the kingdom of the Father that our founder defined as a kingdom of peace, a kingdom of purity, of love, of unity, of joy, of truth, and of victorious confidence.

A sign of hope for the Schoenstatt Fathers

Father Hermenegilde, the Superior of the Schoenstatt Fathers, thanked the bishop for inviting the sisters to work in his diocese. It is wonderful to see how the Blessed Mother has blessed us. The presence of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary at this place is a sign of hope for the Schoenstatt Fathers that soon they will be here. In this jubilee year (125 years of the Catholic Church in Burundi) Schoenstatt will share the honor of being a useful instrument of evangelization and for the covenant of love in Muyinga. The shrine is the place where the new person in the new community is formed and where one receives faith, hope, and love for the Church of our time.

A beautiful place for the education of the people

The director of the SOS Children’s Village, our neighbor, expressed his good will that we will live together in the peace and the love of God. He admired the location of the Queen of the Covenant Center—a beautiful place for the education of the people. He was thankful for the work already accomplished, the good collaboration, and the openness for the apostolate. He asked not just for a shrine, but also for a church for pilgrims.

In his closing words, the bishop expressed his gratitude for the blessing that the community of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary exists to prepare the way for the kingdom of God but also to strengthen the love of the people for the Blessed Mother. His joy consists in that we do the will of God. With God’s help, let us lead many people to God.

It was a blessed day filled with joy.  And, although February is usually a rainy month, the sun shone and the weather was beautiful, contributing to everyone’s good and happy mood.