April 10, 2024

Schoenstatt Mothers in Burundi

Sister M. Louisa Harerimana
Bujumbura, Burundi

Living Monstrance: True and Just

Each year in November, the leaders of the Schoenstatt Mothers in Burundi plan their apostolate for the entire year. This helps train the mothers well, so they can live their covenant of love with the Blessed Mother in their everyday life. Last year 18 apostolic trips to various parishes were undertaken. Thus over 480 mothers were reached. Summer workshops at the Schoenstatt Shrine in Bujumbura had 509 mothers participating. Almost 100 mothers sealed the covenant of love with the Mother Thrice Admirable of Schoenstatt. Home shrines were established by 76 women.

The mothers chose the following sentence as their motto for the year:

“With Mary, we want to strengthen our faith by being a living monstrance.”

Most importantly, the ladies strive to be true and just in their everyday life. In the evening, they review the day and what they were able to put into practice. They pray the Apostles creed over and over again. After the workshops, the leaders of the Schoenstatt Mothers leave to proclaim the motto in their dioceses.

Once a year a pilgrimage is planned to the Schoenstatt Shrine in Mutumba, above all, to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary as Mother and to offer her as a companion and role model to many women.

Pilgrimage of the Schoenstatt Mothers in Burundi

to the Schoenstatt Shrine in Mutumba

The Schoenstatt Mothers of Burundi understand that the Schoenstatt Shrine is their source of strength for the fulfillment of their mission in the world. They gladly come to the shrine and from the shrine go to their families, to their homes, and to the people of their surroundings.

More than 3000 Mothers …

Interview with Sister M. Louisa Harerimana, Bujumbura, Burundi

(Responsible for the Schoenstatt Mothers)


The questions were asked by Sister Ursula-Maria Bitterli, Quarten, Switzerland

 I.   Sister M. Louisa, for how long have you been working with the Schoenstatt Mothers?

I have been working with the Schoenstatt Mothers for three years.

II.   What do you like especially in your work with the Schoenstatt Mothers?

  1. I can contribute to the realization of Schoenstatt’s first goal: to form the new person in the new community.
  2. We apply the ideal pedagogy. In Burundi, each of the women and mothers work with the same ideal: to be a living monstrance that carries Christ in herself and brings Christ to others. The mothers pay particular attention to the purification of their inner self, their soul, so that Jesus can be revealed through them and in them.
  3. I inspire the mothers to become like the Blessed Mother and to live after her example; that has a positive effect on their husbands and their children, for whom they bear vital responsibility.

 III.   Is there anything that is difficult in this work? What is a challenge, a difficulty?

  1. Many of the mothers are illiterate and the explanations must be given orally.
  2. The mothers in Burundi have much to do in their homes and are very busy with their large families and, therefore, unfortunately, often miss meetings.
  3. Due to a lack of intellectual education, they do not like to take on responsibility in their groups.
  4. Many mothers live in distant places and it is difficult to provide training and inspiration on a regular basis.

IV.   What do women particularly appreciate about the Schoenstatt Movement? What do they like especially about Schoenstatt? 

  1. Clear knowledge of Marian doctrine. That helps them to honor the Blessed Mother and to emulate her.
  2. The good organization of the apostolate and the commitment of the leaders of the community of mothers. That inspires the women to live out of the spirit of Schoenstatt the entire year.
  3. On-going training that is given by those responsible encourages the women on their path to holiness.
  4. Schoenstatt’s pedagogy, above all, education through the covenant of love as one of the five guiding stars, helps the mothers to seal the covenant of love with the Three Times Admirable Mother of Schoenstatt.

V.   How does the spirituality of Schoenstatt help the women in their everyday lives?

  1. The sanctification of daily life, everyday sanctity: The mothers understand that all work is valuable if it is done out of love for the Mother of God. Hence, the mothers learn to do the ordinary things in an extraordinary way. When doing work that is difficult for them, they know they are making sacrifices that contribute. These sacrifices are valuable and assist them in standing under the Cross like the Blessed Mother on Golgotha. They bring their work and their sacrifices to the Mother Three Times Admirable in the Schoenstatt Shrine as contributions to the capital of grace.
  2. The covenant of love is the focal point of the life of a Schoenstatt Mother. Each mother strives to live her everyday life out of the covenant of love with the Three Times Admirable Mother of Schoenstatt. More than 3000 mothers have sealed the covenant of love; more than 2000 mothers have sealed the covenant of love on the level of blank check, the level of total surrender to the will of God.
  3. The spirituality of the apostolate: With the help of Schoenstatt, the mothers are involved in civil and church endeavors. I know that, thanks to the spirituality of Schoenstatt, many mothers take on leadership responsibilities in civil and church functions.
Photos: Sister M. Lisette Seitzer, Bujumbura, Burundi