Rachel's Vineyard in Africa
2/19/2016

The First Rachel’s Vineyard retreat was held at Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary retreat house in Cape Town.
 
Schoenstatt is an international Marian movement for the moral and religious renewal of the world. It originated in Germany in 1914.  Its centre is a little shrine which is a place of pilgrimage. The original shrine is at Schoenstatt, near Koblenz on the Rhine River. There are now close to 200 such shrines all over the world.
 
The founder of Schoenstatt Fr. Josef Kentenich was born at Gymnich near Cologne, Germany, on 18th November 1885.  When he was just nine years old he consecrated himself to the Mother of God. This consecration meant so much to him that he later confessed repeatedly: “I owe everything I am and whatever has come into existence in Schoenstatt to Our Lady.  In 1910 he was ordained to the priesthood.  In 1912 he was called to Schoenstatt as the spiritual director of the Pallottine Minor Seminary. Shortly thereafter – on 18th October, 1914 – he entered into a covenant of love with Our Lady, asking her to make Schoenstatt a place of grace.
 
He was subjected to many trials – from 1941-1945 in a Gestapo prison and concentration camp at Dachu.  The eternal Father called him home on the 15th September 1968, immediately after he had celebrated Holy Mass in the Adoration Church at Schoenstatt.
 
We were very blessed to have our retreat in this Holy place.  
 
We had 8 participants from different parts of South Africa.  I had a very challenging situation on the Friday night as one of the participants from the Eastern Cape missed her flight and insisted that she would still come and booked a later flight which meant that she reached us at 11pm.  She was very stressed and had been travelling all day.  She had missed all of the Friday evening rituals so I had  to take it to the Lord in prayer as to how I should proceed.  I talked with her and briefly shared with her all that she had missed.   I read the scriptures ‘Blind Bartaemus and The woman caught in adultery’.  I invited her to take a rock and shared with her the significance of the rock. 
 
In my heart I remembered the words of scripture – “The weapons with which we do battle are not those of human nature, but they have the power in God’s cause to demolish fortresses”. 2 Cor 10:4:5  
 
We are the instruments that God uses to bring His broken children to Him.  I often think that on the retreats, Jesus is so present that I can almost feel His presence physically. What a mighty God we serve.  This lovely lady got such healing that is nothing short of miraculous. This is what she emailed to me after the retreat: She did not have fluent English.
 
“Thank you for your care, your love, your support, make me to move, to breathe, to gain confidence, because you have found me! God made a way to rescue me, you are God’s tool, keep on reaching out those crying souls, this is a miracle, God bless you, may He give you strength each day, each moment, to conquer the world. Thank God for Rachel’s Vineyard”.
 
There was a man on the retreat who had not been to the Sacraments for 18 years.  He could barely speak on Friday evening, but on Sunday morning was transformed.  Each participant was healed and filled with joy on leaving us.  The little shrine in the grounds of the retreat house is the door of Mercy for the area.  We were so blessed to walk through the door on Sunday morning led by our lovely priest.  What a grace filled weekend. 
 
- Bernadette
 
Information on abortion in South Africa.
 
Hospitals and abortion clinics do not have to disclose how many abortions procedures were performed in South Africa. In the hospitals the average intake is about 70 girls and women per week, ranging from 13 years to 47 years. Marie Stopes, a private clinic, so they don’t have any figures, but can only imagine the figures.
 
Abortion became a way of contraception for many girls, especially in the black community.
 
At some hospitals anyone who chooses can abort up to 19 weeks and 6 days, without seeing a doctor.
 
The morning after pill is freely available in pharmacies, and often a way of contraception.
 
Illegal abortions are very common and available on demand, without much interference of the police force.
 
Abortions are done in hospitals as well as clinics.
 
RU486 is used in hospitals to do medical tops up to 9 weeks.

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