By Sr. Beatriz Liaño, SHM
Josefina came to know the love of the Lord and Our Lady through Mamie. On May 19th, 2016, Josefina Rossi passed away. She was a close, faithful friend of Mamie, as well as the Home of the Mother. It was the day in which Spain celebrates the feast day of Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest. In this section of the HM Magazine, dedicated to getting to know Mamie more and more, we would like to take a break and speak about Josefina. Even though this means postponing stories about Mamie’s life, Josefina deserves it.
Mamie received the mission to pray and offer sacrifices for priests. Our Blessed Mother gave her spiritual sons. Little by little, throughout her life, the priests for whom she should pray and offer sacrifices providentially appeared. Priest by priest, one after another, including three bishops. She was faithful to her mission, which she never abandoned. She knew what the Lord wanted from her and she fulfilled it day by day.
She knew that she would have ninety-nine priests as sons.
Her first son appeared in Lourdes. He was a Son of Mary Immaculate named Fr. Enzo Bianchi. She received her last son, Fr. Felix Lopez, Servant of the Home of the Mother, on the very day that he was ordained a deacon, July 13,1993, a year before Mamie’s death. Fr. Rafael Alonso was number forty-three and her spiritual mission began with him even before he entered the seminary.
By Father Rafael Alonso
There is no reason to be surprised by the title of this article. Mamie, whose name was Elisabeth Van Keerbergen, lived in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, until she moved to Spain. In Brussels she moved from house to house.
Her husband, François Treuttens was an enterprising metallurgist that worked with lathes and drills, that he used to make a wide variety of screws and other metal pieces. In one of their houses they turned the first floor into a workshop. Mamie, who at that time was ill, turned her sickbed into an “office” in order to help her husband with the business. She was a very sweet person with a great power of attraction. Many of her husband’s clients belonged to different protestant confessions. Their wives tagged along with their husbands to take advantage of the trip into Brussels to go shopping or just to walk around. Quite a few of them became great friends with Mrs. Treuttens because of these visits.
Perhaps Mamie and I traveled to the Shrine of Our Blessed Mother in Lourdes around 50 times throughout her life. With friends, on pilgrimages organized by the Home of the Mother, the two of us alone... healthy or sick... even with her foot that was infected by gangrene as a result of her diabetes and bad blood circulation... When she no longer had her foot also, right before her death.
The Shrine of Lourdes, location of so many pilgrimages, was one of her favorite places among the many that we visited. Here Our Mother had given her an amazing grace, curing her of the paralysis she was suffering as a result of the decalcification of her lumbar vertebrae. She had been regularly visiting Lourdes every year for one month as a service to the sick, at her own expense, staying at the Basilique Hotel, very close the left-side door of the Shrine. Her husband François Treuttens, who loved her and respected her deeply, took care of all the expenses. For these volunteer services, Mamie was given the medal of Hospitality of Our Lady of Lourdes, which I now conserve in my home as a treasure.
The year of 2008 is the Jubilee Year of Lourdes, in honor of the 150 anniversary of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Bernadette Soubirous, in the grotto at Lourdes.
The apparitions at Lourdes had a special transcendental value for Mamie in her life. We have often mentioned it prior to this issue. This time, I wish to make reference to how she lived her visits to Lourdes in the season of winter and why she would go there, during the time when it is officialy “closed.”
Lourdes “officially” opens on Easter Sunday and closes October 7th, feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. These dates are not strictly observed, however. Depending on the organization, some years it opens sooner and closes later.
Year after year the Church celebrates Christmas, that is to say, the birth of Our Lord in the stable of Bethlehem. And year after year this religious feast is seen more and more as a distant memory now replaced by sweets, champagne, tables full to the brim, streets decorated with thousands or millions of lights -- depending how important the city is…new films coming out, new CDs in the stores…..
Mamie also lived Christmas, but differently. Her joy came from deep within her, it wasn’t just for show. It came from God, from His coming into this world. The religious celebration was what caused her joy.
I have lived many Christmases with Mamie: in Santander, Toledo, Rielves…I’m going to tell about one of the many Christmases celebrated in Rielves, where I was the pastor of a parish.
Mamie received the mission to pray and offer her life for priests. It was Our Mother who gave her spiritual children; this is how she explained it to me. And little by little, over the course of her life those for whom she had to pray and offer her life appeared…not by some sort of fate, but by Providence. They appeared one priest after the next. There were even three bishops among her spiritual children. She remained faithful to her mission. Never did she abandon it. She knew what the Lord expected of her and she fulfilled it day to day.
Our Mother told her that she would have ninety-nine sons who were priests. The first one was given to her in Lourdes. His name was Enzo Bianchi and he was a member of the Pavonian order (of Saint Ludovico Pavoni). The last son was Father Felix Lopez, who became her son the very same day of his ordination to the deaconate on July 13, 1993, the year before Mamie’s death. I was her forty-third son.
On May 13th of this year, the Feast day of our Lady of Fatima, I had to venture from my home to Santander, on a road following an endless line of trees, in the middle of a forest. My reason for departure was painful: to attend the Funeral of Carmina González.* She was a faithful friend of Mamie, a member of the Home of the Mother, and wife of Luis López. Amazed, I contemplated the clearing of land and levelling of earth, of a scenery that would never return. These are not simple scars of nature, but a true death in favor of an accelerated process of out of control urbanization.
We are celebrating twenty-five years of a journey that has been long, yet full of consolations. On July 29, 1982, six young women began this great adventure. It is impossible to remember Ana Campo, Reme Rodríguez, Conchi Garcia del Pino, Esmeralda Pérez, Mavisa Gómez, and Mariví Corroto without remembering Mamie. She travelled with us on that pilgrimage to Rome, together with Don Pablo Concepción who accompanied us in those magnificent days.
Mamie rejoiced more than anyone else in this moment of the foundation, because she, more than anyone else, had made so many sacrifices to make it possible.
July 28th was the General Audience with His Holiness John Paul II in Saint Peter’s Square, just a little over three years into his pontificate. I perfectly remember that audience. Fifty-four girls from Toledo (Spain) were on the pilgrimage. Fourteen of them were members of the Groups of Prayer of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, others were from other movements, and the rest were a group of young people that had not yet defined themselves as anything.
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