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A Little Bonus from John Pozzobon

By JUDY HARLOW

All who are closely associated with Schoenstatt know the story of John Pozzobon: A brief conversation with a Schoenstatt Sister of Mary (and some nudging from the Holy Spirit) in 1950 prompted John to became a very strong advocate of the Blessed Mother and her beloved rosary.Last fall was the 70th anniversary of the moment when John Pozzobon began his rosary campaign with the Mother Thrice Admirable of Schoenstatt in Brazil. The missionaries of the Pilgrim Mother in the USA will commemorate the event this year with their national convention/outreach on September 4, 2021. Stay tuned for more details! In the meantime, Edna Salas, a Schoenstatt member from San Antonio, Texas, had pins made in commemoration of the event. Here is a picture of one of the pins.

Reflecting on John Pozzobon

We are aware that until his untimely death in 1985, the Brazilian husband, father, deacon, and untiring pilgrim walked 87,000 miles carrying the over 20 lb. image of the Blessed Mother to homes, churches, hospitals and even prisons, saying the rosary with anyone who would pray with him. What many might not know is the connection between St. Anthony of Padua and John (whom we hope one day will also become a saint).

Legend has it that St. Anthony helps people find items that were lost or stolen. We have all leaned on St. Anthony at one time or another, more now that some of us are in the “Senior Citizen” category. John also is a “finder” and a very good one at that. John helps drivers locate parking spots and green lights when they are running late.

I first found out about this legend while driving to a meeting with the late Sr. Carol Winkler. There weren’t many parking spots at our destination, but lo and behold, someone left their spot just as Sr. Carol called on John for help. She explained John has been helping her for years; she learned about him as a founding member of the Schoenstatt Pilgrim Mother in the USA.

If it worked for her, could it work for a lay person, like me? At first, I was a little hesitant, but during an early test, amid a packed parking lot, there was one single open spot, compliments of John, who has also held many green lights until I drive safely through. My husband is used to hearing me say, “Thank you, Pozzobon!” as we round the intersection on the way to daily Mass.

I can’t recall specifically when the Pilgrim Mother came to Kewaskum, Wisconsin, the place my husband and I have called home since 1965. I do recall, however, who advocated on behalf of the MTA. It was my dear friend Midge Swanson, who also introduced me to Schoenstatt, inviting me to a Mothers meeting in 2003.

The rosary had always been part of my life, starting when I was a student at St. John de Nepomuceno Catholic School in Milwaukee. During my adult life, the rosary has been a comfort during trying times, like my husband’s heart surgeries, difficulties faced by children, grandchildren, friends, and fellow parishioners. I also enjoy sending the gift of a prayed rosary along with birthday cards.

The Pilgrim MTA now travels through almost all of our 50 states and 90 plus countries. All of us who are fortunate enough to welcome the MTA Shrine into our homes continue John’s legacy. The parking spots are just a little bonus.

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