She was diagnosed with chronic OCD, and put on meds for a lifetime. Then, something unexpected happened.
In the 1990s, I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The doctor prescribed me medication and told me I would have to take them for the rest of my life. Some people think that mental health issues happen because you lack faith, but there was nothing wrong with my faith. I had always deeply loved God and relied on Him in all things, but I also felt an abiding disabling guilt. I had not been able to shake off the belief that everything that was wrong with the world was my fault.
I had a Law degree, but my heart had never been there. I had taken up law to impress my mother, who thought my choice of teaching as a profession wasn’t good enough. But I had married and given birth to my first child just before I finished it, then gone on to have seven beautiful children, so I had spent more time learning to be a mother than working in law. When we moved to Australia, the law was different, so, I went back to university to finally study my first love, Teaching. But even when I got a job doing what I loved, I felt that I was trying to justify my existence by earning money. Somehow, I didn’t feel that looking after my family and nurturing the people entrusted to me was good enough. In fact, with my crippling guilt and feeling of inadequacy, nothing ever felt enough.
Because of our family size, it wasn’t always easy to get away on a holiday, so we were excited when we heard about the Carry Home in Pemberton where payment was a donation of what you could afford. It had a beautiful country setting close to forests. We planned to go for a weekend family retreat. They also had a prayer and worship group in Perth. When I joined, I was made to feel very welcome.
There, at one of the retreats, something totally unexpected and overwhelming happened. I had just received prayer when I suddenly fell to the ground. Rolled up on the floor in a fetal position, I screamed and screamed and screamed. They carried me out onto this rickety old wooden verandah outside and continued to pray until eventually, I stopped screaming.
This was totally unsought and unexpected. But I knew that it was deliverance.
I just felt empty as if something had left me. After the retreat, my friends continued to check up on me and come to pray over me, asking for Mary’s intercession that the gifts of the Holy Spirit would become manifest in me. I felt so much better that after a week or two, I decided to reduce my dose of medication. Within three months, I had stopped taking the medication and felt better than I ever had.
I no longer felt the need to prove myself or pretend that I was better than I was. I didn’t feel that I had to excel in all things. I felt grateful for the gift of life, my family, my prayerful community and this tremendous connection with God. Freed of the need to justify my existence, I realized I could not justify my existence. It’s a gift–life, family, prayer, connection with God–these are all gifts, not something you are ever going to earn. You accept it and you thank God.
I became a better person. I didn’t have to show off, compete, or arrogantly insist that my way was the best. I realized I didn’t have to be better than the other person because it didn’t matter. God loves me, God cares for me. Out of the grip of my disabling guilt, I have since realized that “If God didn’t want me, He would have made someone else.”
My relationship with my mother had always been ambivalent. Even after becoming a mother, I was still struggling with these feelings of ambivalence. But this experience changed that for me. As God chose Mary to bring Jesus into the world, He had chosen Mary to help me on my way. My issues in the relationship with my mother, and subsequently with the Holy Mother, slowly melted away.
I felt like John at the foot of the Cross when Jesus told him: “Behold your Mother.” I have come to know Mary as the perfect mother. Now, when my mind fails, the Rosary kicks in to rescue me! I never realized how much I needed her until I made her an indispensable part of my life. Now, I couldn’t imagine stepping away.
ARTICLE is from the interview given by Susen Regnard on the Shalom World program “Mary My Mother.” To watch the episode, visit: shalomworld.org/show/mary-my-mother-2
You may or may not be a good dancer, but you are still called to sway in this dance of life It was a beautiful morning; the sun was shining brightly, and I could feel its warmth seeping into my exhausted bones. By contrast, mentally, I was in great spirits, enjoying the beautiful Perth scenery as I strolled along the foreshore at Matilda Bay. I paused on the riverbank to allow the natural beauty to fill my senses. The melody of waves breaking on the shore, the cool breeze gently ruffling through my hair as it danced through the trees, the subtle scent of salt and bushland, the delicate mosaic of tiny white shells adorning the sand…I felt rather overwhelmed by the experience. An image of ballroom dancing flashed through my head. In my mind’s eye, I pictured God dancing with me... Syncing in When you begin ballroom dancing, there is a phase where your whole attention is focused on trying to remain in sync with your partner and avoid mistakes. You are consumed with fear of stumbling over the other person's feet or moving the wrong foot in the wrong direction. Consequently, this self-conscious effort to control your movements makes your body stiff and rigid, making it difficult for your partner to lead you in the steps of the dance. But if you loosen up, flow with the music, and let your partner be the guide, he will lead you in a beautiful, enchanting, rhythmic dance. If you allow this to happen, you will speedily learn to dance as beautifully as your partner, feeling your feet moving gracefully across the floor as you enjoy the rhythm of the dance. Hold My Hands Reflecting on that image, I felt as if God was saying: “You and I are partners in this dance of life, but we cannot dance well together if you don’t allow Me to lead you. I am the expert, guiding you to excel if you follow Me, but I cannot if you insist on keeping control. On the contrary, if you surrender yourself and allow Me to lead you in this dance, I will keep you safe, and we will dance beautifully. Do not be afraid to stumble on My feet because I know how to guide you. So, entrust yourself to My embrace and join Me in this dance together. Wherever the music takes us, I will show you the way.” As I pondered these thoughts, I felt a deep sense of gratitude to God, for always being present in my life, leading me in this dance. He knows my every thought and desire and never fails to bring them to fruition in ways I do not expect (Psalm 139). God accompanies each of us in this dance of life, always ready to take us in His arms and guide us expertly. Some of us are beginners, still taking baby steps, while others are advanced enough to assist the rest, but none of us are so advanced that we could ever afford to step away from the lead dancer. More Happier, Less Anxious Even Our Lady, God's perfect dancing partner, knows that her expertise in the dance comes from following His every move with perfect grace. From an early age, Mary accepted His loving embrace, following His lead perfectly in even the smallest things. Her ear was attentive to the rhythm of Heavenly music so that she never took a false step. Mary was perfectly at one with God in mind and heart. Her will was so in tune with God that she could utter: “Be it done to me according to Your will” (Luke 1:38). What God wants is also what Mary wants. If we let go of our desire to serve ourselves first and, like Mary, lose ourselves in the Lord’s embrace, our lives will be freer, happier, more meaningful, and less anxious, stressful, and depressing.
By: Father Peter Hung TranMore
We always tend to fill in our calendars as much as possible but what if an unforeseen opportunity comes knocking? The New Year gives the impression that we have a blank slate before us. The upcoming year is full of possibilities, and resolutions abound as we rush to fill up our freshly printed calendars. However, it happens that many of those exciting opportunities and elaborate goals for the perfect year fall flat. By the end of January, our smiles are faltering, and old habits from the previous years creep back into our lives. What if we treated this year, this moment, a little differently? Instead of rushing to fill in all the white space on our calendars, why not give a little more room to blank space, to empty pockets of time where we don’t have anything scheduled? It is in these empty spaces we give the Holy Spirit the most room to work in our lives. Anyone who has moved from one home to another knows the surprising amount of space an empty room creates. As the furniture moves out, the room seems to continue to grow. Without anything left, it’s always a shock to think that enough space was ever a problem, look how big it is! The more a room is filled with rugs, furniture, wall hangings, and other possessions, the more close the space can feel. Then, someone visits your house with a gift in hand, and you turn and wonder—now, where will we put this? Our calendars can operate in much the same way. We fill each day with work, practice, games, commitments, prayer service—so many good and often seemingly necessary things. But what happens when the Holy Spirit comes knocking with an opportunity we didn’t foresee? Do we have space for Him on our calendar? We can look to Mary as an ideal model for how to be open to the Holy Spirit. Mary hears the words of the angel and freely receives them. In offering her life to God, she demonstrates the perfect disposition for receiving God’s gifts. Another way to think about this is with what Bishop Barron has called the ‘Loop of Grace.’ God wishes to give to us with abundance. When we open ourselves to God’s loving generosity, we recognize that everything we have is a gift. With joy, we give back to God in thanksgiving, restarting the loop. God reaches out to Mary, and she freely offers herself to His Will and purpose. She then receives Jesus. We see this again at the end of Jesus’ life. In utter sorrow and awful pain, Mary lets go of her precious Son. She doesn’t cling to Him as He hangs on the cross. In that painful moment, all seems lost, and her motherhood is emptied. She doesn’t flee, she remains with her Son, who has had to let her go. But then, Jesus gives her not just one son in John but sons and daughters for eternity in her motherhood of the Church. Because Mary remained open and receptive to God’s plan, even when it was the most painful, we now can call her , Our Mother. As the year continues, perhaps take some time to pray over your schedule. Have you already filled up your days with more than enough, maybe even too much? Ask the Holy Spirit to inspire you to consider what activities are necessary for His purposes and which are more for your own personal desires and goals. Ask for the courage to reorder your schedule, for the wisdom to say “No” when needed, so you can joyfully and freely say “Yes!” when He comes knocking on your door.
By: Kate TaliaferroMore
As an actor and director, Patrick Reynolds thought God was only for holy people. He failed to understand God’s plan until the day when he had a supernatural experience while reciting the Rosary. Here is his incredible journey. I was born and raised in a Catholic family. We went to Mass every week, said our daily prayers, attended Catholic school, and had lots of holy items in the house, but somehow the faith didn’t penetrate. Whenever we crossed the threshold, Mom would splash us with holy water, but unfortunately, we did not have a personal relationship with Jesus. I didn’t even know that was possible. I understood that God lived up in the clouds somewhere. He looked down upon us all, but in my own mind and heart, He was very distant and unobtainable. Although I learned about God, I didn’t learn who He was. When I was about ten, my mum started going to a charismatic prayer group, and I saw her faith become very real and personal. She was healed of depression, so I knew that God’s power was real, but I thought God was only for holy people like my mum. I longed for something deeper than what was being offered. When it came to the Saints, I didn’t understand their role and didn’t think they had anything to offer me because I didn’t think that I could be holy. Unfulfilled & Empty When I left school, I wanted to be rich and famous so that I could be loved by everybody. I thought that would make me happy. I decided that becoming an actor would be the easiest way to achieve my goals. So, I studied acting and eventually became a successful actor and director. It opened doors into a life I had never experienced and more money than I knew what to do with, so I spent it trying to impress important people in the industry. My whole life was a cycle of buying things to impress people so I could make more money to buy things to impress people. Instead of feeling fulfilled, I felt empty. I felt like a fraud. My whole life was pretending to be what other people wanted me to be. I was searching for something more but never understood that God had a plan for me. My life was all about parties, drinking, and relationships, but filled with discontent. One day, my mom invited me to a big Charismatic Catholic conference in Scotland. To be honest, I didn’t want to go because I thought I had put all that God stuff behind me, but moms are good at emotional blackmail; they can make you do things that no one else can. She said, “Pat, I’m going away to do mission work in Africa for two years. If you don’t come to this retreat, I won’t get to spend any time with you before I leave.” So, I went. I’m glad now, but at the time, I felt uncomfortable. It felt strange to see so many people singing and praising God. As I looked around the room judgmentally, God suddenly reached into my life. The priest spoke about the faith, Jesus in the Eucharist, the Saints, and Our Lady in such a real, tangible way that I finally understood that God was very close, not somewhere up in the clouds, and He had a plan for my life. Something More I understood that God had created me for a reason. I said my first sincere prayer that day, “God, if You are there, if You have a plan for me, I need You to help me. Show me in a way that I can understand.” People began to pray the Rosary, which I hadn’t prayed since I was very young, so I joined in any prayers I remembered. When they began to sing, something in my heart melted, and for the first time in my life, I experienced the love of God. I was so overwhelmed by this love I began to cry. It was through Our Lady’s intercession that I was able to come into the presence of God. I went to Mass that day, but I knew that I couldn’t receive communion because I hadn’t been to Confession in a long time. My heart was longing to be closer to God, so I spent the next few weeks preparing to make an honest, thorough Confession. As a child, I went to Confession regularly, but I don’t think I was ever really honest. I took in my shopping list of sins—the same three or four things every time. When I experienced absolution this time, I felt great peace and love. I decided that I wanted more of this in my life. To Act or Not? As an actor, it was very difficult to live my faith. Every part I was being offered contradicted my beliefs as a Catholic, but I didn’t have enough formation in the faith. I knew that I needed more help. I started going along to a pentecostal Church, where I met people who taught me about the Bible and how to praise and worship. They offered me mentorship, friendship, and community, but I couldn’t let go of Jesus in the Eucharist, so I remained in the Catholic Church. Every week they challenged my Catholic beliefs, so I would go and study my catechism to come back with answers for them. They helped me become a better Catholic, understanding why I believe. At one point, I had a mental and emotional block about why Catholics had such a devotion to Mary. “Why do you pray to Mary?” they asked, “why don’t you go straight to Jesus?” This was already on my mind. I struggled to find an answer that made sense. Saint (Padre) Pio was a miracle worker whose life inspired me to become a better person. As I read about how his devotion to Our Lady brought him deep into the heart of Christ and the Church and listened to Pope John Paul II, the witness of these two great men inspired me to trust and follow their example. So, I prayed every day for the Pope’s intentions through Mary’s Immaculate Heart. I went along to a Marian retreat to find out more. I heard about Saint Louis De Montfort’s great devotion to Mary and how talking to her in prayer is the quickest and simplest way to become like Jesus. He explained that there are two ways of making a statue—sculpt it arduously from a hard piece of material with a hammer and chisel, or fill a mold with resin and leave it to harden. Each statue formed in a mold follows its shape perfectly (as long as it is filled). Mary is the mold in which the Body of Christ was formed. God made her perfect for that purpose. If you are molded by Mary, she will form you perfectly, if you give yourself fully. When I heard this, I understood it to be true. When we prayed the Rosary, instead of just saying the words, I tried to pray the words with all my heart, meditating on the Mysteries. Something unexpected happened. I experienced the love of our Blessed Mother. It was like the love of God, and I knew it came from the love of God, but it was different. She helped me love God in a way that I had never been able to do on my own. I was so overwhelmed by this love that I was moved to tears of joy. Finding such a wonderful gift was like the treasure in the field from the parable. You’d be willing to sell everything to buy the field so you can keep this treasure. From that moment, I knew that I couldn’t continue acting. I couldn’t live in that secular world and be a good Catholic. I also knew that people needed to know about the love of God. So I put my career aside so I could evangelize. Digging Deeper I came to Knock in Ireland to ask God what He wanted. Our Lady appeared there in 1879 along with Saint Joseph, Saint John, and Jesus as the Lamb of God on the altar, surrounded by angels. Mary came to lead people to Jesus. Her role is to bring people to the Lamb of God. In Knock, I met the woman I would marry and the people who offered me a job doing mission work. I came for a weekend, and 20 years later, I’m still living in Ireland. My love for the Blessed Mother continued to grow once I learned to pray the Rosary properly. I had always found it very difficult to pray it on my own until I went to the National Shrine in Walsingham, England. In the small Chapel with the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham, I asked our Blessed Mother for the grace to pray and understand the Rosary. Something incredible happened! As I began to pray the Joyful Mysteries, in each Mystery, I understood that Our Lady wasn’t just Jesus’ mother, she was my mother, and I felt myself growing alongside Jesus through His childhood. So when Mary said “Yes” at the Annunciation to being the Mother of God, she was also saying “Yes” to me, welcoming me into her womb with Jesus. As Mary traveled to visit her cousin, I felt myself being carried in her womb with Jesus. And John the Baptist jumped for joy that I was there in the Body of Christ. In the Nativity of Christ, it felt like Mary gave new life to me, saying “Yes” to raising me. As she and Saint Joseph presented Jesus in the Temple, they also offered me to the Father, accepting me as their child. When they found Jesus in the Temple, I felt that Mary was also finding me. I had been lost, but Mary had been searching for me. I realized that Mary had been praying with my mom all those years for my faith to return. I helped found Holy Family Mission, a house where young people could come to learn about their faith and to get the formation they may have missed as children. We chose the Holy Family as our patrons, knowing that we come into the heart of Jesus through Mary. Mary is our mother, and in her womb, we are formed like Christ under the care of Saint Joseph. Grace upon Grace Our Blessed Mother was instrumental in helping me to find my wife at Knock and getting to know her as we worked alongside each other in a movement called Youth 2000, which centers around Our Lady and the Eucharist. On our wedding day, we consecrated ourselves, our marriage, and any future children to Our Lady of Guadalupe. We now have nine beautiful children, who each have their unique faith and devotion to Our Lady, which we’re so thankful for. The Rosary has become such an important part of my faith and a channel for so many graces in my life. Whenever I have an issue, the first thing I’ll do is pick up my rosary beads and turn to Our Lady. Saint John Paul II said it’s like taking her hand so she can lead through any dark times—a safe guide through troubles. Once, I had a falling out with a close friend, and I was finding it very difficult to be reconciled. I knew they had wronged me, and I found it hard to forgive. This person couldn’t see the hurt they had caused me and others. Part of me wanted to do something about it, part of me wanted to take vengeance. But instead, I put my hand in my pocket and picked up my rosary beads. I had only prayed one decade of the rosary, before this friend turned round with a changed countenance and said, “Pat, I just realized what I did to you and how much I’ve hurt you. I apologize.” As we embraced and reconciled, I recognized the power that Our Lady has to change hearts. Mary is the means God chose to enter this world, and He still chooses to come through her. I now understand that we don’t go to Mary instead of Jesus, we go to Mary because Jesus is within her. In the Old Testament, the Ark of the Covenant contained everything that was holy. Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant, the living tabernacle of the Source of all Holiness, God Himself. So, when I want to be close to Christ, I always turn to Mary, who shared the most intimate relationship with Him within her own body. In drawing close to her, I draw close to Him.
By: Patrick ReynoldsMore
Semi-paralysed after a poisonous spider bite, Marisana Arambasic felt her life ebbing away. She still clung to the Rosary for a miracle. I’ve been living in Perth, Australia for a very long time, but I am originally from Croatia. When I was 8 years old, I witnessed a miracle. A 44-year-old man with crippled legs was healed through the powerful intercession of Mother Mary. Many of us witnessed this miracle. I still remember running to him and touching his legs in awestruck wonder after he was healed. Despite this experience, I strayed away from God when I grew older. I believed that the world was my oyster. All I cared about was enjoying my life. My mom was worried because I was enjoying life in the wrong way. She offered Masses for me regularly. She asked Mother Mary to intercede on my behalf. Even though my mom prayed fervently for 15 years, I wasn’t any better. When my mom mentioned my case to a local priest, he said, “She lives at the moment in sin. Once she stops sinning, God will bring her to her knees, all the graces through the Holy Mass will be poured out, and miracles will happen.” The Venomous Bite This prediction came true when I turned 33 years old. As a single mom, I had hit rock bottom. Gradually, I turned back to God. I felt Mother Mary helping me through the difficult times. One day, a white-tailed spider bit me on the left hand. This is a venomous spider native to Australia. Though I was in good health, my body couldn’t recover from this spider bite. The pain was horrific. The left side of my body was paralyzed. I couldn’t see with my left eye. My chest, my heart, and all my organs felt like they were cramping. I sought help from specialists and took the medicines they prescribed, but I couldn’t recover. In my time of desperation, I grabbed my Rosary and prayed like never before. At first, I prayed the Rosary every day on my knees. Soon my condition worsened, and I could not kneel anymore. I was bedridden. There were blisters all over my face, and people were reluctant to even look at me. This increased my pain. I started to lose massive amounts of weight. The only thing I could eat were apples. If I ate anything else, my body would go into spasms. I could only sleep for 15-20 minutes at a time before I woke up with cramps. The deterioration of my health was difficult for my son, who was 15 years old at that time. He distanced himself by escaping into video games. Though I was close to my parents and siblings, they all lived overseas. When I told them about my condition, my parents immediately went to Medjugorje, where they met with a priest who prayed for me. At that exact moment, I was lying on a mattress on my kitchen floor because moving from one room to another was too difficult for me. I was suddenly able to get up and walk, although I still had some pain. I called my sister and came to know that a priest had prayed for the intercession of Mama Mary for my healing. I didn’t stop to think. I immediately bought tickets to go to Medjugorje. I was going against the advice of the medical specialists. My immunity was low, and my body was weak. Yet, I still decided to go. Up the Hill When I reached Croatia, my sister picked me up from the airport, and we reached Medjugorje that evening. I met the priest that had prayed with my parents. He prayed over me and asked me to climb up Apparition Hill the next day. During that time, I was still unable to eat anything but apples without my throat closing up. I still had blisters all over me. Yet I couldn’t wait to climb up the hill where Mother Mary had appeared. My sister wanted to come with me, but I wanted to go alone. I didn’t want anyone to witness my sorrow. When I got to the top, it was snowing. There were not many people there. I had a special moment with Mother Mary. I felt that She could hear my prayers. I asked for a second chance at life and for more time with my son. I prayed, “Jesus, have mercy on me.” As I came back down the hill, I was praying the Our Father. When I got to ‘give us today our daily bread,’ I felt sad because I could not eat bread. I deeply longed to receive the Eucharist but couldn’t. I prayed that I would be able to eat bread again. That day I decided to try and eat some bread. I had no negative reactions. Then, I slept for two hours straight. The pain and my other symptoms had decreased. It felt like heaven on earth. The next day I went back and climbed the Jesus Hill, which has a big cross at the top. I felt an overwhelming peace. I asked God to show me my sins from His perspective. As I climbed, God gradually revealed sins that I had forgotten. I was eager to go to confession as soon as I got back down the hill. I was so full of joy. Even though it took a while, I am now completely healed. Looking back, I realize that all of my sufferings have made me become a better person. I am more compassionate and forgiving now. Suffering can make a person feel lonely and desperate. Everything can fall apart, including your finances and marriage. During these times, you need to have hope. Faith allows you to step into the unknown and walk through unfamiliar paths, bearing your cross until the storm passes.
By: Marisana ArambasicMore
Nothing makes him so proud as to be called a ‘Mummy’s boy’. Rob O’ Hara narrates his beautiful life story of living close to the Mother of God Where did it all begin? Many years ago as a little boy, I grew up in Dublin as an only child with fantastic parents. They loved to pray the Rosary every single day without hesitation. Father Patrick Payton’s motto, “The Family that prays together, stays together” was the catch cry of my home life. I first remember encountering Our Lady when I was a little boy. Mum and Dad had invited people over to pray the Rosary in the month of May, Mary’s month. It didn’t mean much to me, but all of a sudden, as I sat among the crowd of people praying the Rosary, I felt a strong desire to pray. The scent of roses filled the air and I felt the presence of Our Lady. When the Rosary was finished, I felt the urge to keep praying and urged people to stay for longer, “Let’s pray another Rosary, Our Lady is here.” So, we prayed another Rosary, but that still wasn’t enough. People began to leave, but I stayed there and prayed another 10-15 Rosaries in the company of Our Lady. I didn’t see Her, but I knew She was there. When I was four or five years old, I experienced Our Lady’s grace and help for the first time in a tangible way. Back in the 80s, unemployment was high. My father had lost his job, and since he was in his mid-forties it wasn’t easy to get another one. I heard this story many times growing up, so the details are clear in my mind. My parents turned to Our Lady with trust. They started praying a Rosary Novena and at the end of the novena, my Dad got the job he really wanted. Nagging Emptiness When I hit my teens, I started noticing that faith, prayer and even talking about Our Lady was not “cool”. So I stopped praying the Rosary and found excuses not to be there when my parents prayed it. Sad to say, I fell into the secular world and really threw myself into that. I forgot about the peace, joy, and fulfillment I had found in prayer as a young boy and into my early teens. I threw myself into sports, socializing, and eventually, into my career. I was successful and popular, but I always had a gnawing emptiness inside me. I was longing for something, but I didn’t know what it was. I would come home to see my Mum and Dad praying the Rosary, and would laugh to myself and walk past. When this nagging emptiness continued to blight my life, I wondered why this void wouldn’t leave me, no matter what I did. Although I had a good job, I was being bullied so badly, I was falling into depression. One day, after another terrible day, I came home to see my parents on their knees, praying the Rosary as usual. They turned to me with delight and asked me to join them in prayer. I couldn’t think of an excuse, so I said, “Okay.” I picked up the rosary beads that were once so familiar to my touch and I bowed my head in prayer. Under Mary’s Mantle I went to Mass where some old friends noticed me sitting at the back of the church, so they invited me to join them at a prayer meeting. When I went, I was surprised to find other young people praying the Rosary. As I knelt to pray, all these delightful childhood memories of me praying this beautiful prayer flashed through my mind. Since I had broken that relationship with my “Mother” I had not talked with her for a very long time. I started pouring out my heart to Our Lady, regularly praying the Rosary on the way to work. Back in the motherly embrace of Mother Mary, all the dark areas of my life and the heaviness started drifting away and I started to have a great time at work. When I realized just how much Our Lady loved me, I started pouring out more and more of my heart to her. I felt enveloped in her blue mantle surrounded by peace and calm. People started to notice how happy I was and asked me what had changed. “Oh, I’m praying The Rosary again.” I’m sure my friends thought this was a little strange for a young man in his early 20s, but they could see how happy I was. The more I prayed, the more I fell in love with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and the Eucharist. As my relationship with Jesus grew and I turned more and more to Jesus, I started getting involved in Catholic youth movements in Ireland like Pure in Heart and Youth 2000. I devoured books like “Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary” and “True Devotion to Mary” by Saint Louis De Montfort. His motto “Totus Tuus” which Saint Pope John Paul II had adopted, struck me deeply. I also said to Our Lady, “I give myself totally to you.” My faith grew as it was nurtured by these great organizations and I felt a superabundance of joy. I thought, “This is Heaven, this is great!” Finding “the one” I knew in my heart that I had a vocation to get married, but I just wasn’t meeting the right lady at that time. So I turned to Our Lady and asked her, “Help me find the perfect wife for me so that we can pray to you and love your Son together more deeply.” I prayed this prayer every day and I started thanking Jesus and Mary for my future wife, and the children I hoped we would blessed with. Three months later, I met my future wife, Bernie. On my first date I said to her, “Let’s go into the church and pray the Rosary to Our Lady.” Bernie could have said no, but she said, “Yes, let’s do that” and we knelt down before the statue of Our Lady and prayed the Rosary together. That was the best first date I have ever had and the last first date I ever had! Throughout our courtship we prayed the Rosary everyday to Our Lady and Saint Joseph to help us prepare for the sacrament and to be with us in our marriage. We got married in Rome and it was the best day of our lives. Shortly afterwards, Bernie conceived. When our little girl, Lucy was born, we consecrated her to Our Lady on her Baptism day. Stormy Days In the early years of our marriage, I left my job in the corporate banking world. It wasn’t the place for me for many reasons. While I was unemployed, trying to pay the rent and raise a young child, we prayed the Rosary for the right job to come. Eventually, our prayers were answered with a wonderful job for a charity organization called Human Life International. Glory to God and thanks to Our Lady! We were further delighted when Bernie conceived twin boys, however sixteen weeks into the pregnancy, we rushed into the hospital with Bernie in pain. Scans revealed that the twins wouldn’t survive. But instead of despairing, we turned to Our Lady. She was with us, encouraging us to really lean on her. We prayed that she would intercede for a miraculous healing. The week we spent in hospital, we were joyful, joking and laughing. We were so full of hope and never in despair. The hospital staff were amazed that this young couple going through such a difficult time were somehow keeping their joy and hope. I would kneel down at the bed and we would pray the Rosary, entreating Our Lady to be with us. We entrusted the twins to the care of Jesus and Mary, but on the 6th day we miscarried, and we entrusted our boys into their loving care. It was a difficult day. We got to hold them and bury them. But Our Lady was with us in our sorrow. When I felt weak, like I was crumbling on the ground, Our Lady held me up. When I saw my wife cry and knew that I had to stay strong, it was Our Lady who helped me. Signal Grace While we were still grieving, we went on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje. On the first day, we unexpectedly discovered that the Mass celebrant was our very good friend, Father Rory. Although he didn’t know we were there, his homily seemed to be directed at us. He described how a celebrity coped by picking up his Rosary when he tragically lost his young friend. The Rosary took him through that dark place. For us, that was a confirmation—a message from Jesus and Mary; we could get through this difficult time by turning to them and praying the Rosary. Two years later, we were blessed with another lovely little girl, Gemma. Afterwards, my father took ill and while he was on his death bed, my wife encouraged me to ask him who his favorite saint was. When I asked him, a beautiful smile lit up his face as he answered tenderly, “Mary…. because she is my mother.” I’ll never forget that. It was very near the end of his life and joy just radiated from him at the thought of what awaited him.
By: Rob O'HaraMore
On August 6, 1945 during World War II, an atomic bomb was dropped on the town of Hiroshima, Japan. 140,000 people were killed or injured. In the midst of the devastation, near the hypocenter of the attack, eight Jesuit missionaries who were in their rectory survived. None suffered hearing loss from the explosion. Their church, Our Lady of the Assumption, suffered the destruction of its stained glass windows but did not fall; it was one of only a few buildings left standing in the midst of widespread destruction. Not only were the clerics kept safe from the initial blast — they suffered no ill effects from the harmful radiation. Doctors who cared for them after the blast warned that radiation poisoning to which they had been exposed would cause serious lesions, illness and even death. But 200 medical exams in the ensuing years showed no ill effects, confounding the doctors who had predicted dire consequences. Father Schiffer, who was only 30 years old when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, told his story 31 years later, at the Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia in 1976. At the time, all eight members of the Jesuit community who had lived through the bombing were still alive. Before the gathered faithful, he reminisced about celebrating Mass in the early morning, then sitting down in the rectory kitchen for breakfast. He had just sliced and dug his spoon into a grapefruit when there was a bright flash of light. At first, he thought it might be an explosion in the nearby harbour. Then he described the experience: “Suddenly, a terrific explosion filled the air with one bursting thunder stroke. An invisible force lifted me from the chair, hurled me through the air, shook me, battered me, whirled me round and round like a leaf in a gust of autumn wind.” Next thing he remembered was that he opened his eyes and found himself on the ground. He looked around, and saw there was nothing left in any direction: the railroad station and buildings in all directions were gone. Not only did they all survive with (at most) relatively minor injuries, but they all lived well past that awful day with no radiation sickness, no loss of hearing, or any other visible long term defects or maladies. Asked why they believe they were spared, when so many others died either from the explosion or from the subsequent radiation, Father Schiffer spoke for himself and for his companions: “We believe that we survived because we were living the message of Fatima. We lived and prayed the Rosary daily in that home.”
By: Shalom TidingsMore
The Rosary Stops a Serial Killer Much has been written about the notorious serial killer, Ted Bundy. But here is a story that is only now gaining wide attention. And it gives powerful witness to the miraculous power of the rosary. On January 15, 1978, after taking the lives of two college students living in the Chi Omega sorority house of Florida State University, Bundy began combing the house for more victims. Carrying a bat, Bundy entered the room of his intended next victim, but suddenly stopped where he stood. Then he suddenly dropped the bat and left. The police wanted to know why this girl had survived the attack—why had Bundy stopped just inside her room and fled? The girl agreed to speak with the police, but only if there was a priest in the room. So,the officers called a nearby parish. Though he was not the priest on call that night, the phone rang in the room of Fr. William Kerr (later Msgr. Kerr) and he quickly rushed to the scene. The traumatized girl told the priest of a promise she had made to her grandmother when she had left home to start college. Each night, no matter how late she went to bed, she would pray the Rosary, to invoke the protection of the Blessed Mother. Yes, every night, even if she fell asleep after just a few decades. And in fact, that’s what had happened the night of the killings. Though sound asleep, she still clutched the rosary in her hands when Bundy entered her room. She stirred and saw a bat-wielding man standing over her. Without thinking, she opened her hands, exposing the rosary. Bundy saw the beads and immediately left. Weeks later, Fr. Kerr received another late-night call, though again he was not the priest on duty. This time, the caller was the warden of the nearby prison. Bundy had just been apprehended and requested to speak with a priest. Fr. Kerr met with Bundy that night and continued to receive regular calls from him up to and including the night before Bundy’s execution, when he thanked Fr. Kerr for the help he had given him. Bundy confessed to having committed over thirty murders in his lifetime. But one life, the life of a young girl who had made a promise to her grandmother, that life he didn’t take. Was that life spared because rosary beads fell from her hands? Bundy never said. But we can be sure that there is power in the Rosary, that there is safety under the mantle of Mary’s protection, and that there is spiritual growth and sustenance that comes from praying the mysteries of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.
By: Shalom TidingsMore
Want to know the easiest way to Heaven? My mother and grandmother had a great devotion to Our Lady and the Sacred Heart. As children, we prayed often to Mary for the many things we needed. Even when we were trying to find a lost doll or a bike that was stolen, we turned to Our Lady. My father used to work in the construction sector. When work was scarce, which it often was, my mother prayed to Mary, and inevitably, a short time later, a contractor would call offering work for my father. Because we thought it was too long, most of us kids ran and hid whenever we heard the word “Rosary”. But our mother would eventually find us and bring us together to pray. Unfortunately, as we got older, Our Lady became less important to us than when we were children. Back in Mary’s Arms In 2006, the Saint Patrick’s Community came to our parish to give a mission. Each day consisted of Holy Mass in the morning, and talks and testimonies in the evening. Towards the end of the week, I found my heart was beginning to change. A wave of childhood memories of praying to Our Lady washed over me, and I recalled the important role she played in our lives. I longed to recapture my childhood relationship with Mother Mary. On the final day of the Mission, we celebrated a beautiful Holy Mass. Afterwards, the children of the parish gathered round lighting candles to Our Lady. We adults joined them. While we were lighting candles and praying, the children asked many questions about the Blessed Mother: “Where she is now?” they wanted to know, and “How can we talk to her?” They prayed fervently, with eyes closed and hands joined. Again, I felt the desire to recapture my childhood piety. I started speaking to Our Lady in the same way I did as a child. We adults are sometimes content to speak to her but not with her. We don’t speak to her as we would to our mothers. During the parish mission, I relearned how to relax with Our Lady and let my prayers flow out of me. In the car one day with my young daughter Sarah, I said that I’d love to see Our Lady. She replied that it would be “so cool.” Then she said, “Hold on Mommy, we do see Our Lady. We see her every day, but nobody takes the time to really see her or speak to her.” I was so astonished by her comment that I nearly drove off the road. What Sarah said felt wise. When I turned to ask her to explain, she was back playing with her doll. I was convinced her comment was inspired by the Holy Spirit. “Although you have hidden these things from the learned and wise, you have revealed them to the childlike” (Matthew 11:25). Holding Mary’s Hands Of course, my devotion to our Blessed Mother includes recitation of the Rosary. Though it’s an important and beautiful prayer, for many years I struggled to pray it because I hadn’t yet gotten over my childhood complaint that it was too long. But I began to recognize the importance of the Rosary when I started to meditate on the life of Jesus. Before that, the Rosary was a prayer I rushed to get over and done with. But as I reflected on the life of Jesus, Our Lady taught me that the Rosary brings us deeper into His heart. Because she is the Mother of God and our mother, too, we can rely on her taking us by the hand, and leading us into that deeper walk with Christ that only she fully understands. As we move through life, the difficulties we encounter can cause us to doubt God’s love or distance us from Our Lady. My sister-in-law died of cancer when she was only forty-two, leaving behind a husband and three children. At such times, it’s natural to ask, “Why did this happen?” But who can understand our trials better than Mary? She stood at the foot of the Cross and watched her Son suffer and die. She can be a companion for us on any road we walk, including the road of suffering. The Shortest Way to Christ’s Heart It was through Our Lady that God led me to my heart’s desire. But it took some time. Through her I came to understand the importance of the Eucharist. Sometimes people's devotion to Our Lady doesn’t lead to greater knowledge of Christ. But Our Lady is all about her Son, and about bringing us into a deeper relationship with Him. Through Our Lady I have made the total consecration to Jesus. It’s a personal journey with Mary to her Divine Son. Mary is a guide always leading us to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In 2009, I went to Medjugorje after hearing that Our Lady was appearing there to six young children. It’s a simple but beautiful place where peace is tangible. There was a statue of the Sacred Heart in Medjugorje around which many pilgrims gathered to pray. When it was my turn to approach it, I drew close, closed my eyes, and prayed with my hand on the shoulder of the statue. But when I opened my eyes, I found that my hand was resting not on the shoulder but on the heart of Jesus! My simple prayer had been, “Jesus, I don't know you as well as I know your mother.” I believe Our Lady was telling me, “Well, now it's time. It's time you go to my Son's Heart.” I was unaware that the following day was the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus! A New Ministry Is Born In August 2009, a visiting priest inspired me to start the Divine Mercy devotion in my parish. I had expected to do something related to the Rosary, but in hindsight I see that Our Lady was bringing me straight to her Son. I also scheduled Divine Mercy talks throughout Ireland, and prayers for the Apostolate of Eucharistic Adoration. Eventually, I was invited to help plan the International Eucharistic Congress held in Ireland—all things I never imagined doing! It was at the end of the Eucharistic Congress that the seed of my ministry was planted in my heart. Because I had found so much joy and grace flowing from the Eucharistic Congress, I asked myself, “Why does this have to end after one week of grace? Why can't this continue?” Through God’s grace, it didn’t end. For the past ten years, I have been coordinating The Children of the Eucharist, set up under the auspices of the Apostolate of Eucharistic Adoration in Ireland. The objective of the ministry is to enhance the faith of our children and bring them closer to Christ through Adoration. This ministry was born when I recognized the need for children to learn more about Eucharistic Adoration and to experience it regularly in a child-friendly way. After piloting the program at our local primary school, the program quickly spread to many schools throughout Ireland. As a youngster, I had hoped eventually to pursue nursing or some other profession, but those dreams faded when I married young at 22. After starting the Children of the Eucharist Apostolate, a priest told me, “Maybe if you had become a nurse, you wouldn’t be nursing souls now. You are nursing children in Adoration, helping them, and guiding them.” Not only did Mother Mary lead me closer to her Son, but she inspired me to help children draw closer to Him as well. When we give our fiat, our deepest “yes” to Our Lady, a journey begins. She moves within our fiat, bringing us into a deeper union with Jesus and fulfilling His plans for our lives.
By: Antoinette MoynihanMore
22 years of torturous wait for a baby could not diminish Victoria’s filial devotion to Our Lady. And then Mary smiled I grew up not knowing much about Mother Mary because my parents didn’t say much about her, but when I began Catechism classes and went to school at a Salesian convent, I came to know her better, especially the devotion to her as Mary, Help of Christians. Thanks to the nuns who taught me to pray the Rosary, I learned that reciting the Rosary is not just a repetition of prayers, but a meditation on the Word of God enabling us to get closer to Jesus. From then on, I never hit the bed without reciting a Rosary. Where’s the Good News? Once I finished my studies, I became a teacher in a good Catholic school, where I became closer to Our Lady through the nuns who taught there and the spiritual retreats they organized for the staff. When I wanted to settle down and find a life partner, I sought her powerful intercession and soon I met my husband, Christopher at a faith education seminar. Thanks to Our Lady, we have been happily married for the past 28 years. The initial days of our marriage were filled with fun, frolic and love but as the months passed by, people around us began to ask, “Why isn’t there any good news?” I assured them that “In God’s own time there will be.” That saved me from further questions, but as the years went by, a fear crept into my heart as no good news resulted. Medical investigations only found that my uterus was retroverted, which might be delaying pregnancy, but the doctor advised us that this would change if we followed their guidelines. But still, month by month passed by without change. There were days when I felt very gloomy and sad, but the love of Mary and my husband lifted me at those low points. Pouring Out My Heart I spent a lot on different medications based on advice from my friends and family, but to no avail. Then I began to approach Mary rather than visit more doctors, taking up all kinds of novenas suggested by my friends. I walked 24 kilometers for nine days to Saint Mary’s Basilica, but still there was no sign of pregnancy, although I was given an inner strength that kept us moving forward. We were blessed to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land where we continued our petitions. I remember visiting the grotto of Our Lady (or Milk Grotto) where, according to tradition, the Holy Family sought refuge on their way to exile in Egypt. A drop of milk is said to have fallen from Our Lady’s breast as she fed baby Jesus, turning the cave from reddish stone into chalky white. Many women come here to pray for a child, or a better milk supply. Standing there, I wept bitterly, overwhelmed by a deep sense of loss. None of the other pilgrims could console me. My husband and I decided to seek work abroad, so that we could afford to visit other pilgrimage sites, like Lourdes and other beautiful places in the world. Resigning from such a wonderful school after 14 years of service was the hardest part, but we wanted a change because we hadn’t quite given up hope. Somewhere in the corner of my heart, I still believed, although I couldn’t see how. We picked up jobs in Dubai where we totally entrusted our lives to the care of our dear Mother Mary, asking for her intercession as we continued our journey of life in this new soil. Although the church was a long way from where we lived, we never missed Holy Mass. Gift Unwrapped At Mass on New Year’s Eve, 2015, a tray with promise cards was passed around. My promise card had the verses from Genesis, chapter 30, verse 23, which speaks about Rachel's barrenness and how God removed her disgrace. I just smiled. When Sarah heard the angelic visitors say that, “This time next year Sarah will bear a child,” she laughed because it seemed so impossible. I felt the same way, but I went back home and read through the entirety of Genesis, chapter 30. It related the story of the two sisters - Leah, who was able to bear children, and Rachel who could not. She beseeched the Lord to open her womb and He heard her prayer, enabling her to bear two sons, Joseph and Benjamin. We went back to India to visit our families for a vacation but on our return, I felt unwell. So I went to the doctor for a check-up, thinking that my blood pressure was fluctuating. The doctor ordered tests, which revealed the astonishing news that I was pregnant! This was both exciting and disconcerting. We had both signed five-year contracts, so we would have to pay a hefty penalty if we broke them. Due to my advanced age, there was no insurance coverage for my maternity either, so if we stayed in the Gulf for my husband to work, it would be very costly, and we couldn’t bear to be parted just as our prayers for a child had finally been fulfilled after 22 long years. So, once again, we turned to our dear Mother Mary to pray for a solution to our dilemma. One day, the Chairman sent a car to our flat asking us to come to her residence. Wondering what this could possibly be about, we were amazed to hear her cheerfully say, “It's better that both of you resign and go back to India.” We were so delighted and astonished that we could hardly believe it, but we didn’t forget to give thanks to the Lord and to our beloved Mother for being with us in prayer for all that time. Waiting for a Miracle? My doctors in Bangalore expected a difficult pregnancy at my time of life, but thanks to Mary’s powerful intercession, I had a wonderful pregnancy without any complications. Of course the doctors were surprised that I was heading towards a normal delivery, but they still wanted to perform a caesarean section because I was pregnant with twins at an advanced age. We cooperated and on Easter Sunday, we were delighted to thank God for blessing us with our twin babies— Carlton and Vanessa—a better gift than any Easter egg. If you have been waiting for a miracle in your life, I want to encourage you to be strong in faith. Don’t give up. Keep going back to God with your petitions and ask Mary to join you in prayer. God always hears our prayers and never denies us an answer. Ave Maria! All Glory to God! This ARTICLE is based on the testimony shared by Victoria Christopher for the Shalom World program “Mary My Mother”. To watch the episode visit: shalomworld.org/show/mary-my-mother-2
By: Victoria ChristopherMore
Q –I know that we are supposed to have a devotion to Mary, but sometimes I feel like it distracts me from my relationship with Jesus. I just don’t feel very close to Mary. How can I have a deeper devotion to Our Lady without taking away from my love for Jesus? A – In my own life, I struggled with that very question. I grew up in an area of the United States that was mostly Protestant, and none of my Protestant friends ever had a devotion to Mary. One time when I was a teenager, I got into a conversation with someone in a checkout line in Wal-Mart, and when she found out I was studying to become a priest, she asked me why Catholics worship Mary! Of course, Catholics don’t worship Mary. God alone is worthy of worship. Rather, we honor Mary with the highest honor. Since she was closest to Jesus on earth, she is closest to Jesus in Heaven. She was the perfect follower of Jesus, so imitating her will help us to follow Jesus more faithfully. We ask her to pray for us, just as we might ask our own parents or a friend or a priest to pray for us—and Mary’s prayers are far more effective, for she is far closer to Christ! To grow in a healthy devotion to Mary, I recommend three things. First, pray the Rosary daily. Pope John Paul II said that the Rosary is “looking at the life of Jesus through the eyes of Mary.” It is a Christ-centered prayer, loving Him through the Heart that loved Him best (the Immaculate Heart). The Rosary changed my life—I took it on as a Lenten penance when I was a teen…and I dreaded it every day. To me, it seemed so boring…all those repetitive prayers. But once Lent was over, I found that I couldn’t put it down. The repetition was no longer boring but calming. I imagined myself in the scenes of Christ’s life and encountered Him there. Second, consecrate yourself to Mary. Saint Louis de Montfort has a rich 33-day consecration to Mary, or you can use the more recent “33 Days to Morning Glory” consecration program. When we offer Mary our lives, she cleanses and purifies us, and then presents our lives beautifully to Her Son. This is how Saint Louis answers your question in True Devotion to Mary: With Preparation for Total Consecration: “If then, we establish solid devotion to our Blessed Lady, it is only to establish more perfectly devotion to Jesus Christ, and to provide an easy and secure means for finding Jesus Christ. If devotion to Our Lady removed us from Jesus Christ, we should have to reject it as an illusion of the devil; but so far from this being the case, devotion to Our Lady is, on the contrary, necessary for us…as a means of finding Jesus Christ perfectly, of loving Him tenderly, of serving Him faithfully.” Finally, turn to Mary in your daily needs. One time I was leading a wedding rehearsal for a very holy couple when we realized, to our horror, that they had forgotten the marriage license! I couldn’t marry them without the civil license, but it was too late to get it before the wedding the following day. I brought the bride and groom into the sacristy and broke the news to them—I couldn’t marry them unless a miracle happened. They were devastated! So, we prayed to Our Lady, who herself was married and who has a special love for engaged couples. We entrusted this problem to Her—and She performed a miracle! A parishioner happened to know a town clerk who came in early on her day off to give them a marriage license and the marriage took place as planned. She is a mother—we should bring our Mother all our problems and concerns! Never forget—true devotion to Mary doesn’t lead us away from Jesus, it leads us to Jesus through Mary. We can never honor Mary too much because we can never honor her more than Jesus honors her. Come to Mary—and trust that She will lead you to her Son.
By: Father Joseph GillMore
I was driving home when I noticed two street signs that seemed incongruous. The train station and shop signs were pointing in the wrong directions; the exact opposite ones, to be precise. If I were a tourist, a traveler who is not familiar with the suburb, I would have followed the sign and got lost. I guess somebody had moved the street signs as a prank or even as an intentional deception. In our walk with the Lord too, we need to know who is navigating us—God, ourselves, others, or the evil one. If we are not aware of our surroundings, we can easily get lost or misled. This Lent, whose voice will we listen to? Judas…the crowd…Pilate…or Jesus…?
By: Dina Mananquil DelfinoMore
To be good at anything, we have to put time, effort, and practice into it. The same applies to our preparation for eternity. How well are we going to do at the end of year exams if we have put little or no time towards studying during the year? Similarly, how well will we stand up on judgment day when we are held accountable for our lives? In our preparation period on earth for eternity, how much of our life was spent in prayer, good works, and sacrifice? Our Lord paid the ultimate price for our salvation, but we have to play our part. As He has graciously allowed us to be part of that sacrifice, let us not waste this valuable opportunity. He, through Calvary, has given us a chance to be part of His redemption, to be part of His sanctity, consequently allowing mere humans to be called into sainthood. What a privilege! As my mother would always remind us, children, this life of ours on earth, short or long, is but a preparation period, the springboard to eternity. How we fare in the structure of eternal life will be determined not only by Jesus’ death and resurrection, but by every thought, word, and deed we perpetrated during the time we spent on earth.
By: Sean HampseyMore
If your sacrifices are dragging you down and causing you to dread Lent—take heart. Our Lady at Fatima gave the children a prayer which offers compelling reasons to sacrifice. Her words may help dispel your Lenten dreads. The prayer begins: “O Jesus, it (this sacrifice I am making) is for love of You.” Why not borrow those words and make them your own? Telling Jesus you are doing this hard Lenten thing for love of Him may remind you why you are denying yourself in the first place: you are making room in your heart, so that you may love Him more. Further, the prayer helped the children offer their sacrifices for “the conversion of sinners.” You can do the same. When you make a Lenten sacrifice, offer it for a specific loved one who is living far from God. “O Jesus, this is for love of You, for the conversion of......” Praying in Our Lady’s words will not lessen the difficulty of your sacrifices; but, because it sweetens them with love for Jesus and for lost souls, her words may truly help to dispel your Lenten dreads.
By: Margaret Ann StimatzMore
I am not one of those holy souls who look forward to Lent. However, I do have a few friends and family members who do. So, I try to take note of why that is the case. Just last week, my mom mentioned she was looking forward to Lent so she could invite her band, who are all senior citizens, to her parish fish fry. She said she’s really looking forward to it, since most of them aren’t Catholic but have mentioned that they like attending fish fries. After enjoying their traditional fish and chips, my mom is planning on reserving a room in the parish hall so the band can make music together after dinner. They call themselves the Silver Foxes and often visit nursing homes together to spread a little joy. My mom is a joyful evangelist, even at age 80! And she has unlocked the secret that Lent is for more than making penitential acts, but it is a time for growing the Kingdom of God by growing the Body of Christ.
By: Denise JasekMore