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Feb 09, 2021 283 Patricia Dowey,
Encounter

“I Need Your Permission”

I was praying for a miracle and then I heard the gentle voice of Mary, my mother.

Into Your Heart

I am an only child, loved and cherished by my parents. My father was a devout Catholic but my mother was a member of the Protestant Church of Scotland. However she was very happy for me to be raised in the Catholic Faith, so I attended a Catholic school where I was fortunate to be taught by the Sisters of Mercy and the Marist Brothers. I remember singing her all the hymns I had learned, but, as a non-Catholic, the hymns to Our Lady were unknown to her.

Amazingly, these became her favorites and she would proudly sing them when she attended May devotions and Marian Processions with my Dad and I. She encouraged me to join “The Children of Mary” and it was her love for the Mother of God which led her to join the Catholic Church many years later. I was also fortunate to have a very devout aunt who fostered my love for Mary. I loved to visit the beautiful church of Our Lady of Victories, next to my school, on my way home and spend a few minutes before the Lady Altar and felt that this was pleasing to Her and that She loved me.

This relationship which was born in my childhood continued into my adult life, so in times of stress or hardship I would turn to Mary, my Mother and always feel Her tenderness, concern and loving help. I had a very difficult marriage, due to my late husband’s addiction to alcohol, so one day I decided to pray a Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour.

My parish at that time was run by the Redemptorists who have a particular devotion to Our Lady under that title. A week later my husband stopped drinking! We had 14 months of peaceful sobriety, but unfortunately the addiction returned. Nevertheless, I am so grateful to Mary, because during that time, my youngest daughter, Alice was born—a fourth blessing.

Pentecost without Mary?

In 1989, I experienced the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. My spiritual life was enriched by being part of a Charismatic prayer group and I helped run “Life in the Spirit” seminars for several parishes. Then in 1993, I began to lead a prayer group and we ran these seminars again. I have always been grateful for the new relationship with Jesus that came about as a result of my baptism in the Holy Spirit, but became very aware that there was no mention of Our Blessed Mother because the seminars were based on a programme introduced by the Pentecostal churches. How can we have a Pentecost experience without Mary? When I suggested that this was an omission, my good friend John Vaughan Neil agreed and rewrote his excellent seminar, “Sons and Daughters of the Living God” with prayers to bring participants into a new and deeper relationship with their Heavenly Mother.

In I994, I felt a strong call from Our Lady to visit Medjugorje and although the war was still going on in Bosnia, my friend, Anne and I managed to travel there with a small group from Ireland. This led to a radical change in my spiritual life. We were privileged to be in this holy village for the 10th anniversary of the Consecration of the World to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. So on the 25th of March, we took part in a procession up the Hill of Apparitions (Podbrdo) led by a Czechoslovakian Bishop who was a personal friend of Pope John Paul II.

There, he urged us to consecrate ourselves and our families to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, telling us that this was a place of refuge and safety for the whole world. I did this, feeling happy that I had offered such a lovely prayer. The next day, I was surprised to find that I repeated the same prayer, word for word, and realized that it had been given to me by Our Lady. I have prayed it every day since. I have also prayed the 33 Day Consecration to Mary, as written by St. Louis de Montfort, which I cannot recommend highly enough. To entrust everything into Our Lady’s hands and to Her most powerful intercession is to experience Her maternal loving care and find true peace.

A Gentle Voice

I would need all of Her unfailing support in 2016 when my younger son Ruairi, was diagnosed with a brain tumour. He was only 33, a fit and healthy father of 2 young children. I immediately called upon Our Lady, asking Her to hold my son in her arms just as She had held Jesus and to sit with him on Her lap, at the foot of the Cross. I also asked Jesus that He would only see Ruairi in the arms of His Mother. Sadly, in spite of the treatment that he received and all the many people who were praying for him, it became obvious in July of 2017 that there was to be no miracle. My son was dying. One Saturday at Mass, I sensed a gentle voice within me saying, “I need your permission.” I tried to ignore it, but it continued, gently yet persistently, “I need your permission”.

I knew it was Our Lady asking me to allow Her to let Ruairi go. I wept so many tears but knew that God loved my son and wanted the best for him, so I gave my permission. How gracious is Our dear Mother to ask. Days later, my darling son passed away, but the knowledge that he was with our Heavenly Mother was a huge consolation for me. Now, 3 years later, I can even thank God for the great privilege He granted—allowing me to share in the sorrows and sufferings of Mary. We have both experienced the agony of losing a son. Ruairi chose St. Maximilian Kolbe as his Confirmation saint. Like this great saint, he loved Our Lady and The Memorare was his favorite prayer. St. Maximilian said, “Never be afraid of loving Mary too much because you can never love her as much as Jesus does”. How true! Put your hand in Hers and let Her lead you to Heaven.

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Patricia Dowey

©Patricia Dowey is a retired Primary School teacher. As a mother of four children and eleven wonderful grandchildren she lives in Dundee, Scotland.

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