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May 12, 2020 453 0 Sister Jane M. Abeln SMIC
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Love that blossomed in springtime

My love for Mary began in my childhood. When my godmother gave me a tiny silver rosary for my First Holy Communion, Dad promised me, “Janie, if you say your Rosary every day, the Blessed Mother will always take care of you.” If I didn’t join Dad in his daily Rosary, he would ask me, “Did you say your Rosary today?” I’d usually admit that I hadn’t, but finally promised him, “When I’m 8, I’ll begin.” Ever since my 8th birthday, I’ve kept that commitment to say at least one set of Mysteries every day.

When God called me to religious life, I was drawn to the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, partly because they were dedicated to Mary. I appreciated our daily Rosary before Evening Prayer and the Saturday evening Rosary processions to the Lourdes grotto. I often turned to Mary when I felt stressed by the challenges of teaching and ministry. When I accepted an invitation to teach in Taiwan, I practised the only Chinese I’d learned – a phonetic version of the Hail Mary – hundreds of times on the plane ride there.

Shortly after I returned from Taiwan, Dad revealed that when I was born, he said, “Blessed Mother, she’s yours.” Wow—what a great Epiphany. I instantly understood why Mary was so important to me. This explained why I felt drawn to make a grotto with a statue of Our Lady in my room as a child, where I could pray her Rosary. My mother and my brothers had not felt attracted to the Rosary, and even resisted praying it as a family. I am forever grateful that my Dad consecrated me to Mary in that simple way when I was born.

Power of Consecration

When our Missionary Sisters meet for prayer we begin, “O Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I consecrate this hour (or day, or myself) to you as an act of perfect love….” But I didn’t make a formal consecration for many years. When I heard that Pope John Paul II motto was Totus Tuus, I wondered, what it meant to give everything to Jesus through Mary. Then a friend invited me to join a group to prepare for the De Montfort Total Consecration, which we made at a Church in New York City in 1990.

Throughout my five years at Franciscan University of Steubenville, I passed up several opportunities to join in preparing for a December 8th Consecration.

Then in 1998, I decided to do it again as a renewal with others on this campus of fervent Catholics. The De Montfort renewal prayer became a treasured part of my daily prayer: “I am all Yours, and all I have is Yours, my most loving Jesus, through Mary Your holy Mother.”

My Journey Home

A Marian priest, Fr. Michael Gaitley said that he longed to be a saint but felt that his many failings impeded him. However, when he read that “Consecration to Mary is the short, easy, secure, and most effective way to become a saint” everything changed. Fr. Michael was inspired to write 33 Days to Morning Glory, a Do-It-Yourself retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration. The essence of this method is daily readings from the saints. I was inspired by pondering key passages from St Louis de Montfort, St Maximilian Kolbe, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and Pope St John Paul II. I used 33 Days to Morning Glory to regularly renew and deepen my consecration to Mary and shared this with others.

I can truly affirm that Our Blessed Mother has taken marvellous care of me. Despite my weaknesses and failings, Our Lady has led me closer to the Heart of her Son, Jesus. My life journey has been enriched by contemplating her messages from her appearances at Lourdes, Fatima and Mexico. Every day, I walk with my beautiful Mother, happily confident that she will lead me home to Heaven. I heartily encourage others to make and renew this total consecration to Jesus through Mary.

Mary, my Mother, I give myself totally to you as your possession and property. Please make of me, of all that I am and have, whatever most pleases you. Let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and merciful hands for bringing the greatest possible glory to God. Amen.

Sister Jane M. Abeln SMIC

© has been a Missionary Sister of the Immaculate Conception for 59 years and in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal for 48 years. She taught English and religion in the United States, Taiwan and the Philippines and has various spiritual ministries.

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