Friday, February 29, 2008

Mother Mary, Mother Mine: Poem by Ann Murray

With deepest thanks to Ann Murray, my Irish poet-friend whom I hope to meet one day. You can find more of her lovely poems on her blog here.

Mother Mary, Mother Mine

Mother of the Son of God
Mother of the Eternal Word
Mother of the child divine
Mother Mary, Mother mine.

Mother of Immanuel
Mother of the child of light
Mother of the sun and stars
Mother of the day and night.

Mother chaste and Mother pure
Mother meek and Mother mild
Listen to my prayer and pleading
As a mother heeds her child.

Listen to a world that’s weeping
Bring to Jesus all our sighs
Change hard hearts to glad hearts beating
As our many voices rise.

We who are your earthly children
Look to you in heaven above
Ask of you a Mother’s blessing
Find in you a Mothers love

The window is in St Patrick's Church, Cushendun, Co. Antrim

Friday Blessings

The first copies of my "Mary book" arrived on my doorstep yesterday ... it's such a thrill to hold it in my hands.

I want to give special, deeply appreciative thanks to Cheryl Dickow at Bezalel Books for her hard work in getting the book in print so beautifully and quickly. For more information about Bezalel (perhaps you have your own Mary book that you want to put in print), click here.

I'd also like to thank Mary Kochan for running the two excerpts from Behold Your Mother on Catholic Exchange. You can find them here and here.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

"And from that hour the disciple took her into his home..." (Jn 19:27)

Thanks to Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle for sending me today's image of Mary. After some discussion, we've concluded that it is the image of the beloved disciple John tending to Mary after the death of Christ. What do you think?

As a child I remember a simple chorus that was a favorite of mine:

Into my heart, into my heart,
Come into my heart, Lord Jesus!
Come in today, come in to stay,
Come into my heart, Lord Jesus!

This invitation of childlike trust echoes inside me each time I receive the Lord in the Eucharist, asking Him to come by the Spirit, wipe away all traces of uncleanness, and take up residence there. Each time I do this, I echo Mary's "yes!" "Yes, Lord, I believe ... Yes, Lord, I am expectantly, unconditionally yours. Starting right here, this moment."

I've known many Christians over the years who pray a similar prayer (though without the Eucharistic graces associated with the sacrament) and mean it. They want to be like Jesus. They want to love like Jesus. They want the same intimate relationship with the Father that Jesus had.

But His mother, they'd just as soon forget, except to haul her out to sit beside the manger each year at Christmastime. My brothers and sister, this we must not do.

With His dying breaths, Jesus entrusted His mother to John. And the Scriptures say, "From that hour the disciple took her into his home." Protected her. Sustained her. Loved her as a devoted son, for the sake of Jesus. Honored her, just as Jesus does.

So ... if Jesus is living in our hearts, and we want to love as He loved ... we must begin with the Woman he loved most, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Let us welcome her into our hearts and homes. Not to worship her ... God forbid! But to acknowledge how grateful to her for her blind, obedient faith ... and for her continued ministrations to us, now that she beholds the face of God.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mary and Motherhood: From "Embracing Motherhood"

At "Embracing Motherhood," Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle shares her own perspective on Mary and motherhood:

How can the Virgin Mother of God, the first disciple, a member of the Holy Family, and the Mother of the Church also be my mother? How does the Blessed Mother's life affect mine? How can a simple mother like me aspire to imitate such an amazing mother?
For the answers to these and other questions, click on the link to Donna's introduction to her Catholic Exchange article here.

"Behold Your Mother" now on

Cheryl Dickow at Bezalel Books announced that "Behold Your Mother" is now listed at Here's the link!

If you have written a review and would like to post it here, be my guest. Also, for those who wish to purchase the book and have not yet done so, it would be great if you'd consider buying from, since that will get the ratings going in the right direction.

Thanks to all of you who have been so kind and generous with your endorsements. I appreciate you!

Quote of the Day, from Jean Heimann and St. Alphonsus Liguori

This is from Jean Heimann at Catholic Fire:

"The most blessed Virgin can obtain everything from God, because she is His true Mother, and is so much beloved by Him; and she will do everything for us, because she is our Mother also, and loves us so much.

"Let us, therefore, always try to gain her friendship more and more; let us ingratiate ourselves with her more and more, by continually fostering in ourselves devotion towards her. Every day let us say her Rosary. Fast in her honor every Saturday. Observe the novenas and the fast before all her principal feasts. Practice some devotion also on all her smaller, even her smallest feasts. And let us, besides, in all our necessities, in all our misfortunes, have recourse to her, have confidence in her; and through her security in life, security in death, security through all eternity."

~ St. Alphonsus Liguori

Monday, February 25, 2008

Our Lady of the Rosary: Novena Invitation

I received this quote this morning from Jean Heimann at Catholic Fire:

"The Rosary, especially prayed in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, is a powerful means of spiritual grace. In all of our efforts to promote the sanctity of human life, prayer is our first and strongest resource. May we rely upon the power of our Lord's presence in the Blessed Sacrament and the intercession of His Blessed Mother to guide and help us in fostering a greater respect for human life and an end to abortion in our society..."
~ Most Reverend Thomas Daily
Please join Jean and all of us who are praying for an end to abortion in a novena beginning March 7. The details are here.

Image of Mary: Mother of the Stressed

Today I was checking out the nominations for the 2008 Catholic Blog Awards and came across this phenominal website about the Blessed Mother called "Our Lady's Tears." One of Sanctus Belle's recent posts, entitled "Mother of the Stressed," I thought was particularly insightful. She writes:

"Why is it that so many women work full time, have homes, families and they handle it so much better than me?" (I only work a mere 20 hours a week btw) He chucked and said "The majority of professionals take antidepressants" You know what? He's right....I don't take any medication and so from time to time I get "stressed out" trying to meet everybody's needs. Thankfully this tends to be short lived, but tough in the midst of it.(sigh)

"Lord I pray not for a lesser burden in this life, but rather a stronger back with which to bear it. Help me to find balance so that I may love You, know You, serve my neighbor and You better. Amen+"

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mother of Japan ... Third Week of Lent

Sarah at "Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering" sent me a link to a blog entitled "Holy Cards for Your Inspiration."

I was particularly struck by this unusual image of the Blessed Mother:

"Eve believed the devil
and the world perished!
Mary put her faith in the Angel of God
and the world was saved!"

St. Lawrence Brindisi

Saturday, February 23, 2008


An article here on Catholic Exchange today explains succinctly yet eloquently the history of the Church's teaching on the role of Mary in the salvation of the human race.

For many people -- including, as I understand it, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, before he became Pope Benedict XVI -- this title was considered problematic for the simple reason that it is too easily subject to misunderstanding and misinterpretation. All Marian dogmas developed in relationship to our deepening understanding of the person, nature, and work of Christ. As the mother of the divine person, Christ, she herself was not (and has never been considered) divine by nature. And yet she is rightly called the Theotokos, God-bearer, because in giving birth to Christ, she in fact gave birth to God Incarnate.

It is very, very important to keep in mind that, even if the Church were to pronounce Mary "Co-Redemptrix" by virtue of her role in God's plan of salvation, the "Co-" would not signify -- could never signify -- that Mary shared an equal role with Christ, the Redeemer of the World. (As one person in the CE article commented, a "co-star" or "co-pilot" does not have the same level of importance as the star and pilot, respectively. It would be sacraligious to suggest that the "Trinity" could ever become a "Quadrinity."

Rather (as I understand it), those who are asking the pope to define this particular dogma seek to acknowledge that, from the beginning, Mary was to be the channel by which God's plan of salvation was realized. From all eternity, God determined that Mary would be the woman uniquely called, and distinctively prepared, to be the Ark of the New Covenant, the New Eve, the Mother of the Church.

None of this by her own merit (as she herself would no doubt tell you), but all of it sheerly by God's grace -- the same grace that infuses us with divine life in the Eucharist, and will utterly restore us to perfection in heaven. Mary was the first to experience this perfection ... and as Mother of the Redeemer, she is able to intercede for us no other mother can.

Mary Poetry: Mother of God in Sacred Art

Today at "Just Another Day in Paradise," I came across this beautiful poem dedicated to the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (which technically was/is Jan 1 but I didn't want to wait until next year!). Ruth Tucker's post included a wonderful slideshow of sacred art featuring the Blessed Mother. Be sure to check it out!

Here's the poem:

Ave Maria Stella (Hail, Mary of the Stars)

Hail thou star of ocean
Portal of the sky
Ever virgin Mother
Of the Lord Most High
O! by Gabriel's Ave
Uttered long ago,
Eva's name reversing,
Established peace below

Break the captives' fetters,
Light on blindness pour,
All our ills expelling,
Every bliss implore

Show thyself a Mother,
Offer Him our sighs,
Who for us incarnate
Did not thee despise
Virgin of all virgins
To thy shelter take us,
Gentlest of the gentle
Chaste and gentle make us

Still, as on we journey,
Help our weak endeavor,
Till with thee and Jesus
We rejoice forever
Through the highest heaven,
To the almighty Three
Father, Son, and Spirit,
One same glory be.Amen.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Catholic Saints Prayer Book: A Review

The Catholic Saints Prayer Book, by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, Our Sunday Visitor, 80 pages

The Church’s hagiography has inspired whole libraries of books, the best of which paint a distinctive portrait of one or more of our beloved spiritual mothers and fathers. We love to hear and tell these stories over and over, for these stories provide our only real connection in this life with our spiritual forebears, our only opportunity to know them as we would like.

The Catholic Saints Prayer Book reminds us of another important reason to ruminate on the lives of the saints. This reason is perhaps best summed up in the words of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the spiritual mother of the author of this charming little book: “The Church of God needs saints today. This imposes a great responsibility on us. We must become holy not because we want to feel holy, but because Christ must be able to live His life fully in us” (p.10).

Each of the thirty-two saints contained in this book remind us that the pathway to holiness is not easily traversed. It is a way of suffering. Of grief. Of struggle against our basest impulses. In the words of St. Ignatius of Loyola, “There is no better wood to kindle the fire of holy love than the wood of the cross.”

Above all, it is a way of prayer. And for this, The Catholic Saints Prayer Book provides a simple yet eloquent resource for those who want to grow closer to our heavenly family. Each chapter includes a list of patronages, brief biography, and closing prayer to lead you gently yet deeply into that “blessed communion, fellowship divine.” Delicate illustrations are scattered throughout, making this a wonderful gift for birthdays, Mother’s Day … or simply for your own prayer corner.

Heidi Hess Saxton
Editor, “Canticle” Magazine
Author, Behold Your Mother: Mary Stories and Reflections from a Catholic Convert

Quote of the Day: St. Marguerite Bourgeoys

“Our Lady’s love is like a stream that has its source in the Eternal Fountain, quenches the thirst of all, can never be drained, and ever flows back to its source.”
St. Marguerite Bourgeoys
As quoted in Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle's
The Catholic Saints Prayer Book (OSV)

New at

My wonderful husband worked into the wee hours this morning to get our website updated, and included an online store where you can pre-order Behold Your Mother. There has been an exciting new development ... preorder as many copies as you want by March 15, and shipping for the entire order (not just the first copy) is free! Whether you order one or ten, just pay $10 per book, and we'll cover all shipping charges. (Includes orders in continental U.S. only).

If you want it autographed, just send me a note and let me know whose name you want printed inside. Thanks!

A Mary Story ... from Terri

This comes to us from Terri at

I grew up Catholic but never had any true devotion to Mary. As I look back back, I never really had a relationship with Jesus either.

We went to church on Sundays and I went to CCD classes but that was the extent of my faith life. In 1998, I had a conversion experince (long story) that changed my spiritual life forever. I began a relationship with the Lord I now knew personnaly (before I only knew ABOUT Him). I prayed everyday, "Lord, Help me to know you better."

It is only in hind sight that I can tell you that His answer to that prayer was to introduce me to His mother. As my relationship with her developed, my love for Jesus increased too. I have many Mary stories. None of them seem extremely miraculous but since one of my many prayers is for Holy Indifference, I'm sure I won't see the results of most of my prayers this side of Heaven.

Oh Mary, conceived without sin. Pray for us who have recourse to thee!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Mary: Cause of a Toddler's Joy

Kate Wicker, brave lady, sent me this adorable post about her toddler's efforts to "be like Mary."

Yes, dear Kate, I believe the Blessed Mother smiled down on you both at that moment! She never had a daughter ... but she understands that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery!

A Mary Story: Waiting for Baby

The following story comes from Tracy Shea at, and is used with her permission:

This is my Mary Story.In May of '05, I found out I was pregnant with my second child, 9 years after my first was born. This was a surprise child, and we were shocked, but excited (and afraid, financially.) We went for an ultrasound as a family, to find out if we were buying pink or blue- a boy!

The shock came when it was discovered that he was missing some fingers and toes. I was absolutely sick and terrified as the testing began. First, the high-risk doctor, the genetic counseling, the ultrasounds, and amniocentisis-which I refused. When I asked about the risks, and what they could do for the baby, the reply was "well, you'll know if there is a genetic flaw and you can make a decision about whether or not to keep him." I was pregnant, wasn't I? Hadn't I made the decision???

They predicted possible vision, hearing, organ problems, cleft lip/palate..and the list went on. I laid in bed every night, crying out to Jesus and Mary to please help my baby! Would he be able to walk, to use his hands? Will he be able to see, to hear, to run around with other children? I was so afraid.

My Godfather gave me a miraculous medal. It had belonged to my Aunt who is now in heaven. I have not taken it off since the day he gave it to me. "Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee."was my prayer many, many times a day. I went to a healing service with Dr. Nehmeh, and I prayed the rosary and asked that my baby be healed.

One day, while I was in church before mass, praying for my son, I looked up at the crucifix. It was then that I noticed in a special way the wounds on Christ's hands and feet- and I thought of my son. Even Jesus's hands were made imperfect in this world! And, I was less afraid. Day by day, with Mary as my guide, I became more confident that things would be alright.

The pregnancy was a healthy one, and the monthly ultrasounds started to rule out many of the complications that the doctors had predicted. I cannot truly say that my son was healed, but my soul was healed and made brave enough to endure. Sean was born on January 24th, 2006 at 3:21 pm. Today he sees, hears, runs around like a li'l crazy boy, and is perfectly normal by all accounts. He is missing his middle fingers and toes and had orthopaedic surgery to repair the clefts. His little scars remind me of Christ's wounds every day, and I kiss them, and thank God for him.
One mother writes in response to this story: BEAUTIFUL!! Sounds much like my story, except my little guy is very handicapped. God knows what He is doing though--and my faith has helped me every day. God bless.

Do you have a "Mary story" you'd like to share with readers here? Send it to hsaxton(at)christianword(dot)com.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What's a Miraculous Medal?: by Sister Mary Martha

Don't forget to check out this week's Catholic Carnival, by Melissa at "The Third Way." Great job, Melissa!

On February 17, Sister Mary Martha posted this explanation of the Miraculous Medal at her blog "Ask St. Mary Martha." It turns out that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the patron of motorcycle riders! She also has an excellent suggestion about what you should do if you have more than one of these medals (which is proportedly a self-portrait of the Blessed Virgin).

Thank you, Sister Mary Martha!

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Mary Story

Angela (from shares this true story about her grandfather ...

During WWII, my grandfather was in the army. He was on the battlefield and ordered to run across the line. There were cannons blasting everywhere, and most of his buddies were dropping like flies. He prayed to Our Lady and began running as ordered.

He saw a cannon fire, saw the ball coming towards him ... and then it dropped, right there in midair. All the other cannons misfired and he was able to reach his destination safely. Ever since, he has had a special devotion to Our Lady.

My grandmother is named Carmella after Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, and every year on July 16th we would go to Hammonton, NJ for the procession of saints, Mass, and festival. It was a tradition until my grandfather passed away and my grandmother moved to Florida.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Honest Question: Why do we need a relationship with Mary?

Dear Heidi: Why is it necessary to have any kind of relationship with Mary, and why does the Bible never emphasize this? I'm coming from many years as a protestant, have recently converted to Eastern Orthodoxy, but often attend Catholic Mass (which I love) because the EO church is not close by. I find myself drawn to Mary more recently, but am afraid of displeasing God. I really look forward to your answer. Thank you. Anne

Dear Anne: I understand where you are coming from, simply because I've been there myself. In the first chapter of "Behold Your Mother," I tell the true story of how I begged God not to let anything happen that I could take as a "sign" that it was OK to talk to Mary, if it was displeasing to Him that I do so. Three times I prayed this prayer. Three times my request to Mary was granted.

Many converts find it unsettling, to say the least, to discover that many long-cherished "truths" about the faith they believe they have found in verses of Scripture that do not hold up to the light of the ongoing Tradition of the Church (the same Tradition that gave us the Bible to begin with). I spent the first thirty years of my life confident that I "knew" what was true and right simply by reading the Bible for myself. (Why other Christians had different interpretations, and we both could be correct, I never paused to consider.)

So please understand that I write what follows as someone who has been right where you are ... and that I mean to encourage you not to be afraid, but trust that your loving Heavenly Father understands your need for light and truth. Each time you get a little more light, offer Him your humble and childlike "YES!" And trust Him to enlighten your mind, until the shadows disappear.

The short answer is that we want to have a relationship with Mary because we love Jesus, and so we love those whom Jesus loves. Jesus loves Mary in a special way because she is His mother -- and continues to be His mother in heaven, just as she continues to be our mother. Why? There are two reasons:

1. Because of the Incarnation. Mary's "yes" set the wheels in motion for the Word of God to come to earth and make it possible for us to be come children of God by adoption ... He is our brother, His Father is our Father, and He made His mother our mother as He died upon the cross (John 19:26-27). He continues to have that body in heaven (albeit in glorified form), and because of her obedience ... so shall we. She is our first and most perfect model of faith.

2. Because of the communion of the saints. Christians honor the saints both for their earthly example (including the writings many of them left behind to guide us) as well as their intercessions on our behalf. The Bible refers to the intercession of the saints in Revelation 5:8

When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
So why doesn't the Bible explicitly mention Mary's spiritual motherhood? Let's set aside the John reference for the moment, and address a separate but important related question: Can we know something to be true without it being spelled out explicitly in Scripture?

We know for a fact that it can ... You can't find the word "Trinity" or "hypostatic union" anywhere in Scripture. The earliest Creeds of the Church are not spelled out anywhere in Scripture for the simple reason that the great Christological and Trinitarian dogmas were developed in the third through fifth centuries.

Similarly, our understanding of Mary's motherhood developed over time (in response to the Christological dogmas). In the fourth century, St. Ambrose wrote: "Let, then, the life of Mary be as it were virginity itself, set forth in a likeness, from which, as from a mirror, the appearance of chastity and the form of virtue is reflected. From this you may take your pattern of life, showing, as an example, the clear rules of virtue: what you have to correct, to effect, and to hold fast." (Concerning Widows, Book II, Chapter II).

Here we have the first reason to cultivate a relationship with Mary: to follow her example, just as we learn about how to be a wife and mother from our own mothers. As Mary's daughters, we try to emulate our mother especially in our eagerness to assent to every aspect of the revealed will of God.

Do not worry if you don't "feel" close to her right away. Every human relationship goes through seasons, and the parent-child relationship is no exception. As children we may think of our parents as all-knowing and all-powerful (even though they themselves know they are not); as teenagers we may be embarrassed by them; as adults, we begin to realize the sacrifices they made for us, and begin to appreciate them not just as parents, but as human beings as well.

Mary is not offended when her adopted children do not rush into her lap right away. The fact of her motherhood does not depend on your response; no matter what, she continues to love. And the best way that she shows this love is this: Mary never, ever keeps any of the honors her children show her for herself. Rather, she offers them back to Jesus, and leads us closer to His Sacred Heart.

Mary understands that you were not raised to love her as a mother -- and that, like many adoptive children, you need time for that bond of trust to develop. Start small. When you go inside the Church to say hello to Jesus in His Eucharistic Presence, stop by the little statue of Mary and her Son and say hello to her, too. Go to your local Catholic bookstore, and find an icon or holy card or medal with a picture of Mary that you like, and put it by your bedside table or in your prayer corner. Before bed each night, say a decade of the Rosary -- so many of the prayers of the Rosary are straight out of the Scriptures. Before you do, you might feel more comfortable if you start with this little prayer:

Here I am, Jesus. I want to please You in everything I do, everything I think, everything I am. Because I love you, I want to honor those You honor, and love those You love. You love Mary, and I want to love her, too. I know that You perfectly fulfilled the Scriptures, and honored both your Father and mother. Show me how I can honor Your mother in a way that gives joy to Your Sacred Heart. Amen.

Mary's "Yes": Sarah Reinhard

Click here for a thoughtful reflection on the Annunciation, in which Sarah reflects on Mary as the Mother of God as part of her "perpetual rosary."

Sarah Reinhard is a wife and mother, author of the popular Catholic blog "Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering" and contributing writer to "Canticle" magazine.

Mother's Mother ... from Leticia Velasquez

"Someone challenged Blessed Mother Teresa about her devotion to Our Lady. She replied that Our Lord loves His mother, and we should follow His example. Once we love Our Lady more than He, THEN we should stop!"

Leticia Velasquez
(Her blogs are dedicated to Our Lady as Cause of Our Joy: Mount Carmel Bloggers, Cause of Our Joy)

(Thanks to Leticia for linking to the Station Churches of Rome on her "Cause of Our Joy" blog. A great resource for Lent!)

(Photo of Mother Teresa and little Joseph courtesy of Joseph's mother, Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Adoptive Love

The Bible tells us that we are adopted by God the Father (Galatians 4:5-6).

"When the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba, Father!' So through God you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then an heir."
As true children of God, this makes Jesus -- who was both fully God and fully Man -- our Brother. His death on the cross redeemed not only our souls, but that every part of us might enter in to His divine life!

It is no wonder, then, that one of the last things He did before He died was to forever secure that link to His humanity as well as His divinity. How? From the cross, He made Mary our mother when He said to the "beloved disciple," "Behold your mother ... behold your son." (John 19:26-27).

This is difficult for many of us who are new to Catholic theology to get our hearts and minds around. However, this is not just the opinion of one over-excited convert. The Church has venerated Mary since the very beginning, and delared at the Council of Ephesus (A.D. 431) that Mary is the "Theotokos" ... the "God Bearer." They honored her as such in response to heretics such as Nestorious who denied Christ's full humanity, for it was she who gave the Son of God His humanity.

So why is it that Christians can abandon themselves to an intimate relationship with Jesus ... yet continue to hold His Mother at arms' length? In a nutshell: adoption anxiety. For those who are raised in the arms of Mother Church, thinking of Mary as their "heavenly mother" comes very naturally -- just as it was no big deal for our Sarah to accept Craig's and my ministrations at the tender age of six months. At her age, she knew only that we met her needs, and she was happy.

For the older two children, that bond of trust took a lot longer to develop. It took WEEKS before they voluntarily came near my husband, and almost as long before they looked to me for any real "mothering." The older one especially insisted on doing everything herself.

One night I realized that this was a lot like how I had approached Mary. She knew she was my mother ... but she waited for me to ASK for her before she intervened. I tell several stories about this in my book.

The fact that I didn't WANT her didn't change the fact of her motherhood, didn't change the fact that she loved me even if I didn't love her.

"Honor thy father and mother." Jesus perfectly fulfilled the Commandments, and honoring Mary does not detract from the worship we offer God because all true devotion to Mary leads straight to Jesus. When we come to her, she always leads us to her Son.

A Mary Story

When I decided to start this blog dedicated to the Blessed Mother, and in thanksgiving for the publication of my little book Behold Your Mother, I intended to start with one of my own Mary stories. But Our Lord never grows tired of finding ways to honor His Mother, and today I encountered a fresh story at the "Spitfire Grill."

And so, without further ado, I'd like to introduce you to Sr. Wenonah-Kareri Chapman, O.P. Before I share her story, I'd like to share a special prayer request. She writes:

"Imagine having such a miracle and taking another 54 years to complete conversion. All is in our Gracious Lord's time. I had a malignant growth removed and, today, had a bit of plastic surgery because of an infection. Sadly, it was the return of cancer, after a 4 year hiatus. I'd appreciate prayers."

Here is her story:

I was born in 1941, a 6 months baby, weighing in at 4.5 lbs. In 1941 there were no incubators, nor was there such a thing as formula. The majority of preemies died. I was also born with a congenital Central Nervous Central Disorder which precluded me ever walking. This greatly distressed my mother. FDR and his wheel-chair were in the White House and, had I been a boy this would have given her hope, but being a girl caused her great distress. Simply put, she feared that I would never marry.

When I was 3 years old, I taught myself to read. My Grandmother visited us every Wednesday and would read to me from the Bible. Well, that wasn't enough. I wanted more stories of Jesus. So, I simply taught myself to read.

Just after my 4th birthday my mother, an American Baptist, decided on something radical, more radical than anything else she would ever do. You see, she was rabidly anti-Catholic and to decide to take me to the Shrine of St. Anne Beaupré, Quebec was beyond comprehension. But, that's what she did. In a one day trip. From New Haven, Connecticut to Quebec and back in one day!

Having walked the 17 miles (carrying me) from the train station, she placed me on the steps in front of the altar and went to the back of the church. She sat there until she had no choice but to leave to catch the train back to New Haven. Tears streaming down her face, she picked me up, left the church and walked back to the train station.

Two weeks later, my brother, sister and I were all in the living room. I was on my blanket on the floor, they were on the sofa. My 17 year old brother, on leave from the Marine Corps, was reading. My 5 year old sister was playing with her doll. Well, I had asked if one of them would get a book for me--at least twice. So, I got up, walked across the room, retrieved the book I wanted and went and sat in my mother's Cricket Rocker.

Suddenly we heard my mother screaming--at my brother and sister. She wanted to know who had moved me. They both denied it.

"I did it Mommy," I calmly said. She demanded that I showed her how.

So I did. I have walked almost everyday since then. Only broken bones have slowed me down. X-Rays and neurological tests indicate that I cannot walk. I always tell the doctor "I walked in here, I'll walk out of here."

The next week I demanded that I be granted the 'right' to go to Sunday School. The next-door neighbors were nice, safe Congregationalists and they agreed to take me. No one in my family went to church, and I didn't DARE suggest the Catholic Church. Even at 4 I knew better.And, so I did. Faithfully for the next 58 years.

Sister's story reminds me of how gentle, how merciful, how generous God is with those who seek after truth. He does not turn away from the honest question of one who is willing to submit to truth, rather than demand that truth conform to their preconceived notions!
Dear Holy Mother Wisdom, pray for your dear daughter Wenonah-Kateri, who is facing a dark place in her path right now called
Cancer. Make her way bright enough to follow, and shady enough to cause her to look to the one who called Himself "the Way, the Truth, and the Life." You who can intercede with wisdom born of empathy, pray for us. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!