Welcome to September and our fifth e-letter to the Lilies of Saint Maria. Each month or as often as we can, we will post a free e-letter on our website, Lilies of Saint Maria, for all our visitors to read. Both Rebekah and I, Bernadette, will take turns writing the e-letter. We will try to include some inspiring words, any news from here or afar, magazine sneak peeks or updates, prayer requests, and/or anything else that we think would spark your interest. To make this letter more convenient to read, it will not only be available to those visiting our site, we will also send it to you via email after you sign up for it HERE.
Our audience is, of course, directed toward Catholic girls and teens, but everyone is invited to take a look!
Just a Few Thoughts . . .
As of late, I have come across quite a few times, the mention of the consecration to Mary according to St. Louis de Montfort. To name just one time, I read a very well-written biography of Venerable Maria Teresa Quevedo. In it I read, "As a novice, she read the Story of a Soul, the autobiography of Saint Therese, and commented that she loved her "little way" and agreed with its philosophy. But to her, this little way must be carried a little further in that it must be extended to the ‘Total Consecration to Mary’ of Saint Louis Marie de Montfort's True Devotion.
This total consecration I think is something for everyone to know and if you’re aware of it already, then it would be a good time to refresh your mind about it. For me it was not just a should know, I am a soul who must rely on her Mother - I cannot so much as approach my beloved Savior without conscientiously letting my Mother Mary go first.
Quite a few years ago (I believe when I was only 10) I bought the book True Devotion to Mary by Saint Louis de Montfort which explains, in entirety, total consecration to Mary, which we have been speaking about. I read it, but it didn't exactly seep through all the way. I read it again a year or so later and boom! What inspiration and revelation I encountered on each page! My devotion to Mary certainly soared after that, although I know I looked to Mary for most of my needs before that point in my life - especially after the example set by my Momma who is in heaven now. But Saint Louis de Montfort opened up Mary's role and love for her Son and us in a whole new light, something much more solid than my devotion to her before. True Devotion to Mary may not be such an eye opening experience for you as it was for me, but it is certainly a must read.
I regret, I can't explain the entire text of True Devotion to Mary or St. Louis de Montfort’s Total Consecration to Mary here. Which means you’ll need to get a copy of True Devotion to Mary for yourself or reread the one sitting on your shelf. But it would be only fair of me to give you somewhat of a peek into this transforming devotion.
St. Louis de Montfort presents his reader with a devotion to Mary that is, no, not new, but something that was adopted by many great saints before him. He explains that because God wished Mary to be the bridge for Jesus to come to us, she is to be the bridge for us to reach Jesus. We are to take Mary as our shining star, such as the star that lead the Wise Men to Jesus. This doesn’t seem so different from any other devotion to Mary does it? True Devotion to Mary consists of knowing, loving, and serving Mary so that we can better know, love and serve God. She is the saint above all saints. The holiest of all humans after Jesus Christ Himself. And because of her fidelity to Christ and her sinlessness she is more than worthy to be our Mediatrix with the Mediator.
When we call upon Mary, Mary calls upon Christ. Where there is Mary, there is Jesus. The two are inseparable. Reminds me of a question that was posed to Saint Bernadette once right after she received her First Communion. A person asked which made her happier, conversing with the Blessed Virgin or receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. Bernadette hesitated a moment, and then replied, “I don’t know; these two things go together and can’t be compared. All I know is that I was intensely happy in both cases.”
The Total Consecration to Mary is called total, because we give everything to Jesus through Mary, everything that we have and are, spiritual and temporal. This totality Saint Louis de Montfort calls Holy Slavery. He calls those who adopt this devotion, Slaves of Jesus and Mary.
Saint Bernard once said, “Who can live without loving Mary?”
Saint Bonaventure exclaims, “God could make a grandeur world, a greater heaven; but a greater Mother than the Mother of God He cannot make!”
September 15th is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows or as it was traditionally called, The Seven Sorrows of Mary. Can you name the Seven Sorrows of Mary?
1) Prophecy of Simeon
2) Flight into Egypt
3) Loss of Jesus for Three days
4) The Way of the Cross
6) Descent from the Cross
7) Jesus lying in the Sepulcher
On the opposite hand, you would probably think of the Seven Joys of Mary - I did anyway. And what are they?
Mary and Joseph went sorrowing for three days searching for the Divine Child they had lost. That is why it is one of the Seven Sorrows of Mary. They both took their sorrow to God in the Temple, and there, to their immense joy and relief, found Jesus safe and sound amidst the doctors. This is why it is one the Seven Joys of Mary.
What heartache must have swept over the Holy Couple after realizing their Jesus was not among their relatives. Yet they persevered in Faith, they relied on God and went to Him in their grief. Like they, we too, can go to God with our trouble no matter how big or how petty and like they, will receive comfort and strength.
No matter how petty I say again, for remember what happened at the marriage feast of Cana? Mary told her Son that the newly weds had run out of wine. She noticed their embarrassing predicament and notified her Son of it. Christ listened to His Mother (probably holding in a laugh all the while) and consented to her trivial plea. Christ performed His first public miracle through the intercession of Mary with a miracle that is almost funny.
Help Us Spread the Word . . .
Do you think your Parish bulletin would be willing to lend us a small space to mention briefly about Saint Maria's Messenger? If so, please let us know by contacting us and please don't forget to mention your Parish's email address.
Become Sponsors of Saint Maria's Messenger
* Do you know of any generous Catholic people (or are you one?) who would be willing and able to become Sponsors for our apostolate? This means those people who have the time and means to promote St. Maria's Messenger.
* Can you be able to reach a large audience of Catholic girls and/or families?
* Can you be able to tell them about St. Maria's Messenger in its true form – honestly and with sincerity? (No car-salesman pitches.)
* Can you tell girls through ads, website(s), flyers, etc.?
* Are you able to do all this with the little we have to offer in return? (Prayers and an ad for your company/work on our website and in our magazine.) Note: We cannot supply sponsors with the money, supplies, and equipment needed to spread the word unless otherwise noted after contacting us.
We greatly look forward to your help in this matter. Please pray about this, do not just brush it aside as another one of "those." Thank you!
Also, another thing almost any one can do for us. Post flyers about our magazine in your Parish Church (permission needed first, of course). Just click HERE and up will pop a page you can print off and then distribute. Using colored paper (or ink) will help the flyer stand out better.
And one last idea to help us spread the word. We mentioned this before, but believe this to be a very rewarding method of getting the word out. If you are able to write up a press release or an article about our magazine and apostolate for Catholic newspapers or magazines, we would be so very grateful! Please email us if you have any questions about this.
Please Keep In Your Prayers . . .
1. Jacob: He is 16 years old and his heart is in critical condition.
2. Wright Family: A Catholic family of 11, three of whom were in a horrible car crash. One died and the rest are in serious condition.
3. Hanson Family: They are a new Catholic family singing group and would appreciate your prayers.
4. Leo: Health is declining.
5. Virginia: Passed away last year.
6. Sally: Who passed away last June.
7. Al: Who passed away last February.
8. Stephanie's aunt: For her health.
9. Carole: Health and well-being.
10. Christopher: For his vocation and ministry
11. Mrs. Egleston: For her health
12. Anne: For her vocation and new job
13. Justin and Family: Conversion of Justin.
14. Joshua and family: Death of little Joshua.
15. Erin: Our parish's current seminarian.
16. Elizabeth: Recovering from surgery.
17. Gina’s Uncle Patrick and family
18. Brittany’s mother
If you have any prayer requests please let us know so we can add them to our prayer list!
Saint Maria's Messenger Sneak Peeks or Updates . . .
About the E-letter (A Message to the Lilies of Saint Maria): Because we are beginning to work on the magazine we don’t have much time to devote to writing things up for the e-letter. This does not mean we will postpone it, but we will have to skip a month or more if we do not have enough time. But be sure we will keep you updated on Saint Maria’s Messenger regardless of not being able to write up the E-letter. Thank you for understanding!
For those of you who have not heard: We now make it easier than ever to subscribe, we accept PayPal! Please read the Renew/Subscribe Update found on our website.
SMM Catholic Reporter (home, national, or world news). . .
Home: Labor day weekend has come and gone. The Friday and Saturday before Labor day is our busiest time of the year at the farm. It is when we need to harvest everything we have in order that the loads of people who come will be able to get a look at what we have available. Lots of work and running around to get things set. We thank God for a very rewarding, record breaking day. We know we could not have succeeded without His help.
We have a couple more patches of corn on the way and hopefully the dry spell we are in won't effect it too much, but most likely it will. At least we are irrigating some of it.
Being September you are probably wondering about our "fall stuff." We have begun to pick pumpkins and gourds. We have some of the cutest pumpkins this year, they are called cannonball pumpkins.
Our apples, which are usually considered a part of the "fall stuff," are doing alright. Not real good, for the bugs have gotten into lots of them. Please pray though that they will still come out well, the majority of them anyway.
You may know or not, can't remember if I told you in an earlier e-letter, but I like to make things out of dried gourds and then I sell them at our stand in our Magicland Kids' Craft Room. I'm bringing this up just to mention that we have a pretty good crop of green gourds this year. But speaking of the Magicland Kids' Craft Room, kids' isn't plural for nothing. Rebekah sells knitted and crocheted things down there along with handmade Rosaries. Our sister Catherine sells handpainted pumpkins and rocks and lots of different kinds of jewelry. I have a website about my gourds: Bernadette's Gourd Creations. Catherine has a website with her stuff, too: Crafty Cathy's Website.
Rebekah's website is still in the making.
Please check out www.magiclandfarms.com to find out what we have been up to at our farm. Our Papa regularly updates the website, especially the Magicland Farm News section.
News from around the world:
A Few Extras . . .
I copied and pasted a couple emails from a wonderful sister, Sister M. Beata, Vocational Director of the Sisters of Saint Francis of the Martyr Saint George. She likes to write up some inspirational notes and just some recent news on a regular basis. Thought you may enjoy it.
Praised be Jesus Christ!
Happy 43rd World Day of Prayer for Vocations!
Happy Good Shepherd Sunday!
How are you doing? This Sunday gives us many things to meditate upon - many things to pray for. The readings in today's Liturgy lead us to contemplate Christ, our Good Shepherd. One thing that we can always count on in our lives is that He guides us, guards us, comes to find us when we wander away, picks us up, holds us close to His Heart and brings us back to the rest of the flock. Let's not forget to cry out to Him in our need, confident that He hears us and is running to find and heal us.
As each person prays for the grace to know and live her vocation, we must remember to pray for one another. Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI said in his address for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations,
"Remembering the counsel of Jesus: “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest” (Mt 9,37), we readily recognise the need to pray for vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life. It is not surprising that, where people pray fervently, vocations flourish. The holiness of the Church depends essentially on union with Christ and on being open to the mystery of grace that operates in the hearts of believers. Therefore, I invite all the faithful to nurture an intimate relationship with Christ, Teacher and Pastor of his people, by imitating Mary who kept the divine mysteries in her heart and pondered them constantly (cfr Lk 2,19).
To read all of our Holy Father's address go to: http://www.vatican.va/holy
For all of you who are taking finishing up a semester, taking finals or who continue to plug along at your job, please know of my prayers! We would love to have visitors this summer, so please contact me and we will arrange something with you. I would love to hear about your summer adventures that are coming up!
With prayers in the Heart of our Shepherd,
Sister M. Beata, FSGM
Praised be Jesus Christ!
Happy Feast of the Visitation!
As we think today about the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth, we are also led to think about the many ways in which we are called to bring Christ’s presence into the lives of others. Mary wasn’t commanded to go to Elizabeth. She wasn’t even invited, but she knew in her heart Elizabeth’s need and the desire to serve her cousin prompted her to go. Here are a few quotes about the Visitation for your own meditation. May the love of our Mother in heaven inspire you always to reach out in love!
I would love to hear about how your summer is going. Please let me know if you are interested in visiting during these months!
In the Hearts of Jesus and Mary,
Sister M. Beata, FSGM
“Exultation is the keynote of the encounter with Elizabeth, where the sound of Mary's voice and the presence of Christ in her womb cause John to “leap for joy” (cf. Lk 1:44)” Pope John Paul II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae.
“The love and charity of the two cousins present an image that almost every human being can meditate on and receive with warmth. The Lord is coming, but He comes in a humble, gentle, and human way.” Fr. Groeschel, The Rosary.
“In the Magnificat, Mary unites both: as a maiden to vanish from sight, but as the bearer of God’s Word, to come into full prominence. All generations will call her blessed, and they shall never cease to look up to her; but she herself looks only to him “who has come to the help of his servant Israel, remembering his mercy as he had promised to our father, Abraham and all his children.”
Hans Urs Von Balthasar, The Threefold Garland.
Good morning! I know this is the Monday after Trinity Sunday, but it still merits a reflection. I'm sorry that I didn't get it out to you yesterday or before.
Father Cantalamessa has a beautiful reflection on the Trinity. It can be found at http://www.zenit.org/english/
Pope Benedict XVI does as well... http://www.zenit.org/english/
The priest, Fr. Titus, who had our morning Mass on Sunday was sharing about how we all could choose Trinity Sunday as our nameday because it is in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit that we are baptized. Our whole lives are lived within the mystery of this relationship of love. I was praying about how there is no heartache, no joy, no trial or frustration that occurs outside of His Divine Life. He holds us so securely in His arms that we need not fear, but too often we do fear - we focus on the day to day circumstance that confronts us instead of focusing on His providence to take care of us through it all. He knows what will bring us happiness and so we must trust in His goodness.
I pray that as you experience the adventures of this summer, you are able to find yourself surrounded by His love and goodness.
Have a wonderful day!
Sister M. Beata, FSGM
A Most Blessed Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to you! On this beautiful day, I pray that each of you experiences the fullness of the love of His Heart that it may overflow from you to the hearts of many others that are in need of His living water.
There is a very nice meditation on our website which was sent to us by Reverend Mother Margaretha Maria. Just go to the main page and click on the scrolling banner to see the picture and read the meditation. www.altonfranciscans.org
Today is also our Eucharistic Day at St. Francis Convent in Alton. It is a wonderful day to have both a Eucharistic Day and the Feast of the Sacred Heart. On the Eucharistic Day we pray for the intentions of the Church, world, and our community – that unity and charity may reign. It is only possible through the Heart of our Savior! So you are all in my prayers in a special way this day.
May our Lord pour over you the fullness of His love!
United in His Heart,
Sister M. Beata, FSGM
Praised be Jesus Christ!
A very blessed Wednesday morning to you! I apologize for not having emailed in quite some time. The summer has definitely gotten away from me. It has been a blessed time as I’ve had the privilege of filling in while the postulant director was away. We have our big Feastday celebrating the Reception into the Novitiate of 6 Sisters and the First Profession of vows of 6 Sisters on August 15th. Since this is also a time when many young women are preparing to enter religious life, this Ordination Sermon of St. Anthony of Padua (adapted from the movie: St. Anthony, Miracle Worker of Padua) is an excellent meditation upon which to reflect. May it be a source of inspiration for your prayer.
As always, you are in my prayers. I would love to hear how your summers are going. Please continue to keep our young Sisters in your prayers as we keep you and your discernment in ours. As we kneel before the Eucharistic Lord, we entrust you always to His Heart.
In the Love of our Lord,
Sister M. Beata, FSGM
“I had written a sermon, but I’m not going to read it to you because I have a question to ask you. Why have you come here? What’s all this incense? Why have you put on your best clothes? We are here today to celebrate the young women who have embraced Christ’s cross. They have promised to help Him carry it. They have reached this moment coming from different and difficult paths, following the light which illuminates the darkness of night. The light of Divine Providence. It is written that the Lord is the light. Each one of us dreams of Him at night and looks for him in the morning. The young women you see here today have done this. This is what the women who consecrate their lives to Christ do. They abandon the man they love, forget their friends. They disappoint their father and abandon their mother. They say goodbye to pride, wealth, comforts, their homeland. They are not alone. They are no longer alone. Wherever they go, they take with them their loved one, their friends, their mother, their father and their homeland. Because Christ is home and peace, adventure and tranquility. Because the questions are infinite, but there is only one answer. Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Thank you, Antonio. You have helped me understand who I am and why I’m here.
*Adapted form the Ordination Sermon in “St. Anthony: The Miracle Worker of Padua”*
Praised be Jesus Christ!
May the love of the Heart of our Lord bring you joy this day! These past months have been so full of the Lord's blessings. I apologize for being so long in sending a reflection to you all. How are you doing? As the new school semesters have begun and many of you are facing new challenges, be assured of the constant guidance and love of our Lord wherever you are in life. I, too, am experiencing change. Our community has asked me to serve as the Postulant Director as well as Vocation Director. Please pray for our postulants who will be entering on the Feast of the Birth of Mary (September 8).
I have been reflecting on change. (Not a surprise, I'm sure!) Our lives are characterized by constant change, but our Lord - He is the unchanging One. He is the one constant in our lives - His love is always there - unfailing. He wishes always to give us more - that we may experience His love more deeply. May we always be convicted His presence - He's always there with us in joys and sorrows, holding us and being our peace.
Little tid-bits of news:
1. August 15, 2006 was a day of great rejoicing for our community as Sister M. Henrietta celebrated her Golden Jubilee (50 years as a professed Sister); six novices made their first profession of vows and six postulants were received into the novitiate. We were also able to celebrate this day with Reverend Mother Margaretha Maria from Germany who stopped here for a few weeks on her way back to Germany from visiting the Sisters in Brazil. To see more on the Feastday, visit www.altonfranciscans.org
2. Fall Veni Si Amas Discernment Retreat: November 3-5, 2006. Materials will soon be available on the website. Or call 618-463-2757 for registration forms. If these dates do not work well for your schedule, we host vocation visitors on other weekends of the year. Email or call me and we can see what would work well for you.
Please be assured of my daily prayers for your discernment and journey with the Lord. I would be happy to hear how you are doing!
In the Heart of our Savior,
Sister M. Beata, FSGM
Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George
St. Francis Convent
2120 Central Ave.
Alton, IL 62002-9020
Have a Very Blessed Month of the Sorrowful Mother!
In Jesus and Mother Mary,
Bernadette and Rebekah Fox
Saint Maria's Messenger
A Catholic Magazine for Girls
5426 S. Gordon Ave.
Newaygo, MI 49337saintmariasmessenger@catholic