Message From the Director
May our Advent days be filled with Grace.
Our Advent journey for 2021 has begun. The candles on the Advent wreath remind us that it is a journey from darkness to light. Each week the wreath grows brighter as a reminder that Jesus’ birth is closer.
Our daily readings at Mass recall the promise of the Messiah to the people of Israel. The Gospel on each of those days remind us of how Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise.
Mary, the Mother of our Savior, brings the promised Redeemer as the ultimate light into our lives. May we look to the Blessed Virgin Mary and learn from her sacrifices how to bring the light of Christmas, her Son, to a suffering world.
Advent is a Season of special Grace. May we allow that Grace to shine through each of us.
In Mary Immaculate,
Rev. Michael J. Carroll, C.M.
Saint Vincent’s Devotion to Mary
By: Kieran Moran, C.M.
We are so much dazzled by the splendor of Saint Vincent’s charity for the neighbor that we may be inclined to neglect his other virtues. We are so engrossed with his achievements for his fellowman that we may be tempted to forget what he did for himself. It is well to realize that before he presumed to sanctify others, he devoted great care to sanctify himself. And among the virtues that helped him to this end, a prominent place must be given to his devotion to our Blessed Lady.
At his mother’s knee he first learned the story of Mary’s dignity and power. What a thorough lesson it was! And how amazingly grasped! From that lesson the practical boy went forth to place in the hollow of a huge oak tree his first tribute to his Queen: a little statue made by himself in her honor. Before it he dreamed his dreams and said his prayers.
During his priestly career Mary was more than ever “his life, his sweetness, his hope.” His steadily growing love for her strengthened and sanctified his soul. Under her guidance he advanced in wisdom and in grace before God and men. His interior, personal holiness, so profoundly influenced by Mary, expressed itself in actions that manifested his overwhelming devotion towards her; and that devotion pervaded and colored all his tremendous activity for the salvation of souls.
There was scarcely a sermon, a conference, an exhortation that did not glorify Mary. He brought her into the galleys and the prisons, a vision of relief for the most hopeless of men. With him she went into the hovels and hospitals, an angel of mercy to suggest and inspire remedy and cure. And she gave to this strong, rugged man, a man naturally inclined to ·be rough and stern, the heart of a mother for all the afflicted. As his latest biographer says: “His devotion to the Mother of Our Lord resulted in the feminizing—I use the word in its highest and strictest sense—of his virile charity and added to it that exquisite sweetness, that understanding of the maternal, that marked its spirit.”
Moreover, Vincent deeply and firmly impressed his great love for Mary on the soul of his two communities, the Priests of the Mission and the Daughters of Charity. He gave them the mandate to venerate her in her Immaculate Conception, anticipating by two hundred years the solemn definition of Pius IX. He gave special rules about her rosary and her feasts, explaining in detail the means by which his consecrated children should pay constant tribute to her. His sons in their own interior lives and in their ministrations to others have not forgotten the behests of their Blessed Father in God.
His daughters, the Sisters of Charity, took so much to heart the burning instructions of Saint Vincent and carried them out so faithfully that their community became, and is, singularly beloved by Mary. She saw, and sees, it as a carefully nurtured garden of lilies, suggesting and proclaiming to men her own stainless glory. As if in gratitude, and surely as a sign of signal approval, Mary selected this community of Sisters to be the favored recipient of one of her greatest manifestations of power since Gospel days. For to a Daughter of Charity, Sister Catherine Labouré, the Blessed Virgin revealed her Miraculous Medal, and willed to have that favor prefaced by the apparition of Saint Vincent himself, as if to show the relation between him and her marvelous gift. How profound, how sincere, was Vincent’s devotion to Mary, to have produced such a wondrous effect in one of the obscurest of his children after the lapse of two centuries!
May Vincent de Paul obtain for all of us a consuming love for Mary, like unto his own, so that, like him, we may walk always with her, gather others to her service, and have her Mother’s love pleading for us at the end.
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