Message From the Director
Dear Friends of Our Lady,
May the Blessed Virgin Mary’s love for each of you fill your hearts!
Driving into Lewiston this morning, I saw the local Catholic Parish had written on their signboard “REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE DUST!”
I wondered how different people received the message. For those not in the Church, or who have grown distant and forgetful of our practices, it might have led to some head scratching.
For those of us in the Roman Church, we know that these words are associated with the placing of ashes on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday.
As Lent begins, it is an opportunity for us to grow closer to Christ and each other. We do that by prayer, sacrifice and almsgiving.
Lent is a call to hear the words of Jesus in new ways as well as to see anew the needs of our neighbor and to do something about it.
REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE DUST!
May this Lent be a grace-filled opportunity for you.
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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