By Sr. Mary Catherine Angeline, O.Carm
When I was growing up, May was the most beautiful and wonderful month for me. My mother led and I followed. She would prepare ahead of time a beautiful hand sewn “mantle” to dress a lovely statue of Mary we had in the home. It was always a white shiny material and lace, decked out with small sparkling gems, gold trimmings very tastefully made. During May, Mary took her “throne” in our home on the dining room buffet table. Mother would place books under another white piece of fabric and place the statue on top to give the impression Mary was on “clouds”. There were fresh grown and cut flowers decorating her right and left.
Every night in our home we prayed the family rosary right after dinner. But in May the rosary was even more special for me. See, at school, after recess we would sit on the grass in front of a large statue of Mary outside the convent and recite the rosary there as we sang hymns to her. On inclement days we would say it in the classrooms. At our daily Mass in May we also sang many beautiful hymns to Mary. I loved this and learned many songs that are no longer in use – they are prayer/poems for me now.
As a child the actions of adults speak louder than words. My mother would try to be more loving, kind, patient, and joyful in imitation of Mary. So it was easy to also try to imitate both my mother and Mary from an early age. With words, Mother would always remind us of poor souls to be saved, to show Jesus we loved Him.
Through the years these memories have remained the foundation of a much grown and developed love and devotion to Mary, Jesus’ mother and mine. Yes, I still love the rosary and hymns to Mary and miss the pomp and fashion that used to be in her honor. But the imitation of her virtues, especially her docility, obedience, love, strength and gentleness, still follow me day in and out as I strive to love Our Lord and others in a multitude of ways. Thank you for the strong foundation!
May you rest in peace, Mom! Mary, my Mother, please pray to Jesus for me.