Oh, Dearest Mother, Sweetest Virgin of Altagracia, our Patroness. You are our Advocate and to you we recommend our needs. You are our Teacher and like disciples we come to learn from the example of your holy life. You are our Mother, and like children, we come to offer you all of the love of our hearts. Receive, dearest Mother, our offerings and listen attentively to our supplications. Amen.



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Martha in VA
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Posted: May 13 2008 at 8:39am | IP Logged Quote Martha in VA

Being a fairly "young" Catholic, I have not cultivated much of a relationship with our Blessed Mother. This has been partly due to my own fears of Mary and partly because I haven't felt the need to do so. Over the past 2 months, my family has been through quite a stressful time and there have been moments when I have a very strong sense of her watchfulness over me - as if I've been wrapped in her mantle. I really can't explain it any better than that. I am being drawn to her and am not sure what to do with that. Would you more experienced ladies have suggestions for me? Books? Prayers?

I hope this post makes sense. I'm not even sure what I'm asking except that Our Lady is drawing me near and I'm not sure what my response should be. Does that sound crazy?     

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LucyP
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Posted: May 13 2008 at 12:08pm | IP Logged Quote LucyP

I have similar feelings, Martha, and being even younger in the faith, no wisdom or ideas. I have found it helpful to embrace Our Lady without necessarily understanding every aspect, not asking myself what I think, how it sits with my past etc, just going to her in as childlike a way as I can. The less I thought, the better. For me, imagining her, and feeling that I really was talking to her each Hail Mary, has given me some beautiful experiences of her very real love.

I pray you [and vicariously me!] get some good advice :o)
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CKwasniewski
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Posted: May 13 2008 at 1:58pm | IP Logged Quote CKwasniewski

I'm a convert too... I know what you ladies are talking about. You're not crazy! I find God brings different saints to our consciousness when we need them or are ready for them.

I would just talk to Mary like she's your mother, your friend--she is! If you feel like doing the rosary, then do, but DON't stress about it! I LOVE the Memorare and the litany.... Remember, the best way to pray is the way the Holy Spirit wants you to pray right now.

Here is a truly lovely book which gives insight into Mary's spirituality and applies it to us: The Reed of God

blessings,
ck
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SeaStar
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Posted: May 13 2008 at 6:54pm | IP Logged Quote SeaStar

I am always reminded how much God loves us when I think of the Blessed Mother. God knows that every girl needs her mom, and so He gave us Mary. If you sense her calling you, oh! run to her!   Just talk to her- she is your mother, and you know how mothers always want *all* the details. During difficult times I often ask her to hold my hand or just sit with me. Nothing fancy- but such comfort.

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Martha in VA
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Posted: May 13 2008 at 9:32pm | IP Logged Quote Martha in VA

These are beautiful ideas. Thank you. And thanks, also, for the book recommendation.

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time4tea
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Posted: May 19 2008 at 6:26pm | IP Logged Quote time4tea

The Rosary! Praying the Rosary is what brought me into the Church. I, too, am a convert. My parents sent me to a Catholic school for girls for 2 years in high school, and there the nuns taught us the Rosary. I have always felt the gentle presence of Our Lady through this devotion. One of my favorite Rosary resources is The Scriptural Rosary, available through Leaflet Missal Co.

God bless!

Tea

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Sarah M
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Posted: May 20 2008 at 10:11am | IP Logged Quote Sarah M

Hi Martha. I recently purchased this book to help me cultivate a devotion to Mary in our home. I love it! It's well-organized, and has lots of practical ideas and prayers, devotions, etc. I'm really looking forward to implementing it.

Another book which is just fabulous (for you to read, not to use in your homeschool), is Scott Hahn's Hail, Holy Queen. I learned so much about Mary and the Church from this book!

Bless you!
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nissag
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Posted: May 20 2008 at 12:20pm | IP Logged Quote nissag

Dittoes the Rosary!

And the magnificat is very compelling to me. She is an example of godly womanhood, of motherhood and self-sacrifice. She is a gentle, patient teacher.

I also like to ponder Jn 19:26-27 when Jesus gives Mary to us, through John.

Start with just talking to her. Ask her what she wants to teach you. Then be mindful, she will intercede to move you the way that He wants you to go.

I recommend the following for deeper reading: Rosarium Virginis Mariae - which is very readable, Chapters 2 and 4 of Mulieris Dignitatem, and Redemptoris Mater.

PJPII was deeply devoted to Our Blessed Mother. His "Book of Mary" is a good choice, as is "Theotokos"

When I wanted, several years back, to get closer to Our Blessed Mother, I talked to her constantly, asking for her to teach me. I'm a slow learner. She was patient, taught me to be more patient. I feel very close to her now and feel very much in her presence whenever I pray the rosary. The most intense exeriences I have had was praying with, or in the presence of my children. That says a lot to me...

I'll be praying for you!


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Marcia
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Posted: May 22 2008 at 8:24pm | IP Logged Quote Marcia

I'm a convert too. I took me about six years after I became a Catholic to begin a true relationship with Mary. It was after really reading and studying On the Dignity of Women that I began a relationship with her. I was in a study with other women...
I really like the reflections that Mother Teresa's order uses for praying the Rosary here
Praying the rosary outloud at church didn't help me, but using this during Eucharistic Adoration did marvels for me.
Lastly, making a consecration to Mary according to St. Louis de Montfort about that same time really made inroads into my soul for her. Last year we did a family consecration to Mary. I think it's been continued protection for us all.

I see David Currie's book was helpful to you too. It explained things so well to me...and helped me accept things that were so different than my upbringings in the Protestant churches.

I like Nissa's ideas too...have to try some of those out myself!
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Helen
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Posted: May 22 2008 at 8:52pm | IP Logged Quote Helen

I've been reading about St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. While she was still Protestant, during her time in Italy, she came across the Memorare (Remember O Most Gracious Virgin Mary) right away, she was convinced of Our Lady's maternal protection! St. Elizabeth had the custom of looking to heaven for her deceased mother. When she heard of this devotion to Our Lady, it seemed to click with her.

St. Elizabeth had other stumbling blocks to becoming Catholic but interestingly, devotion to Our Lady wasn't one of them. Perhaps, cultivating a relationship with St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, (wife, mother and foundress), through prayer and especially the Memorare, might be another pleasant route in learning devotion to Our Lady.

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SeaStar
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Posted: May 23 2008 at 5:19pm | IP Logged Quote SeaStar

I can't resist adding that Helen's Mary Vitamin has been a HUGE blessing to me and others in my family... another great way to learn more about Our Lady. Helen- thank you. How many gazillion souls has Mary reached through your postings?

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Helen
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Posted: May 24 2008 at 6:22am | IP Logged Quote Helen

Melinda, thank you for mentioning Mary Vitamin as a way of getting to know Our Lady.

This might sound corny but Our Lady is the one who manages my apostolate. I can't explain how the work grew or even exists without saying that Our Lady has done the bulk of the work.

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