As a convert to the Catholic Faith, devotion to Mary has long been difficult to me. Even as I learned about her and began to understand the Church's teaching on Mary, I saw her as someone so perfect, so different from me, that I could not relate to her. I felt myself too sinful, too dirty to pray and ask the help of one so pure.
Four years ago I made a journey to our Motherhouse in Germany. I was there for three months and a friend likened it to the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth. While I am far from being like Mary, I did come close to her in a new and wonderful way during my stay. In Germany I came to know a co-sister who showed me Mary in a new light. She embodied Mary as one who was always composed, neat and orderly and deeply spiritual. Yet warm and approachable, not just approachable by me but one who sought to be with me. I am blessed with a friendship that has lasted since that time even though we are now separated by an ocean. Not only the friendship has lasted and grown, but the encounter with Mary has grown, a real relationship with this blessed Mother of my Lord. She is ever waiting, even seeking to help me, to purify and place my good intentions and sacrifices at the feet of Christ. She seeks the grace for me so that I can be pleasing to Him Whom I have espoused. When I receive Him each day in Holy Communion, I can ask her to take Him into her Immaculate Heart on my behalf, for my heart is unworthy of Him. Only give me the grace of another day, another chance to offer penance for my sins. Then, also, I can place my family and loved ones into her hands and know that she will take good care of them. I can place all my life into her hands, every moment an offering, in trust and peace that those I have promised to pray for and all those who need our prayers will not be neglected through my weakness and forgetfulness. I speak to Mary quite often now and I tell her all my worries and one word thus far she speaks to me, "trust". In all things trust God who loves you and wants the best for you and will lead you every step of the way to Himself. Only trust.
Then I seek also to show her my gratitude for a Mother so generous and patient, so loving and gentle, who has waited a long time to take this daughter under her mantel.
- Sister M. Joan, FSGM