Although I was born and raised Catholic, my untraditional upbringing sprinkled Mother Mary’s presence in my life without me ever fully recognizing it until my wedding day. Even then I did not put into practice what Mother Mary could teach me until I was a mother and even more remarkable is I still had not quite recognized the power of Mother Mary in my life until the little miracles that have happened this summer.

The day after I was born, I was baptized under Mary’s name however I didn’t know it until I was about to be confirmed in the 9th grade. For my confirmation I was asked to choose a saint’s name. My father is a devout Catholic and my mother became a Catholic in order to marry my father but never really connected with any Christian faith. Sure we went to church regularly and attended catechism but I was fairly unfamiliar with saints and their role in my life.

Those were before the days of the Internet and I didn’t know how to research saints for my confirmation name so my parents suggested I use Mary and told me then it was my baptismal name as well. It seemed only natural for me keep the name already given to me – especially since she was one of the only female saints I knew anything about.

Mary entered my life again for yet another sacrament – my wedding. During our wedding preparations, my priest suggested we take a moment during our ceremony to ask Mother Mary to assist us in fulfilling God’s roles for us. Because I was unfamiliar with asking the saints to intercede for us, I skipped the usual Hail Mary prayer as suggested (I didn’t even know it!) and instead during our ceremony I walked over to the side of the altar where there was a statue of Mother Mary and I contemplated the role Mother Mary had played as God’s partner in bringing salvation to the world and the role of parenting the Son of God.

I too wanted to be an instrument God could use to make the world a better place and in my heart, I knew my role would involve bringing to light, the goodness within children who may not see the goodness within them.   And so it was, I asked God to help me to be as Mary so I could someday play a part in God’s bigger plan for us to live on earth as it is in heaven.

I spent the next 6 years trying to teach children about the goodness within themselves by working with youth involved in the judicial system as well participating as a youth minister in my church.

My lack of a traditional Catholic upbringing was never as apparent as the day my youth group was returning from The World Youth Day experience in Denver, Colorado where Pope John Paul II had presided. Halfway home on the hot August afternoon, the bus broke down in the middle of nowhere.

The kids were tired and hungry and the staff was having troubles contacting someone to bring us a new bus let alone let the parents know their children were safe and we would be late. After about an hour, one of the adult volunteers suggested we begin to say the rosary and asked me to start it. I had no idea how to say the Hail Mary let alone understand what to do with a rosary. I asked the volunteer to lead us instead and I sat and silently tried to mouth the prayer after I had heard it a few times.

Mortified and questioning my role as a youth minister, I intently struggled to learn what the rosary was all about. The first part of the Hail Mary was so beautiful and honoring and the second part made my bones chill as when someone runs their fingernails down a chalkboard.   “Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death,” reminded me of the prayer I learned as a child that was more discomforting than comforting ….”Now I lay me down to sleep….and if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” I had nightmares every night I said that prayer!

As the situation grew more dire with nightfall approaching before a new bus finally arrived, I thought to myself there could not have been a worse prayer to say to give the bus full of youth any hope. There were a few other occasions where I tried to teach children in my classes how to say the rosary as a form of meditation but I never made an attempt to do so for myself.

When I finally became a mother, my first born was what they termed “colicky” ~ he cried non-stop, sleeping only for short bits throughout the day and needed to be held constantly.   Colic they say usually lasts three months – my son’s lasted years. As I was searching for any way to sooth this sensitive child, I was constantly asking God, “How do I parent this precious little boy?” I struggled to relate to an all-knowing God as a parent because I didn’t feel that I knew what I was doing as a parent at all!

These were the days when “What Would Jesus Do?” was becoming a common phrase, but Jesus wasn’t a parent! Trying to picture what he would do in some of my situations was difficult for me. What I did learn as a parent by seeking answers from Jesus’s words were that whatever we do to the least of our brothers and sisters, we have done to him. I recognized that I needed to treat my child as I would treat Jesus if he were my child and that is when God reminded me to think of Mary.

Mary was both human and a mother so she was someone who had surely endured some sleepless nights, needed to console a crying toddler, became worn with the required constant attention to her child, had to learn to direct an independent, self asserted teenager and finally had to come to terms with her son’s role in God’s plan. She was someone I could relate to and my journey since then has been amazing.

I spent the next 15 years researching the life of Mary searching for anything that would give me more insight into Mary’s ways of parenting as she is rarely mentioned in the bible. I read mystical accounts, theological studies, Gnostic gospels, Essene ways of living, apparitions and more with plans to write a book, “What Would Mother Mary Do?”  The most interesting part of all of my research is there is always more to learn.

This summer I met a woman who had consecrated her life to Mother Mary and upon meeting me, vowed to say three Hail Mary’s a day for me for the rest of her life. I was flabbergasted that someone would devote so much for me – I had never had anyone pray for me on a daily basis let alone commit to do so for the rest of their life! Since that time, tiny miracles have taken place that have given me no doubt in the power of her prayers and affirmations that I am on the path God and Mary want me to be on.

I had just finished writing my eBook, “What Would Mother Mary Do? Ways and Wisdom for Mothers on Loving Yourself” and despite feeling that so many of the things I have to share have come from a much higher place than my own heart, I was questioning the validity of it all. Who am I to write what I think Mother Mary would do as a parent? Who is going to think anything I have to say is of any importance at all? Despite my Catholic background, I can’t say that I venerate Mother Mary in the same way as millions of others do. I have a deep calling to share what I know about Mother Mary with far more people than just Catholics and even other Christians. How is it that I think I can even get this message out? And with my friend’s prayers of the Hail Mary, I have been shown….

Years ago I purchased a book about Anna, Mary’s mother. I often purchase books because they call to me and I find that although I may not read them right away, I read them when the content will be most relevant to me in my life. I finally started reading the book in late May and it spoke about the Essenes.  A friend just a few weeks early mentioned I should learn more about the Essenes and how they relate to Jesus.  I had never heard about the Essenes before. I thought it was a bit of a coincidence and decided to do more research on them and what I found was astounding.

In my eBook , I put in a few funky habits of mine that my husband said would risk me sounding a bit quacky. One in particular was that I make a conscious effort to wear white next to my body. My husband tried to get me to take out that piece but I felt called to leave it in and I am so glad I did! As I read more about the Essenes, the only color they ever wore was white! It was an affirmation that my suggestion to do so in my book, even though it was my own quirky habit, was really something that Mother Mary would do too! And there are many more habits I have that would easily mark me to follow the Essene ways. I will share them all in my future writings and bits and pieces in future blogs. Many of the ideas that have come to me over the years, I had no way of confirming they were something Mary would do, until they were completely confirmed by knowing more about the Essenes. Mother Mary has made efforts daily to let me know she is not only with me, but guiding me as well.

There was a FULL rainbow in front of my house on my birthday. It was so big I spent almost a half an hour trying to get a picture of the whole thing on my camera and was never able to do so . I was astonished it lasted that long but I figured it was God and Mary giving me a little extra time to try and capture it.

The most significant sign I have been given that God and Mary are truly with me, was a week or so ago after working on my writing, I was driving and although I often see one, maybe two gray doves in my neighborhood, higher in the sky than normal, but close enough to be sure of what I saw, there were three beautiful white doves flying in formation toward me. They stayed in my sight for what felt like a long time and I immediately knew they were signs of the trinity – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and they had come to show me they were with me.

I shared what I had seen with my friend who prays for me and we both had “God bumps” on our bodies when she described the same thing had happened to her a few days prior as well. We were definitely meant to allow God to work through us together.

20140715_200407It is my hope that nothing that is written or given by me is anything other than what God and Mother Mary wish for you to know, have, feel or be. And I pray that your hearts are filled with joy as a sign that you too are following the path God has given to you to begin to live on earth as it is in heaven. I look forward to our journey together as we are lead to live the lives we were meant to have in perfect love, abundance and undying gratitude. May God’s light and love shine through you always!