Monday, November 20, 2006

Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and a personal testimony regarding her mother, St. Anne

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Mary, at the age of three, was brought by her parents, St. Anne and St. Joachim, to the Temple, in fulfillment of a vow, there to be educated. It is very probable that the holy prophet Simeon and the prophetess Anna, who witnessed the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, as we read in the second chapter of the Gospel of Saint Luke (verses 25 ff.) had known His Mother as a little girl in the Temple and observed her truly unique sanctity.

Where, better than in the Temple, could Mary be prepared for Her mission? Twelve years of recollection and prayer, contemplation and sufferings, were the preparation of the chosen one of God. The tender soul of Mary was adorned with the most precious graces and became an object of astonishment and praise for the holy Angels, as well as of the highest complacency for the adorable Trinity. The Father looked upon Her as His beloved Daughter, the Son as One set apart and prepared to become His Mother, and the Holy Ghost as His undefiled Spouse.

Here is how Mary’s day in the Temple was apportioned, according to Saint Jerome. From dawn until nine in the morning, She prayed; from 9:00 until 3:00 She applied Herself to manual work; then She turned again to prayer. She was always the first to undertake night watches, the One most applied to study, the most fervent in the chanting of Psalms, the most zealous in works of charity, the purest among the virgins, Her companions, the most perfect in the practice of every virtue. On this day She appears as the standard-bearer for Christian virginity: after Her will come countless legions of virgins consecrated to the Lord, both in the shadow of the altars or engaged in the charitable occupations of the Church in the world. Mary will be their eternal Model, their dedicated Patroness, their sure guide on the paths of perfection. Magnificat

Ste. Anne has played an important role in the life of my family.

My great grandmother, Mary Ann Laughlin Reidy, perhaps named for St Anne, as "Ann" is not a common name among the Irish, in her middle age developed some kind of terrible cancer on her legs and was crippled and needed to use a wheel chair and crutches. Her leg muscles had deteriorated to the point where you could just about push a finger right through them.

She and some relatives made a pilgrimage to the Shrine of St Anne de Beaupre in Quebec at the time that the new Shrine had been dedicated as a basilica in 1887.

While she was in the new Basilica, she dropped her crutches. The crowd around her started crying out "It's a miracle." and she kept looking around to see who it had happened to. She didn't realize that she was the one who received the miracle.

When she returned home, without crutches or wheel chair, her husband, Jeremiah Reidy, who had stayed to work and take care of the kids, didn't even recognize her as she stood on the porch in front of him. He burst into tears, thinking that somebody else had come to tell him that Mary Ann was dead. He hadn't seen her standing for a very long time. They said that her legs were as "firm as chicken breasts" when she returned.

Then, about 1934, Mary Ann's six daughters made a Pilgrimage of Thanksgiving for their by then long dead mother back to Ste. Anne de Beaupre in Quebec.

I never heard what the others' asked for as their intention, but my Grandma, Ann Scanlon, the oldest daughter had been dismayed that her two daughters were dating protestant men (my Mom, Clarice, and her older sister, Kathryn).

Grandma asked Ste. Anne that she find them good Catholic men for husbands. By the time Grandma and the others returned home from the Pilgrimage, my Mom and her sister had met two Catholic men (my Dad and his best friend) whom they eventually married.

My Mom and my sister, Joanne, made a pilgrimage to St Anne de Beaupre in the late 70s or early 80s and I have no doubt but that I was in my Mom's intentions. I began my "reversion" to the Church in September of 1981.

So, St Anne is pretty important to me. Sadly, there is nobody named "Ann" in the next generation other than my sister, Joanne, to intercede for us. I'll have to do it myself
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Correction: A brother in California, whose wife, Sheryl ANN, wonders why she and my grand-niece, Elizabeth ANN, were forgotten by the family historian when the above post was written. Well, chalk it up to a "senior moment", I guess.

I'm comforted that Elizabeth Ann will be carrying on our family's relationship with the Blessed Mother's Mom, Ste. Anne de Beaupre. ("beaupre" means something like "beautiful prairie", in case you were wondering).

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