Ministering mercy through the Cross
by Donna Saliter
Margaret has yet to read the "Diary of St. Maria Faustina," but she sure knows how to live mercy. Throughout her 91 years, it has been a constant. And about three years ago, she started a hobby that would soon find its way into hundreds of hearts: Margaret weaves crosses of yarn as gifts for friends and strangers.
The ministry really began to take off when Margaret was in her local bank one day and her favorite teller had a disturbing problem. She confided that every day the previous week, she had made a mistake in her calculations and didn't know what to do. She was quite perplexed and asked Margaret to pray for her. Margaret gave her one of her newly made crosses and told her to see what would happen.
The very next week, Margaret was elated to hear that her friend had not made a single mistake since receiving the cross. The other tellers promptly requested crosses, and Margaret soon found herself making them for special occasions like baby showers and First Holy Communion classes.
"I believe that God must be keeping me on this earth for a certain reason," explains the vivacious senior citizen. "I think it is to make these crosses, because they bring joy to a lot of people." To date, Margaret has given out hundreds of her specially crafted crosses.
Margaret's generosity also has reached the seminarians of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception. She is one of the Marian Helpers who sponsor the Seminarian Campaign.
These Helpers support Marian formation efforts like the seminarian "Boot Camp." It is a week of fellowship for the young men of our province of the Marians during which they learn spiritual and leadership-building skills. This summer, Margaret gave each of the seminarians who attended the camp the gift of a cross. They appreciated her sign of support.
For Margaret, this act of charity is a gesture that connects her hard work to that of the seminarians, who have given their lives to embrace the Cross of Christ for the world. Margaret believes very strongly in the bond of mutual support between the priesthood and the laity.
"It is so important to support our young men who have a vocation to the holy priesthood," she says, emphasizing that "the support must go beyond the financial, which, of course, is vital to their success. It relies on prayer and spiritual solidarity. That's why I want them to know that I am with them in prayer, and I pray for their strength to persevere in their vocation."
Margaret embraces the Seminarian Campaign financially, spiritually, and socially. She sees the real need that the Catholic Church has for priests, and the need that these future priests have to be supported by dedicated laity like our Marian Helpers. As an apostle of mercy, she uses her talents and resources to fill these needs in a very real way.
If your prayers for vocations are leading you to a closer relationship with the Marians, I would love to tell you more about our Seminarian Campaign.
Donna Saliter is Fr. Joseph's Assistant for Special Gifts. You may write her at Association of Marian Helpers, Stockbridge, MA 01263, or call her toll free at 1-800-462-7426. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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