Purest of All Lilies

Fr. Donald H. Calloway, MIC, explores St. Faustina... Read more

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'Our Lady Will Never Let Us Down'

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By Dan Valenti (Sep 7, 2011)
Father Donald Calloway, MIC, Marian Fathers' vocation director and spiritual director, begins his book Purest of All Lilies: The Virgin Mary in the Spirituality of St. Faustina with a biographical sketch of the saint. Father Donald notes that despite Helen Kowalska's third-grade education, she "learned the most important things in life from her parents."

Father Donald isolates a crucial aspect of Helen's upbringing: her father's Marian devotion. Despite having to work long hours at farm work and carpentry, Stanislaus Kowalski rose early each morning to sing the traditional "Little Hours of the Immaculate Conception."

Father Donald notes, "This public manifestation of Marian devotion would have a big impact on Helen. For example, when on one occasion during her childhood she awoke early in the morning to take the cows out for pasture so that her father did not have to work so hard, she was heard singing ['Little Hours'] in imitation of her father's morning rituals."

Helen Kowalska grew up with the influence of Mary all around her young life. Her family prayed the Rosary together, and as a country, Poland was known for its unwavering devotion to Our Lady.

Later, when Helen became Sr. Faustina and began writing her Diary at the urging of her confessor, we can read how fundamental Mary became to the future saint's spirituality. In fact, this relationship between the Blessed Mother and her devotee forms the basis of Fr. Donald's book. Purest of All Lilies makes exceptional reading for the month of October, known in the Church as the month of the Rosary.

Given the hardships everyone faces in life, it's notable that Fr. Donald pays particular attention to the manner in which St. Faustina relied on Mary to help her through her sufferings, especially after the saint began living her "desire to become sacrificial like the Eucharist." Mary is our example.

Saint Faustina often reflected on the sufferings and sorrows experienced by Our Lady. Father Donald gives us an example from vespers on Nov. 30, 1936. On that day, St. Faustina experienced a "piercing pain in her soul." Our Lady then appeared and told her:

Know, my daughter, that although I was raised to the dignity of the Mother of God, seven swords of pain pierced my heart. Don't do anything to defend yourself; bear everything with humility; God Himself will defend you (Diary of St. Faustina, 786).



"The lesson for all of us," writes Fr. Donald, "is that the Blessed Mother can be that same source of strength as we experience our own difficulties in life. ... Many things in life fail us," Fr. Donald says, "but Our Lady will never let us down."

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MARIA C. - Sep 7, 2011

Thanks Fr. Donald for the insight about our Blessed Mother. I am going through alot of trials right now esp with my aging parents. With my dad who has Alzheimers and mom looking after him 24/7 it is a huge trial for me to look after them and make a decision that will impact them. I have to do it not just as their daughter but also as a professional (I am a registered nurse) and think both ways even though my emotions sometimes overtake the decision that I have to make which supposedly MUST be for their best interest. The daughter in me says one thing but the professional side of me says another. Only with my faith, guidance and lots of prayers to Mama Mary gives me comfort in knowing that whatever decision I make at this point, it gives me such consolation that no matter what happens, Our Lord Jesus with the maternal and loving guidance of Mama Mary and prayers from my very dear Blessed JP2 and Mother Teresa..everything will fall into the right place at His own time and His own will. I just have to believed and hope and accept that God's will be done and not mine. So, I offer my trials at this time to the all these great people I just mentioned above and I know they will walk me through this with flying colors as I am not afraid anymore.

Ron P - Sep 9, 2011

Fr. Donald--Thank you for your book. Our Blessed Mother knows all our needs, and loves us as her own children. She has assisted me so many times, especially in the way of purity. She has never failed my prayers--I love her as my own mother and say daily rosary for intentions of my family.

Erica T. - Sep 9, 2011

Father, this is so beautiful and inspirational. It is just what I needed to read right now! I'm glad I stumbled upon the article. Thank you, thank you!! I learn so much from your writing and look forward to reading more of your books. You are a blessing to your family, community and all of us.

eb - Sep 19, 2011

I read Fr Calloway's book about his childhood and his journey toward the priesthood.
I have aquestion for him , but maybe you could help me with this. His mother was divorced from his father and at the end of his book (I think) he says that his mom is happily remarried.My daughter's husband left her with an infant five years ago. It has been a so difficult for all of us...she was only 27 yrs old. Is it wrong for me to pray that God will send her someone to love and take care of her and her son??? I pray for this everyday, but I dont know if it is wrong.
I have been to the Shrine a few times but never brought myself to speak to one of the priests there because I know I would break down uncontrollably if I talked about this situation. I reallly value the advice of the Marian Fathers.

Joseph - Sep 24, 2011

Eb, Consecrate your daughter and her infant to the immaculate heart of Mary. She will sent a man to take care of this Holy Family. Ask your daughter to lead a holy life of prayer. Ask her to watch the discourses of Rev. Fr. Bing, the Spiritual Director of the Holy Family International by visiting www.youtube.com/athformation on a daily basis. Seek help of Saint Faustyna.
God bless you.

eb - Sep 26, 2011

Thank you, Joseph, for your adivce and inspiration. I listened to Fr Bing on the You Tube website. That was very helpful and I will go to it every day as well as continue to pray everyday.

Aileen Baker - Oct 13, 2011

Remember that htere are more than 7,500 Rosary Rallies across our country on Saturday (at noon in each time zone)
Pray the Rosary at noon ...remeber the Miracle of the Sun 10/13/1917
AMERICA NEEDS FATIMA now