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Speak of Mary

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Thirteenth of the Month Club member Irene Krueger, from Ontario, Canada, has a great devotion to Our Lady. She has made it her mission to share Our Lady with her family and friends. Here, Irene shares her testimony:

I write in thanksgiving for the Marian Fathers in my life — they were instrumental in preparing my heart for the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima.

When my father was a young child, he had Sydenham's chorea, also known as "St. Vitus' Dance." It is a disorder that causes rapid, uncoordinated jerking movements in the face, hands, and feet. His mother took him to visit Br. (now St.) Andre Bessette of Montreal when he was in the area. The saint placed my father on his lap, and when he put my father back down, Br. Andre said, "He'll be fine." My father was healed and went on to live a more than full life — he married his sweetheart and had five children.

I am the oldest of these five children, and we were a devout family. I was taught my prayers at my mother's knee. Our Lady was always our focus in May as we set lilacs before the altar at Mass on Sunday. As my teenage years came and went, I had no adult faith formation and proceeded with my life in the working world. By my 40s, I had a hunger that could not be assuaged and left the Catholic Church, thinking there must be more to be found elsewhere. The Pentecostal church seemed like a good fit for me, but over the years, I was not fulfilled. I was given a very clear message to return to the Catholic Church one evening while waiting for my son to finish a youth group session at our Pentecostal church. I was reading about Pentecostal activities in our church foyer and was thinking about signing up my daughter for a youth group for her age, and it became quite clear to me that we were not to continue being involved like this in the Pentecostal church. My children and I were saddened to leave the group we had become friends with, but I knew the choice that had to be made.

In my 60s, I experienced many health problems and became incapacitated and alone. I gradually lost the fun interactions I had had with my 13 grandchildren who had filled my life with joy. The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) entered my life as I was channel surfing one day. When I saw Mother Angelica in full habit, the sight brought me right back to the joy of my childhood! I returned to the Catholic Church and eventually came upon books by Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, and Dr. Mark Miravalle. My faith started coming alive.

I recently asked Our Lady, "What do I do with you? Other than praying Rosaries and novenas, what is your role in my life?" She reached into my heart, got my attention, and asked me to talk about her. This was confirmed for me when my sister painted a statue of Our Lady holding Baby Jesus for me for my birthday last year. I turned to Our Lady of Fatima, and I had the sense in my heart of her saying, "If I came a second time, would they listen?"

So I began by reading Mary: Who She Is and Why She Matters, a new book from Marian Press by Robert Stackpole, STD. The Marian Fathers inspired me to speak of Mary with my family and friends as a way of preparing for the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima. I decided to buy a copy of the book for each one of my family members and friends, and to enroll them in the Thirteenth of the Month Club to further prompt conversation with them about Mother Mary in the course of our everyday lives. I have been talking with them about the memories we have of praying the Rosary as a family, our grandparents' devotion, and also what is going on now in their lives: religious education classes, learning about apparitions throughout the world, and their prayer intentions. Things like a family member's dog needing back surgery turned into a chance to share the story of the healing of my father with them, and also to talk to them about Our Lady.

As I developed the desire to share more about Our Lady, the Marians provided the opportunity and the resources to do so. We can only speak to others what we hear. I give thanks to the Lord for our dearly beloved Marians, who break the silence and set the example of opening our hearts to God's light through Mary.

Want to enrich your Marian devotion? Look into our Thirteenth of the Month Club.

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