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Brother Ken Dos Santos, MIC, made his perpetual vows on Aug. 16. He advises people to open up to the Blessed Mother. "Open your heart to her," he says. "If you have even a small openness to Mary, she will come to you."

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by Br. Ken Dos Santos, MIC

My relationship with Mary is a living relationship with a real person. It's not abstract at all. I look upon Mary the way I do my parents. She is there to guide and direct me to Jesus. It's a tender, motherly relationship — loving and gentle. I can see her hand in whatever is going on in my life.

I speak to her as if she is my mother, not in dry, forced prayers but in conversation. Imagine a kid talking to his mom. That will give you the idea. It's definitely a dialogue. For example, if something is going on in my life — it could be a problem, an obstacle, or even something joyous or a decision I must make — I ask her for guidance.

It's like my relationship with Jesus. When I pray about a situation, I get the answer quickly. It doesn't fail. The answer to what I'm praying about quickly comes up in some fashion. It may not be the answer I envisioned, but it's the right answer. It's always the right answer when you ask God, and you trust. So the dialogue with Mary and Jesus consists of this: I pray, they answer. It's specific direction.

Mary has been a constant in my life, but for a bunch of years, I didn't pray the Rosary. I may not have been there for her, but she was always there for me. I did not listen. God brought me back to my senses and woke me up through a string of unemployment. I lost my job as an engineer. I thought that was my vocation, how I could best use my gifts. I had a good corporate job, made money, owned a house, and had all the new toys I wanted.

However, I had become so focused on this lifestyle that I forgot God, Mary, the Rosary, all of it. When I lost my job, though, He woke me up. In desperation, I began praying the Rosary. There was nothing else I could do, nowhere else I could turn. That's when I started thinking about becoming a priest.

The Rosary is a meditation on the mysteries in the life of Jesus. For me, meditating on the mysteries keeps the Rosary fresh. I envision pictures in my mind of the particular mystery. Sometimes, they become animated, like watching a movie. As the images show up, I say the prayers. It's a little tricky to "see" the images and meditate at the same time, but that's what works for me.

I prefer praying the Rosary with the Marian community. I pray it on my own when I have to because of my schedule, but when I do that, I notice that I tend to wander. Praying with my brothers keeps me focused.

I pray to Mary from the heart. That's my advice for anyone wanting to start, renew, or freshen a relationship with the Blessed Mother. Open your heart to her. Pray the Rosary. You have to have openness. If you have even a small openness to Mary, she will come to you.

Brother Ken Dos Santos, MIC, is a seminarian studying in Washington, D.C. Please help us educate the Marian priests of tomorrow.

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Patty Theresa, SFO - Dec 1, 2008

Dear Br. Ken,
Thank you for sharing your love of Mary as your mother with us.
I too have a great devotion to and love for Our Lady, but like you said often find my mind wanders when praying the Rosary alone, so lately I try to pray along with the Rosary on EWTN, at 7:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, and it does make a big difference praying with my brothers and sisters, and Father Mitch prays the Rosary in the Holy Land which allows you to see and meditate on the places where Jesus walked; I could never afford to travel there, yet the Good Lord brings these beautiful places right into my home. How blessed we truly are!
May the Good Lord bless you and keep you and help you through all your studies for the Priesthood; we truly need many more devoted Marian Priests. You are truly blessed to know Mary as your mother.
I will keep you in my prayers. Thank you for responding to God's call on your life.

Alice - Nov 30, 2008

May the Lord Bless you Br. Ken!

Alice - Nov 30, 2008

Beautiful article of real love an devotion to such an awesome mother.How honored we are to have Holy Mary as our mother.

Charlotte - Nov 25, 2008

We must always approach our Mother Mary as children - her children. We must trust her with the secrets of our hearts. She is a gentle, loving mother to us all.
Thank you Brother Ken for that beautiful image of you going to Mary as a child.

Numb soul - Nov 25, 2008

One more thing! In my dream this vision being SO REAL...misty background, sparkly and the crucifix Jesus from my rosary blinking a bright green, as to get my attention (my roasry is of cream rocks recently bought from Fatima) it was showing Jesus also coming half off the rosary at me, very loving- like as to say "Speak To Me", I miss you-- I am having an artist paint it.. I really don't care what others think.. becasue I believe. and the Rosary is a connection of communication/prayer.. it is "US" that forgets Jesus and Mary.
Love and Peace

Numb soul - Nov 25, 2008

yes, my husband too has a very successful career and I am very grateful to our Lord for it-do not get me wrong, but from my forced-silent past childhood abuse, I always struggled in darkness of a voided pit. So therefore $$ could not bring peace,love, happiness, it was an endless path for "something" else-no peace of mind. But through a horriful event a few years ago I had remembered how I once lived as a child even through all my abuses- it was "prayer" at alone time. Survival? no clue, guidance? surely from someone else! and yet I am to be wiser now at my age? I forgot about church and prayer.. A TRUE GIFT given to oneself is prayer-this comes the true love and guidance of our Mother Mary!, Jesus, and all the Saints as a family that never leaves your side- they will give you light to your heart and soul to not only lift you up but guide others for the Glory of Jesus. What other living is there??
Peace and Love to all

Roberto christian - Nov 24, 2008

Thanks for the article. I have been trying for years of making the rosary a point of encounter with Mother Mary. It is so easy to fall in the routine. Thanks brother please pray for me as I do the same for you

Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC - Nov 24, 2008

Nice article, Br. Ken. The rosary, indeed, is so powerful. God bless, and keep up the good work!