Blessed Mother Mary
And then came Mary, the Mother of God – at first in the form of St. Mary of Schoenstatt. St. Mary, with whom Father Kentenich together with a group of youths formed a Covenant of Love on 18 October 1914 in the Original Holy Shrine in Schoenstatt, in order to settle in the chapel and to work miracles of grace. This day is considered the foundation for today's International Schoenstatt Ecclesial Movement. At the foundation the picture of the Virgin Mary, which now hangs in the middle of the altar, was not yet in the Original Shrine, but only came on Good Friday of the following year to Schoenstatt and was suspended shortly before the start of the Marian month of May. The picture is one of many copies of the painted “Refuge Peccatorum” (Refuge of Sinners) by Luigi Crosio. This title, however, was not incorporated in Schoenstatt, but - because of a historical parallel – the title of the miraculous image of the Ingolstadt Marian Congregation: “Mater ter admirabilis”, abbreviated as MTA.
Since 1943, replicas of the Original Shrine are built throughout the world; on the occasion of the Marian year 1954, the Pallottines erected on their premises in Limburg a “Mater ter admirablis” (MTA) Chapel, opposite the existing St. Mary's Church. Whereas all the other Schoenstatt Chapels have only printed versions of the MTA pictures, Father Gerhard Hermes SAC painted for the little Chapel in Limburg one in oils. It is in an octagonal frame with an oval mat, hanging in the middle of the carved altar. It shows Mary and Jesus, with Mary looking directly down at us holding the baby Jesus in Her arms. She wears a royal blue robe with wide sleeves, which includes some red cloth, as these colours symbolize Heaven and Earth. Her hair is covered with a white cloth that falls to Her shoulders. Jesus is likewise wrapped in a white cloth. The lower end of the image has a cloud-like finish and the background is in a light brown. Mary and Jesus are surrounded by a brilliant light that makes them stand out from the background.
It was on 13th of July 2009, three weeks after my Confirmation, that I held my first Sacred Heart devotions in the MTA Chapel in Limburg. I prayed the Rosary along with several believers who join together on the 13th of each month. It did not take long before I found myself overcome with a great emotion, and was overwhelmed by tears. I sat in the front row and tried to reassure myself by simply looking directly at Mary. I then looked at the altar, and suddenly it began to glow. First, only Her aura shone as a bright ring around Her, then suddenly Jesus also began to shine. At that point Maria's eyes twinkled, and my eyes began to vibrate at the same time. I was not able to control them. There was not the usual nervous twitch as most people have experienced it, but a movement that caused a strange vibration of the eyelids. And when I closed my eyes, this vibration went further inside my head. When I opened my eyes again, the entire altar was on fire! Of course, it was only seen by me and it also shone all around in gold. Mary with her child Jesus both glowed now and seemed to wink at me. Finally the whole altar glittered like – yes, I must say unfortunately, because it describes it best – like the billboard at a fairground booth. I have to beg your pardons, Padre Kentenich and Dear Mary, but there is no better way to describe it. Several minutes after this spectacle was over, I returned to my Rosary and prayed on bravely.
Finally, we were all blessed by the two Priests who regularly appear each day at 3 pm in the MTA Chapel. Their blessing was for me always something I could feel as rather special, as I could feel the great power these Priests radiated through being filled with God's Light and Love.
The elder of the two Priests died a few weeks later when he collapsed at the beginning of a Mass, and one which I happened to be attending. He collapsed in front of the Sacred Heart Altar. At his funeral, the Priest celebrant emphasized that for this Father, truth and clarity were always the most important to him. I realized then that he had given me within the small MTA Chapel, not only his blessing, but was also very much assisting me in my search for my own truth and clarity. I shall always fondly and gratefully remember him. May his Soul forever rest in peace!
Back to our beloved Mary in the MTA Chapel of Limburg: The next day I visited Her again. I wanted to know more. What was it that had enflamed Mary and Jesus together with the altar? In seeking an answer, I lit a candle and greeted Jesus and Mary most dearly, and again I was sitting in the front row. I had of course not come to conduct a scientific experiment as to how the event could have happened! So much was already clear to me: there was something very special given to me, a truly precious gift, and I would dare not to ask for that gift to be given once more to me again, as I am far too modest to ask for such a thing. But of course I was filled with curiousity. Why did my eyes vibrate in such a strange manner? Why did I find myself crying so much? All this I wanted to find out about in greater detail.
I sat back in the front row and prayed: “Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with Thee: blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and in the hour of our death. Amen.” Everything was quiet. Once again: “Hail Mary ...” And a third time: “Hail Mary ...” – And then it began once again. This time I did not cry. I felt my left eye begin to vibrate. I closed my eyes, and the right eye also then began to vibrate. I opened my eyes again, and then Mary once again winked at me. Her aura was visible, and Her silhouette was accentuated, along with that of Jesus, as coming out forward from the altar. The whole altar was once again covered in gold, and then it turned into a flashing altar, as might be seen in a fairground....
I was then filled with Love, and although I was aware that there might happen something special, but what was it? When I started to re-think over the whole event (no, it was not a nightmare, but at the time I could have felt it as almost being so), and in the end I managed to calm down. I thought about it for a while, and then Mary was casting Her spell over me again. Suddenly I knew that I should have to come out from my mental thoughts and move to within my Heart. She was asking for my Love, of that I was certain, and from me this She certainly could have. I then opened up my Heart to her, letting my Love flow outwards, and began to pray: “Hail Mary...”. Once again the previous events all returned – the eye vibrations, winks, and above all, Mary and Jesus were once again bathed in flames!
I recounted this experience and phenomenon carefully to the nice lady who often accompanies me in to the MTA Chapel and also some other religious services. I had first met her at my Confirmation in the small Limburg Church of St. Anna. She came at that time over to me and handed me a Rosary! Our Confirmation ceremony had been so filled with the Holy Spirit that she had deeply felt it. Her face was constantly lit up, and she is looking younger and younger, even though she has not had an easy life. But her unflagging faith and her deep Love for Mary and Joseph and all the Saints and our Lord have helped her through all the hard times.
When I told her about Mary's “Lightning”, she was astonished, but she nevertheless believed me. She herself might have developed other types of contact with Mary. I was to know that those whose hearts are as open as mine, are truly my Sisters and Brothers in Faith, and they are aware that I would never, as they would never, tell them mistruths or invent things that were not true. We all just know it through our deep faith and openness, and because we are all of the same thinking.
A few nights later I woke up and knew what Mary wanted of me. She wanted me to learn telepathy! She wanted to tell me: “Look, there is a kind of communication that you need to learn now, you'll be able to usefully use it and I will show you how”. Suddenly I realized that if I came during my Rosary prayer to join the frequency of Mary, She showed it by lights and flashing and twinkling in Her eyes, and my eyes were responding Her. The whole thing was nothing but a telepathic transmission. I was so overwhelmed during the first event, before all of this had became known to me, that Mary had already surely spoken through my Heart, and thus brought me through my intense feelings to tears. She had then let me pray, and after praying the 'Hail Mary' three times, She began to transfer Her silent inner messages to my inner consciousness. What She said and what the message was, I was not then openly conscious of. Telepathy works rather like a radio, there is a sender and a receiver on one and the same frequency. What is said comes, as long as we are still not practiced in the receiving of it, to reside silently within our inner consciousness as unspoken impulses.
I had tried it on that day a third time, and then it had worked right away. Having prayed three times “Hail Mary”, it started. As soon as I started thinking about it, I were falling down from the frequency and then the blinking stopped abruptly. At the end I did not fail to pray to Mary, but quietly and without demanding anything from Her. I do not want to overburden Her; no, my respect and awe are still far bigger than my curiosity, and also my Love for Her!
Telepathy is the language of the Saints to the faithful, it is the language of the prayer to God and his Helpers and it is the language of lovers, whose Souls are at a very high level and can feel their way to each other and truly connect together.
In the Cathedral (Dom) of Limburg there's also a great prayer area in the Northern transept. Here is Mary, in gold, about 5 feet high, crowned as the Queen of Heaven, with Jesus on Her right arm and a with a sceptre in Her left hand. She has a most beautiful face and is looking straight ahead, whereas Jesus directs His gaze to the right. I love to sit on the wall ledge on this side of Her. It is a statue of Mary from the Mainz Baroque period, with its typical smooth, flowing shapes and is thus about 300 years old. Under Her feet she is supported by the globe of the Moon. This reminds me of the vision of the woman's sign in the Book of Revelation: “A woman clothed with the Sun, the Moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head” (Revelation 12:1). Some figures are also presented with Mary having a halo which contains twelve stars. The Early Church had already seen Mary in the picture of this woman as representing the Church itself. If the Moon is under Her feet it represents that this woman does not depend on the powers and influences of Nature, but stands above all that.
In the middle of the Chapel area are two round racks stacked with many small candles that worshipers light for their prayers. The area is quite dark, and this helps even more with a very special atmosphere which invites to a contemplative prayer and dialogue with Mary and Jesus. The modern stained glass window overhead shows red dots rising that glow beautifully in sunlight. They symbolize our prayers ascending to God. The wrought-iron grille also contributes to the feeling of being protected.
In September of 2008, when I was visiting Limburg for the first time in the occasion of my daughter's Birthday, I visited also the Cathedral (Dom), and I began to feel very at peace there. In the Maria prayer area previously mentioned, I then lit a candle and wished, without unduly emphasizing it however, that Mary should help me to find an apartment. I also wrote my wish onto a prayer card and put it into the designated prayer box which the two Dom Sisters (Franciscan Nuns) empty every night in order to recite these prayers over once again to God. I find that this is a very helping action on their part.
After spending a short time in the Cathedral of Limburg, I left and walked down the adjacent narrow street lined with historic half-timbered houses on either side, for approximately only 150 meters. My eyes fell upon a window of a tall and narrow house, on which was written on a paper the inscription: “Apartment for rent”.... I did not hesitate, and took out my cell phone and rang the number inscribed. The house owner told me the size of the apartment and invited me to a viewing appointment. On visiting it, I did not hesitate and immediately agreed to sign the contract.
Delighted and filled with profound gratitude, I went to the Cathedral, and wrote on a prayer card: “Thank you, the apartment has become a whole house in the Domstrasse, greetings Monika Petry.”
It was some time later, in fact a year and a half later, during a visit with a friend to the Cathedral, one of the Dom nuns showed my a treasure chest, as she called it, where she had treasured special Prayer Cards, which of course are kept anonymous. She picked one out at random and read: “Thank you, the apartment has become a whole house ......” – “That's from you,” she exclaimed in surprise, “what a coincidence!” No, there is no coincidence – it is part of that which is always connecting us invisibly with each other.
“From foolish devotions and sour-Saints
Save us, O Lord! “
(St. Teresa of Ávila)
One evening there stood a Nun at my front door and asked for admission, and I granted her asylum. Let's call her Sister Mary. I had met her in the Cathedral and had already spoken briefly with her. In the evening there she was! After decades of a monastic life, she now faced a new challenge, that was given to her by God and which she now bravely shouldered. Her new life was not easy for her and left even to me significant effects. She left a far deeper impression on me than I could ever have imagined. Without realizing it, pioneering these two months of living together and maybe even just in the first week, which was filled with intense conversations, started me out on my own new life and my own transformation.
We had plenty of conversations, Sister Mary and myself. She was an expert on the Gospel; she could sing the Psalms from beginning to end; she never spoke in ordinary sentences; made no usual types of statements, she just quoted the Holy Bible. Her favourite was Paul the Apostle, and He was consulted on every topic. Even the Pope was our permanent guest. “If the Pope knew,” Mary whispered emphatically at one dinner with a wagging finger, as if to tell me a profound secret, “that in a private house, life can be more monastic than in any monastery!”
This statement was an honour for me, and I will never forget it. I don't have to join a Monastic Order in order to live with God to devote myself to Him. On the contrary, only in the everyday life it proves how much a profound Belief in God and a Love for all other Beings has already been internalised within a Human Being.
In the weeks before the arrival of Sister Mary I had my focus on the religious topics of 'Veracity’, 'Enlightened Faith', and 'Awareness'; terms that I was eventually able to adopt as my own experience. However, in my immediate vicinity I had no one else to talk to about such matters. Mary, however, was delighted: “You know the Enlightened Faith!” She cheered. Eventually, she herself had found someone to speak about her deepest innermost concerns of faith.
Strictly speaking, it was my dear Sister Mary who encouraged me to write this book. The fact that she had not found, after more than fifty years of Monastic life, anyone else with whom she could talk so deeply about enlightened faith, made me thoughtful. On the other hand, I also know a lot of seekers who have got stuck on their way to God, ending up in all sorts of dead ends through their anticipated void not being filled with God. Many people are forever seeking God and thus they need others who can tell them about God, particularly people who have made their own search and followed their own special path in reaching that state of faith and consciousness.
These persons would really honour Sister Mary! On one side she had the necessary rigour but also the Love of God in her heart that always bubbled out to others as soon as she spoke of Him. God bless my dear Sister Mary!
“Oh, Sisters, it is clear to see those
who possess the charity of living in Truth
and yet also where they are not always so perfect! “
(St. Teresa of Ávila)