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Among Women 217: The Final Lap in the Year of Mercy

Among Women 217: The Final Lap in the Year of Mercy

 

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Colette Higgins

In this episode of Among Women, we chart a course for finishing strong in the Jubilee Year of Mercy. If you’ve put off acting on the merciful suggestions of this holy year, here’s your chance to change that! Don’t miss this stop on our pilgrim journey to heaven!  Speaking of pilgrimage and travel, my guest today is a longtime AW listener, Colette Higgins, who shares her sabbatical journey in the footsteps of Queen Kapiolani. Who’s that? You gotta listen to find out!

I’ll also be discussing Mary, our Mother of Mercy, as we look at motherhood, mercy, and the Memorare. I hope you’ll download this episode of Among Women, and listen!

A visit to the Shrine honoring St Katharine Drexel

A visit to the Shrine honoring St Katharine Drexel

My ongoing recovery from surgery has me doing some minimal blogging and writing… I’m a little late for Katherine Drexel’s feast day, but maybe you’d still enjoy the blog post below that hopes to honor her!

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Last fall I enjoyed a marvelous visit, alongside my good friend, Lisa Hendey, to the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia and to see Pope Francis. One of the bonuses of driving there was that on the way home to Boston we got to visit with our mutual friend, Barb Szyszkiewicz. Barb is a blogger at Franciscan Mom, and together with Lisa, is an editor and contributor with over 300 articles over at Catholic Mom.com. We journeyed as a threesome to the National Shrine honoring St Katharine Drexel.

Here’s a few photographic highlights: (Click on any photo to make it larger.)

The Shrine attached to the motherhouse of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, Bensalem, PA.

The Shrine attached to the motherhouse of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, Bensalem, PA.

 

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PA road sign at the Shrine

 

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Outside the chapel with Barb (l) and Lisa (r)

 

The Visitor's Center and mission offices

The Visitor’s Center and mission offices

 

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Stained glass illustrating the mission and work of St Katharine and the Blessed Sacrament sisters.

 

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More stained glass in a stair well in the visitors center that welcomes pilgrims.

 

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Chapel interior

 

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Chapel altar, note the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance.

St Katharine is buried in the crypt area of the Shrine, and there is also a small museum with artifacts from St Katharine’s life.

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It was an honor to pray at St Katharine’s tomb.

 

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Above her tomb is a lovely representation of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament being perpetually adored by angels.

 

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The description… “she fell asleep in Christ, March 3, 1955.. in the 97th year of her life.”

 

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Some of the diorama describing the mission of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament… to imitate Jesus in making a “total gift of self” to Him and to those the sisters serve in their apostolate.

 

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Katharine is a modern saint, so we have the saint’s baptismal record!

 

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A place to leave prayer intentions under the saint’s most recognizable portrait.

 

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Katharine’s ring

 

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Chapel kneeler and pew that Katharine used.

 

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John Paul II’s papal bull declaring Katharine a saint of the church.

“The Eucharist is the continuation of the Incarnation.
In it Jesus communicates Himself to me and to every human heart.”
St Katharine Drexel

 

Visit the National Shrine website.

You might also like this short video about her life…

You might enjoy this earlier Among Women podcast from 2009 in which I share Katharine’s biography. I intend to talk more about her writings and thoughts in an upcoming podcast later this week.

Our Lady of Charity answers my prayers… she sent Maria Morera Johnson on pilgrimage with the #PopeInCuba

Our Lady of Charity answers my prayers… she sent Maria Morera Johnson on pilgrimage with the #PopeInCuba

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Sisters in Christ, daughters of Mary.

One of the many fruits of my friendship with María Morera Johnson, is not only finding a friend who loves the Blessed Mother and the Rosary, but through her I learned about Mary’s title as Our Lady of Charity, the patroness of Cuba. Her full title in Spanish is La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre. 

Good friends teach you about stuff. They share what moves them. I visited María’s extended family in Miami in 2011. Part of that trip included a little pilgrimage to Our Lady of Charity’s shrine there, also known as the Ermita del la Caridad. It is dear to many with Cuban ancestry. When I’m there, I think of the many people in the course of my lifetime who have left their country under difficult circumstances. The shrine looks out to sea from the shoreline. I can only imagine how many prayers and tears have mingled with those waters that fill the 90-mile gap from Florida to Cuba.

I have been very taken with this title of Our Lady of Charity, and her patronage.

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My statue of Our Lady of Charity.

After that Miami visit I had an opportunity to write about the story of Our Lady of Charity. I’ve even been back to Miami two more times to visit the Ermita. I’ve prayed for my friend and her Cuban family members’ intentions both there and before the image of Our Lady of Charity that is in my home — a gift from the Morera family.

Over the years I have prayed that María would one day have a chance to make a pilgrimage to the original El Cobre shrine in Cuba, the country of her birth.

I think Our Lady had that same prayer.

The thing about God’s timing and God’s plan is that it is always so much better than anything we can ever hope for or imagine.

I would have never predicted that such a pilgrimage would include a selfie with the Pope.

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Pope Francis, Maria Morera Johnson, Cuba, 2015. (Photo courtesy of Maria M Johnson.)

María just returned from a pilgrimage to Cuba that coincided with Pope Francis’ Apostolic Visit to Cuba. It’s her story to tell. And I’m happy to ask you to read it.

Read her second installment about her Cuban journey, complete with the selfie with the Pope, over at Aleteia. Her first installment is here.

You can also follow María Johnson’s blog.

Oh, in other news, María has a book coming out in the next few weeks: My Badass Book of Saints… 

One last thing… you see that little medal María is wearing in the photo above?  I’ve never seen one until I met her. It’s Our Lady of Charity.

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Update from 10.5.2015: An Offering to Our Lady of Charity in Cuba. This post really touched my heart.

Our Lady of Lourdes…. a recap of our June 2012 pilgrimage.

Our Lady of Lourdes…. a recap of our June 2012 pilgrimage.

Last June, Bob and I travelled to Lourdes as part of a week in France to celebrate our anniversary. It was a wonderful blessing and I’ve already shared quite a bit about our pilgrimage to Lourdes, and the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal in Paris, both on Among Women and on the older blog.

I’ve still got many memories of a beautiful trip, and since we came up on today’s feast, I thought I’d compile a bit more of the video and photos to share. Sadly we had quite a bit of rain while we were there, so my photos of the rosary procession are a bit strange. (Mary looks like a glow-in-the-dark statue, but really, its just the exposure of the camera lens being thrown off by the night.) And there are no photos from inside the basilicas, simply because its not really the thing to do when folks are there to pray and all.

Bob and I prayed many rosaries, had a Mass said for all the intentions we brought with us, and lit a giant candle for all the intentions too. Naturally we brought home a few quarts of holy water too.

To learn more about the shrine at Lourdes, go to the website.

“O my mother, in your heart I placed all my anguish of my heart and it is there that I gain strength and courage.”

Saint Bernadette, Personal Notebook p.28

 

Among Women Podcast 148: “Coming Home” While on Pilgrimage

Among Women Podcast 148: “Coming Home” While on Pilgrimage

This week the Among Women podcast welcomes Joanne Mc Portland, the blogger at Egregious Twaddle at Patheos. Joanne describes her most recent pilgrimage to the Marian shrines of Portugal, Spain, and France in a fascinating series of blog posts.

Mary with the Infant Jesus,                    St Catherine of Bologna, 15th century.                Source: Wikipedia

 

Together we talk about the importance of the integration of faith and life, the gift of the experience of walking where Mary and the saints have been, and the many lessons one finds along the pilgrim way.

I also profile a patron saint from the Renaissance, St Catherine of Bologna, a long-time patron of artists and creative people. That’s one of her paintings to the right. Don’t miss this latest episode, or the one released as a special edition last week exploring great resources for the Year of Faith.