“Mary never seeks herself alone;
her gaze is always toward Jesus,
and her greatest joy is to bring to Him
the souls who have entrusted themselves to her care.”
I guess that is what you can call us, a group of 48 people that just participated in Christine Watkins’ Spiritual Retreat for Heaven’s Help – Mary’s Mantle Consecration.
As you continue to read, no doubt you will ask the following questions:
“Is this a plug for Christine Watkin’s book?” or “Is it an authentic sharing of what happened to a constellation of human stars that were invited by Our Lady to participate in a beautiful journey together?”
I “hope” that you will come away answering an emphatic “yes” to the second question just posed to you!
The word “hope” is something that just popped up in the Macmillan Dictionary online as I looked up the word “stargazer.” It actually came up as a synonym along with some other very interesting words that I will point out below:
Hope – the feeling or belief that something you want to happen is likely to happen.
Expectation – the belief that something will happen.
Vision – someone’s idea or hope of how something should be done, or how it will be in the future.
Optimism – a tendency to be hopeful and to expect that good things will probably happen.
Prayer – a strong hope or wish for something
A ray of light/comfort – something that makes you feel slightly happier or more hopeful in a difficult situation.
Future – someone or something will make something continue or succeed.
Light at the end of the tunnel – something that makes you think that a difficult situation will improve.
Wow! Honestly, I did not go into Macmillan Dictionary online to find these words but each and every synonym above seems to describe what the 48 of us seemed to experience on this journey together. We certainly were “stargazers” and as I explained in a prior posting entitled, “Trail of Stars,” we were on a path that seemed to bond us altogether as brothers and sisters under the Mantle of Mary. Certainly, Hope was leading us!
We surely had hope, expectation, vision, optimism, rays of light and comfort from each other as we traveled on the journey each new day! We looked forward to the future as a bonded group and we saw the “light at the end of the tunnel“ from our united prayer together!
How Did That Happen You Might Ask?
How did 48 people come to bond with each other so well for 46 days?
The answer lies “right in your hand” if you are reading this on your iPhone or if you are on your iPad or in front of your desktop computer!
We were able to stay connected each day by a daily email sent out to all 48 people by the leader. For instance, Day 44 (which happened to be my “Star Day”) was “Sacrifice” and so we all centered our prayer on that particular meditation both in the Consecration book and the Journal. 47 Rosaries were prayed for me that day and these Rosaries gave me the strength to fast and to enter into the meditation of “Sacrifice.” I found that “Sacrifice” gives us the wings to fly above our problems. It gives us a freedom and I only can attribute that understanding to the power of all those praying for me that particular day and throughout the 46 days.
Sound confusing???? Not at all!
How Did Everyone Get to Know Each Other?
We sure did by the internet! As the sender of the emails, I would try to give a little bio of the person we were praying for to familiarize the rest of the group with the “star” for the day. The daily emails included many images of the Blessed Mother depicted as Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Fatima and many others of Mama with “mantles” or “stars.” Many songs were attached within the emails such as Coldplay’s Sky Full of Stars which seemed so appropriate for our journey together.
There was a camaraderie among us for sure. Each new day, I would hang a “star” in Mama Mary’s hands on the statue of Our Lady of Fatima that is on my living room mantle. That “star” symbolized the person we were praying for that particular day. It made the vision a little more concrete for us.
What Made Our Group So Unique?
It was that we had two women who were preparing for major surgeries on the same day! Friday, June 7th was a big day for our group!
Was that by coincidence? Certainly not!!!
Mama Mary pulled us altogether under “Her Mantle” for so many reasons and praying for these two beautiful “stars” who were scheduled for surgery on the same day was just one of them!
How united we were in our prayers for their successful surgeries and healing! We were able to lift up the doctors, the surgical team, all those who would be there in the healing process and especially their families. The outcome was beautiful and there was a sense of great JOY and HAPPINESS that spread as a “good vibe” among us when we heard both women had done well and their surgeries were both a success. We continued with our prayers for healing and we all felt the love among us. We had a team spirit that was endowed upon us from “Heaven Above.”
The Fruits of the Journey Together
It was an incredible time and you knew you were moving along a path together with others, that you were not alone. You knew that there were 47 other rosaries that you were united with and just the “miracle” of that vision was mind boggling.
The “Star Days” that we received according to our spots on the list as we had signed up seemed to be predestined for us and chosen specifically for us by the Holy Spirit. As mentioned above, I was the 44th “star” which was depicted as “Sacrifice!” I was not too happy with that meditation and thought to myself, “I should have placed myself somewhere within this retreat on a happier day such as ‘Love, Kindness or Thanksgiving!'” But I have learned that there are no mistakes when the Holy Spirit is involved and the word “Sacrifice” was the “Star” I was to receive. It was my personal “Mantle” that Our Lady would clothe me in on the night of our Consecration Mass.
There were so many positive comments along the way from the other “stargazers” and these would be sometimes included in the daily email. Here is just one of them expressing her longing to stay together in this unified prayer of 48. That wish we hope to place in Mama’s hands and see what the outcome will be as the days unfold before us.
“I wish the Stars could continue to pray together when we finish our Consecration.”
God bless and protect you Anita!
Roses from Heaven
We were heading towards our goal of “Consecration” and we weren’t going it alone. We were all together but also with the Saints and Angels. St. Therese made her presence very known to us and walked alongside us on the journey by giving us her “signs of roses” as signposts along the way! Mother Angelica and Rhoda Wise (the stigmatist who advised Mother Angelica to pray a Novena to the Little Flower to be healed of severe stomach ailments before becoming a nun) also companioned us on the journey.
The Consecration Mass on Feast of Sacred Heart
On Friday, June 28th. . .on the Feast of the Sacred Heart. . . our little group came together to be consecrated at a special Mass being celebrated by Msgr. Michael and Fr. Alex for us. There were some “stars” missing, travelling in other “galaxies!” Two were in Rome and another was actually in Mexico and then there were some whose schedules did not allow them to be present. Whatever the case, we were still united in heart as we had been over the internet.
We began our evening before “Jesus Present in the Monstrance” and a First Class Relic of St. Therese was reverenced by all of us. We were able to pray the Sorrowful Mysteries united to the “Rosary Rally for Priests Worldwide” before our Mass began.
The “Spirit” felt within the Church was palpable, so much so, that there was an extreme vibe of joy felt within the walls of this sacred space! Broad smiles were on everyone’s faces! We certainly were anticipating our Consecration together in great happiness!
Two of our “stars,” Chris and his sister Elizabeth, provided the music for us and we joined them in heartfelt song. We were sure Preparing the Way of the Lord and also that of “His beautiful mother” into our souls.
We recited our Consecrations together and Msgr. Michael and Fr. Alex joined us. Then we readied ourselves to receive our Jesus in the Eucharist. Again, there was so much joy and love felt within our souls. Upon receiving Our Lord, there was a stillness in the room and you felt that everyone was immersed in their own personal dialogue with the Mother of God and Her Son.
The Celebration Afterwards
Fr. Frank Gaeta at St. Brigids in Westbury, NY, a beautiful priest that many of us knew way back, had a beautiful expression that he would always belt out right before a party, “Now we are going to go from our holy hour to our happy hour!” And that is exactly what we did that evening, making our way back to my home!
There was so much celebration and especially for the two “stars” who were healing from their major surgeries! There they were, “Alicia and Vicki” both of them looking beautiful. Nobody would ever know what each of them had just gone through! We also celebrated the entry of “Chris” into the Capuchin Order coming up in mid July. The celebrations stretched into the early morning hours of the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. You see, two “stars” planned to stay overnight and as we sat before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, we all noticed something upon her face. Truly we were “stargazing” as we looked upon the Face of Mama!”
Somehow “Her Mantle” had slipped back during the course of the night and the celebration. Maybe it was the breeze from the air conditioner or maybe someone touched her mantle and it slipped backwards, but whatever the reason it allowed the shadows and light to transform her face into “stars!”
Yes, it seemed that Mama was very happy with us. She definitely had a smile on “her face” that evening as we gazed upon her and saw her face illuminated with images of stars. These were her “stars,” her “children” who had just consecrated themselves to her hours before at a beautiful Mass celebrated on the Feast of her Son’s Sacred Heart.
Our Dear “Mama” is Wishing Upon All Her Stars
To “Mirror Her Virtues and to Sanctify Us”
Bringing us Closer to Her Son and Fully Alive
©2019 Anita Guariglia
Beginning Quote taken from “Mary was Her Life”
The Story of Sister Maria Teresa Quevado (intro by Bishop John J. Carberry)
Photo Credit/Blessed Mother with Stars on Face/Anita Guariglia
Photo Credit/Sacred Heart/Instagram
Photo Credits/All Other Images/Pixabay
Youtube – When You Wish Upon a Star – Disney