Mary & the Saints

St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Saint Thérèse, Teacher and Thaumaturga

Twenty years ago today was one of the most remarkable days of my life. It occurred during a phone call with my mother. And I would challenge those who doubt that miracles happen to provide a more plausible explanation for the series of events I’m about to relate. Everything began the day before, October 19, 1997, when St. John Paul […]

The Best Way to Combat Catholic Stereotypes

I know we’ve all run across them, whether in person or in the media, from friends and family members or from strangers on social media. How often have you heard those tired but sometimes convincing Catholic stereotypes?  Whether it’s about our ignorance of Scripture on one side or our anti-science beliefs on the other, they are almost too numerous to […]

"Our Lady of Fatima" (detail) by Chambers

Fatima, Marian Consecration, and the quiet faithfulness of God

In the midst of autumn homecomings, with high schools and colleges celebrating alumni with reunions and football games, I had a different homecoming this past weekend. I returned to the parish in which I grew up to give their annual women’s retreat.  It was at the parish I attended throughout middle school and high school, received the Sacrament of Confirmation, […]

"The Madonna of Carmel and the Souls of the Purgatory" (detail) by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

“Flower of Carmel” — A Truly Beautiful Prayer

Every year on July 16, Carmelites throughout the world celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, patroness of the Carmelite Order.  If you want to know how we feel about Mary, our Mother, spend a few minutes reflecting on one of the most beautiful prayers ever written, the Flos Carmeli. Most of us pray—before meals, morning and/or night prayers, […]

Our Lady of Mercy

Understanding Mercy Thanks to Mary

There’s nothing quite like being in a hurry and seeing the flashing red lights that mean that a train is coming and that I have to stop. I had this happen to me recently when I was on my way from my mother-in-law’s house to town. It was at a train track that’s on a busy highway, in a place […]

"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato

God Chose Mary to be His Mother

Each January 1 (the Octave of Christmas), the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.  I receive more comments and questions from non-Catholics, and even some Catholics, about the Church’s Marian practices and teachings than just about any other topic. Some want to know where we can find these teachings in the bible. Some even suggest that Catholics pay […]

"The Virgin in Prayer" (detail) by Sassoferrato

The Truth About Mary

Our Lord entrusts each of us into the care of the most blessed of all women—Mary, His mother. Sammy was a playful boy, like most of the five-year olds in my kindergarten classroom. Almost three feet tall with dark, dark eyes and dark, dark hair, Sammy possessed a smile that radiated from his soul. He came up with his own […]

"The Virgin at Prayer" (detail) by Sassoferrato

Mary and the Saints are Powerful Intercessors

Last Tuesday was the Solemnity of All Saints, a celebration of those who have died and attained Heaven. We remembered those who are undergoing purgation on Wednesday—on All Souls Day. In the featured article by Dr. Marcellino D’ambrosia on All Saints Day, we read that God desires all of us to become saints. Today, I would like to look at the Catholic practice of […]

Holding Mary’s Hand in the Rosary

As Our Lady of the Rosary, Mary smiles at me the same way I smile at my seven-year-old struggling to learn to spell words and write sentences or my four-year-old beginning to form shapes and lines that make sense. She was given the title after appearing to Saint Dominic in 1208 in a church in Prouille, France. Later, in 1571, Pope Pius […]

"The Crowning of the Virgin by the Trinity" (detail) by Velázquez

Decoding the Woman of the Apocalypse

Who is the Woman of Apocalypse 12 Decoding the woman in 12 is not an easy task.[1 ] Although a strong Catholic tradition sees Mary in this woman who appears in heaven “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet” and wearing “a crown of twelve stars,” most Biblical scholars today rule out a Marian interpretation. Instead, they […]