Updated: Dec 17, 2022
First Contact with Mother Mary
I was raised in a dysfunction Catholic household. Dysfunctional? Well, that may be a bit of an understatement. Alcohol influenced, abuse ridden, and dangerous are probably better descriptions. Yes, I grew up in a family led by angry alcoholics who apparently hated children. One inflicted physical wounds, the other emotional. Every day was another chance at survival, and I'm happy to report that we all made it out alive! Of course we have scars, emotional and physical, but wouldn't life be boring without some additional baggage? I just happened to have left home with a 12-piece matching set.
I was in 5th grade when my mother left. She never came home from rehab. My father finally took a stand and kicked her out, or so he said. She never showed up to the custody hearing, so he got stuck with 3 broken children that he didn't want, and he made sure we knew it. I found out later that while he was with my mother, he began having a relationship with his youngest brother's wife. When my mother left us, she left my uncle, and a secret relationship began. He would sneak out at night after we went to bed to be with her. I was always terrified that something horrible would happen in the night and there would be no one to save us. Though, no one ever was there to save us, even when the adults were home.
So I began to pray. I prayed to St. Theresa, Jesus, and even God himself. Yet I continued to feel so alone. One night after my father had snuck out, fear and loneliness overtook me. In complete desperation, I closed my eyes, griped my hands in prayer, and through my sobs prayed to the Virgin Mary. I asked Her to step in and be my mother. If She could be Jesus' mother, surely, She could adopt me. I wouldn't be nearly as much trouble as no regime was out to get me. I begged and pleaded for Her love, protection, comfort, and companionship. It was at that moment She first came to me. I suddenly felt surrounded by love and peace. It was so overwhelming I stopped crying. Then I felt two hands cover my hands. It was so real. I could feel the pressure and the heat. I closed my eyes tighter afraid of what I might see if I opened them. Afraid She would leave me. I knew in that moment She would always be with me. She accepted my request and would be the mother I could reach out to at my darkest moments. I also knew no one would believe me and this was a secret I would hold close to my heart.
An Answered Prayer
I would love to say that from there everything turned to sunshine and roses, but that was not the case. My father married my once aunt and though the physical abuse stopped, the emotional abuse increased. No longer did we fear for our lives, but it was made very clear that our lives were not worth much, and we had somehow brought that on ourselves with our bad behavior. The one who had claimed to be our savior was just another parent who didn’t really want us. She was the queen and we were her humble servants, and we were treated as such.
Yet through it all, Mother Mary stayed a constant. I prayed to Her every night. I would ask that She never leave me and to let me be happy. I often wondered if She could hear my prayers. Was She really there? Was that night just the imagination of a scared lonely child?
Years later She proved her existence to me. My great uncle, my grandmother’s brother, had fallen ill and was dying. I was heartbroken as he had always been a safe place for me when I was small. He was kind, funny, and attentive. He was one of the few people who’s love I didn’t have to earn. So, I prayed for him. I told Mary that I understood he was dying and that I would not be so bold as to ask Her to change that. But if She could please come down and take his hand and lead him to heaven when he did die, I would be forever grateful. It brought me comfort to think of him with a personal escort rather than being alone. A few days later he passed, and I went to see my grandmother. I remember her crying with her head down and I felt so sorry for her. I could not image the grief of loosing a brother. Then she lifted her head to look at me and said, “at least he died on a Saturday. That brings me great comfort.” Confused, I asked her what she meant. I will never forget her response. “As a child, I was taught that if you die on a Saturday, the Virgin Mary comes down, takes your hand, and leads you to heaven.” Her words were the exact words I said in my prayer. She was real. She did hear my prayers. And now I had proof that She answered them.
More Proof From Mother Mary
As a young adult, I attempted have a normal relationship with my mother. I guess it was our version of normal. I pretended that she wasn’t a severely mentally ill alcoholic, she pretended she was a doting mother, and we both ignored the fact that she had inflicted horrible abuse on me as a child. Eventually it became to much of an emotional burden, and I asked her to go for counseling with me. She said she would find someone and get back to me. I never heard from her again. Eight years later, my grandmother called me to tell me that my mother was in the hospital, in a coma, on her death bed. Being raised Catholic, fear set in. I was actually going to know someone who goes to hell. Even though she had rightly earned her place, the thought of it put me in a tailspin. I couldn’t let that happen. But what could I do? My spiritual Mother Mary was the only one who could help.
In the city where I lived, there was a very old and beautiful church that I would attend on occasion, before I left the Catholic Church. In there was the most beautiful statue of Mary I had ever seen. I knew that was where I had to go, so I did. As I walked into the church I saw the statue. It was just as beautiful as I had remembered. The name plate on the statue read “St Mary of Fatima.” As I knelt in front of her, I started my prayer. “Here I am again, asking for help. My Mother is dying. I know it is inevitable and I would not ask you to intervene, but I do not want her to go to hell. If you could please keep watch over her when she passes, I will be eternally grateful.” I felt that She looked down at me with great love, and maybe pity. Either way, I had no doubt She had heard my prayer.
At that time, my mother had remarried, and though I planned the funeral, her husband had a plot for them to be buried. I had not seen the cemetery. On the day of her funeral, as the procession drove through the cemetery, I noticed that it was divided into blocks named after saints – Saint Joseph, Saint Anthony, Saint Frances of Assisi. As the procession stopped and we were directed to the plot, I looked for the sign showing which saint guarded this block. I was shocked when I read it – St Mary of Fatima. Not just Mary, but the exact name of the statue I had prayed in front of. She truly was with me. She did accept my request all those years ago in my dark bedroom. She proved once again, that not only did She hear my prayers, but She answered them.
I said the Rosary every night for a month with the intention to keep my mother out of hell. I have no doubt that her soul found unconditional love and forgiveness in the arms of Mother Mary when she passed over. No doubt at all.