May: A Month Celebrating Mary!

Our Lady of Guadalupe by Brother Mickey McGrath, OSFS

"Our Lady of Guadalupe" by Brother Mickey McGrath, OSFS

by Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde, Visitation Companion

It’s May, friends! A month during the liturgical year when Catholics devote time to our Blessed Mother. I’m pausing today to think about the various ways I do this, and considering ways that I might grow in my prayer and devotion to Mary. Perhaps some of this will resonate with you?

I started my day driving across town in traffic that had me honking — within four blocks of my St. Paul residence – after being cut off in my lane, en route to the Monastery. Immediately, I heard: “Time to pray.” Without much thought, I began a decade of Hail Mary’s that brought a calm to my angered spirit. I found myself smiling, eased up on the gas pedal, and released my grip on the wheel as the words, “Full of grace, the Lord is with thee” went through my mind and heart.

As a pre-teen and adolescent growing up in northeast Nebraska, Mary made few appearances in my prayer life. It was at my friend Jeanne Pfiefer’s house, however, that the rosary became part of my spiritual consciousness. Following meal times at Bud and Alice’s house, where their combined brood numbered ten, we were invited to clear dishes and then return to the table, where our litany of Hail Mary’s began. I remember being 14 and thinking, “Huh. This doesn’t happen at my house.” Jeanne seemed a little pink in the face the first time I was invited to join in the prayer, (an apologetic or self-conscious peer?); but I reveled in the experience. I loved sitting at the table with the Pfiefer-Ramaekers clan and being included in this holy ritual that seemed to anchor their family. It was an “out of the ordinary” thing for me, and I marveled at how Bud and Alice lead their choir of children in this manner.

It would be 16 years later before those rosary experiences would come home to me again and inspire my faith life and thinking in a new way. At the untimely death of Jeanne’s parents, I heard her older brother bring up this rosary ritual during the eulogy of Bud and Alice.

Oldest living son Terry Pfiefer recalled the story, asking his step-father why he and his mother insisted on this after-dinner prayer each night. “Why do we pray to Mary?” he asked.

Bud responded, “Well, think of when you want something really badly. Do you come to me first, or go ask your mom?”

Terry laughed, “Right.”

Bud continued, “It’s not that much different in my mind with God. When we want something in prayer, or really need help, we can go to our mother, Mary, and ask her to intercede on our behalf.”

That explanation has stayed with me ever since.

***

  • I wonder, what Marion prayers are part of your faith life?
  • How does the rosary inspire or inform your spiritual routines?
  • Who else likes to pray the rosary in traffic or while they are in tense spots?
  • I wonder if the Vis Sisters might list  all the Mary-directed prayers that are part of their office?

During this month of May, I am striving to tune in and engage Mary more in my heart and mind. Will you join me in this intentional manner of prayer?

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Resource Links:

How to pray the rosary

Marian Prayers (EWTN)

4 Responses

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  1. As I child I only remember two different ocasions when the rosary was said: Before the Christian Mother’s yearly mass, and at wakes at the funeral home. I so remember bringing in flowers and flowering weeds to put in tiny litle vases at the statue of Mary in our home in May.

    It wasn’t until I landed at the Church of St. Philip in 2003 that I heard the rosary more often, every Sunday morning with Frannie Wros as leader. That is where I first began to really learn about the rosary and all of the prayers that go along with a complete rosary.

    My marion prayers are those that accompany the rosary at the end of all 5 decades of the rosary. Praying the rosary causes me to step back, take a deep breath and slow down. The repitition of the prayers brings a sense of calm to my often racing mind. I say the rosary in traffic (I ride a city bus), I say it when I am anxious or worried, I say it when someone I know is undergoing surgery, I say it whenever I get that ‘feeling’ that I need to pray. At other times I may talk to Mary, carry on whole conversations in my head with her. This brings me comfort since my own mother is deceased. It’s also nice to know that there is “someone to put in a good word for me with Jesus”, because I know that Mary will never do anything that is against God’s will.

  2. Beautiful, Jody!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Peace, Prayers,
    Melissa

  3. Melissa,

    Thank for you for sharing that! I am so moved by your remarks I can barely put two thoughts together.

    My brothers, sisters and I were truly blessed to grow up in a home where our Catholic faith was lived and exemplified by our parents. The three things I remember most often about their example of faith are my father’s appreciation of Mary and his explanation of her role in our church and in our lives as you so aptly described, my mother’s frequent admonishments that: “Worry is a waste of energy–don’t worry; pray” and both of their love of the Eucharist as Christ’s perfect gift to His church.

    Though we should do it more often, Julie and I and the kids begin every family car trip of any distance greater than a couple hours with a rosary with each of them leading a decade. It is always a great experience and even though a few of the kids may give a heavy sigh as the rosaries come out of the glove box I know they appreciate it and it sets the tone appropriately for time we are about to spend together.

    Thank you for so much for sharing your memory of our dinner table. I see that pinkish look in the faces of my kids when they have friends over and we commence to reciting our three prayer litany before meals. I hope some of them will be positively impacted by their experience in our home and one day come to a greater closeness with Jesus because of it. What an honor that would be!

    God Bless!

  4. [...] beginning of the beautiful month of May I received an invitation I couldn’t refuse. A friend invited personal reflections on Mary, the Mother of Jesus, during this traditional month of celebration, reflection and special devotion [...]

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