by Jessica Wilde
Last winter, we spent a cold, cloudy day at the Marian Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal. We visited the shrine, went to mass and walked along the sidewalk through the pastures on the outside of town where the first sightings of the angel and Mary took place. The kids joyfully skipped down the path before kneeling before each statue in prayer.
Afterwards, we went shopping. I found a statue of Our Lady of Fatima with the three shepherd kids kneeling in front. It reminded me of my kids and my hope that Mary was gazing lovingly over them just like she did the shepherd kids and her son, Jesus. The statue was huge! Well, it was huge for backpackers traveling around Europe with 3 kids in tow. It was a little over a foot tall; after the sales lady lovingly boxed it up, Our Lady took up my entire backpack. That night, Jason shook his head as I tried to jam all of my clothes into the other backpacks. But I was determined to bring my Mary home.
My Mary sat on our shelf through Chi Yu's adoption and our first year home with him. Then one day, I received an urgent email from my friend, Christina, asking to borrow a statue of Our Lady of Fatima for the Schoenstatt shrine’s altar for the 100th Anniversary feast day. I instantly felt called to let them borrow my beloved statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Christina’s friend, Garciela, picked up my Mary statue later that night. The next day, my friends texted me pictures of my Mary at the shrine. My heart blossomed with joy at seeing her on the altar surrounded with flowers.
"Our Lady of Fatima look so pleased and beautiful!!!" texted Garciela.
A couple days later, I texted Garciela to plan a time for her to drop off my precious statue. She texted me more beautiful pictures of my Mary on the altar.
Then Garciela sent me this text.
"I am at the Schoenstatt Shrine right now and Fr Jesus is asking if they can keep the image on the altar until Saturday?"
How could I deny Fr Jesus my Mary?
Of course my Mary could stay there another week! But I felt the Holy Spirit pushing me to give more. Before I knew it and with tears streaming down my cheeks, I was gifting my precious statue to the shrine because she was never just my Mary. She is everyone's Mary.
I replied. "This was a special treasure from our pilgrimage to Fatima. But I think Mary likes it there at the shrine. ;-) Please offer her to Father Jesus and ask him to pray for us and our mission to serve the poor."
After sending the text, I remembered my kids kneeling in front of Mary's statue in Fatima. I sobbed and fell to my knees in a puddle of tears. For the first time since adopting Gospel poverty and selling all of our stuff to become missionaries, my heart grieved. I did not want to let my Mary go. Jason pulled me into his arms and told me it was "probably for the best" because she would have likely been broken on our international move anyways. But my heart still hurt.
At that moment, Jason's friend Lucy, with whom he was sharing the news of our call to missions, texted us this message.
"That is so awesome to hear!! I know the Lord is going to multiply everything you are leaving behind. He will never take something away without giving you more back in return. I can't wait to see His power unfold in your & your families life."
My tears dried up as I drew strength from my hope in Jesus.
Later that week, Alex broke my special coffee cup that I wanted to bring with us on our Mission. I had bought it with my Grandma in Montana when I was a little girl. Again, I was sad and upset. In a flash, the hope I had acquired was gone and was replaced with despair. I couldn't believe that I had lost Mary and now this! In my frustration, I grabbed my phone and told Alex to freeze so I could text Jason a picture of Alex with my precious shattered coffee cup.
I was so caught up in my loss that I failed to see the big picture. I checked the photo before I sent it and saw the kids' "Jesus I Trust In You" journal sitting right there above the shattered coffee cup. It was as if Jesus was knocking me over the head saying don't store up treasures here but give it all to me. Trust in Me. Hope in Me. Once again my tears turned to dancing.
We had a garage sale at a friend’s house followed by an end of the year party for our co-op. My friend, Christina, who initially asked to borrow the statue for the shrine was there. She was very sweet and said if Our Lady of Fatima was that sentimental that they would save her for me or my kids. I was tempted to ask her for Mary back right away since my parents could keep her safe at their house. But this was my own selfishness and greed seeping out yet again. I pushed this desire deep inside and refocused on my faith in God's eternal treasures. I needed to put my hope, my trust and my faith in Him.
My Treasure Multiplies
"If you would like a visit from the Pilgrim Mother of Schoenstatt (traveling mother) I will be happy to bring her to you, so she can bring the graces from the Shrine to your home and help during this transition. 🙏" texted Garciela
I told Garciela that I would be honored. The next day Garciela brought the Pilgrim Mother of Schoenstatt over to visit me. We prayed the prayer on the back of the statue. I asked the kids for their prayer intentions. Grace prayed for our mission. Brecklyn prayed for peace in the world. And Alex prayed for us all to go to Heaven. Afterwards, Graciela explained the mission of the Pilgrim Mother of Schoenstatt. She told me the story of Deacon John Pozzobon, who carried the Pilgrim Mother of Schoenstatt over 85,000 miles by foot to visit people in Brazil.
I became a little donkey that went about carrying the Mother. (Deacon John Pozzobon)
I asked her if I could buy a statue at the shrine to share with people on our mission. Before I knew it, she was offering to let us keep this statue. She then started planning our training, commissioning and a blessing by the priest at the Schoenstatt Shrine later this summer.
While in my naiveness I had thought I had "lost" my Mary, God was actually multiplying her role in my life. Now Mary wasn't just a statue on my shelf but my responsibility. In the image of Our Pilgrim Mother, Mary is holding Jesus bringing Him to the world. Therefore, our family was to be her feet bringing Jesus to visit the poor, the sick and the imprisoned just like Mary brought Jesus when she visited her cousin Elizabeth.
We started consecrating ourselves to Mary every day and I realized that she did not belong to me but that I belong to her. I am her daughter and she is my mother. She has always been there for me and always will.
My Queen, my Mother, I give myself entirely to you, and to show my devotion to you, I consecrate to you this day my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my entire self without reserve. As I am your own, my good Mother, guard me and defend me as your property and possession. Amen
On a Mission
Two passionate parents and their four children are excited to bring His Word to everyone in need while living a life of Gospel poverty as missionaries. They invite you to join them on a journey to encounter our global neighbors that Jesus commands us to love through works of charity and service.