by Ken Rolheiser
Is she not my Mother

A monk, a former soldier who was dying, wrote to his mother, "When you receive this letter, little mother, your son will be in Heaven with the Blessed Virgin Mary." He entrusted the letter to a monk friend, who reacted with surprise: "Are you so sure that you are going to Heaven? You have not always been an angel (for he had led a disreputable life before his conversion)!"

The dying man replied, "An angel? I am not an angel, but this is not about me, this is about her! I know her, and I'm sure she can’t wait to see me!" "You're delirious, surely the Blessed Virgin is not pining after you!" "No, I am not exaggerating, the Immaculate wants to have me near her." 

As the other monk smiled, the former soldier sat up and, looking straight into his friend’s face, asked him: "Tell me, yes or no, is she or is she not my mother?" (A Moment with Mary September 26, 2021).

In the 1950’s my pious mother enrolled us in the Blue Army of Fatima started by Monsignor Harold Colgan to promote devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. Colgan was dying of heart disease when he asked Mary for an extension to his life.

His miraculous recovery enabled him to build the Blue Army prayer warriors who numbered thirty to forty thousand. The miracles of Fatima led to prayers for and the eventual conversion of Russia.

Other miracles attributed to our heavenly mother Mary include the prayerful assistance of Our Mother in the defeat of the Huguenots in 1572, by Louis XIII’s army which was equipped with 15,000 rosaries. Notre Dame des Victoires in Paris was built in thanksgiving.

One of my favorite miracles of Mary’s miraculous intervention happened when the atomic bomb destroyed Hiroshima. There was total destruction for 1.5 kilometers around. A small house, only eight buildings from the point of the explosion, remained intact.

It was the presbytery where eight Jesuit fathers were living. None of them was affected by the bomb, and they emerged alive and in perfect health. The home was a simple everyday Japanese construction.

200 scientists examined these men who survived while thousands of living beings perished around them. The only difference was that the Rosary was recited every day in that house.

Let me end by sharing an intriguing link between the Rosary, Our Lady and pandemics with which we are still struggling. The Spanish Flu took the life of one of the Fatima children St Jacinta. One quarter of the world’s population was affected by the flu and seventeen to fifty million died of it (includes countless World War I soldiers). 

Just after the Spanish flu ended, Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror was produced. This movie depicted Orlok, a vampire-like creature, who released a pestilence of death that could only be stopped by the sacrifice of a woman of virtue.

In the final battle at night, it is Ellen, a woman of pure heart, who sacrifices herself by luring Orlok to the power of light dawning while rosary beads are seen draped around a clearly displayed crucifix.

Today we can turn to a woman of pure heart, Mary, to intercede for us and to end this pandemic. I am sure it is Her wish for us. Is she not our Mother?

(559 words)