Both Tom and I are cradle Catholics. Both of our families were faithful and obedient to the Church. My father chose the U.S. Army as a career and so the family moved often and lived in various states and countries. While it was a good experience and educational; my brothers and I hadn’t the chance to attend Catholic Schools. However, my parents always made sure we were attending Catechism classes and involved in the Church. Tom was raised in a small town in Iowa and attended Catholic Schools through the 12th grade. We share this part of our life to give you a background on how both of our families were indeed committed to living the faith.
Mary Jane’s Story
I am the firstborn of three. My parents married when my mother was 18 after a lengthy courtship with my father. I was born in their first year of marriage. Well almost….my mother became quite ill during the pregnancy and almost lost the baby – me. She and her mother have a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of San Juan (Our Lady of St. John). In discovering that she may loose the baby; she and my grandmother made a “promise” a “promesa” (in Spanish) asking our Lady of San Juan’s intercession and consecrated the baby to her. Well, behold I was born! In my adult life, I became more attracted to Mary. One of my favorite prayers to Mary is called the Hail Mary.
Eventually, Tom and I were attracted to a religious community founded in France in 1975 called the Congregation of St. John consisting of priests, brothers and sisters. We became Oblates of St. John (similar to a Third Order ). I don’t think it is coincidental that I become a member of this community. After all, they are named after their Spiritual Father – St. John the Evangelist.
When my mother was pregnant with me, she had Uremic poisoning and received the Last Rites, however, I was born premature on Mother’s Day, May 13th, Feast of Our Lady of Fatima and then all was well with my mother. In my adult life I discovered the power of Mary’s intercession. My favorite prayer is the Memorare. By the way, Mary Jane and I discovered Mother Teresa’s ‘express novena’ – praying nine Memorare’s. At times we choose to pray this “express novena”, trusting in our Lady’s prayers, in the prayers of our Mother, the Mother of God.