When we need comfort or guidance, many of us turn to our mother or the mother-figure in our lives. Gloria, one of our ‘pilgrim family members,’ began her own journey toward motherhood while on a Marian pilgrimage with us, strengthening not only her relationship with the Mother of Jesus, but also her young family’s love of Mary.
Here is a taste of Gloria’s story:
It wasn’t confirmed yet by a doctor, but I knew that I was pregnant when I went on pilgrimage. It wasn’t until I returned that I got the confirmation, but the whole time, I was excited to know that I was carrying a baby with me. Even though she couldn’t see the things that I could see, I felt that she could feel the feelings that I was having.
What solidified her name is the fact that I went on the Marian pilgrimage – and everything about Mary that I loved. I thought, “What better way to thank my Mother Mary than to name (my daughter) after Her?” That’s how I chose to name Ava, Ava Marie, because Ave Maria means, “Hail Mary,” and I wanted to give Her the glory of me having this baby.
The pilgrimage experience that stood out for me was being in Lourdes; taking in the Shrine, but actually getting in the baths [of the miraculous spring water]. It was extremely cold, but it was an experience that I’ll never forget! It was very exciting to go through the baths with Ava in my womb.
The pilgrimage has had a tremendous impact. Before I went, my faith was strong, but I felt that after the pilgrimage, I really knew Mary. Just being in those locations really impacted me a lot.
I actually did St. Louis de Montfort’s Consecration to Jesus through Mary. I had gotten a little booklet about it at one of the Catholic Women’s Conferences and saved it, thinking, “Oh, I’ll read it later… I’ll read it later.” When I returned, I said, “Where is that book?! I want to look for that book so that I can consecrate myself to Mary.” I couldn’t find it, and I forgot about it. Then, after Ava was born, I found the book! I thought, “I’m going to do it now,” and I did it. If it wasn’t for that pilgrimage, I don’t know if I would have done that, but I felt like I really wanted to be very close to Mary.
I have my mother on earth, but I feel like now, I can just talk to Mary as if she’s with me. I say, “Oh Mom, this and that…” “I’m going through this…” or, “How was it when Jesus was acting this way?” or, “Did Jesus ever…?” I pray a lot more fervently. My husband joins me, and my daughter; she has a rosary, and of course, she doesn’t know what we’re talking about, but when we’re praying it, she’s walking around with her little rosary… It makes it a lot more meaningful.
Do you feel Jesus drawing you closer to his Mother, Mary? “What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines in turn its faith in Christ.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 487)
Here are some ways you can answer that calling:
- Read Gloria’s full story.
- Join us for a Marian pilgrimage to Fatima, Lourdes, Paris, and Lisieux (hometown of St. Thérèse “the Little Flower”) – April 3-14, 2018!
- We invite you to make a mini-pilgrimage to Pilgrim Center of Hope and venerate the statue of Our Lady from Fatima for her 100th anniversary.
- Want to help your parish family grow closer to Mary? Ask us about how to host an Evening with Mary at your parish in 2018 – a free, mini Marian conference.