Reflection - april
You can download this text. PDF document at the end of the text.
Reflection for the month of May, the “Month of Mary”
In this year of the bicentennial of the birth of Frederic Ozanam, it is interesting to note his great faith and his devotion to the Virgin Mary. Indeed, his love of God was an ardent one, as well as his love of the Virgin Mary. We learn much about him through his writings and through the letters he received from his family and friends.
Frederic learned many things about the Virgin Mary from his own mother, Marie. Just like Mary, she was a gentle woman, a devoted mother and spouse. Frederic says he remembers how his mother prayed for him when he almost died at the age of 7, and how he survived typhoid fever when he was entrusted to God’s mercy.
When, at the age of 15, he experienced a crisis in faith, he relied on the intercession of saints, and most of all, of the Virgin Mary.
Upon the birth of his daughter, when he was 32, he is filled with joy. He writes to a friend, “I am a father! Oh, Sir, what a marvel to hear my child’s first cry! How impatient was I to have her baptized! We gave her the name of Marie, after my mother, and in memory of the powerful patron to whose intercession we owe this blessed birth.” It is a fact that Marie was born after his wife suffered several miscarriages.
The Notre Dame de Fourvières sanctuary, near Lyon, was a preferred place of prayer for Frederic. He had a great and particular devotion to the Mother of God. That is where, at the foot of the altar, in the Notre Dame sanctuary, at the age of 21, he made the decision to sanctify himself through greater sacrifices. He wrote, “I put my intentions under the guidance of our Divine Mother, trusting my good will for the rest.”
In September 1835, the city of Lyon was threatened by cholera. The epidemic came within 10 km of the city. An enormous crowd invaded the Notre Dame de Fourvières sanctuary to sing the penitential psalms.
Frederic wrote: “God, for the second time, glorified His Holy Mother and consoled our poor city. The hand that threatened to crush us, for the second time has reached out to bless us.”
Frederic wrote to a member of the Society: “My dear friend, may each of us, as we grow older, also age in friendship, in piety and in zeal for the good! May our entire life remain under the protection of those to whom we dedicated our youth: Vincent de Paul, the Virgin Mary and Jesus-Christ our Saviour! (To Le Taillandier, August 21, 1837)
Frederic died on September 8, 1853, the day of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for whom he had such a great devotion.
He had insisted in placing the Society under the protection of the Holy Virgin, and he also decided that the Immaculate Conception would be celebrated with a particular devotion.
The “Hail Mary” was added to the regular Society meeting prayers.
- Do we recite the “Hail Mary” at all our meetings?
- During this Month of Mary, could we recite a decade of the Rosary at our meetings?
We invite you to read the PDF document “A Vincentian Look at the Hail Mary.”
May is the month of mothers. Our thoughts turn to our own mothers and remember the small and large endearments and duties they performed that show us their love. We pause to remember mothers who live in hovels or without enough food for their children. Sometimes all they have is their love and they wait for better times to come, often disillusioned by many in their lives. We lift our eyes and our hearts to our Mother Mary. She loved and lived as we do. The one difference is that she is the mother of God. During May we remember our Mother, the mother of all mothers, the mother of God. Mary loved and said yes. Her yes was for all of us. We honour her now with her special prayer and reflection for Vincentians. Please download the PDF file: A Vincentian Look at the Hail Mary.
CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING AND VINCENTIAN SPIRITUALITY
Talk to Representatives of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Chatham, Ontario. April 10, 2010