Brides of the Most Blessed Trinity

Motherhood - a talk by Claire Rose

Motherhood - a talk by Claire Rose

May 13, 2010  St. Genevieve’s

Ask Father for a blessing!

Please pray with me and for me! ‘Hail Mary,…’

I want to thank Fr. Dean for inviting me to speak tonight and I want to thank you all for coming. 

What Motherhood Means To Me

What Mary, Our Mother Means To Me!

Our whole life is a Spiritual Journey!  I did not always realize this!  We come from God and through our life’s journey, we are on our way back to God.

Being a Mother has a different meaning to us in the different stages of our life. 

I realize now that being a Mother means dying to self over and over.  I didn’t always know this. 

I became a mother at 17, I gave birth to my 3rd child on the day I was 20.  I had 5 children when I was 24, so I grew up with my children.

As a child, Motherhood to me meant my Mamma and my dear Grandma!  We called her Gram.  Our Mother Mary was always in our daily life because Mamma and Gram both had a close relationship with Her and Jesus.  Their lives were influenced by Our Blessed Mother and they passed this on to me! 

Jesus and Mary were the center of our home.  Mamma had an altar in her bedroom where she put fresh flowers often. There were holy pictures throughout the house.  In my earliest memories as a small child I remember my whole family kneeling down to pray the Rosary, after supper, at night in the kitchen by the light of a kerosene lamp.  

Our Catholic Faith was not necessarily preached, but rather it was lived daily.  I was taught about God both by word and example.   God was first in our family life. Pappa was the head of the family, Mamma was the heart. My world was very small.

 As a small child I was taught that God created us out of love. I was loved by my parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins. I was surrounded by love. I now realize that not everyone was blessed in this way.

 We lived a simple life in the country, down the bayou.  I am the youngest of 9 children.  I was born at home.  There was Pappa, Mamma, Gram, two older sisters and 6 older brothers.  We had a three bedroom simple wooden house that was always beautiful to me!  In the kitchen was a fireplace and kerosene stove.  When I was little, we had no electricity, no indoor plumbing or heat, except for the fireplace.  We had a vegetable garden, chickens, ducks, a pig and a cow.  My Pappa was a shrimp and oyster fisherman like all of his ancestors.  In the winter months he also trapped for fur.  My mamma’s family were all farmers.

One of my earliest memories is lying in Mamma and Pappa’s big four poster bed wrapped in a blanket looking at the ceiling.  I felt really small and everything around me looked so big.  A few years ago, on my birthday, the Blessed Mother revealed to me that the memory was of the day I was born!  I had been told that I was born in the afternoon.  I have early memories of Mamma and Gram rocking me and humming the most beautiful melody!

I remember waking up to the sound of the old rooster crowing!  I can remember hearing the coffee grinder on the back porch real early in the morning.  It was before daylight.  Then there was the smell of coffee brewing as boiling water was poured over the fresh ground coffee.  Everyone was up and my brothers and sisters were getting dressed for school.

 Everyone ate homemade bread and coffeemilk for breakfast.  Sometimes Mamma or Gram made ‘lost bread.’  That was a real treat!  Mamma sliced homemade bread and dipped it in sweetened scrambled egg and fried it in an iron skillet.  Some people call it French Toast.  Mamma milked the cow every morning. 

Our main meal was at noon and it was called dinner.  Almost every day we had white beans or brown field peas and rice with whatever fresh vegetables were in season.  Often it was fried sweet or Irish potatoes.  For our supper we had smothered potatoes, bread or biscuits with fresh cane syrup and each a glass of milk.  Sometimes we had grits and fried eggs and potatoes.  Other times we had cornbread and syrup.  Sometimes we had egg and rice.  We always ate our meals around the table.  There was always a white table cloth starched and ironed on our table.  We each had our special place to sit.  A treasured memory is watching Mamma carefully set the supper table while I watched her from my high chair.  One of my treasures is that I have that table that was built by my Grandpa over 100 years ago out of cypress bed posts and planks.  Sunday was the only day we had meat, except in winter we had duck almost every day.

 Mamma washed all our clothes on the rubbing board on the back porch in a galvanized # 3 tub.  There was another tub to rinse the clothes.  Mamma and Gram hung the wet clothes to dry in the sun on long clothes lines.  Imagine hand washing for 6 boys, 3 girls and 3 adults!  Then when the clothes was dry, it had to be picked up and folded or ironed. We had an iron made of heavy cast iron that was heated in the fireplace.  Besides that, Mamma sewed all of our clothes with a peddle sewing machine.  In her spare time Mamma worked in the garden, hoed the grass, we had no lawn mower, and she grew the most beautiful flowers of all kinds.  She also took care of the cow and the chickens.

Our house was very clean.   Each room had basic furniture, there were no extras.  My closet was a big nail on the wall where my good clothes were hung.    

Even though World War II started when I was only a year old & two of my brothers & two brothers-in-law went to fight in the war, I felt safe and cared for.  Pappa worked on the seashore all week long, but Mamma and Grandma were always home.  Pappa came home on Friday night or Saturday so we could go to Holy Mass on Sunday.  He never worked on Sunday!  I learned my prayers in French and in English. I remember our whole family going to Sunday Mass, Missions and many Holy Hours with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction. I recall the fragrance of Easter Lillies for Easter Sunday Mass. I remember the Creche` with Baby Jesus at Christmas Midnight Mass!

The only places we went were Church and visiting with family.

When I was real little, I loved dressing up and going to Church.  I never could understand why Mamma would get upset with me for wanting to crawl under the pews.  I tried to be good to make her happy. 

Two of my most precious memories of my pappa are seeing him kneel at the foot of the bed every night making the Sign of the Cross and praying before going to bed, the other is when he would let me wash his feet in the foot tub with warm water and soap.

Neither Mamma or Gram ever drove a car.  We only spoke French at home, so when my brothers and sisters started school, they could not speak English.  They were punished for this, so they taught me English before I started school, so I would not be punished.  There was always a lot of love in my home and my parents were affectionate toward one another & all of us.  I never remember Mamma or Grandma talking about others except in a compassionate or loving way.  Nor do I remember ever hearing them complain about anything.  We were very normal & my sisters & brothers had their squabbles among themselves, like everyone else.  Once when my two sisters were talking about someone, Pappa said, ‘If you can’t say something good about somebody, then don’t say anything at all!’  Everything went very quiet!

 When I started school, I loved it!  I loved the smell of the school, the books and I loved my teacher.  I brought my lunch to school in a little box.  We sat outside on the grass to eat.   

 The Church was next door to the school. We were blessed to have a small convent between the school and the Church.  The year before I was born, beautiful Sisters in white habits & veils moved into our little community of Bayou duLarge. There were always 2 or 3 Sisters in their beautiful white habits who lived there, Eucharistic Missionaries of St. Dominic.  We usually had 2 or 3 priests in our parish. 

 The priest and the sisters were a great influence in our lives. Mamma and Pappa taught us to love and respect them because they represented Jesus and Mary on earth. The sisters taught us that the Church was Jesus’ House and that He lived in the Golden Tabernacle.

 I began Catechism classes Mamma and Gram had taught me about Jesus and Mary, but the nuns taught us more about God, about the Saints, the Church and Holy Mass.  We were blessed that our parish Church, St. Eloi’s was next door to the school.  Our Ancestors had planned it that way.  The school bus dropped us off at Church so we could go to Daily Mass and we walked to school after Mass.  I loved the Church!

 It was always so pretty with flowers and beautiful cloths on the altar.  The statues of Jesus, Mary, St. Joseph and the other Saints were so beautiful.  The most beautiful place in the whole Church was the Golden Tabernacle where Jesus lived.  It was surrounded by a snow white & gold altar.

 We must never underestimate what our words can instill in a child. The Sisters taught us to make short visits to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, in the Golden Tabernacle. Many of us made these visits on our lunch hour.

 Mamma had a great devotion to St. Jude. She promised that if all my brothers came home safe from the war she would buy a statue of St. Jude for our parish church. When I was 6 years old they all came home for Christmas, so later Mamma bought the statue as she had promised.

 Mamma and my brothers used to sing a lot.

 I remember the Saturday I made my First Confession like it was yesterday and the priest, Fr. Brue was Jesus to me.  I felt so clean after.  Like I had just taken a bath in the big #3 tub.  I was going to receive Jesus for the first time the next day!  When I got home, Mamma bathed me and washed my long hair. Tomorrow was going to be a very special day!

 I was so excited, I could hardly sleep.  We had to fast after midnight to receive Jesus!   We could not even have a sip of water. 

 The next morning Mamma woke me up early! She dressed me in a white dress, white shoes and socks and she put a white veil with a crown of silk and velvet flowers with little pearls like a bride on my head.  I had long golden blonde hair past my waist.

Mamma said, “Today is the most special day of your life! Today you will receive Jesus! You will be His little bride and He will be your Bridegroom for your whole life!”  

My classmates were all in white also.  The Sisters put us all together in the front pews of the Church.  I remember the smell of Easter Lilies.  I remember the moment Father put Jesus on my tongue as I knelt at the altar rail. 

When Father gave Jesus to me I thought I would die of joy! I remember walking outside the Church after Mass and everything was more beautiful than before, the grass was greener, the sky was bluer. I have never forgotten that glorious day!

Mamma taught me to crochet and to do embroidery.  She taught me to sew simple things like a scarf or an apron.  

When I was 9, in 1949, a special priest, Fr. Patrick Peyton came to our church.  He was called the Rosary Priest.  He said “The family that prays together, stays together!” He encouraged families to pray the Rosary together daily. We had been praying the Rosary daily as long as I could remember.  Fr. Peyton told us that the Blessed Mother had Appeared to 3 little children in a place called Fatima in Portugal. I had never heard of this before.  I was so excited! 

The next morning I told Mamma, ‘O Mamma, if only the Blessed Virgin Mary would Appear somewhere in our lifetime, we could go!’  Mamma smiled.  I said, ‘O Mamma, I want to see the Blessed Virgin Mary!’  Again Mamma smiled as if she knew a secret, and she said, ‘Well maybe if you are good, maybe one day you will see Her!’   Many years later I found out that Our Lady had Appeared to one of our cousins in Theriot before my Mamma was born.

In our community in May, every neighborhood had a Daily Rosary.  Mamma taught me to lead the Rosary.  I remember kneeling on the grass, leading the Rosary under the oak tree at our house at 5 in the afternoon.  We also prayed the Litany and other prayers.  We sang hymns to Mary. 

At Church we always had a Crowning of Mary’s statue in May, usually on Mother’s Day!

After we heard about Fatima, we began to pray the neighborhood Rosaries in October.  Everyone who lived close by of all ages walked to our house.  It was the same in other neighborhoods up & down our bayou.

I slept in my baby bed until I was 10 years old.  After that I slept with Gram in the middle bedroom.  Gram & I prayed another Rosary in French after we went to bed.  Some of my brothers & sisters had gotten married by that time and I had many nieces and nephews. 

Mamma began to let me help in the kitchen by teaching me to peel and fry potatoes.  When she was 12 she even knew how to bake bread! 

When I was 12, tragedy hit our family!  My brother, William, who had just been through the Korean War, was killed in Texas in a car wreck on Mother’s Day!  He was 20 years old.  He was being discharged and coming home the same week.  We had no phone in those days.  We got the news by telegram when we got home from Mass.  I remember that moment like it was yesterday.  This devastated both my parents, me and all my sisters and brothers.  Looking back, even though their faith was deep-rooted, grief shook our family!

I guess I had lived a very sheltered life until that time.  I was still very sheltered and my world was very small, but the reality of life was reaching into my little world.  We had all been waiting for William to come home and he wasn’t coming home.  

It was so hard to watch my mamma suffer so much!

About this time I saw Our Blessed Mother for the first time!  This was 58 years ago!  I was 12 years old and in the 6th grade.  I had gone from school to make a quick visit to Jesus in the Golden Tabernacle at Church during my lunch hour.  I knelt at the Altar Rail in front of Mary’s statue like I had done many times before.   I made my sign of the Cross and said, ‘I just came to say hello Jesus!’  Mary’s statue moved and I got so scared I ran out of church!  I told Mamma and she told the Sisters.  We never talked about it again.  I wanted to go to the convent & become a nun.  The Sisters said I was too young. 

The next spring, when I was 13, I made my Confirmation.  Even though I was happy to receive the Holy Spirit, I was numb because my beloved Mamma was still so unhappy with grief.  Again I had a beautiful white dress.  I graduated from 8th grade and wore the same dress.  There were 14 in my class.

After that summer, I started high school.  We had to go by bus to Houma and the school was big with lots of students, classes and teachers I didn’t know.  We had to change rooms every hour.  This was all so strange to me.  I soon made friends & found my way around. 

My Grandma was a holy saint.  On Thanksgiving morning, my beloved Gram after a short illness, fully conscious, died peacefully in her bed as we prayed a Rosary.  It was 8 o’clock in the morning, Thanksgiving Day, 1954. She was 95.  After Grandma died, her room and her bed were mine.  I missed her.  Mamma missed her! Our home that used to be so full of life was almost empty!  For the first time in my life I had my own room. 

I went to High School one year.  I made all A’s.  I loved school.  I went one week in my Sophomore year and decided to quit.  I knew Mamma and Pappa could not afford to send me to school.  Up to that time, my whole world revolved around Mamma, Pappa, home, Church and school! 

I knew I would have to go to work somewhere.  Everyone tried to talk me into going back to school but I knew I couldn’t.  I never told anyone why I had quit school.  When I was 15, I went to work in a grocery store in Houma.  I had to live at my sister’s house.  I was happy and I was making $15.00 a week.  So I could buy my own shoes and clothes.   A girl I knew tried to get me to give her a pack of cigarettes and charge it as food on her parent’s account.  I could not do it.  After a few months the little store closed.  I found a job in a dime store.  I liked this job.  I was in charge of cosmetics and glassware.  There I met a young girl from one of the other bayous.  We became friends.  Her boyfriend was a popular country western star.  He was called the Big Bopper.  He invited her to come to a city where he was performing.  Her mamma said she could not go unless she brought a friend.  She asked me to go with her, all expenses paid.  I prayed about it and said no.  I’m not sure why, but I was too afraid. 

A loving Mother cares for her children constantly.  She watches over them, provides for them and warns them of danger. 

Then I went to work in a small supermarket.  I did not like this job.  The lady I worked under was married but there were rumors about her and the manager.  Maybe the rumors were not true, but I was uncomfortable there.  I found out about another job, applied for it and was hired on the spot!  I went to work in a small dress shop that was owned by a beautiful and kind Jewish lady.  I loved it!  I loved pretty clothes.  She would let me model clothes for her customers who didn’t feel like trying things on.  I was much younger and prettier then!  She would go to New York on buying trips and would bring a pretty dress back for me.  She had only one son and always wanted a daughter.  She wanted to ‘adopt’ me.  I was too close to my mamma to ever consider that. 

YES! A loving Mother cares for her children constantly.  She watches over them, provides for them and warns them of danger.

The 2nd time Our Mother Appeared to me was the following year, I was 15.  I had been praying to Her about an important decision.  She Appeared to me in the night, near the foot of my bed.  She was so beautiful and I knew in my soul Who She was!  No words can describe Her! She was life-size.  She was dressed in a blue Mantle and rose color dress.  She had long medium brown hair.  I can still see her Eyes and they were so filled with LOVE I can still feel what I felt at that moment. I was not afraid.  Her Eyes were golden brown but seemed to have every color in them.  She communicated to me that I would make the right decision.  

About a month later I was engaged to Buddy.  Six months later we were married at Mass at 9 on a Saturday morning.  In those days most couples were married after Sunday Mass or on Sunday afternoon with no Mass.  I wanted to be married on Saturday because it was Blessed Mother’s Day and I wanted to be married during Mass.  God granted both of those things to us.  We had a small reception at home after Mass with both our families there.  Two days later we were on a Greyhound bus headed for North Carolina because Buddy was still in the Marines.

I had never left my Mamma before!  And we had no phones!  We wrote letters.  And I was so lonesome! 

Up to that time, Mamma was everything to me! 

A long five months later we came back home and moved in with Mamma and Pappa.  We lived with them for almost 3 years.  In that time we had two children.  Buddy broke his leg playing baseball and was in a cast and out of work for 9 months.  We had no insurance or income for those 9 months.  I took in ironing but at 10 cents a piece, I didn’t make much money.  Somehow by the Grace of God and the kindness of our parents, they shared what little they had!  I was 19 years old and pregnant for our third child.  This was a hard time for Buddy because he was such a hard worker.  When he did go back to work, we moved into a small apartment in Houma where Buddy could walk to work. 

Again I had to leave Mamma!  We saved a dollar a week to buy gas to go spend the week-ends down the bayou with both our parents.  On my 20th birthday, I gave birth to our third child.

In this same year, 1960, one Sunday my Pastor, Fr. Carter Richaud spoke about the 2nd Baptism. I had never heard of that before. I said, “Jesus, that sounds good! I want it!” I was never shy about asking God for something. My love for priests increased at this time. I began to see suffering in them.  My love for Holy Eucharist, Holy Communion deepened also. 

A year later we made a loan and built a house next door to Mamma and Pappa.  We built our house with help from anyone who wanted to help.  It took us 9 months.

Pappa fell sick with cancer that same year we built our house.  He asked Buddy to look after Mamma for him.  Buddy promised Pappa that he would. 

After 7 months of terrible suffering, Pappa died as I held him in my arms. Mamma and all of his children were around him in the same bed where I was born! I was heart broken. We were ALL heartbroken!  The family that had prayed around Pappa all those years ago was still together as he entered eternal life!

It was May 21, 1963, ten years since my brother William had died.

Pappa was buried on Ascension Thursday.   

I was 22 years old. 

Soon after Mamma moved in with us. I was expecting my 4th child and felt blessed that Mamma was with us.

In 7 years we had 5 children, four girls and one boy!  Our lives were very busy.  I was learning to be a mother through trial and error!  I am sure I made every classic mistake.  This was long before throw-away diapers and automatic washing machines and dryers!  I quickly learned that all I could do was love my babies, keep them clean, fed and safe.  We played a lot with our children.  For years we had no TV.  We taught our children about Jesus and Mary.  We always prayed with them at night before putting them to bed.  We were poor, but happy!  In those years I don’t know what I would have done without Mamma!  I could not have survived without her! 

Our last child was born when I was 24.  Everything I knew I learned from Mamma! I cannot put into words what my mamma meant to me!  Being a Mother is what Mamma was! 

A few years later when our baby was 6, Buddy had the offer to go work in the North Sea and we moved to Holland. We wanted to bring Mamma with us but she decided to move back into her house. It was very hard to leave her.

I didn’t know how to live without Mamma.  I didn’t know how to be a Mamma without my own Mamma there! 

God was looking after us because He found us a tiny house in a Dutch Catholic neighborhood in a small village with a free Catholic school about 2 blocks from our house. The Church, school and the village center were in walking distance.  We did not live in the American neighborhood.  We had no car, only bikes.

Our three older children went to an American school in the nearest city by train. They walked to the station which was a mile away. The 2 youngest went to Catholic school where they learned to speak Dutch. Our neighbors became our closest friends. They were Catholic. The lady was my age and she and her family had lived through World War II.

The area where we were living in Holland had been occupied by the Germans during the war so her experience and that of her Mamma were so different than mine. At one time they had to eat flower bulbs to survive. There was one thread we had in common. The Rosary! They prayed the Rosary. And their whole family came through the war safe. We went to Holy Mass together on Sundays. They taught me to ride a bike so I could use it to go grocery shopping. We lived there for a year but these people are still our friends.  I missed Mamma terribly!  We wrote long letters often.  We called at Christmas and Easter.  Phone calls were $1.00 a minute!

I moved to England so all of my children could go to the free public schools. There again God was looking after us. He found us a little house next door to a wonderful holy older couple, Billy and Polly, who had never had any children. We adopted each other.

They were not Catholic, but very prayerful and holy. They took care of me & the children and watched over us. Buddy was offshore most of the time so I was alone with my children. We were there 4 years.

In that time our oldest daughter was married with a beautiful Church wedding in England the week before Christmas. The next day I got a call from my sister that Mamma had been diagnosed with cancer and she had 6 weeks to live. I was devastated! A few days later I packed our clothes & me & my children came home. Mamma lived 3 months and I lived with her. We took care of her at home just like we did with Pappa. She died, fully conscious, on a beautiful day April 13, 1976, on Holy Tuesday in Grandma’s bed, surrounded by her children and grandchildren as we prayed the Rosary! Again, the family that had prayed together was together! Part of me died with Mamma & Pappa.  My lowest moment on this earth was when they rolled Mamma’s body through her kitchen as they took her out of our home!!  Her funeral Mass was on Holy Wednesday and she was buried on Holy Thursday.  Years later, I realized that God had sent me to another country to begin to detach me from my beloved Mamma.

After Mamma died I grieved for 10 years before I could begin to let go of her. 

In all the years that I’ve shared with you I met many holy priests here at home, in Holland, England and other places that I traveled. I loved them all. I saw Jesus in all of them in a special way. I visited many Churches. In England I lived next door to a church that was built as a Catholic Church in the Year 1060. I saw where King Henry VIII’s soldiers had broken and defaced the statues and paintings of Jesus, Mary and the Saints. I walked on the ruins of Monastery Churches that the soldiers had destroyed in obedience to a King who wanted to divorce his wife & the Pope would not let him. A King who broke away from my beloved Catholic Church and who declared himself head of a new church. Alone, I grieved and prayed and cried as I visited these holy places that had been so desecrated. These holy places that were once Catholic!  I went there again and again. I was in my early 30’s at this time. I visited a small Shrine where Our Mother had Appeared to a Lady in the Year 1061.

For many years I had had no visits from Our Blessed Mother, no words. I did not think I ever would again. I had stopped praying the Rosary!  In the early 1970’s Our Mother returned. She spoke to me and I saw Her several times. I have heard of people who see Her for the 1st time & they ask Her, “What do you want of me?” This never occurred to me to ask something like that. Maybe I’m extra slow, but I never ever thought that God would have something for me to do for Him. I knew with all my heart that I needed Him, but never dreamed that I could do something for Him.  Except for being a wife & mom & teaching my children about Him.

In May 1974 I received the 2nd Baptism, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, that I had so boldly asked God for in 1960. I was healed of a serious condition with my legs. I slowly began to receive gifts from the Holy Spirit, visions, words, praying in tongues, and some of the people I prayed with received healing. I was more surprised than anybody when this happened. We began to go to prayer meetings and conferences with our children. This was a whole new experience for us and it was within the Church!   

A loving Mother cares for her children constantly.  She watches over them, provides for them and warns them of danger. 

Even though I had ‘left’ the Blessed Mother, She had not left me!

In 1977 we moved back home from England.  The first Sunday we were home, a young priest celebrated his first Mass at St. Eloi’s, our parish church.  His name was Fr. Scott Dugas. 

We built and opened a new business, a hardware and general merchandise store.  It was successful from the first day.  We worked long hours.  It was not easy running a business and being a mom, but we managed. 

The next year we received a great gift from God!  Our first grandchild, a little girl was born.  She was named after my Mamma!  I was a GRANDMA!  It was a wonderful feeling. 

Then our second daughter was married.  A year later, another beautiful gift!  Another granddaughter.  Then 2 grandsons the following year in 1980.  Our son was out of school, working.  Our two youngest daughters were in High School.  Everything was good!  We were going to Mass on Sundays, prayer meetings on Tuesdays, Conferences several times a year and were active in our parish, besides working full time. 

We had bought 23 acres of property before going overseas and we planned to build a new house someday.  When we first bought the property, in 1969, we had Consecrated it to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  We thought about giving part of it to our church parish to be used as a cemetery because the one at church was getting full.  In 1980 the house next to our property came up for sale.  I walked around it and prayed to God for guidance.  Someone else was about to buy it and they wanted to make it into a bar.  So in March of 1981, we bought it.  We moved in on May 1st.  This was the month before Our Mother Appeared to the children in Medjugorje for the first time. 

We were close friends with our Pastor at the time.  He would come almost every day to our store to visit.  He had had several beautiful spiritual experiences and we felt comfortable with him. 

At this time I had a beautiful relationship with Jesus.  I worshipped His Feet on the Cross!

But something was missing and I knew it.  I just didn’t know what was missing!

Between 1981 and 1986 there was nothing but chaos and trouble in our lives!  I had no visions, words, nothing.  Things got so bad I felt totally abandoned by God!  I did not know that in the Spiritual life there is something called a desert or dark night of the soul.  Five long years went by. 

The economy was bad.  We had opened two more businesses, a grocery store and a fuel dock to give work to our children.  I got sick.  First I had a heart attack!  Then I broke my back and ended up in traction for 3 months.  Then my sight began to go.  I was in my early 40’s.

We had three tornados hit our house and our community. 

Our beloved Pastor packed up and left our parish and the priesthood!  We were devastated.  Our whole parish was upset because everyone loved Father.

Our first flood was in Oct. 1985.  We had 3 feet of water in our home!  Four of our five children flooded and one of our businesses!  And we had no insurance except on our furniture.

There were a few highlights in those awful years.  Our son was married in England to a girl from England.  We had two more beautiful grandchildren, a boy and a girl and our youngest daughter was married.  But, everything that could go wrong went wrong! 

We had even stopped going to church!  I told my new Pastor, Fr. Roch that we were taking a break, that we were withdrawing from society.  That didn’t make any sense at all!  He was very kind and came to see us sometimes at our store. 

After the flood our son’s wife took their 3 month old baby girl and went home to England.  This was the last straw!  She filed for divorce and did not want any of us to ever see Amy again.  She would not speak to any of us.  This girl who had been like my daughter and no one could reach her.  I won’t go into the pain and all the details. 

After 7 months of legal stuff we got a letter from my son’s lawyer in England saying if we could come to England we could see Amy as often as we wanted.  So in July of 1986 we took the last money we had and Buddy, Greg and I flew to London.  We were there 6 weeks and we saw Amy a total of 5 times, accompanied by her mom and her other grandmother.  The first visit we were not allowed to touch Amy!  That was beyond cruel!  The second visit Amy called Greg ‘DADA’ and she fell asleep in my arms.  She made faces at Buddy like she did when she was 3 months old.  I believe with all my heart that God allowed her to know us!  Twice our daughter-in-law didn’t show up for appointments.  I thought I was going to lose my mind.  The stress was killing me.  But while we were there some close friends invited us to go to the middle of England with them for a week.  They were going to look after their son’s home & business while he and his family went on Holiday.

A gift from God awaited us there!  One Sunday we drove up into the mountains to a Benedictine Monastery.  We walked the Stations of the Cross, taking pictures.  I did not pray.  I couldn’t.  I was dead inside.  I went there as a tourist.  I acted like a tourist!  Until I went into the Church.  There was a place to leave Petitions.  So I wrote & wrote.  I may have lit a candle.  It was dark in the Church. 

I glanced around.  I saw the uplifted face of a monk in deep Prayer!  His eyes were closed.  His face was like an angel and his face shone with light from inside his soul.  I can still see his face.  I thought, “O Jesus, whatever he has I want!”  That was a prayer from deep inside my heart and soul!  God was there even in all my darkness and he heard the whisper in my heart!

Just before we left England to come home, my friend gave me a small statue of Our Blessed Mother.  She was not Catholic, but her husband was and she had raised her 3 sons Catholic. 

When I unpacked my suitcase the day after we came home a live butterfly from England flew out.  How it got into my suitcase, how it survived the journey, only God knows.  It flew around our house for several hours.  I took the statue of Our Mother from the same suitcase.  I put it on my kitchen windowsill and I sat by it and said,

 “BLESSED MOTHER PLEASE HELP ME TO RENEW MY RELATIONSHIP WITH YOU!

This was early August of 1986.

I began to pray for Peace.  I now know that Our Mother inspired this!  For over three months even tho’ the trouble & chaos continued I prayed for PEACE!   We were still not going to Church.  But on an impulse on Thanksgiving week-end, we headed for the Conference at the Cajun Dome in Lafayette.  When we arrived on the Friday night there was a huge banner across the back of the Altar with the word PEACE in big letters!  I knew we were meant to be there.  Our Mother was working, but I did not realize it!  I’m slow!

On Saturday morning a priest called Fr. Sam Jacobs announced that if anyone had any spiritual experience or words to please write it and turn it in. 
 
Remember I had received nothing for 5 years!  During Dorothy Ranahan’s talk I had a vision that was so tremendous I called it my last vision!  All I remember of her talk was that she said our heart is an Altar.  This is what I saw:

I saw the Face of Jesus as big as the Cajun Dome in earthen colors.  Jesus’ Eyes were pouring LOVE into mine.  Then I saw the bottom of a huge Heart, shaped like a bowl.  I saw a lake of Blood, moving as the Heart was beating.  There were tongues of fire over the Blood.  Then from my left I saw a tiny germ jump into the lake.  The little germ swam, splashed, tumbled, splashed and swam all the way across the lake.  When it reached the other side I recognized that the little germ was me!  When I recognized myself, the vision slowly began to fade.  The last thing to fade away was Jesus’ Face!  In an instant I knew that something very extra-ordinary had happened to me.  I was different.  I had received a deep inner Peace and Love that I never felt before.  I walked out and there on a table was a yellow tablet and a pen.  I wrote what happened to me and folded the pages and turned to look for someone to give it to.  There right in front of me was Fr. Sam Jacobs!  So I handed it to him probably in silence.  That afternoon my experience was read from the Altar.  The first priest to know of my experience and to believe me is now our Bishop.  After that week-end we started going back to Mass. 

A few months later, Our Mother Appeared in the night to one of my daughters near the window where I had put the little statue. 

23 years ago, in 1987, Our Mother began to call me to pray more for priests. I have always loved priests since I was a child, but the love in my heart for them increased! I made a Cursillo week-end.

This was another life changing event for me. I asked Fr. Roch, my Pastor, to be my Spiritual Director. I did not know what that was but somehow I knew I needed one. Father said, yes. I had one meeting of 2 hours with him where I shared my journey up to that time.

In September of 1987 Our Mother said to me: “You will begin a new order. Your house will become a holy dwelling place where many priests, even Bishops will come and be healed. Get a room ready for Me!” Being very practical I cleaned the front bedroom ceiling to floor. I even washed the curtains. It would be quite a while before I realized She was talking about my soul. I cried for a month because I thought that my husband would have to die for me to begin this new order that Our Mother spoke about.

On Dec. 8, 1987 Our Mother Appeared to me in the night and made Her 1st Request of me and for the 1st time, She gave me the Title, Mother of Divine Love. She asked me to ask my Pastor, Fr. Roch Naquin to Consecrate our Parish, St. Eloi’s in Theriot to Her Immaculate Heart. She said this would insure Her Protection. Our Mother also asked for a roadside Shrine to be built. 

A few weeks later Our Mother came with the same Request to Consecrate his Parish to Her Immaculate Heart for Fr. Adrien Caillouet, who was Pastor of Holy Family Church in Dulac.

Both parishes were Consecrated in 1988 during special Masses.

21 years ago in January 1989 Our Mother gave me one young priest to fast and pray for. He was 36 years old and had been a priest for 8 and ½ years.  I was 48. 

Love through my open heart for priests increased at this time. Out of Love for God and in Thanksgiving to Him for all He had given to me, inspired by St. Therese the Little Flower, I gave my body to God as a living sacrifice for priests. Then Our Mother asked me to ask this priest, “Please Consecrate your parish to My Immaculate Heart.” This 3rd priest was Fr. Dean Danos. Fr. Dean did Consecrate his Parish on Oct. 7, 1989, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Our Blessed Mother chose Fr. Dean to be my Spiritual Director.  Father has been my main Spiritual Director since Sept. 24, 1989.

This coming October it will be 21 years that Our Mother is asking us to set aside the Last Saturday of each month as a Day of Prayer for Priests. She asks us to pray for holy priests and She asks us to pray for more priests. Our Mother says, “Pray for your priests and Bishops to be holy! Each time one of My priest sons is holy My Immaculate Heart triumphs!”

Dec. 8, 1989, I met with my new Spiritual Director for the third time. He became Jesus in front of me and we were taken into an ecstasy for 3 hours. Later Our Mother said that She had taken us to Heaven. The room where this took place is now a 24 Adoration Chapel. That night I gave myself to God as a victim soul for priests.

20 & ½ years ago, Dec. of 1989, two of us met for the 1st Last Saturday in obedience to Our Mother’s Call to pray for priests on that day. Each month Our Mother came to pray with us. She spoke a few words to us. “Consecrate yourselves, your families, your homes, your priests, your Bishops, your parishes and your dioceses to My Immaculate Heart.”

On Ascension Thursday 1992, in obedience to the Holy Spirit, Lin Crossman from California and I went to my parish Church to ask for a blessing. We were told, "today is the first Official Day of the Order, Brides of the Most Blessed Trinity." Both of us were given the name separately.  My Pastor at that time, Fr. Scott Dugas gave us a beautiful blessing. Our Mother always leads us to Jesus. We were simply to pray for priests, offer sacrifice and suffering for holy priests and for more vocations to the priesthood. Lin & I floated around all day long!

Since May 1993, Our Holy Father John Paul II was notified about Our Lady’s Mission for Priests!  Other messages from Our Lady were received for him and they were hand delivered.

By May 1993, three of us had offered ourselves as victim souls for priests. 

Our Mother gave us promises and a Rule of Life. I can honestly say that we did not understand. In 1994, Our Mother revealed to me that She has come to Theriot in response to a prayer prayed to Her under the Title, Mother of Divine Love by Holy Father John Paul II when he was in New Orleans in Sept. 1987.

Our Mother gave us many messages in those years between 1987 and 1999 that have not yet been made public. The Mission of the Brides was multiplying in this country. In 1995 we were given the Morning Offering by Our Mother. It has received Church Approval.  Lin, Shirley & I had given talks in several states about the Mission of the Brides between 1992 and 1999.

In 1998 in a message to Fr. Dean Our Mother revealed that She would come for Visitations for everyone beginning on the Last Saturday of April 1999 for 9 months until Dec. of ’99.  Before Her first Visit Our Mother said that She would also Appear for 33 more times, one for each year of Jesus’ Life on earth.  That would be a total of 33 Visits.  Our Mother said that the 9 Visits would represent the 9 months that Jesus spent in Her Womb.  The last of the 9 visits was on Christmas Day 1999, the Last Saturday of the century.  A few months before the 42 Visits ended Our Mother said that Her Visitations had been extended because we were responding to Her Call. 

The more I opened my heart to Our Mother, the closer She brought me to JESUS!  She has taught me many things as She brought me from Jesus’ Feet to His Precious and Sorrowful FACE!  I did not learn these things from going to school or from books but from Our Mother.  I cannot express in words what She means to me.  I can only say that I have changed.  I am still learning to be a good Mother as I observe my children and now grandchildren become Mothers.  Only my own children, grandchildren and God will be able to say if I was a good Mother.  I hope that I am but I am very ordinary and still make mistakes.  I had Saints for my Mamma and Grandma and the Greatest Saint, Mary as My Model and My Mother! 

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