Sr. Philomena, Daughter of Mary
Behold, Your Mother and Your Queen: my journey with Mary
Updated: Feb 13
The Feast of the Queenship of Mary has become very special to me, as it is the titular feast day of my community, and the day our Sisters profess their perpetual vows. This feast was originally celebrated in Mary’s month of May, on May 31st (hence the term “May crowning”), but was moved to August 22nd in order to show its direct connection to the Assumption of Mary, celebrated on August 15th. In reality, these two feasts are one, separated by an “octave” to show their importance.
When you think of Mary’s queenship, what comes to mind for you? Do you tend to relate to Mary more as Mother, as Queen, or equally as both? I know that for myself, it’s been quite a journey with Mary to come to not only accept her as Queen and Mother in my own life, but to see these two most important titles as one - just like the 15th and 22nd are one feast but emphasize different realities. Her maternity and authority in our lives, as baptized Catholics, have been given to her from God, that she might take us by the hand and lead us into the heart of the Father.
When I was growing up, I had no relationship with Mary at all. You see, I was raised as a Pentecostal Protestant and had been taught since childhood that praying to Mary was wrong. When I was in my early teens, my family and I began a deeper search for Truth that ultimately led us to the Catholic Church, and I found myself having to wrestle with my pre-conceived notions of who Mary is. I realized that there were many barriers in my heart in regards to our Blessed Mother, as my relationship with my earthly mother needed much healing.
As the Lord began to tug on my heart and invite me to become His bride as a religious Sister, I knew Mary was an important pillar in any community I’d discern with, but I really had no idea what I was in for when saying “yes” to joining the Queenship of Mary Community. For the first several months in community, my subconscious motto with Mary was “fake it till you make it”. I pretended that I loved Mary because I was surrounded by Sisters who were (as you can imagine) ardently in love with her, but all my Marian wounds and prejudices were coming strongly to the fore. The turning point, though I didn’t really see it at the time, was consecrating myself to Jesus through Mary for the first time. By giving Mary permission to actively love me as Mother and Queen and bring me to her Son, my heart began to open to her in a new way. Slowly, over time, I found I didn’t have to fake it any more - I was falling in love with a mother who has loved me so tenderly and fought so hard for me, even when I resisted!
Today, I can honestly say that Mary is everything for me, and I think she wants me to share with you that she wants the same in your life. Saying “yes” to Mary will mean embarking on the most beautiful adventure that will, if you cooperate with her, take you straight into the arms of God. To be quite honest, in my own life right now, I am finding myself in a time of desert, where again and again I am encountering the depths of my inner poverty and am being brought to my knees. Though I have been called to spiritual motherhood, inwardly I feel barren, and many days my tank is running on empty. Each day I pray with my community to imitate Mary’s virtues, but my heart doesn’t always line up with what my lips are uttering in petition. Personal prayer is difficult. Jesus and Mary often feel far away. It’s a humbling and vulnerable place to be, to say the least.
But I know I am being held. I have asked Mary to do whatever it takes to make me into a saint, I have given her full authority over me and she’s taking me at my word. By allowing me to encounter my own nothingness, I can see even more so how she is everything for me. Remember how Jesus said that the sinful woman washing His feet loved much because she had sinned much? That woman had encountered His mercy, and her love and gratitude knew no bounds. Mary is loving me in my poverty where I have nothing to give, and in time, I want to be able to show others the unconditional love that she has shown me. The journey isn’t over yet, but I know I’m safe in her arms.
Give Mary permission to love you into life, as your Mother and Queen. Her Immaculate Heart is wide open, just for you. I promise, it is worth the risk.