Tag Archives: Blessed Mother

The Anti-Mary Exposed: Rescuing the Culture from Toxic Femininity

Carrie Gress
TAN Books, 199 pages


It is a tragic irony that the so-called “women’s movement” has caused so much harm to women themselves. Lies of empowerment attainable through a “right” to abortion, the sexual revolution, and the breakdown of the family have led not to greater happiness but to confusion and loss of dignity. Carrie Gress likens this “toxic femininity” to the “anti-Mary,” a spirit opposed to the Marian virtues. She doesn’t mince words: this evil is supported by goddess worship, the occult, and a demonic influence that we must recognize and battle — and it begins with imitating Mary and her model of perfect femininity.


Order: Amazon

New ambassadors for Christ at home in Tulsa

On the balmy evening of May 10 at Tulsa’s historic Holy Family Cathedral, the newest Legatus chapter joined for rosary, Confession and Mass, officiated by their new chapter chaplain, Monsignor Dennis Dorney. Immediately following was the investiture of its first 21 members, each of whom was personally greeted and congratulated by Legatus executive director, Stephen Henley. A celebratory reception and dinner commenced at the elegant Agora Event Center, with its breathtaking panoramic views of the Tulsa skyline.

Spring cocktails and hors d’oeuvres of tantalizing salmon, coconut chicken, and crab cakes with chutney, followed by entrée creations of cardamomcrusted beef filet, tomato-pesto stuffed chicken, and seared salmon, greeted the new chapter-guests. The dessert finale showcased a choice of triple chocolate crème and vanilla Bavarian crème cakes.

Featured speaker for the evening was Pete Burak, director of i.d.9:16, the young adult outreach of Renewal Ministries. The group delighted in his captivating presentation on how to reach out effectively to millennials.

The spectacular celebration was well deserved indeed.

About two years ago, when Tulsa’s Bishop David Konderla was newly installed, Legatus Central Region director, Ken Darnell, along with Stephen Henley and Central Region chapter development officer, Carmen Tate, reached out to him in efforts to embed a fresh chapter there – in a part of the country where Catholics make up only three percent of the population. The bishop warmly welcomed them and affirmed their objective straightaway – and in December 2016, formally approved the chapter’s intent to launch.

In spring 2017, Legatus hosted the initial cocktail reception at the Bishop’s residence for interested Tulsa-area prospects . And the rest is history. Bishop Konderla not only extended unmistakable support, he attended most precharter events during the crucial development year. The chapter attained its 21-member threshold in April.

“It makes a huge difference to have strong patronage from the bishop,” says Darnell. “Bishop Konderla — who also attended the evening’s dinner celebration — provided invaluable support and credibility to our new chapter.”

His Excellency then named Monsignor Dennis Dorney, pastor emeritus of St. Mary’s Parish in Tulsa and a longstanding priest in the diocese for over 40 years, as the chapter’s premier chaplain.

“The Tulsa members are a hearty group of people,” says Darnell. “They’re serious about their faith, and a close-knit and active bunch.” He is honored to have worked so closely with them over the pivotal months preceding chartering, particularly those who have generously partnered on the board, meeting monthly to stay abreast of developments and propel the chapter toward official status.

President and CEO of Tulsa’s Littlefield Agency – a thriving advertising and marketing agency – David Littlefield will serve as the chapter’s first president. One of Littlefield’s clients in Oklahoma City had recommended him to Darnell. The two have since developed a special camaraderie.

“I had never heard of Legatus until last May,” Littlefield says. As empty-nesters, he and his wife Marellie had been looking for an opportunity to grow spiritually as a Catholic couple. “So we went to the kickoff event at the bishop’s residence last year, and we joined right then.”

He sees unusual advantages to Legatus that he can get nowhere else.

“We truly look forward to that monthly meeting with rosary, Confession, Mass, dinner, and a great Catholic speaker,” explains Littlefield. “This to me is part of the ‘magic’ of Legatus – a monthly retreat where we spend time with like-minded Catholics and business people. It affirms and teaches us.“

But Legatus’ impact goes well beyond the get-togethers, he adds. “It’s an amazing tool that helps me do business effectively in a secular world, and helps keep me grounded.” In his Tulsa ad agency business – in a region where Catholics are few and far between – 13 of 24 employees are Catholic. “I like to think that says something.”

And Littlefield has great plans for the new Tulsa chapter.

“Once we’re up and running, I hope to expand into the Legatus Forums realm, to give our members opportunity for muchneeded peer-confidentiality in whatever they’re encountering professionally or personally. And as a chapter, we’ll offer consistently engaging monthly events – of which the ‘secret sauce’ is great Catholic speakers,” he says.

But this is by no means ‘the David Littlefield show,’ he says. “I may be president of the chapter, but Marellie and I are every bit doing this as a couple.”

Further, he says the new chapter wouldn’t exist without the priceless efforts of its initial officer team: vice president, Joe Moran – a retired manufacturing executive who is very active in the Diocese of Tulsa; treasurer Blake Atkins – a convert to Catholicism and well-respected CPA and attorney; membership director Kathy Craft – an active Catholic involved in the diocese as well as local and national organizations and colleges; and of course the chapter’s chaplain, Monsignor Dennis Dorney – who is also active in Catholic Charities and a Catholic hospice home.

“And most especially,” he says, “without the leadership and direction of Ken Darnell and Carmen Tate, we wouldn’t be where we are right now.”

CHRISTINE VALENTINE-OWSIK is Legatus magazine’s editor.

WHAT TO SEE: The Woman

Behold, Your Mother
Commentary by Fr. Marcus Holden, Fr. Andrew Pinsent,
Sister Mary of the Trinity, Fr. Jeff Steel, Joanna Bogle
Run time: 39 min
Not Rated

Why does the Church refer to the Virgin Mary as the Mother of God? How did it come to believe in her Immaculate Conception, her perpetual virginity, and her Assumption into heaven? What did it all mean when, while hanging from the cross, Jesus entrusted his mother to the care of John, the beloved disciple?

These points of dogma and much more are surveyed in “The Woman,” a new short film released on DVD by Ignatius Press. In a series of brief topical segments, the program looks at key Catholic teachings about Mary, her place in Scripture, and her unique role in salvation history. Perhaps the best known to U.S. audiences among the main presenters — three priests, a nun, and a lay woman, all from England — is Joanna Bogle, who writes and blogs for the National Catholic Register. Several young adults, who go unnamed until the closing credits, also make appearances to share aspects of their own appreciation of Mary and their devotion to her.

The film is at its best when discussing Mary’s model of complete trust in God and obedience to his will, as exemplified by her consent to conceive and give birth to the Savior of the world. Her connections to Eve, the “woman” of Genesis, to the various women of the Old Testament who prefigured Mary, and to the “woman” of Revelation all serve to highlight her pivotal role in God’s plan of redemption.

One might wish the presentation of this rich content were more engaging: “The Woman” consists of talking-head interviews punctuated by the occasional insertion of Marian religious art. There also are times the speakers get very theological for the average Catholic viewer. Nevertheless, those who remain attentive throughout this brief 39-minute film are amply rewarded with sound catechesis that expresses the beauty of Catholic teaching on the Blessed Mother.

GERALD KORSON is a Legatus magazine staff writer.

The song that God loves to hear

In 1983, there began a series of apparitions in Argentina to a simple, uneducated woman named Gladys Quiroga de Motta. As in so many other apparitions in this century, the rosary would be the central theme. From the start of the apparitions, Mary appeared to Gladys holding Baby Jesus in one arm and displaying a large rosary that stretched across both her hands. In the apparition of November 26, 1983, Mary expressed the desire to be known as “Our Lady of the Rosary of San Nicolás.” On the following day, Gladys visited the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary in Rosario (a town near San Nicolás) and saw a statue of Our Lady that she claimed was an exact representation of what Mary looked like during the previous day’s apparition. Upon inquiring, Gladys was informed that this particular statue of Our Lady of the Rosary had been given to Argentina in 1884 by Pope Leo XIII for use in the cathedral of Rosario. At some point during construction of the cathedral, it had been placed in the bell tower and forgotten. Below is the account that Gladys gave regarding this episode:

For the first time, I saw a statue of the Virgin that is the same as what I see. It had been stored away at the cathedral. This image of Our Lady of the Rosary, that had been brought from Rome to San Nicolas 100 years ago, for the inauguration of the cathedral, [and was] blessed for that intention by Pope Leo XIII. Our Lady said to me: “They had me in oblivion, but I have reappeared; place me there [where Mary requested a shrine to be constructed] because you see me such as I am.”

In 1990, the local bishop gave his approval for the publication and distribution of the messages given to Gladys by Our Lady. There were no less than 1,800 messages! Even after the local bishop gave his approval for the spread of the messages, Gladys continued to have almost daily apparitions. …[She] requested the rosary be prayed every day, especially among families and in groups, and specifically asked that a perpetual novena of the rosary be undertaken by the local people…These apparitions were officially approved by the diocesan bishop on May 22, 2016.

… Mary described the rosary as a song that God loves to hear and a tie that binds us to our spiritual mother. Our Lady stressed that the rosary is so powerful that it can change the heart of anyone for the better [and] has the greatest influence in overcoming evil; every danger can be faced with the rosary…One of the most powerful messages Mary gave was on April 10, 1986 when she said: “The holy rosary is the weapon which the enemy fears. It is also the refuge of those who look for relief for their sufferings, and it is the door to enter into my heart.”

Excerpt from Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon, by Donald H. Calloway, MIC (Stockbridge: Marian Press, 2016), pp. 150-51, “San Nicolás, Argentina (1983-1990).” www.frcalloway.com. Used with permission.

Modern-day prodigal son, FR. DONALD CALLOWAY, MIC, is a convert to Catholicism and a member of the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. Prior to his conversion he was a school dropout and involved in crime. A prolific author on Mary and other faith topics, he is a popular speaker on the Divine Mercy, and has written seven books.


“My impression is that the rosary is of greatest value not only according to the words of Our Lady at Fatima, but according to the effects of the rosary one sees throughout history. My impression is that Our Lady wanted to give ordinary people, who might not know how to pray, this simple method of getting closer to God.” Sister Lúcia of Fatima

Celebrate the most magnificent flower of God’s garden

Uniquely, flowers are one of the few things that have no real utility. We grow flowers simply for the sake of beauty and delight.

Many flowers are associated with Our Lady and are connected to her life in some way. Rooted in Canticle of Canticles, she is connected to the Rose of Sharon and the lily of the valley. Cardinal Henry Newman pointed out that the rose is the most beautiful of all the flowers. In the eyes of God, Our Lady remains the most beautiful human being who has ever existed or will exist.

Every May we honor that most splendid member of our race, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Indeed how appropriate that as nature’s beauty shines brilliantly this month as trees blossom and flowers bloom, we honor the most beautiful flower in God’s garden.

We point to this reality when we crown her statues with flowers and celebrate her feast days. After Mass one day, a gentleman insisted that we make too much about Mary, which takes away from the worship we owe God. He was reminded by this priest of the maxim, “De Maria numquam satis.” That is, “Concerning Mary nothing is sufficient.” Sadly, he was not convinced because he had attended classes at a local “Christian” college. Truly, Mary’s role in salvation history and her participation in the redemption of mankind is of such magnitude we can neither fully comprehend nor explain this great mystery anymore that we can the Blessed Trinity.

A rejection of the Mother of God is a rejection of Our Lord. This incident cautions us regarding the importance of preserving children from being exposed to false doctrines, especially when they are portrayed in innocuous terms such as ecumenical, nondenominational, or Christian events. Also, Catholics need to make an effort to know what the Church teaches and why, to inoculate themselves against being led astray.

Love of the Blessed Virgin Mary can only emanate from an orthodox Catholic heart. Catholics, even barely practicing ones, bear her affection and love albeit in varying degrees of intensity. This seemingly distant figure, the Mother of God and the majestic Queen of heaven and earth, immaculately conceived, sinless and perfect, becomes so real to her devotees that she inevitably draws them closer to her Son, Jesus Christ. She stands out among the human race showing clearly that this Trinitarian God loves mankind with a fierce love. Love of Our Lady manifests itself in nearly every place where the Faith exists through all the manifold expressions of piety by the faithful. Loving the masterpiece of God impels us to love the author of the masterpiece even more.

St. Anselm tells us that wherever there is the greatest purity there is also the greatest charity. The more pure the heart and empty of itself, the greater is its fullness of love toward God. If we may extend the flower analogy further, flowers cannot live without light and water. Our Lady lived in the light of God’s grace. As a result, the life of grace blossomed and multiplied in her soul. She emptied herself, allowing the heavenly dew of God’s grace to water the garden of her soul. He dilated and expanded the capacity of the Virgin to love with a Christ-like love, a self-sacrificial love.

Happily, Our Lord will do the same for us. If we seek after our divinely given vocation and strive to live in the light of God’s grace, we can expect the greatest happiness allotted to man in this vale of tears, and afterward a happy repose in the arms of Christ joining the angels and saints as one of the many beautiful flowers in God’s garden.

Tis the month of our Mother… bring flowers of purity, meekness, patience and love; they are garlands unfading, the blossoms which open above.

How dull our lives would be without our Queen of the May!

FATHER HAROLD MCKALE, a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, is parochial vicar to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish (Doylestown, PA) and works with the Philadelphia Latin Mass community. He hold a B.S. in business from Millersville University, and M.Div. and M.A. from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary (Philadelphia).

“Cosmo Girl” is concocted derision of Our Lady

Since Editor Helen Gurley Brown (1922-2012) redesigned Cosmopolitan for the Hearst Corporation in 1965, the magazine has masqueraded as a feminist vehicle for women’s “liberation.”

Yet Betty Friedan, who launched modern feminism in1963 with the publication of The Feminine Mystique, called Cosmo “quite obscene and quite horrible.” Friedan said any view of female liberation that reduces a woman to a sex object (as Cosmo does) is a false freedom that denies a woman’s full personhood. What’s more, freeing a woman to express her full personhood in all aspects of life (motherhood included) was what Friedan said the women’s movement was all about.

How a woman consciously or unconsciously defines her personhood affects all the other decisions, large or small, she will make in her life. So how does Cosmo define a woman’s personhood?

Answering this fundamental question requires examining the view of a woman’s personhood presented by Alfred Kinsey in Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953). A zoologist by training, Kinsey spoke of a woman as a “human animal.” Anthropologist Margaret Mead observed that in Kinsey’s view there was no difference between a man having relations with a woman or a sheep.

Kinsey’s view of a woman as a pleasure-seeking animal without a soul entered our culture partly through magazines like Cosmopolitan. As a counterpart to Hugh Hefner’s Playboy, Gurley Brown invented “the Cosmo girl,” a fictitious persona designed to sell cosmetics, clothes, contraceptives, and other wares to women ages 18 to 34.

When I wrote articles for Cosmo in the 1970s and 80s, the Cosmo girl had to follow certain unspoken rules to be considered “sophisticated” and “smart.” She had to be sexually active, use contraceptives, and have free access to abortion.

Yet there were two things our reader couldn’t do if she wanted to be “free.” She couldn’t be a virgin or a mother. In other words, she couldn’t resemble Mary, virgin and mother. In ways that I failed to see at the time, Cosmo’s view of a woman’s personhood involved an unseen-but-direct attack on Our Lady.

The good news is that Cosmo has taken what would otherwise be an invisible problem — Kinsey’s reduction of a woman’s personhood to that of a soulless animal — and has made this corrupted view of femininity visible. All-toofrequently in our fallen world, the differences between truth and error lie hidden and silent. In this case, thanks to the Hearst Corporation’s skilled marketers, the contrast between truth and error is fully visible and being shouted to the skies.

On Cosmo’s covers on every magazine rack, it’s evident (particularly in many of the models’ eyes) how angry, sad, frightened, and empty women feel when they’re falsely reduced to mere sex objects. Conflicted within, the Cosmo girl is always having problems with men because she’s always having problems within herself. Her interior life is in turmoil. There is no true happiness here.

To reveal the truth, girls can be shown images of “liberation” being foisted off by the Hearst Corporation. And these ugly images can be contrasted with the incomparable beauty in the light-filled icons of Our Lady: the authentic model for all persons (men and women alike) who long to be fully human and to be set truly free.

Next time you spot a Cosmo cover while standing in a checkout line, don’t be disturbed. Simply recognize the unseen war being fought, and silently say a “Hail Mary” to the Virgin Mother, our leader in battle. The good news is that her victory is assured. God’s Truth about a woman’s personhood is real, and Cosmo’s lies are only made of dust.

SUE ELLEN BROWDER has published hundreds of magazine articles, and was a featured speaker at the Legatus 2018 Summit. Her latest book is Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement (Ignatius).


Late bloom in Mary’s garden

For many of us, life can take on a faded pallor in the absence of our moms. But there’s one lesson Mom imbued well – never forget the rosary. Pray it, no matter what. There’s no protection, intercession, and advocating like Mary’s.

Did we take it to heart? Not so much. We saw Mom as a zealot without the social calendar we had. She insisted we say the rosary as a family before dinner. My brother and I would glare at each other, eying the chilling meat and vegetables, like they were slow-torturing us. We’d bark the repetitions, stare at the ceiling, and sigh obnoxiously when it was finished. In hindsight, I realize that we hurt our mother, and we hurt Our Lady. But like the best Mother, she would patiently await our maturity… even if it might take decades.

Thankfully, those seeds ran deep and have re-germinated after Mom and Dad have gone.

Now to be fair, we were immersed in the ‘70s lifeis-good attitude in the Church, where devotions like the rosary were often shelved. They didn’t fit our demeanor, Motown cars, and bell bottoms. We went to Doobie Brothers concerts and the guitar Mass on Sundays. No rosaries there.

And we didn’t get strong foundational teaching on the rosary, even in Catholic school – like why the rosary exists, where it came from, and why it is so supernaturally remarkable. We just thought Mom and Dad were like cultish European streetprocessors, trying to turn us into fanatics. When friends knocked at the door, we’d grab the ministatues, prayer books, and rosaries, ram them into a drawer, and run straight out.

We escaped all right … not yet seeing the abyss.

Lesson time. We enrolled our eldest in the parish school, and in first grade he came home with a reminder. “Look, Mommy; we made rosaries,” he said, pulling the blue-crystal strand from his pencil case. “Would you say it with me?” It had been 15 years since I’d said a rosary, and had forgotten entirely. “Don’t worry, Mommy,” he continued, “we have rosary booklets, too.”

I thumbed through, struck by the meditations and gorgeous art-renderings of Christ’s face, Mary as mother, and the Holy Family. I was heartsick … it came flooding back, those evenings praying as a family. He watched me with his wide brown eyes, waiting.

God lets our children rework our heart when it needs some reconstruction. And so I began again.

I read St. Louis de Montfort’s The Secret of the Rosary and other books, and realized my parents were right-on – there are amazing promises from Our Mother on her rosary. I researched her 13th-century apparitions to St. Dominic, why she introduced him to the rosary, and her promises for each person, the Church, and the world. So incredible was this protective Mother whom Christ has gifted to us.

The rosary has reordered my daily life. It’s the greatest anti-stress treatment, and my appeals are often answered before I put them into words. ‘Bring flowers of the rarest’ to our sweet Heavenly Mother. And a rosary in gratitude for our incredible mom.

CHRISTINE VALENTINE-OWSIK  is Legatus magazine’s Editor.

Mary’s heart nurtures hungry generation

Modern society has been run ragged with so-called ‘smart’ solutions to the long-held traditions of prayer and devotion to Jesus and Mary. Many young adults don’t practice any faith at all — and they’re finding the price gets ever steeper in attempting to resolve on their own everything that life tosses at them.

Suicides have spiked, as have all types of substance abuse, corrosive habits, and decadent lifestyles.

An encouraging trend among young Catholics, however, has been to invite the Blessed Mother into their lives – during formative years, throughout college, and in burgeoning professional and married years. Despite societal ‘flattening’ of all things religious, many of the younger Catholic generation have experienced the benefits of devotion to Mary, of saying the rosary daily, of keeping close to the Mother of Christ as Heavenly Protectress.

Pure mother for orphan culture

Indeed, in a culture that tells mothers it is acceptable to abort their babies, the motherhood of Mary holds increasing appeal. Northeast Wisconsin Legates Bill and Natalie Raaths saw this recently when students at Notre Dame Academy in Green Bay, WI prayed to Mary for a classmate who was critically injured and lost his eyesight in an accident. The students, Natalie said, went to Our Lady of Good Help Shrine in Champion, WI, the only approved Marian apparition site in the U.S., and had a prayer service for the injured youth. “They prayed, they cried. The boy didn’t really know if he was going to make it, but he did regain his health.” Although it is still uncertain whether his vision will be restored, he is now home and doing well, Natalie said. “The kids got involved in going to the shrine because they said, ‘Our Lady will help us.’”

Fr. Edward Looney, a priest of the Diocese of Green Bay and author of five books on the shrine, added that in a broken world filled with broken families, Mary can make up for the love many young people didn’t feel from their parents.

In his own life, he said, “I looked to Mary for whatever was lacking in affection from my earthly mother. St. Bernard of Clairvaux says all graces come through Mary. If you didn’t have a good relationship with your earthly mother, then Mary can mediate the grace to fill up what is lacking.”

‘Youth must know faith for salvation’

Indeed, Mary’s messages in 1859 to a young Belgian-born woman, Adele Brise, at what is now Our Lady of Good Help Shrine, reflected a special concern for young people. During the third and final apparition, Brise reportedly asked, “What more can I do, dear Lady?” Mary replied, “Gather the children in this wild country and teach them what they should know for salvation.” When Brise asked how she could do this given she knew so little herself, Mary answered, “Teach them their catechism, how to sign themselves with the sign of the cross, and how to approach the sacraments; that is what I wish you to do. Go and fear nothing. I will help you.” Brise responded first by teaching the children in their homes and later by starting a school.

Although there is no longer a school associated with the Our Lady of Good Help apparition site, children continue to be a part of the life of the shrine. “It’s surprising how many young families go there and how the whole atmosphere is vibrant,” Bill Raaths said. In a video on the shrine’s website, a mother of five talks about the impact visiting the place where Mary appeared to Brice had on her children. She had not told them about the apparitions ahead of time, but they knelt down when they reached the site and later one of them said, “Mary’s there.”

Help in hard times

St. Frances de Sales, the 16thcentury bishop of Geneva and Doctor of the Church who had a great devotion to Mary, has said it was his prayers to Our Lady that helped him through difficult times in his youth. His closeness with Mary ultimately led to his decision to consecrate himself to her and become a priest.

To help augment the journey of today’s youth, Young Catholic Professionals will hold a conference in Cleveland on September 7-9, which is themed for Mary. YCP founder and national executive director, Jennifer Baugh, says, “I think a lot of young people pray the Hail Mary occasionally and see the Blessed Mother featured in churches and mentioned, but I don’t think they really know themselves how to have a devotion to her.

There’s sort of a desire there, but they don’t really know how to begin. This conference will be an incredible way for them to learn about her and to grow in devotion to her.”

Legate Tim Needles, who serves on YCP’s Cleveland and national boards, said he has been pleased to see Marian devotion growing among the organization’s leaders. “Part of our mission is to accelerate and deepen that interest in the Blessed Mother and to make it more a daily part of all our lives.”

Added Eileen Mathews, another legate who is chairman of Cleveland YCP’s board of directors: “We try to emphasize the fact that devotion to Mary will always lead us closer to her Son. She is the ark of God’s New Covenant who carried Jesus in her womb and is our spiritual mother.”

Needles said he grew up in a family with a strong devotion to Mary and that his brother, Fr. Brian Needles, has dedicated his priesthood to the Blessed Mother. Recently, he said, his brother told him about speaking to a group of Catholic high school students about praying the rosary daily. “He could see that a lot of their eyes really lit up when he talked about that, and there were some questions. He could see that some of these young people have that formation and love for our Mother. It really buoyed my feelings about this young generation and where they’re going.”

Best anti-anxiety med – Mary’s protection

During the YCP conference, participants will have the opportunity to learn more about the rosary and other Marian prayers; the apparitions of Mary at Lourdes, Guadalupe, and Fatima, and such devotions as the scapular, miraculous medal and consecration to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. The conference also will look at Mary’s roles as mother, intercessor, teacher, and queen. Baugh said the book, Mary: Help in Hard Times by Sister Marriane Lorraine Trouve, will be used as a framework for the weekend.

Among the conference speakers will be Cleveland Bishop Nelson Perez, who was asked recently at a YCP meeting what he does for anxiety. “He reached into his pocket,” Needles said, “and pulled out the rosary and said, ‘This helps calm me down.’”

The theme of the conference, which falls on Mary’s “birthday weekend,” is “Celebrating the Feast of the Birth of Mary,” and a gala for attendees, donors, and supporters is planned for Saturday in downtown Cleveland in observance of the Sept. 8 feast. “I’m just overjoyed thinking about this,” Baugh said. “[Mary] is a powerful intercessor for us. Especially in our daily life being bold witnesses and ambassadors for the faith, we need to call on her for guidance and assistance.”

JUDY ROBERTS is a Legatus magazine staff writer.

‘Blessed Mother’ priest sees resurgence in Marian devotion

Father Edward Looney likes to tell people that he came out of the womb loving Mary, the mother of Jesus

A priest of the Diocese of Green Bay, WI since 2015, Fr. Looney said he can’t recall a moment when he didn’t have some fond recollection of the Blessed Mother. Although he didn’t grow up in a religious home, he said his grandmother and a woman in his home parish helped plant the seeds of Marian devotion in him early in his childhood.

That devotion today is threefold, encompassing praying a daily rosary, making regular pilgrimages to Marian shrines, and wearing the scapular and the miraculous medal. For pilgrimages, Fr. Looney travels yearly to Lourdes, France, where Mary appeared to St. Bernadette, but his location in the Diocese of Green Bay allows him to regularly visit Our Lady of Good Help Shrine, the only Church-approved Marian apparition site in the U.S. He has written five books about the shrine and has given presentations on it to Legatus groups.

Designated a national shrine by the U.S. bishops in 2016, Our Lady of Good Help recently was in the national spotlight when NBC’s Megyn Kelly TODAY featured it as part of a “Faith in America” series. Included in the report was the story of a Reedsville, WI woman whose family had prayed for her healing at the shrine after she was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer. According to the Green Bay Press Gazette, NBC learned about Our Lady of Good Help from Michael O’Neill, known as “The Miracle Hunter,” who had been working on the show, Miracles of Champions, which premiered in April on EWTN.

Father Looney made his first pilgrimage to Our Lady of Good Help as an 8th-grader and, although he didn’t return until he was in high school, the rural shrine eventually became an oasis for him.

“I always thought I would study Mary more in depth – and I have – so it was a natural place to focus my energy and intellectual thought.” Fr. Looney has no official role at the shrine, though some people call him the shrine historian. “But I don’t consider myself that,” he said. “I’m just an author.” Besides his books about the shrine, Fr. Looney has written the children’s book Breakfast in Bethlehem, A Rosary Litany and A Heart Like Mary’s. He also is working on another book, How They Loved Mary.

As he practices his own devotion to Mary and shares it with others through his writing and priesthood, Fr. Looney said he has observed a resurgence of interest in the Blessed Mother. After the Second Vatican Council, he said, some Catholics abandoned Marian piety, but devotion to her never disappeared. Now, he said, along with other practices such as Eucharistic adoration and the sacrament of reconciliation, Marian devotion is being discovered by a new generation of Catholics.

Fatima checks Catholic-leader authenticity

A few years ago, I helped several people put a business deal together. One of them was a rather prominent Catholic businessman. During the process, he acted in ways that raised a few eyebrows. His behavior spawned questions about both his ethics and his values. A long time personal friend of his was also involved in the deal. During a side conversation, I asked the friend if the businessman was, indeed, the good Catholic he was reputed to be. The response was, “Yes, he’s a really good Catholic. But when it comes to business, he just thinks business is business.”

Dick Lyles

As CEO of Origin Entertainment, I’ve been working for the better part of the past decade to bring our movie Fatima to the global audience. We’re telling the story from the point of view of the three shepherds to vividly show what they experienced in the context of the times. I knew it was an amazing tale before we started the project, but had no clue about how amazing the story actually is. Of particular interest to me has been the transformative impact of the events on the shepherds as they happened.

Like many people, I viewed the story as being somewhat linear. An angel told the shepherds to get ready for something big. Our Lady appeared. The word got out. The kids were hassled by a lot of unwanted attention as Our Lady appeared five more times, until 70,000 people witnessed The Miracle of the Sun. Oh, if it were all that simple.

In particular, the events of August 1917 sparked my interest because of the profound changes those events had on the character and attitudes of the shepherds. August was the only month when the apparitions didn’t occur on the 13th. August was the month the local administrator arrested them, put them in jail, and threatened them to death by boiling them in oil if they didn’t disavow their story. They were eventually released and the August apparition took place on the 19th. But from that time forward, the shepherds had a completely different demeanor. They became almost indifferent to the crowds and the activities surrounding them and focused almost entirely on praying, doing penance, and getting the message out. Their commitment to Our Lady’s message was unequivocal.

Ironically, Father Andrew Apostoli, C.F.R., who is one of the world’s leading authorities on Fatima, and I discussed all this over lunch on August 12 of this year, which was the hundredth anniversary of the children’s arrest. Father Apostoli believes that through those events the children became living martyrs, having satisfied the criteria for martyrdom. Without starting a major debate about martyrdom, if martyrdom largely consists of “the voluntary enduring or tolerating of death on account of one’s faith,” then during this period of incarceration, the children certainly crossed this threshold, even if those who threatened them did not ultimately carry out the threats. It can be argued that by agreeing to die for what they believed, they achieved martyrdom.

Whether or not the shepherds crossed the threshold of martyrdom, history makes it clear that through these specific events, they crossed a threshold of maturity in their faith that only a few have achieved. They internalized the words of Our Lady in a deeply profound manner. They became almost indifferent to the taunting, crowd noise and conversation around them and became singularly focused on living the mission for which they had been called.

All this begs an important question in my mind regarding Catholics in business. Aren’t we also called to internalize Catholic teaching and behave accordingly in everything we do? Few are ever called to martyrdom through their business activities. But all business people are called to be authentic Catholics in all we do, no matter who we’re dealing with or what the circumstance.

Heaven didn’t call upon Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta to be its messengers so they would cave in to worldly pressures, no matter how severe. Nor has God called Legates and their spouses to the business world so they could suspend their Catholicity in the name of business. We may never have to test our faith by facing the same call to martyrdom as did the shepherds, but we all are tested every day by more mundane challenges to put our faith aside in the pursuit of business objectives. We must view each of those challenges as a way to strengthen rather than weaken our faith in the spirit of Fatima.

DICK LYLES is CEO of Origin Entertainment, a Hollywood film company wrapping up production  of FATIMA, slated for 2018 release. He’s a prolific, award-winning author of nine books; host of “The Catholic Business Hour” radio show,; and was past membership chairman and president of the San Diego Chapter.

The Marian Option: God’s Solution to a Civilization in Crisis

Carrie Gress, Ph.D.
TAN Books, 2017, 215 pages

The Marian Option is an inspiring and important contribution to Mariology. In this book, Gress takes a bigpicture look at the role of Mary in salvation history and the role Marian devotion plays in cultural transformation. On the surface, the book offers an alternative to similar books attempting to tell Christians how to live in a world in crisis, but the book is much more. It examines devotion to Jesus through Mary and the victory Mary has achieved throughout history in various times and places. The book ends with a wonderful chapter on how Pope St. John Paul II exemplified such devotion in his life, and some practical how-to’s to help readers embrace Jesus through Mary in their own families.

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