A guest post by Elizabeth Ficocelli

"Holy Kiss" by artist Nancy Bradley

"Holy Kiss" by artist Nancy Bradley

Growing up as a lukewarm Lutheran, I had no particular relationship with the mother of Jesus.  We didn’t learn much about her in Sunday School and we certainly didn’t have anything to do with her in family life.

When I entered the Catholic Church as a young adult, I realized I would have to get to know this icon of my new faith — the Blessed Mother. The Virgin Mary.  Mother of God.  Queen of Heaven.

It was hard for me initially to wrap my brain around the concept of one woman being selected from all of time and history – past, present, and future —  to carry out the greatest of all missions: to bear the Son of God. And being created sinless in the process!

To be honest, I found the Virgin’s perfection a bit off-putting. After all, how could I, a young mother struggling with the challenges of raising four boys, ever live up to Mary’s gentle and obedient example and establish a Holy Family of my own?

Through God’s inspiration, I have been led over the years to read books by great saints like Louis de Montfort on how (and why) to develop a personal relationship with Mary. These writings have helped me to discover the mother par excellence.

This mother, I learned, loves me unconditionally and eternally. She sees me as a precious daughter, worthy and lovable, no matter how many times I yell at my children or disappoint my husband.

This is a mother who remembers every one of her children, no matter how indifferent they are to her. So fierce is her motherly love, she continues to this very day to battle the evil one on our behalf.

The idea of the Blessed Mother being sent by God to earth over the centuries to speak with her children, to encourage or admonish them when necessary, has become a particular area of interest for me. I’ve been blessed to visit some of the places of her apparitions. And I’ve been led to share my discoveries in my own books and presentations.

In honor of the Blessed Mother, Columbus will be hosting its first annual Marian Conference at Ohio Dominican University this weekend (July 22-24). Speakers will be coming from around the country to speak on various Marian issues as well as topics such as Divine Mercy and Sacred Heart Devotion.

In my talk, The Age of Mary, I’ll be looking at key Marian apparitions over the past 180 years to reveal how Our Lady has been sent by God – even up to our current day – with a consistent and even urgent message to call us back to the path of holiness and arm ourselves with spiritual weapons to protect us against the rising influence of evil in the world.

This event is a wonderful opportunity for Central Ohio (and beyond) that has the blessing of Bishop Frederick Campbell. Registrations are still being accepted for the conference. For more information contact Nancy Tuttle at 614-475-8341 or visit the website.

image source: Kissing the Leper

Elizabeth Ficocelli lives in central Ohio with her husband and four sons. She is author to 12 books and numerous articles. She’s a speaker, convert, and a lovely woman to know.