There is a saying that April showers bring May flowers. If that’s true, then I am anticipating a super abundance of blooming flowers.
May is the month of Mary. As a child, it was the month of those endearing May crownings, when grade school children form a procession either in church or a parish courtyard to recite the rosary. Then one lucky girl is selected to place a crown of flowers on the head of Our Blessed Lady while an appropriate hymn is sung: “Daily, Daily Sing to Mary,” “Hail, Holy Queen Enthroned Above,” or “Lovely Lady Dressed in Blue.”
May crowning was an important moment in the school year. The tremendous confidence that we all had in the intercessory power of Mary was demonstrated. The sisters reinforced that devotional life and, without hesitancy, I can attest that it has served as a source of consolation for me and for others. To this very day, I rely upon those Hail Marys to see me through difficult situations. It’s comforting to know that mother is with you.
We have a number of opportunities to exercise our Marian spirituality in our immediate region.
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has a Marian Shrine at 141 N. 68th St., Milwaukee, next to the Dominican Sisters of the Perpetual Rosary where the prioress is Mother Miriam Leonard.
Whenever I want a spiritual lift, I visit the Dominican Sisters because they manifest a joy of the living Lord and display a confidence in prayer sorely needed by our society. I quickly discovered this oasis shortly after I arrived in Milwaukee. The devotional prayers of the sisters are a comfort in the shadow of the Marian Shrine.
The Carmelite Fathers have the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians located at Holy Hill, 1525 Carmel Road, Hubertus. Fr. Don Brick, the basilica director, provides a schedule of Marian devotions. Holy Hill, one of the treasures of the archdiocese, is well known throughout the Midwest. It’s worth a visit, especially on a beautiful spring day.
In Waukesha there is the shrine dedicated to Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt, located at W284N404 Cherry Lane. Rosary devotion is celebrated by the Schoenstatt community.
Just outside the archdiocese there is the Shrine of our Lady of Good Help (Champion) located in the Diocese of Green Bay, 4047 Chapel Dr., New Franken, where a Marian apparition took place.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, located in the Diocese of La Crosse, is a beautiful setting with a multitude of Marian presentations beginning with a pilgrims walk to the main church.
May is also a month that celebrates Mother’s Day. This is a wonderful way to acknowledge the person who offered us life. Everyone needs a mom and even when tragedy or circumstances denies the natural mother her place with the child she bore, there are special women who fill the void and have a rightful claim on that title “mother.”
We need to acknowledge our gratefulness to our mothers for sharing their lives with us. Spiritually, we even speak of our godmothers, the ones who have a spiritual bond from baptism.
My mother’s sister was my godmother. She was like a second mother to me. She was selected as one who could, in the event of the inability of my parents, raise me in the faith, and they were confident that my aunt would do so. For all of my growing up years, I was blessed to have two mothers. Unfortunately, my godmother died in 1969 and my mother died in 2002. I remember them before God in prayer that their lives and love have forever formed me and supported my dedication to Christ and his church.
Relatively speaking, the time we have on earth is short. It’s important not to squander our opportunities to tell those that we love of their importance in our lives. I encourage you to call Mom, write a note or send flowers. But if you can make a visit, there’s nothing better for a mother than a child’s hug no matter how old the child.
During May we should also honor Mary our Mother, Mary the Mother of our church. She deserves a visit. There are plenty of places to meet her; it can be as close as our rosary.
The Lord intentionally entrusted Mary to the Apostle John not only for John to take care of his mother but for Mary to take care of us, the children of his church. “…he said to his mother, ‘Woman behold your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother.’
And from that hour, the disciple took her into his home” Jn 19:26-27.
Maybe those May flowers will produce a huge spiritual bouquet befitting a mother who has given us so much.