Madonna House

I Didn’t Want to Know Mary

by Paulette Curran

When I came to Madonna House in 1970, I was away from the Church. Moreover, like many Catholics and ex-Catholics at the time, I was not interested in the Mother of God.

I looked down on popular devotions as silly and meaningless and not worthy of sophisticated, modern people. Why? I couldn’t have told you. Like many such anti-religious sentiments, it wasn’t really rational.

But be that as it may, I was, despite myself, powerfully drawn to God, and that led me to visit Madonna House. And here, through the mercy of God, I had returned to the Church.

I was slowly getting used to Catholic ways again, but devotion to Our Lady was one of the things I definitely was not getting used to.

One day, in walked Fr. Pat Moore and his large statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Fr. Moore’s life’s work was traveling around the world with this “Pilgrim Virgin,” and everywhere he went with her, there were processions, large prayer gatherings, and all kinds of Marian devotions.

Fr. Moore was an associate priest and a good friend of Madonna House. He and the Pilgrim Virgin had been here often before, and everyone was excited and happy to see them. Everyone, it seemed, except me.

Fr. Moore exuded old-fashioned Pre-Vatican II-type piety, and as was the case everywhere they went, the visit to Madonna House was the occasion of varied devotions, both personal and communal.

It was all too much for me, and I don’t think it’s overstating it to say that I was repelled. I was looking forward to the time when they would leave.

It was spring, and I was the bread baker at the farm. One warm, sunny day, Fr. Pat Moore and the statue came to the farm to give it its annual blessing. Everyone there processed around the farm praying and singing hymns as Fr. Moore and the statue blessed the fields, the farm buildings, and the animals.

I went, too, but only because my absence would have been obvious. I was very put off by the whole thing.

Our Lady, however, was not put off by me. Later that afternoon, I was alone in the farm dining room working on the bread on a counter facing the wall near one end of the room. Suddenly I felt a presence, a strong presence of a person. Figuring someone had walked in, I turned around to see who it was. There was no one there.

Then I noticed, way down in the opposite end of the long room, the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. The “presence” was coming from there.

I was in awe; Mary was real! After that, I was fine with Marian devotions; in fact, I started participating in them instead of just showing up. And I started praying to Mary on my own.

Then, not long after the visit of Our Lady of Fatima, maybe about three months, I made the De Montfort Act of Consecration to Jesus through Mary.