Posted May 12, 2015:
I Wanted to Know Mary

By Beth Scott.

The first time I saw the statue of Our Lady of Combermere, I didn’t think much of her. But the fact that I wasn’t drawn to her didn’t bother me because I didn’t think this statue in the woods was really very important.

So I was puzzled when I saw the tremendous love that the MH staff have for her. I could tell that this was a real, personal love and not just an obligatory community tradition, but I couldn’t understand why. Why was this statue such a focal point in the community?

Having recently converted from Protestantism to Catholicism with my whole family, I understood or thought I understood why we Catholics honor Mary. I had read the Catechism, and I accepted the Church’s teaching about her. But this lady that the folks in Combermere love was for me simply a picture, a doctrine, a statue in the woods.

After I’d visited Madonna House a few times, I decided that I would "like" Our Lady of Combermere mostly because everyone at Madonna House did.

As a guest I loved joining in with whatever the community was doing. They went to church; I went to church. They washed dishes; I washed dishes. They liked Our Lady of Combermere; well, then, I wanted to like her, too.

And slowly my desire to know her grew.

For the next few years I "practiced" practicing devotion to Our Lady. I didn’t feel anything, but I went through the motions. I prayed the rosary, I wore a miraculous medal, and I even began shyly talking to her.

I kept hearing and reading about people who said that Mary had led them to Jesus. But my most frequent prayer was, "Jesus, please introduce me to your mother." I wanted so much to have that closeness with her that I saw in other Catholics.

Then on my next visit to Madonna House, when I saw Our Lady of Combermere again, I realized that I really did love her. I felt more comfortable with her, my conversations with her became less stilted, and I even felt like she was smiling at me.

It was all very pleasant. Not very exciting, but pleasant. By the time I returned home, I was pleased that I now had a relationship with Mary, with the statue in the woods. But I was also faintly disappointed. Was this all there was to it?

The Lord’s gift of a deeper love of Mary almost crept up on me. I don’t think I fully realized what had happened to me until one day when I approached Our Lady and suddenly she wasn’t just a statue.

She was a person! A person whose arms were outstretched for me, a person whose feet were running towards me, a person whose eyes looked not only into my face but into my soul.

I knew overwhelmingly and with my whole heart that Mary loved me as her own and that I belonged to her. I knew that she had been with me all this time, guiding and protecting me.

I knew she would be with me always, tenderly watching over me, holding me, and showing me her Son.

Now everything is changed. No longer is Our Lady of Combermere just a picture, a doctrine, a statue in the woods. She is my Mother.

—From Restoration, October 2005


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