“Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of Africa

If you were to visit Algiers today, you would find a much different country than in years past. Although Algiers today is very much a Muslim country, it was not so for many centuries. In the 2nd century it was ruled by the Romans and part of the larger Roman Empire. In the 3rd century, after the legalization of Christianity by Emperor Constantine, it was a strong and vibrant Christian community. It would remain a Christian land until the Arab invasions centuries later. Algiers is the birthplace and residence of Saint Augustine of Hippo.

When the first Bishop arrived in Algiers, after the French reestablished their presence in the land in the early 19th century, there was no church and the local population was hostile to them being there. Since there was no money to build a church, Bishop Dupuch returned to France in order to seek donations to build one. In Lyon, France, the Sodality of Our Lady presented the bishop with a bronze statue of the Immaculate Conception. The sodality gave him the statue in hopes that it would be the protector of both the Muslims and the native people of the region.

The statue was first brought to Algiers from France in 1840, where it was given to the Cistercian monks of Staueli for safe keeping. It was eventually enshrined in the newly built basilica by the founder of the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa (White Sisters), Cardinal Charles Martial Allemand Lavigiers. The Basilica of Our Lady of Africa (Notre Dame d’Afrigue) took fourteen years to build. It was built in a Neo-Byzantine architecture. The the basilica was consecrated in 1872 and the statue was first crowned in 1876.

The bronze statue of the Immaculate Conception given by the Sodality of Our Lady in Lyon, France became known as Our Lady of Africa. The statue is dark in color with European accents. Over the years, pilgrims have traveled to the basilica to see the image. Many have been cured of their ailments. Since it is on the Bay of Algiers, many sailors and fisherman have also asked for her protection. Votive candles blanket the walls of the basilica, testimony that many cures and miracles have taken place.

Our Lady of Africa’s feast is celebrated on April 30 with a crowning of the statue.

Our Lady of Africa…Pray for Us 

Sources:

“Our Lady of Africa.” Roman Catholic Saints. 

“Mondays with Mary” – National Marian Shrines from Around the World

Over the past months I have been racking my brain to come up with good “Mondays with Mary” articles for you all to read. And although I have lots of Marian books to choose from now in my personal library at home, finding the time to write has been difficult with marriage preparation and wedding planning with my fiancée. This is obviously the more important thing to do right now, but I still want to provide quality articles for you on Marian topics.

As I was flipping through the pages of the Dictionary of Mary, a recently acquired book and one that I have used in recent posts, I came upon the section focusing on the National Marian Shrines in different countries around the world. Although many of these would be considered international, since people from all around the world have visited them, they are still the National shrine(s) for each particular country. I have written on quite a few of these already over the years, but I think I am going to start with the first one listed and for the foreseeable future write about the different national shrines listed in this book. I will find other ones online since this book is from 1985.

Shrines are places that are sacred in nature often associated with a tomb or relic, an image or statue, or some form of religious event that took place in the location. Most shrines are developed by the people of the local Church and not by the universal Church herself. Prayer is often associated with shrines. The most common form of prayer at a shrine is called a devotion. Shrines and devotions can become part of the tradition of the people, however, the Church in her wisdom will involve herself in order to make sure that certain protocols are followed, such as the public liturgy that takes place, and that the theology of the private revelation is in union with the public revelation given to us in the Scriptures and Tradition.

Most shrines add to the beauty of the Church and they allow the faithful to pray more deeply in holy places. In the history of the Church, shrines have also been places that have interceded for the Church as a whole. They have assisted in the nurturing of the spirituality of the faithful. In the end, all of these shrines are really the work of the Holy Spirit.

The shrines we are going to focus on will be national, and in many cases, international, but shrines can also be local and regional. I hope that over the foreseeable future you will come to learn more about these important places in the life of the Church and their place in Marian theology.  As I write about them individually, I will list them below. Here are the first three that I will focus on –

Algeria: Our Lady of Africa

Argentina: Our Lady of Lujan

Austria: Our Lady of Mariazell

Our Lady, Mother of God…Pray for Us

“Mondays with Mary” – Marian Chronology

Today as I was pondering on what to write for this weekly series, I came upon an intriguing idea in a book a recently acquired titled, Dictionary of Mary. In this dictionary, there is a small section that focuses on Marian Chronology. I found it fascinating when I read the presumed dates of Our Lady’s life in relation to Jesus Christ’s life, which is really the way one can look at her chronology. We also know that the chronology of both their lives is somewhat sparse in the New Testament, however, this chronology does help us in understanding the life of Jesus and Mary, even if it’s not complete.

I found the whole concept further intriguing because I think so many of us think that Our Lord was born in the Year 0 A.D., but in fact he was actually born in what we call the B.C. era or Before Christ (for obvious reasons I refuse to use the terms B.C.E – Before the Common Era and C.E. – Common Era). I urge you to remember that there were different calendars for centuries. Even at the time of Jesus different sects of Judaism had different calendars. For centuries the Julian calendar was the main calendar, but do to flaws, Pope Gregory XIII managed to change these flaws to create the calendar we are all familiar with today. If you are interested in the study, I would suggest you look it up online.

Here is the chronology as presented in the Dictionary of Mary

23-20 B.C. – Birth of Mary to Ann and Joachim

20-17 B.C. – Presentation of Mary in the Temple

11-8 B.C. – Betrothal to Joseph [Mt 1:16; Lk 1:27]

7 B.C. – Annunciation to Christ’s Birth to Mary [Lk 1:26-38]; Mary Visitation of Elizabeth  [Lk 1:39-56]; Mary found with Child [Mt. 1:18-25]

7-6 B.C. (some also think around 4 B.C.) – Birth of in Jesus Jerusalem [Lk 2:1-19]; Circumcision of Jesus at 8 days of age [Lk 2:21]; Purification of Mary after 40 days [Lk 2:22-24]; Prophecy of Simeon [Lk 2:25-35] and Anna [Lk 2:36-38]; Return to Nazareth [Lk 2:39].

6-4 B.C. – Adoration of the Magi (this is believed to have 2 years after because Herod orders that all the boys 2 years and under be killed); Flight into Egypt to save Jesus from Herod [Mt. 2:39]

4-? B.C. – Return to Nazareth after Herod’s death [Mt 2:19-23].

6 A.D. – Finding of Jesus in the Temple at Jerusalem [Lk 2:41-50]

6-? A.D. – Life of Mary and Joseph with Jesus at Nazareth [Lk 2:51]

27/28-30 A.D. – Mary at the Marriage Feast of Cana [Jn 2:1-11]; Mary with Jesus during His Public Life [Mt 12:46-50; Mk 3:31-35; Lk 8:19-21; Jn 2:2-13]; Jesus’ indirect praise of Mary of her faith [Lk 11:27-28]

30 A.D. – Mary at the Cross [Jn 19:25-27]; Mary with the Apostles in the Cenacle after Jesus’ Ascension [Acts 1:14]; Mary is assumed to heaven to join her Son.

“Mondays with Mary” – The Miraculous Medal and Employment (and my new position at the parish)

For today’s “Mondays with Mary”, I found a prayer associated with the Miraculous Medal (Source: Association of the Miraculous Medal – http://www.amm.org/Default.aspx) where the specific prayer intention is for employment. The reason I am writing about a prayer focused on employment is twofold – first, I know a few people in my life that are seeking employment, and second, I wanted to share with my readers about the new position at the parish. Before I share with you my news, here is the prayer for employment associated with the Miraculous Medal –

Mary our Lady of the Miraculous Medal,

you once experienced hardships and difficulties

in getting the necessities of life.

Look kindly on me now

as I face the same difficulties.

Help me to find suitable employment.

Through my work I want to meet my physical needs

and to grow spiritually.

Help me find a job that lets me provide for myself

and for those who depend on me.

I trust you, Immaculate Mother,

to hear my prayers and intercede for me.

I will share your goodness with others

that they know your power with God

and give him honor and glory.

Amen.

 

To learn more about the Miraculous Medal, I would encourage you to read my two articles from these series – The Miraculous Medal and Saint Theresa of Calcutta and the Miraculous Medal. If you know of someone in your life seeking employment, feel free to share this article with them or just pray for them.

Now to share my news – On June 1, just 17 days ago, I took over our family catechesis (children’s catechesis) program here at the parish. My new title is Director of Family Catechesis. In this position, I will oversee the catechetical formation of our children who are Pre-Kindergarten through 5th Grade. I will also oversee the weekly formation of the parents and the on-going training of our adult catechists and aides.

Here at the parish we require one of the parents to attend a parent formation session so that we can also evangelize and catechize them. I have participated in the parent formation sessions since I have been at the parish in my former role, but now I will oversee the curriculum and catechesis first hand.  One of the bigger additions to the parent sessions is going to be monthly Eucharistic Adoration. Last year, we took the parents to Adoration and many of them loved it. I am excited to add this portion to the parent sessions because I often use my Adoration time for writing and study (looking at Jesus right now as I type these very words).

This position was offered to me by our new Parochial Administrator (eventually he will be made Pastor) back on April 19. I did not seek this position out and to be completely honest, I was very content in my role as Director of Adult Evangelization and Catechesis, but the need at the parish was for me to accept God’s will, which I discerned through prayer and conversations with my fiancée (and a few mentors) and took on this new endeavor. Since June 1 (was prepping before then), I have been feverishly working on the new content as well as bringing up-to-date some things that needed it.  I am super excited that the Lord Jesus Christ called me into this position and will work hard to make the program reflect his goodness and to lead our children and their parents into a personal relationship with Him and His Catholic Church.

If you have the time, could you please pray three Hail Mary’s for me? Offer them up for courage, strength, and endurance – three attributes needed when working in parish life. Also pray that parishioners of our parish will hear the call of the Holy Spirit and come forward to serve as catechists and aides for our young children, for the parents, and for one another. Ask Saint Bosco and Our Lady, Help of Christians (Patrons for our new program) to answer these specific prayers. Thank you in advance for your prayers.

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal…Pray for Us

“Mondays with Mary” – 10 Quotes on the Immaculate Heart of Mary

This past Saturday the Roman lung of the Catholic Church celebrated the great Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Saturday devotion follows the Friday devotion of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Although St. John Eudes is known as one of the “Saints of the Sacred Heart”, he also popularized the devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary during his time. To learn more about this devotion, check out my blog post from a few years ago.

For today’s “Mondays with Mary”, here are 10 quotes about the Immaculate Heart of Mary for you to pray and meditate with this week –

“Mary, give me your Heart: so beautiful, so pure, so immaculate; your Heart so full of love and humility that I may be able to receive Jesus in the Bread of Life and love Him as you love Him and serve Him in the distressing guise of the poor.” – Saint Teresa of Calcutta

“Be Not Afraid; my Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and your safe page to God.” – Our Lady of Fatima to Saint Lucia

“Sacrifice yourselves for sinners and say many times, especially when you make some sacrifice: ‘O Jesus, it is for Thy love, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” – Our Lady of Fatima

“If you put all the love of the mothers into one heart it still would not equal the love of the Heart of Mary for her children.” – Saint Louis de Montfort

“The Immaculate alone has from God the promise of victory over Satan. She seeks souls that will consecrate themselves entirely to her, that will become in her hands forceful instruments for the defeat of Satan and the spread of God’s kingdom.” – Saint Maximilian Kolbe

“May I give you some advice for you to put into practice daily? When your heart makes you feel those low cravings, say slowly to the Immaculate Virgin: Look on me with compassion. Don’t abandon me. Don’t abandon me, my Mother! And recommend this prayer to others.” – Saint Josemaria Escriva

“I want My Church to…put the devotion to this Immaculate Heart beside the devotion to My Sacred Heart.” – Jesus to Saint Lucia

“Tell everybody that God grants graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary” – Saint Jacinta

“Mother, dear, lend me your heart. I look for it each day to pour my troubles into.” – Saint Gemma Galgani

“After the love which we Jesus Christ, we must give the chief place in our heart to the love of His Mother Mary.” – Saint Alphonsus Ligouri

O, Immaculate Heart, Virgin Mary…Pray for Us 

“Mondays with Mary” – 34 books added to my Marian Library

One month ago, it was like Christmas, Easter, and my birthday all wrapped into one when at the parish we received over 20 boxes of Catholic books. The boxes of books came from a parishioner who passed away recently. She left all of the books to the parish. Although we are adding many of the books to the parish library, there were so many we couldn’t add them all.

As staff a member, I was invited to pick through some of the books, many very old and out of print, that I would like to have for my own personal library at home. Many of the books that I chose have to do with the Blessed Virgin Mary, but I also picked up some other theology books as well, including a two-volume set on some of the basic writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. I will share those books will all of you soon.

So, for today’s blog post, I am going to share with you the Marian books that are now part of my library at home. As my Pastor said, you now have years of writing for your “Mondays with Mary” series.

The Rosary – The Crown of Mary by a Dominican Father – a small booklet about the Rosary. Copyright is 1935.

The Miraculous Image of Our Mother of the Perpetual Help by R. J. Spitzer, C.SS.R. – a small booklet on the aforementioned image. Copyright is 1954.

The Secret of Mary by St. Louise de Montfort. Copyright is 1950.

The Reign of Jesus through Mary by Gabriel Denis, S.M.M. Copyright is 1944.

The Imitation of Mary by Alexander De Rouville. Copyright is 1977.

Papal Teachings (Our Lady) by The Benedictine Monks of Solesmes. Copyright is 1961.

Mary – The Blessed The Beloved by Rev. Timothy Harris. Copyright is 1951.

The Divine Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary – Series No. 2 – The Sorrowful Mysteries. Copyright is 1949.

Mary – a periodical from July August 1955 (cost was 35 cents). Published by Agents for Mary in England.

True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin by St. Louis de Montfort. Copyright is 1991.

Small booklets on Fatima:

Novena to Our Lady at Fatima

Fatima and the “The Way of Divine Love”

 Our Lady’s Urgent Appeal to Us in the 1980’s – An explanation of the Fatima Message

A Woman Clothed with the Sun – Eight great appearances of Our Lady. Copyright is 1960.

Mary – Catechist at Fatima by Rev. Fredrick L. Miller. Copyright is 1991.

Fatima – The Great Sign by Francis Johnston. Copyright is 1980.

The True Story of Fatima by John de Marchi, I.M.C. Copyright is 1947.

Novena – In Honor of Our Sorrowful Mother. Copyright is 1962.

The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Copyright is 1914. [oldest of these books]

Our Lady Speaks – Thoughts on Her Litany by Leon Bonnet. Copyright is 1954.

Dictionary of Mary. Copyright is 1985.

Victories of the Martyrs by St. Alphonsus De Liguori. Copyright is 1954.

The Glories of Mary (Volume I – Hail, Holy Queen) by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

Mary – God’s Masterpiece. Copyright is 1954.

17 Papal Documents on the Rosary (Pope Leo XIII, Pope Paul VI, and St. John XXIII). Copyright is 1980.

The Official Handbook of the Legion of Mary (Fourth American Edition). Copyright is 1941.

The Rosary – Chain of Hope by Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R. Copyright is 2003. [newest book]

Loves in the Heart of Mary. Copyright is 1965.

The Sun Her Mantle by John Beeves. Copyright is 1953.

Apparition of the Blessed Virgin on the Mountain of La Salette – booklet on the apparition. Copyright is 1976.

Rosarium Virgins Mariae by Pope St. John Paul II – I already have this but this copy is in a small booklet format. Copyright is 2002.

The Life of Mary as Seen by the Mystics. Copyright is 1991.

Lourdes – a land of the gospel. Picture book of Lourdes. Copyright is 1952.

Shrines to Our Lady Around the World by Zsolt Aradi. Copyright is 1954.

“Mondays with Mary” – The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth

Since this upcoming Thursday is the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (and my Mom’s Birthday), I wanted to briefly share with you a reflection on Mary and Elizabeth’s encounter as well as Mary’s Magnificat. This is a subject that I have written on numerous times over the 6 years of writing these weekly blog articles. Below you can read the previous articles on the Visitation.

After receiving the news from the Angel at the Annunciation that she would be the Mother of God, Mary quickly departs for the hill country, very similar to King David in the Old Testament, where she goes to serve her cousin, Elizabeth. Two major events of grace occur when she goes to Elizabeth. First, Elizabeth declares by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that Mary is the Mother of her Lord and the child in womb (St. John the Baptist) leapt for joy. Second, the same Holy Spirit inspires Mary to declare her “Magnificat” or song of praise. A song of praise similar to that of Hannah’s hymn, a hymn that we believe Our Lady would have known by memory.

The two reflections below come from the Dictionary of Mary, a book that recently came into my possession. Next week, I will share with you the exciting news of this book and the other 33 books on Our Lady that are now part of my Marian library. I also have 20 or so more books on a wide variety of Catholic topics and theology. Come back next week and hear the story about these books – some that are so old they are no longer in print.

The first reflection on the Visitation is titled – “Blest Is She Who Trusted [Believed]…” –

At the same time, Elizabeth makes known to us the mystery of Mary and the basic reason why she is blessed. The mystery of Mary stems entirely from the privileged bond of her motherhood, which unites her with the “fruit of [her] womb” (Lk 1:42). To capture the spirit of Elizabeth’s greeting, the translation out to read: “Blest are you among women BECAUSE blest is the fruit of your womb.”  The blessedness, the holiness, of the Son is reflected in the Mother. Better still, the Son is cause of the Mother’s holiness. In the estimation of the Evangelists and the first Christians, there is not a more beautiful title for May this one: “Mother of Jesus” (cf. Jn 2:1), “Mother of my Lord.”

But it is a motherhood first received in faith. Mary is most of all believer, a woman who has given a total yes to God’s Word, unlike Zechariah who doubted.

It is this faith of Mary that Elizabeth extols: “Blest is she who trusted [believed] that the Lord’s words to her would be fulfilled” (Lk 1:45). Luke sees no opposition between Mary’s motherhood and her hearing the Word of God (cf. 11:27-28). On the contrary, he associates one with the other.

Visitation, Oil on Canvas. For more from Steve Bird, visit his website – http://www.stevebirdart.com

The second reflection on the Visitation is titled – Mary’s Thanksgiving

The scene of the Visitation is extended in Mary’s personal act of thanksgiving, the Magnificat. Mary gives her praise for the intervention of God, her Savior, in the stupendous motherhood that is coming to pass within her: “God who is mighty has done great things for me” (1:49).

But Mary’s vision does not stop at herself. It moves over the whole history of Israel, and her thanksgiving take on the accents of a whole people singing the great deeds of God. This woman, “blessed above all women” (cf. Jdt 13:18), belongs entirely to the history of Israel, the long line of men and women who have experienced the extolled the salvation of God. Like them, Mary sings praise to the God faithful to his Covenant, faithful to the Promise made the Fathers.

To learn more about Mary’s Magnificat, I would encourage you to read one of my very first “Mondays with Mary” here.

To read more about the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I would encourage you to check out the seven articles I have written previously –

“Mondays with Mary” – Pope Benedict on the ‘Visitation of Mary’

“Mondays with Mary” – St. Francis de Sales on the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

“Mondays with Mary” – The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

“Mondays with Mary”- The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Take 2

“Mondays with Mary” – ‘Bringing Jesus to Others’ 

“Mondays with Mary” – The Visitation of Mary in Advent 

“Mondays with Mary” – Mary Greets Elizabeth