That all changed during my reversion. I gained an appreciation of Mary and the saints that I had never had before, and with it came a connection to Mary and a few of the saints that has become fairly profound. But then I began thinking of my life and how Mary has always played a gentle, unobtrusive role. Doesn't that just sound like her? When I was in college, and in a period where I was questioning my faith, I worked at a church daycare called St. Mary's. It was an Episcopal church but, during this time, I started attending church more regularly again as I sought out answers for a plethora of questions I had about Catholicism. I think working at St. Mary's gave me the nudge I needed, because I was seeing things that looked and felt familiar, and missing them.
Three months after I moved to Raleigh, I snagged my job (which I am still at 4 years later) using my social work degree at a non-profit.... also on St. Mary's Street, about a mile from my apartment. Fast forward a few years later, newly married and house hunting. We hunted tirelessly for a house for months, and the first house we stepped foot into after our wedding is the house we own and love today. The street outside our neighborhood is St. Mary's Street (this one is in a small town adjacent to Raleigh; there aren't two in one town... but still, what are the chances!?). I later learned that we live in St. Mary's Township, which isn't really used or referred to these days, but still shows up sometimes on my weather app and makes me giddy. Our church that is 2 miles down the street from our house, our humble little parish we joined a few months after moving in? Yes, St. Mary, Mother of the Church Catholic Church. I can probably take a lot of examples from Mary who has quietly been there through my life, not being pushy or bossy or coercive, just waiting for me to open my heart to her.
I hear you, Mary. Loud and clear.