Monday, April 29, 2013

Full of Grace

Lately, I've felt this strong pull to name a future hypothetical daughter some version of the name Mary. It's only unfortunate because we already have decided on our first daughter's name (and not budging!) so I hope we can work it in somehow, or have multiple daughters ;). I was sitting wondering why I have been having that feeling for so many months, and where it came from. What's interesting is that I never had any relationship with Mary most of my life. My parents said the Hail Mary with us fairly often, but I just sort of said it. I never really felt a connection to Mary and was always really in awe of people who did.

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.

When I decided to move to Raleigh after graduate school, with no job, knowing no one, and into an apartment I had never stepped foot into before, I was mostly excited but a little nervous. I am pretty sure a lot of people thought I was crazy and taking a big risk. The apartment was so perfect for my first 'bachelorette' apartment. It was walking distance to the Cathedral, tons of restaurants and shops, and right outside of downtown. It was an airy, bright, turn of the century apartment with beautiful wood floors and so much character. I felt safe and protected, even though I had no clue what the future held for me. I lived in St. Mary's apartments on St. Mary's Street for a little over a year.

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.


  1. What does opening your heart to her mean? What is your connection to her now, what is the impact she has on you? I want to know more! :)

    1. Oh gosh, I guess I could make a whole other post just on that! Opening my heart to her means that I feel her nudging but need to let her in...I've been praying the rosary a lot more and it used to be sort of chore-like. I just did it to do it. But now it feels more like a conversation with Mary (there are other aspects to the rosary too, I'm just focusing on the Mary part here). I've let her in more over the past year or so, and it is so comforting. From her, I feel like I'm learning lessons on grace, especially in handling tough situations with grace. She's such a beautiful example of womanhood to me, so studying her more and getting to know her more has really helped me to define the type of woman, wife, and someday mother I want to be. I also have begun to love approaching Jesus through her (we saw at the wedding in Cana that Jesus finds his mother's requests very hard to resist!) :).

  2. Awesome post about Our Lady! I love her and have had a lifelong devotion to her that has been stronger at some times and not as strong at others. She certainly has been placed in your life, hasn't she? So happy for you to have this relationship w/ her!

  3. Love a good post about Momma Mary...I am a cradle Catholic, but not until I went on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje in 2008, did I first come to really know and understand her love for me as my heavenly mom:)