“Be like Mary.” This is Sister Marie’s simple instruction to the Children of Mary, an Association that became prominent in France in 1858 due to the holy influence of St.Bernadette and Lourdes. Within her community Sister Marie had always been known for her devotion to the Blessed Mother. When assigned to Smyrna, Turkey in 1886 she brought this devotion with her and there promulgated the Children of Mary as she restored the Naval Hospital there, cared for the sick, and established an orphanage and workshops for the youth that eventually became a flourishing school.
And so Sister Marie teaches all Children of Mary to “Be like Mary.” These three little words of instruction contain an infinite number of lessons. There are so many ways to live this teaching, so many virtues to apply it to. But considering the title under which Our Lady is honored in Mary’s House in Ephesus, Mother of Holy Hope, and the heroic efforts of Sr. Marie to procure and preserve this grace filled House, it must be concluded that of all the holy virtues of our Blessed Mother, in these times Sister Marie desires us most to imitate Mary's hope. Think of the Blessed Mother on Holy Saturday. In her darkest hours when each breath she took was a perfect sigh of hope, she teaches us that light surely does overcome darkness. She could not see the Light that darkest of all days, but she had hope. Her hope was fulfilled. In our Lord’s Resurrection, the Most Glorious Light did indeed come!
If the Blessed Mother is the Mother of Holy Hope, then we as Children of Mary, are Children of Holy Hope. In these times of religious tension and violence we and our children need hope…hope that peace will prevail; that light will overcome darkness.
“Hope is confident that what is desired will certainly be obtained; it is the opposite of despair. Yet it recognizes that the object wanted is not easily obtained and that it requires effort to overcome whatever obstacles stand in the way.” (Pocket Catholic Dictionary, 1980, John A. Hardon, S.J.)
Ultimately our hope lies in the goodness, mercy, and providence of God. In the end, God’s will is done. There will be peace. Jesus has already won the war! However, the powers of darkness still "prowl the world seeking the ruin of souls" and continue to provoke battles in this life. In these times many of the battles which develop on the spiritual plane are played out on the field of religious violence. The “object” of peace that we desire is “not easily obtained; it requires our efforts” to overcome all obstacles of darkness against peace. The most efficacious action we can offer is uniting in prayer. Sr. Marie was completely dedicated to the Mother of God and spent twelve years of her life protecting and preserving Mary's House. It is in Mary’s House that this peaceful prayer prevails and its effects ripple all over the world. We must follow Sr. Marie's example; we must become more dedicated to making these little ripples become tidal waves of grace!
The prayer on Sr. Marie’s prayer card contains these very powerful words: “Around this cornerstone we build our faith and the powers of darkness will not prevail.” We know that the cornerstone given to Sr. Marie is from Mary’s House, a place of peace where Muslims and Christians pray side by side and honor the Mother of Holy Hope. Let us be Children of Holy Hope. Let us often spiritually enter into Mary’s House and there pray with Sister Marie for peace so that the Mother of Holy Hope might obtain from Her Son wave after wave of grace to cover our world with His peace.
Thank you again, dear Sister Marie, for preserving for us this true beacon of holy hope, Mary’s House, and for being an example of persevering prayer and untiring efforts in the service of Mary, Mother of Holy Hope. Help us to follow your words to “Be like Mary,” and continually grow in our efforts for peace as we become more fully the Children of Holy Hope in this world for our Lord Jesus Christ and His Immaculate Mother. "We pray for God's will to be completely fulfilled through the intercession of Sister Marie. Amen."
" I am not a priest and cannot bless them, but all that the heart of a mother can ask of God for her children, I ask of Him and will never cease to ask Him." ~ Sister Marie