"...for my house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples." Isaiah 56:7

"O Lord,...you have been pleased to bless this house of your servant, so that it will always remain. It is you, O Lord, who blessed it, and it will be blessed forever." 1 Chr 17: 26-27

Sr. Marie De Mandat-Grancey Foundation
P.O.Box 275
Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724 USA

" 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

“The grace of our Lord be with us forever.” ~ Sr. Marie

Monday, January 21, 2008

Panaghia's Mother

We know Sister Marie De Mandat-Grancey is Foundress of Mary’s House. This is a strong and deserving title! However, there is another title by which we should address Sr. Marie; one that speaks volumes of her love for Mary and Her House…Panaghia’s Mother.

Panaghia Capouli or “The Door of the Holiest,” is a term that has come to refer not only to the Holy Virgin’s House, Meryem Ana Evi, but also many surrounding areas of Ephesus including the grave of the Blessed Virgin, the Chapel built and rebuilt in this place by devotees over the years, and the Way of the Cross carved into the hill where Our Lady once walked and prayed. We’ve read in Fr. Poulin’s testimony to the efforts of Sr. Marie De Mandat-Grancey that he calls her Panaghia’s Mother.

The Lord, who sees and organizes things, had taken care to put before us a soul in love with beauty and goodness, who was ready to give herself to everything good. A great soul, devoted, ardent, pious, and generous; the noble Sister Marie de Mandat- Grancey. She was, God had chosen her to be, the terrestrial Providence, like Panaghia’s Mother! For twelve years she has been charged of this valiant religious enterprise; she has never failed.Oh! How happy I am to give her all the respect she merits! Also, could these writings make known to posterity, long after us, to whom France, the Catholic church are in debt for Panaghia! The Lord gave me this opportunity to say loudly what I had in my heart for a long time, to acquit what I deemed to be a serious debt. It is done.
Praise be to God! [1] (pg.70)

He goes on to add:

For years Sr. Grancey had been thinking about the Virgin’s Grave, looking forward to its discovery. As soon as she had been told about the opportunity of buying Panaghia, her heart was full of joy… “Just in time to find the necessary funds,” she answered: “Do let’s buy it.” (pg.70)

Sr. Marie, this Mother of Panaghia, was in labor for twelve years to bring forth Mary’s House to all posterity. The birth of Mary’s House, Panaghia, takes place with the purchase and certification completed on November 15, 1892. And then, as any mother knows, the work of Motherhood begins. Fr. Poulin tells us:

At the moment when the agreement was being drawn up I asked Sister Grancey: “In whose name will the property be registered? Do you want it in the name of the General Superior? Visitor of Province? The Superior of Sacre Coeur?” “My name,” she answered. “Very well, my Sister, it will be registered in your name.” It was done. It was logical, she had borne all the expenses and she still does for Panaghia: repairing the roads, construction of buildings, maintenance of the chapel, amelioration of the property, planting trees, annual expenses for excavations etc.etc. She has done the with endless generosity and good will. “Do make use of me, while I am here” she repeated often; “After my death I will not be able to help you.”

Sister Grancey who had been feeling that she was getting old for two three years wished to leave the property by her will in order that it would remain with the Children of Saint Vincent. (pg.81)

Every motherly effort of Sr. Marie directed at Panaghia’s procurement, restoration and preservation was motivated by her intense love of Mary Immaculate. This love for our Blessed Mother is eternal. Sr. Marie, now with God, continues to direct her efforts for the children of Mary because of her love for Mary. Yet her mission is still not completed.

I believe Mary’s House, a unique beacon of hope and haven for peace, will be brought to the attention of the world one glorious day through the recognition of Sr. Marie as a saint. I wrote once of how I believe motherhood does not end with death; that no mother could ever truly be at peace in heaven until all her children are safe with her. Even now, I feel that Sr. Marie, Panaghia’s Mother, continues to work for Mary. Her “motherhood” continues. Her mission is to reveal to this whole troubled world the place of Mary’s House, her earthly home, where all God’s children pray together in peace; to highlight the reality of heaven, our true home, by having the world see and ponder in quiet wonder the holy ground upon which Our Lady was Assumed into Heaven!

[1] The Holy Virgin’s House; The True Story of Its Discovery, P. Eugene Poulin, Arikan Yayinlari Tic. San. Ltd. Sti., Istanbul, 1999 (ISBN: 975-7305-28-6)