In this liturgical season of Lent it is with great fondness that I remember Fr. Carl Schulte for a very precious gift and memory he has given us all. The original title for his book on the life of Sr. Marie was A Guiding Star! Fr. Schulte, Erin and I exchanged hundreds of emails with the subject line AGS as we assisted him in 2009 from around the Feast of the Annunciation until Christmas of that year as he finished up his book. Nine months. Then on the Feast of the Epiphany the book was revealed to some very special people in the Church who all had marvelous things to say, much of which you find on the book jacket. Timing is everything.
In his journal relating the story of Mass celebrated by Fr. Jung on Christmas Eve in 1893 at Mary's House, Fr. Poulin, Sr. Marie's dear friend and confidant, tells of the peace and joy of the stable-like scene. Fr. Schulte derived much from Fr. Poulin's journal to write his book The Life of Sr. Marie de Mandat-Grancey and Mary's House in Ephesus and describes this particularly poignant scene for us in which he uses the prophetic term "guiding star" as a name for Sr. Marie; a name that has become so precious to us all.
When he finally reached Mary's Home, he changed his clothing, donned his cassock, put on his vestments, and began Christmas midnight Mass.
The altar was makeshift. The room had a bed on which the candles burned. Three crew members were attendants of the Mass. The two dogs, kept outdoors, made an attempt to get indoors. They climbed on the roof and poked holes in it, and the rain came dripping down the altar, making it difficult to keep it out of the chalice. Christmas seemed more realistic with the ox and three horses looking on. There was also a little hearth fire. The sky was totally dark, but to Father Jung there was a light that shone. He felt it. This was the first Christmas midnight Mass in Mary's Home since...he did not know for how long. He felt certain that Mary was with him in prayer, as surely as she had been in Bethlehem. He did say a prayer for Sister Marie, who was his light, his guiding star, for she had directed his thought to coming here. It was she who enabled him to overcome his unbelief and give him this first Christmas Mass in Panaghia- Capouli. All of this! it had to be shared and told her. He owed her this joy. [pgs 126-127]Sr. Marie is a guiding star who continues to shine brightly even in this Advent of 2012 ...and perhaps her light will also help prepare us for the New Advent. The second coming which we anticipate with great joy. The glorious day of the return of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Only God knows. Again timing is everything. And God's timing is perfect.
Just as in her life while on earth, now as she lives with God in eternity, Sr. Marie continues to guide us, shedding light on the path that leads us to Jesus through Mary. Sr. Marie points the way to the humble little home on a hill in Ephesus where around Mary's hearth all are welcome to pray and honor Mary, Mother of God who will intercede for us during Advent, at Christmas, and always to her Son, the Baby King.
Sr. Marie, guiding star, show us the way.