In his journal relating the story of Mass celebrated by Fr. Jung on Christmas Eve in 1893 at Mary's House, Fr. Poulin, Sister 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 Sister 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]I recall when I first read those words. I had my own little epiphany of the enormity of this cause for Sister Marie. The potential for peace. And now as I reflect I can only stand in awe of God's plan that began with Sister Marie over 200 years ago for hope for peace for these times, if we will only respond.
Sister Marie is a guiding star who continues to shine brightly even on this Feast of the Epiphany 2016 ...and perhaps her light will also help prepare us for the second coming which we anticipate with great joy. As I meditated on these things at Mass this morning I was struck by the last line of the Nicene Creed. "I look forward ....to the life of the world to come." The glorious day of the return of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace! The Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Our Mother, Queen of Peace. Only God knows when. Again timing is everything. And God's timing is perfect.
So we wait in joyful anticipation with Sister Marie. Just as in her life while on earth, so also now as she lives with God in eternity, Sister Marie continues to guide us, shedding light on the path that leads us to Jesus through Mary. Sister Marie points the way to the humble little home on a hill in Ephesus where around Mary's hearth all are welcome to be inspired, pray, and honor Mary, Mother of God who will intercede for us during this Christmas season, and always, with her Son, the Baby King.
Servant of God, Sister Marie de Mandat-Grancey, guiding star, show us the way.