... if it's a girl that is. I have been meaning to post for ages about what happened a couple of Sundays ago.
First it was a beautiful clear, sunny day. The best kind of day in my opinion. Then instead of going to Mass in the usual place, we found ourselves at 5 o'clock in the friendly and welcoming Deebert House Hotel in Kilmallock. It was the culmination of a mysterious retreat that a friend of Liam's kindly told us about the night before. I say 'mysterious' because it was all a bit vague. We didn't know what the retreat was for, and then Lee said, 'oh yeah he said something about Padre Pio's mitt.' And I was sure the place would be mobbed with people.
So, off we went to Kilmallock where we were ushered into a warm conference room full of people. In spite of well-meaning offers of seats at the front, we stayed at the back where we felt safer with the two lads, in case they got restless. Mass was said by the newly ordained Fr Paul Cahill along with Fr Paul Maria Sigl and another priest whose name I missed. Mum was there too, although she hadn't mentioned she was going.
It turned out the retreat was about Our Lady of All Nations, who I was slightly familiar with, as I have her prayer (see below) next to the fridge. Not sure where it came from: probably Mum.
After Mass, Fr Sigl, who's Austrian, consecrated everyone to Mary, although it was hard to concentrate on the words while keeping the boys quiet. Mind you, they had been really good for the last hour and a half, longer than we normally spend in church. Frs Sigl and Cahill were really warm and lovely, full of the Holy Spirit. They both blessed my bump and we were all very privileged to be blessed with Padre Pio's mitten: Fr Sigl even gave the little brown woolen relic to me to hold and bless the Babycake with, 'under my heart'.
The whole experience made me realise I have somewhat neglected Mary lately. So I moved my little altar to the windowsill near the sink, where, like all housewives, I spend a lot of time. Now I think of our Lady more often and say the powerful prayer whenever I think of it.
Lord Jesus Christ,Son of the Father,send now your Spirit over the earth.Let the Holy Spirit live in the hearts of all nations,that they may be preservedfrom degeneration, disaster and war.May the Lady of All Nations,who once was Mary,be our Advocate.Amen
And why am I thinking of calling the baby Mary, (or Maria, or Máire)? Because of all the Marian connections. My due date is the Feast of the Assumption and my 20 week scan is the day after the Annunciation.