She Who Shows the Way

And after our exile

Show us Jesus

The Blessed fruit of your womb

Et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,

Nobis, post hoc exilium, ostende

Immaculate Conception, Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral, San Francisco, patronal see of Saint Mary’s College

Today is the Solemnity of Mary in the title of the Immaculate Conception. It is followed on Saturday by the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In between, we remember Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, to whom Saint Mary appeared on the Hill of Tepeyac in 1531. This is truly a week to walk with Mary and her friends.

Adolfo Ponzanelli, Saint Juan Diego presents the image to Bishop Zumarraga, gift of the Aztec people to the papacy, 1939, Vatican Gardens

The Church’s celebration of the conception of Mary is an affirmation of hope in new beginnings. Seeds planted in winter give the promise of springtime life. The cycle of the church year follows the cycle of the seasons. This December we have even more hope for new beginnings with the promise of vaccines for all against the pandemic. The seeds of new life remind us also of the blood of the martyrs given as witness against those who would try to destroy lives in the attempt to stop the Gospel message of God’s restoration of all humanity. The Church just marked this past Wednesday the fortieth anniversary of the heroic witness of Sisters Maura Clarke, Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel, and lay missioner Jean Donovan, in San Salvador. They now know the warm embrace of Mary as she leads them to behold the face of her Son in the Holy Trinity.


All of the occasions of remembering Mary within the Church year are celebrations of her witness in saying yes to life. Mary’s “yes” gives us all courage to promote life in all the ways possible, to lift up lives that others would ignore or cast aside, to continue to nurture the life-giving power of human generation and the loving families that make that possible, and to work for the economic means and relations that honor the dignity of every life. The Marian memorials this week give us ample pause for reflection on our own participation in God’s invitation to full life, which we will soon celebrate again at Christmas.

Arnolfo di Cambio, The Annunciation, 13th century, London, Victoria & Albert Museum

Let us invoke Our Lady’s intercession in heaven and make this a week of walking with Mary and her friends.

Virgen de Guadalupe, Madre de América. Tiende tu protección sobre todas las naciones del Continente y renueva su fidelidad a Cristo y a la Iglesia. Suscita propósitos de equidad y rectitud en sus gobernantes. Protege a los hermanos de Juan Diego para que no sufran discriminación. Cuida a los niños. Guarda la unidad de las familias. Que desde esta tu Imagen manifiestes siempre tu clemencia, tu compasión y tu amparo. Te lo pedimos por Jesucristo, nuestro Señor. Amén.

Virgin of Guadalupe, Mother of America. Spread your protection over all the nations of the Continent and renew their fidelity to Christ and the Church. Bring forth purposes of fairness and honesty in their leaders. Protect Juan Diego’s brothers and sisters so that they don’t suffer discrimination. Watch over the children. Save the unity of families. That from this your image you always display your mercy, your compassion and your protection. We ask this through Christ our Lord (Payer to the Virgin of Guadalupe).


photo credits: Brother Charles and Wikimedia Commons

One thought on “She Who Shows the Way

  1. Brother Bernard L OCoco says:

    what continues to amazed me is that Brother Charles with so many other responsibilities makes time to share these Cummins Reflection. I find them challenging, encouraging and always inspirational.
    Thank you
    Brother Bernie


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