Daniel and I both agree that getting to know the Blessed Virgin Mary is one of the most grace-filled aspects of our conversion to Catholicism. It was not so long ago that the idea was absolutely unfamiliar to me. I grew up in the Protestant tradition which, in my experience, completely ignored the Mother of God except during Christmas time when we were sure to mention that she was “just a regular gal! Nothing special about her! Move along, please!“
It wasn’t until college that I starting thinking about Our Lady much at all. But one day I distinctly remember being “introduced” to her. When an Eastern Orthodox housemate of mine was setting up her room and hung an icon of Madonna and Child (Our Lady of Tender Mercies) right above her bed, I asked her about it. She explained that she was devoted to Mary and that this icon was her very favorite image of Our Lady because of the tenderness of her countenance and the way she embraced the infant Christ. “It reminds me to pray and to ask her for her intercession,” she said. From further conversations about her Marian devotion, I came to understand that she had a relationship with Mary. She knew her. I was intrigued. (Fittingly, this gal’s name is Marianna Rose—I’m not even kidding. You can’t get more Marian than that!)
Image credit: Aquinasandmore.com
When I was pregnant with Benjamin I started to think about Mary more often and even started asking for her prayers for my baby and her help so I could be a good mother. But, it wasn’t until I started praying the Rosary that my relationship with Mary started to blossom. I pray it when I’m frightened, when I’m joyful, for my children, for my marriage, for our families. It is always there to catch me. During long nights with sick babies, Our Lady is there, keeping company with me and praying with me to her precious Son. When tragedy strikes and I can come up with no words of my own, I can rest on the words of the Rosary. A year and a half ago when I received the news that dear friends had lost a child, I sat down on the kitchen floor speechless. What could I say? The grief was too great to compose any words. The Rosary was there and I rested in the knowledge that Our Lady knew just how they felt: she lost her child and had to see Him suffer more deeply than any other would ever suffer. That sorrow had pierced her heart and she would understand their pain in a way that I did not.
Pope Benedict XVI has said of the Rosary:
“…the Rosary is experiencing a new Springtime. Without a doubt, this is one of the most eloquent signs of love that the young generation can nourish for Jesus and his Mother, Mary. In the current world, so dispersive, this prayer helps to put Christ at the centre, as the Virgin did, who meditated within all that was said about her Son, and also what he did and said. When reciting the Rosary, the important and meaningful moments of salvation history are relived. The various steps of Christ’s mission are traced. With Mary the heart is oriented toward the mystery of Jesus. Christ is put at the centre of our life, of our time, of our city, through the contemplation and meditation of his holy mysteries of joy, light, sorrow and glory.”
I love the Rosary which is why I’m so excited to host a giveaway sponsored by Melanie of Trendy Traditions for one of her beautiful handmade rosaries. I’ve actually had the pleasure of praying the Rosary with Melanie, because we go to the same ladies monthly Rosary night (how apropos, right?). She contacted me about doing a giveaway before we realized that we live in the same town and have mutual friends! Then I realized that Melanie made the beautiful rosary that Lucy’s godmother, Colleen, gave her on the day of her baptism.
It has beads with her name and Melanie even attached a St. Lucy medal for our little Lucy Elanor. And it’s blue for Our Lady!
Trendy Traditions is a family business and they donate 10% of all sales to Catholic charities.
Melanie has generously offered to give away one of her beautiful personalized Our Lady of Guadalupe rosaries. This design features a large, beautiful crucifix and a center in the traditional Guadalupe image. Both are made of high-quality pewter. She will customize the rosary with the winner’s name and choice of color.
To enter (you can do any or all options for a total of 5 entries):
1. Subscribe to Carrots for Michaelmas via email (see subscription form on the upper sidebar) or via Google Reader or another RSS reader and leave a comment saying you did. (If you were subscribed via email before last week, you will have to resubscribe to the new site, sorry for the hassle!)
2. Like Carrots for Michaelmas on FB
3. Like Trendy Traditions on FB
4. Subscribe to Melanie’s blog
5. Share this giveaway on FB (or on your blog)
(Leave an additional comment for each extra entry to let us know you did)
A winner will be chosen by a random number generator on Sunday May 20, 2012 at 10pm EST.
p.s. If you’re looking for a good introduction to the Rosary, I highly recommend Karen Edmisten’s The Rosary: Keeping Company With Jesus and Mary
AND THE WINNER IS….Sarah O.! Sarah, you will be hearing from Trendy Traditions very soon about personalizing your rosary and shipping to you