I grew up in a small family being an only child and a cradle catholic and went to catholic school until middle school. Then we moved out of the country and having morals and “faith” was “so not cool”. When I came back to the states, I still had the desire to help others and I knew that was because of my faith, so after I finished my last year of high school, I went to college for social work and became a social worker for six years. But just before that, right after high school I instantly stopped attending church and it’s shameful but at the time, it felt like a relief.
I was tired of going and seeing no one my age there and tired of being told to go. The lack of friends with a strong faith background, I see now, was the main problem. I rekindled briefly my relationship with Mother Mary during grad school after reading "Left to Tell" by Immaculee Ilibagiza where I first came across the idea that you can go to Mother Mary to help you and have her bring you to her son, because I was scared God was mad at me.
I kept this idea in my heart, although I didn’t take let it encompass my life at the time. I always knew when I got married and had a family though, I would raise my kids with faith but I continued on in a sinful lifestyle until I landed on the Heart of Mary website 1.5 years ago! What a lifesaver sisters! I was curious and loved the idea that it “fit into my schedule” and was dating someone at the time (my now current husband) who respected my decision to grow in my faith (not sure about your experiences but boy was that ever hard to come across these days)!
I first read the book 33 Days to Morning Glory and made my consecration to Mother Mary and I was sold! I knew I was finally back where I needed to be. This time I took Mother Mary and her intercession seriously! I told myself that I can’t waste my life anymore because we never know when God will call us home and I certainly didn’t want my eternity not spent in Heaven.
I now take my faith seriously and attend mass weekly, go to confession, and am now currently back in school for ministry, alongside of course writing for HOM and managing the Instagram (which is what led me to go back to school for ministry)! Throughout this process I have relied completely on Mother Mary (let’s be real I couldn’t do this alone, I tried and it didn’t work) and she has helped me tremendously.
I have many favorite bible verses but as a girl who struggles with anxiety, nothing makes me feel stronger than Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. I can’t do things on my own, not an exam, not pulling myself out of a bad habit, I’ve tried and it doesn’t work, but with God all things are possible and I can do all through Him! Mother Mary’s emergency prayer “Mary, Mother of God please be a mother to me now”, and the Memorare, have also been said countless times in my life.
My favorite sacramental is the Miraculous Medal of course ;) I always have one on me or in my purse. I have always been attached to things Marian, even when I fell away, I just didn’t let the attachment “flourish” but the seed was always there. Mother Mary helped lead me into the place I was meant to be, evangelizing for her Son with her! It was a slow process, and I took baby steps at first, by reading spiritual books, then getting daily scripture emails, then going to church and making it a priority, but it worked!
So if you or anyone else you know is struggling but deep down wants to reconnect with God, I recommend baby steps! In my experience, anything that is forced in large amounts typically doesn’t work for the long haul. Slow but steady with Mama Mary wins the race ;) - Ally