The first time I ever heard of a Marian Consecration was from a very zealous fellow student at Franciscan University. I was 19 years old, in my second year of nursing school, and studying abroad for a semester with the University’s Austria Program. On a more personal note, I was searching. I felt lost and disoriented, but as this young man began sharing with me about St. Louis de Montfort’s Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary, a light began to shine in my heart. His passion and confidence in Mary’s help to bring me quickly, easily and securely to God’s will for my life convinced me to commit to the rather rigorous thirty-three-day preparation of prayers, litanies and rosaries.
As consecration day drew near, my heart was burning with love for Jesus, and I knew that it was Mary’s doing. During the days of preparation, I had started attending Mass more than just on Sunday and soon daily; I was beginning to develop a relationship with Jesus and Mary through daily prayer. An inner transformation was taking place and I was longing to have some type of outward expression of the interior commitment I was about to make. St. Louis de Montfort actually encourages this practice. Often someone will wear a Miraculous Medal around their neck, or more zealously, a chain around their wrist to show their “slavery to Mary”. Both of these expressions I would do, but I wanted something more…. something permanent, or semi-permanent. Therefore, I set out to find a tattoo parlor during a weekend trip to Paris. My idea was to have the back of the Miraculous Medal as my tattoo. I wanted it to be big and very visible, but in the end it never happened. Two reasons stopped me, and I’m glad they did! First, I could not think of where the tattoo could go that would be visible enough. The point of this was to give an outward expression to the interior consecration. I wanted all to know that I was consecrated to Jesus through Mary. Secondly, I just could not find a tattoo parlor that looked clean enough for my liking. The delay afforded God time to work on my heart. My desire to honor Mary was good but my expression was too small for what God had in mind.
That same weekend I began to feel the first stirrings of a call to the Consecrated life. It took a few years of heartfelt, and sometimes agonizing, discernment to recognize the gift I was being offered, but eventually I embraced with all my heart the invitation from Jesus to be His bride. Now as I put on my habit, my veil, my rope with the three knots representing the vows, my rosary, I marvel at what has become of my life. My whole being has become an outward expression of the interior transformation God has brought about through the hands of Mary. At times, children will even call me “Mary” – in fact, this happens quite regularly to sisters. My hidden desires were known to God, and He had a plan to fulfill them far beyond my own ideas, all I needed to do was slow down and let Mary lead.
Sr. Veronica Catherine, CFR