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The United Kingdom

Responses to Totus2us podcasts given by Brits with Christian names beginning with M - many thanks to you all   ♥

Madeleine      

"I’ve just got back from Medjugorje which I’ve been to for the second time. The first time I converted back to the Catholic faith. This time I feel that Our Lady is drawing me closer to the Lord and teaching me that the Holy Spirit is a very powerful part of that. It's just for me a journey - I'm just following and praying the rosary, praying a novena to Our Lady at the moment - and she is leading me because she is our mother. So, I'm just very excited about where this journey is going to take me."

Madeleine      

"Mary means so much to me. When I lost my parents that’s when I really found my faith, my Catholic faith, and she's been my backbone, my strength and for that I'm extremely appreciative. In my times of need, and there have been many times, I've prayed to Mary and she's come good for me."

Magdalena      

"Our Lady, our Mother, is everything. … My first encounter with Our Lady was in a monastery, called the Monastery of Hozoviotissa, in Greece on the island of Amorgos, and I would encourage anyone to go and visit this very holy, awesome place."

Maggie      

"My most favourite title of Our Lady is 'Our Lady of Sorrows' because I think Our Lady at the foot of the Cross was so fully herself as a servant and a mother. And as she contemplated the sufferings of her son she suffered an interior martyrdom - she didn't shed her blood but she had to shed every attachment that she had, for our sake she had to give her son up so that we could have life. And I think in that profound generosity and humility she is such a model for us. She did that gladly, she didn't hold back, she didn't say 'well, this is unjust' or 'what will I get in return?' At that moment, she is the model of surrender and the model of total acceptance of God's will and willingness to really have faith in the dark, because she believed in God's Word. Christ had said that he would arise on the third day. Like the disciples, she perhaps did not know exactly how that would happen but her faith was firm and sure, and her perseverance at that moment helped Jesus to persevere in his own sufferings because when he looked down upon her and saw her total love for him he was given courage to persevere in his own mission. So there we see mother and son in perfect love, in perfect generosity, in perfect surrender of themselves."

Maggie       

"Our Lady has been there for me in many a dark hour but I think the thing I think about most is something a nun in Lourdes said to me once. She said "If ever you are in need of Our Lady, you must pray to her and you must say 'Our Lady, be a mother to me now.' And she will be, always.""

Magnus      

"I think of Mary as a very, very brave and strong and gentle person ...In some ways I think of her as a spokesperson for the poor, especially through her Magnificat, through her beautiful prayer of praise and her prayer of incredible hope .. Through her words and through her life, I think she shows us how to believe, and that things can get better. She shows us how to have faith in our good and loving God, and I think again at Medjugorje she invites us to make that choice, about whether to be people of hope and whether to be people who put her son Jesus at the centre of our lives like she did and does always. So, more than anything, I suppose when I think about Our Lady, I have a huge, huge sense of gratitude to her for her constant presence in my life and for her never giving up on me when I go astray, when I forget what's important, when I forget her Son, when I sin. I have such a sense of gratitude for her patience, for her never tiring of inviting us again back, for never giving up on us, for never making us feel bad about ourselves. Those are my thoughts on Mary, my mother."

Magnus Talks 2us about Mary's Meals      

"I think it would be good if I started just by telling a little bit about myself and the story of Mary’s Meals, just simply so perhaps we can understand how this is God's work and not so much our work. When I was fourteen years old I was sitting at our family breakfast table in Scotland, Craig Lodge, in what was a small hotel that my parents used to run and also our family home. This particular morning my sister Ruth was reading the newspaper and she suddenly said 'Look it says here that there's a report that some teenagers in Yugoslavia are having some visions of Our Lady.' We started saying to Mum and Dad that if that's even possibly true, we should go there and find out. We'd been brought up in a devout Catholic family and we knew about Lourdes and Fatima, so we started saying to them 'Can we go?' and much to our amazement our parents said 'Well yes, you can go. We're much too busy running the hotel but if you want to go, you can.' So we did, about ten of us, all teenagers, I was the youngest at 14, my sister Ruth was the eldest at 19, we gathered some friends and cousins and headed off to Medjugorje in Bosnia. The few days that we spent there, this was in 1983, really changed our lives and we came back home believing that Our Lady was appearing there and that she had a message for us to decide for God in a new way, to try and put God in the centre of our lives."

Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow founded Mary's Meals in 2002, which now provides daily meals in school for over 800,000 children in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

Mags       

"For me Our Lady has really built bridges between my mother and myself."

Malcolm       

"I have been praying to the Virgin Mary since I was 3 or 4. To me the Virgin Mary is a vehicle towards God, Jesus."

Marco      

"The Blessed Virgin Mary is very special for me. Whenever I think of her I always remember how Our Lord gave her to us as a gift, while he was hanging on the Cross, as a mother. "

Marco       

"There are no words, Mary, that could ever describe what you mean to me. Thank you for everything, especially for Jesus."

Father Marcus

3 2us on Pentecost      
"Catholic means universal. On that first day of Pentecost, the disciples went out and preached to people from all different nations, and they heard the message in their own language. You see, the Spirit unites the faithful at the deepest level whilst respecting their own characteristics and integrity."

3 2us on the Holy Souls      
"The Lord desires us to share eternal life with Him but this comes about through grace and it is not cheap grace.  It was brought at a price, the Precious Blood of the Lamb and we have to co-operate with that grace in  life."

3 2us on Time      
"We are talking about ultimate human fulfilment: we've been offered something so sublime, so majestic, so great: the eternal love of God. If this isn't worth giving our time to, what is? St Bernardine of Siena used to say: 'Time is worth what God is worth. For with each moment of time we may purchase God and buy eternal glory.' In the world around us, people forget that time is precious ... In reality, every moment, every thought, every word and every action will have infinite repercussions in eternity, for good or for ill. And what then will shine out from our lives? I assure you it will be our prayers and our Masses, our confessions and our spiritual reading, our acts of charity and our evangelisation. To say this stuff is like gold dust is to underestimate it."

Father Marcus Holden is parish priest of St Augustine's in Tunbridge Wells. He founded Evangelium with Father Andrew Pinsent - and they both feature on the Totus2us podcast, Sunday Evangelium.

Margaret      

"Because we're from the traveling community, Our Lady was the first real traveler. She faced the same thing that we face every day: prejudice, racism. And the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords was born in a stable. So Jesus and Mary were the first real travelers. And Our Lady to me, she's everything. If we want to get to her Son Jesus, we go through Mary. So she's the handmaid of the Lord, 'Be it done unto me according to Thy word' as Our Lady would say. So, you know, Our Lady is our yes, Our Lady is our hope, Our Lady is our everything, she's blessed among women. And, you know, I'm so honoured to be born into a Catholic family, to be able to find the love of Our Blessed Mother, and I know she's got her mantle around each and everyone of us. Even as we speak now, she's looking down on us, probably smiling."

Margaret       

"As a child, I always felt that Mary was my mother, my spiritual mother. I had an earth mother but Mary was my spiritual mother. A number of years ago I was introduced to the Divine Mercy and through the Divine Mercy, I went to Medjugorje and came closer I felt to Our Lady. I still participate in the Divine Mercy and then it was through that that I came to Poland. It is now the 4th time I've been here and my faith just goes deeper each time I come and I feel so close to our Mother Mary and her son Jesus."

Margaret      

"For me Mary is the model of how to live and act as a Christian. And if I'm not sure what to do sometimes, I think of Mary and how she would act or behave. And I also think Mary is the real of example of knowing how to lose: she lost Jesus her son, a lot of her life was about losing. And so I often think of that too - trying to lose thoughts or whatever, in order to be filled with God; so losing so that we find again God in our lives. That's Mary."

Margaret       

"Mary for me is my mother. She has looked after me from my earliest days as my mother had died when I was two and I was brought up in a convent. She means a lot to me: we shop together, we do a lot together."

Margaret       

"Our Lady is very special to me. She is the mother of Our Blessed Lord and every time I say the rosary it is like a beautiful rose full of perfume and love, and I ask her to come into my life every day and look after my children and grandchildren for me. Thank you, Our Blessed Lady. Amen. "

Margaret      

"With Mary I came to discover the joy of being a Christian. And I also find that when things get very difficult she is there in a very quiet way, sometimes like a harp, playing on my heart, and she restores my soul when I feel very low and just brings joy to my life. I'm so grateful for her presence in my life."

Margaret      

"Mary is my heavenly Mother, I go to her with all my worries and concerns and she presents all my intentions to God, to Jesus; she purifies them and magnifies them too."

Margaret      

"Really for me, Our Lady is a great role model as a mother."

Margaret       

"Mary is mainly my mother, but she's a good example of humility, purity and a good model to follow."

Margaret      

"Our Lady means everything to me. She’s my mother. When I have any difficulty, I go to Our Lady and she do help me."

Sister Margaret       

"The rosary was the family prayer and it is still my favourite form of prayer, and particularly with the addition of the Mysteries of Light I find it very inspiring. It's a communal prayer as well as a private prayer, and I like the structure of it. And also it involves the senses and is a very human prayer. I pray the rosary with Mary, asking Mary to help me to get to know better and to love and serve her son Jesus, and through that to love and serve others, with whom I come in contact."

Maria      

"Mary has been a mother. I love her so much, like my very own. .. She's there in my heart, because she's always there when I need her, when I want her. While all I have to say is 'Mary, help me' and she's there. I love her. That's it!"

Maria       

"Whenever I think of Mary, I think of her as being with Jesus at the foot of the Cross, being there to support him. And I think of her also in the Holy Family. Mary, Joseph and Jesus: how happy they must have been together and how happy they are now, together in heaven."

Maria      

"Mary is so helpful to me because she always leads me and the rest of her children back to her Son."

Maria      

"I love Mary very much. I think of her very strongly as my mother and I’ve always been really struck how, in the difficult times in my life especially, she is one of the first people I want to turn to. The loving arms of a mother - nothing can beat it!"

Maria      

"Our Lady is the hope, the succour, whereas at the same time she suffered so much. She held her Son as He was taken down off the Cross. She stood there by the Cross - she was standing, not throwing herself on the ground, not wailing, standing, being firm, accepting and compassionate with Christ. I think that is a beautiful image to always hold in mind, especially when times are hard for us as well."

Maria      

"Mary Mother is to me the most precious mother, more precious than my own mother. She is the mother of my God, Jesus, my Lord Jesus."

Maria      

"For me the meaning of Christmas is all about giving: it's about giving yourself to your family over Christmas and your friends, spending time; it's about giving your prayers to those in need; it's about giving yourself some time to appreciate the Christmas message and to try and understand it deeper each year; and it's about recognising the vulnerability of how Jesus was born in these base conditions, and how it's universal for all of us that he has been given to each person."

Maria      

"The Star of the Sea, my patron shall be, the Mother of Christ my King. She is the one who leads me aright, to the truth of God in everything. To Mary I turn for her example to learn loyalty to her son. With her for my guide, with her, side-by-side, in the Church, my home, we stand as one."

Maria      

"From my father I learnt that Our Lady will never let me down. .. What I've learnt through life is that when I've had difficulties I've often just really on autopilot said the 3 Hail Marys and I tend to agree with my Dad, Our Lady didn't ever let him down and she's certainly never let me down."

Maria      

"I’ve a special devotion to Mary because I see her as the mother of all mothers."

Maria      

"I came to know Mary just recently."

Sister Maria Michaela      

"Mary is my mother. I'm only starting to get to know her now. She has loved me since the beginning and she has taken care of me, and I hope that I will come to love her as she wants me to."

Marian      

"I always think of Our Lady as the loving Mother of God and my loving mother, and that's the greatest praise that I can give her."

Marica       

"Mary, she's there for me every day."

Marie      

"I have a great love of Our Lady and the greatest thing that she has done for me consistently throughout my life is point me to her Son."

Marie    

"To me Mary is one of the greatest gifts. I just think she's absolutely amazing. She's been with me when there's just been darkness in my life. She's just been my light, to be honest with you. She's prayed for me, she's prayed with me. And I just find her an amazing force within my life."

Marie      

"Our Lady is everything for me and to me."

Marie      

"Mary is someone who's very courageous and embodies a woman who suffers silently but is very, very strong."

Marie      

"The first thing that comes into my head when I think about Mary is the miracle at the wedding feast in Cana. And how she just said 'They have no wine'. She didn't make a fuss about it and she didn't get all panicky, she just said this one sort of quite bland sentence because she so knew what he was going to do. And then when you think about that, it's all linked to the Mass and the Church, that's really powerful. And, secondly, I think that's how our intentions are, when we pray to her to intercede for us .. that's what she does as a mother. She's Jesus' mother and he'll do what she asks."

Marie-Claire      

Luke 14: 11 - For everyone who raises himself up will be humbled and the one who humbles himself will be raised up - "For me this is really powerful as it shows that everybody, even the little things that they do, will be appreciated by God. Not necessarily in this life but in heaven, if they do it for God then they will receive God's love in the end."

Sister Marie Louise of Jesus ocd       

"From my earliest years in my family we had a devotion to the rosary and we said it as a family. It wasn't always every night but we said it very regularly and all through the years. And even when I entered Carmel, my family used to keep a decade of the rosary for me, throughout my religious life. I love to say the rosary and Our Lady is alive in it, and to be with her in the rosary and she asked for this prayer, in Fatima, to be said daily."

Sister Marie Louise of Jesus is in the Carmel at Notting Hill in London.

Sister Marie Therese ocd      

"To me Mary is very important. She's my hope, my hope for the resurrection because she is one of us, God chose one of us; and she is my sister, my mother, and my presence throughout life."

Sister Marie Therese is in the Nottinghill Carmel in London.

Mariella       

"I think Mary is important for me because she's my Patron Saint and I've always looked up to her because she's my name sake as well. My mum named me after her because she's important and because she's always there for Jesus and she's there for us and for me."

Marilyn      

"Mother Mary has always been my Mum and my Queen. She always helps me. Every time I need something I pray, I say 'Mum, help me today, whatever it is that I have to do. There is nothing I cannot do with you by my side.'"

Marion      

"Mary means a lot to me. I've been in Medjugorje thinking a lot about the relationship with Mary: the need we have for a mother who is always there, who loves us more than we can ever realise and the strength that gives us to know how loved we are. In the family of God, I think the mother figure is very important and obviously her link to Jesus is amazing - that they're always combined. So I  feel that I will be walking with Mary and talking with Mary for the future and just wanting to experience her as my mum and to trust her in everything and ask for her help at all times. It's wonderful, wonderful gift that she gives us and, yeh, I'm going to go forward with Our Lady. Amen."

Mark      

"I have my utmost trust in Mary and I am honoured in the sense that she is by my side. And I will continue to pray for her to intercede for us and take my prayers to the Lord and be that person to me that I can talk to and put my trust in, as I would my own mother. And she is my mother but most significantly she is our mother."

Mark      

"Mary is my mother, my sister and my friend."

In Man for Others, Mark talks about his vocation to the priesthood     

"The message of the Gospel is that God loved us so much that He came in Christ to reconcile us to Him. So I think that my vocation to the priesthood is about sharing the immense love that God has for us in coming among us as Jesus Christ. I think that what the priesthood has to offer the world is Jesus and that's what the world needs to hear. And of course we receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, and in my life the Eucharist has been the centre and the foundation of whom I am as a Christian and hopefully who I will be as a priest."

Mark chose Bl Charles de Foucauld on The Incredibles      

"Blessed Charles de Foucauld was born in Paris and was the son of a Count. Very early in his life he lost his faith and he led up until he was about 26 a fairly wild life; he had mistresses, and drinking, and he was a soldier, and he'd completely rejected the idea God existed. Anyway he had a great crisis in the middle of his twenties and he said very profoundly 'The moment I realised that God exists, I realised I had to give my life to him.' .. So he became a religious and he moved to the middle of the Sahara desert, to the middle of an Islamic tribe, and he set up a church. And in the middle of this tribe he planted the Blessed Sacrament, he planted Jesus Christ Himself, and he allowed the presence of the Eucharist to change his life and to change the lives of those around him. He allowed the simple presence of Jesus, body, blood, soul and divinity, to transform his heart."

Mark      

"Mary is my mother. She is somebody for whom I feel a great devotion and love. I especially think of her mantle of protection being over me at all times and over those whom I love. She's a central part of my faith because she brings me closer to her son Jesus and I feel connected with the love that they all have for everybody. So I am eternally grateful to Our Lord for calling me into the Catholic Church and giving me Mary as my mother."

Mark       

"My feelings about Our Lady are that she's someone you can pray to and when I'm praying I just get the feeling that there's a feminine presence guiding me and caring for me."

Mark      

"No other disciple followed Jesus so closely or more perfectly than Mary did."

Mark       

"Mary to me is my mother. She's also the most powerful of intercessors. Every morning, I go through the names of all of my family, praying to Mary, asking her to lift them up to the Lord for me."

Mark      

"The midnight Mass is the main focus for me - it's the silence, the peace of it, and the carol singing - it brings families together during Christmas and people who wouldn't normally go to Church, come back to Church and hopefully find something extra special during the Feast of Christmas."

Mark      

"I found myself not being afraid to have a tear in my eye - it wasn't through hurt of things but because I felt love. I felt that I was being loved.  I picture Mary with such a gentle smile."

Mariola       

"Our Lady is my stronghold, my light, my guidance, my help for all my life."

Martha      

"I have been overwhelmed in many ways and very conscious of the graces that I have received just in the last few days while being here at the Divine Mercy Shrine in Krakow. I see how much Mary is so much a part of Divine Mercy her Son, and how we get so close to Him through her. I think coming from a parish which is dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour and whose medal I have been wearing round my neck for a number of months now must surely feature in the fact that I softened my hard shell and took the opportunity when it came to be here. It is a very personal experience coming here and I'm sure for everyone it's similar in many ways but different in so many other ways, because it does touch one to the heart and all through oneself."

Martha      

"For me Christmas is a time to spend with my family but spiritually it means a lot more: that Christmas is the time that my Saviour was born. And without Christmas, I wouldn't have Jesus and I wouldn't be who I am today, because I am where I am because of him. So Christmas is time for new beginnings for me, it is basically the beginning of my faith."

Martha chose Psalm 23 as her Word on the Street      

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. - "I absolutely love it because when you really look at the words it's really relevant to our everyday life because the Lord is our shepherd and He takes us through valleys of death but He takes us through them, we don't sit in them, we walk straight through them, He walks by our side, and his rod and his staff are there to comfort us throughout everything we go through. And the Bible is absolutely amazing and I recommend everyone to try it out - the Bible isn't only just something to read and let it sit there, but you've got to take it into action and apply it to your life. The Bible is also God's way of talking to us, it's God's promise, God speaks to us through the Bible and God is the one person who will never lie, and He always keeps His promises and He promises a lot in the Bible, so I recommend you all check it out."

Martin      

"Our Lady is to me most definitely my mother and my son's mother, in heaven."

Martin       

"In every way Mary is someone who inspires love - that certainly has been my experience."

St Louis de Montfort is Martin's Man for Others      

"I think he's so relevant now because for one his theology, particularly his theology of Our Lady and how she leads us to God, is worth exploring much more; but his radical commitment in a time of relativism I think becomes even more inspiring and interesting and becomes a real witness for being able to commit oneself in complete confidence and trust to God and to God's will, without fear."

Father Martin      

"Mary for me is the one chosen by God, the one closest to Jesus, the one who takes my prayers to Him."

Father Martin on Man for Others      

"Father Maurice lived in France in the 19th century and I've just finished reading the extraordinary correspondence he had with St Theresa of Lisieux. He was struggling both as a priest and as a Christian. He opened his heart to the Little Flower and she told him "Confidence, nothing but confidence leads us to God's love." She also gave him great courage by saying 'When we are in heaven, we shall share in the infinite mercy of the Lord.'"

Father Martin recalls the days leading up to the election of Benedict XVI       

"If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation. And so, today, with great strength and great conviction, on the basis of long personal experience of life, I say to you, dear young people: Do not be afraid of Christ!" - BXVI at his Inauguration Mass.

Father Martin Pratt is a priest of the archdiocese of Birmingham

Martina      

"Our Lady is everything for me because she’s done so much for me when I've needed her so much."

Mary      

"Our Blessed Lady keeps us going, Our Lady helps keeps us going, keeps us on our feet at all times. So without her we wouldn't be able to go anywhere, would we? Strong!"

Mary      

"I just love Our Lady to bits and she’s my friend really as well. And I’d just be totally lost without her. I just know many times that I've been in kind of situations that have not been good and it's always been Our Lady that has helped me back out and given me that dignity and that purpose and that worth in life. And I just praise God for Our Lady because she is the Mother of the Church and I just praise her for that."

Mary was a pilgrim to Nazareth in the Holy Land      

"I had the experience to see Our Lady's house where she lived on earth - it was so beautiful, I can't explain it. It was such a holy, holy place. To actually see the place where Our Lady experienced the Incarnation, the Angel Gabriel, it's just amazing, it was just so holy there I was emotionally crying with it, it's so beautiful."

Mary      

"Mary to me my Mother is love. She is the greatest love you can ever feel for your children, she feels for you because you're her child. That same love, it's amazing. When I think that this same with which she loved her son, Jesus Christ, she loves us. It's awesome to me. It makes me weep and I love her so much."

Mary      

"I love Our Lady so much because she's just a mother to me and she always has been, and I know without Our Lady I'd be lost."

Mary       

"I feel very, very privileged to have the same name as Mary our mother, and it makes me feel safe really, and very happy having the same name as her. And when I think of Mary I feel very calm and peaceful, and when there's a lot of chaos around, I just need to think of her and I feel rested."

Mary      

"It was really through Fr George Tutto, who celebrates 60 years as a priest this week-end, and because of his holiness and his spiritual integrity, he said to us at the prayer group he used to run, 'Our Lady is appearing in Yugoslavia' and from that moment I really believed it. Because of who Fr Tutto was - he's a wonderful canon lawyer with great intellect but more than that great holiness. Today is 25 June 2011. This is a very special day because 30 years ago today Our Blessed Lady appeared to 6 young teenagers in a little hamlet in the former Yugoslavia called Medjugorje; the name means 'between the hills'. They first saw her on the 24th June but they were so scared they ran off. They were told by their parents to go back at the same the next day which they did. And Our Lady appeared to them again and her message was very simple. She said, "I am the Blessed Virgin Mary and I have come to tell you that God exists." "

Mary      

"I thank you Mary, I thank you Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Guadalupe, who is our patron for our prolife group, I thank you for everything you have done for me in my life, and I ask you to bless the prolife work and bless especially all mothers and young women who are growing up. Thank you, Mary. Amen."

Mary      

"Mary is my mother. I call her Mama Mary. I love her with all my heart and I pray to her frequently, and she never lets go of my hand. Praise God!"

Mary       

"For me Mary is just the most kind and precious person."

Mary      

"Mary is the Mother of God."

Mother Mary of St Joseph ocd      

"My favourite title of Our Lady is her Greek title Theotokos, the God bearer. To me is the woman who was able to bear such close encounter with God, she is the one who leads us close to God. Therefore she's our model of prayer, our model of the interior of life, the one who was able to remain so close to God she actually bore direct encounter with God."

M Mary of St Joseph reflects on the spirituality of the Carmelites In the Family    

"Today we experience the Church under attack in many different ways, suffering in many different ways, attacked from outside, suffering scandal and dissension from within, and we can easily resonate with Teresa's words when she said "The world is on fire. Don't let any more harm come to your Church, Lord." So today the Carmelites still desire to offer their lives in prayer for the Church, for all of humanity. Prayer understood as a relationship with God, we're invited, called by God, to a relationship of deep intimacy with him, to the point of coming to recognise our oneness with Him. We trust that by opening ourselves, opening our hearts fully to the love that God desires to bestow on everyone, to pour out on the whole world, that we can be channels of His love to others by receiving it as fully as we can ourselves."

Mother Mary of St Joseph is in the Carmel at Notting Hill in London. She is the author of Upon This Mountain on prayer in the Carmelite tradition.

Sister Mary of St Philip ocd      

"I had a very good Catholic education and I learnt at school all about the doctrines concerning Our Lady and, although I believed and understood them, it made her feel very remote. I couldn't engage with her until after I had been in Carmel 2 or 3 years, one day something clicked: she is my mother not as a mother to a little child, but a mother to an unborn child. I couldn't relate to her because we were distant but because we were too close. Once I understood that I just relaxed and rested and let my mother do the rest."

Sister Mary of St Philip is in the Carmel at Notting Hill in London. She and her sisters gave their somethings about Mary during a Novena to St Therese of the Child Jesus.

Mary-Anne      

"Our Blessed Mother has taught me so much in my life: the importance of daily prayer, that we are made for holiness and that we need very few things materially in this life."

Mary-Anne, with her husband Callum, founded Craig Lodge (in Dalmally), a house of prayer in the Highlands.

Mary-Anne      

"I know that Our Lady is always there with me and I love her so much."

Sister Mary Magdalen      

"Our Lady is my mother and I chose her as my mother when I was 17 and since that time she has guided all of my life. I try to consecrate everything to her and she has led me in very many wonderful and mysterious ways, in a way that my life has turned out that I could never have imagined. And it's really thanks to her at every moment of my life. She's the one who showed me Jesus, she taught me to pray and she's leading me to heaven every day."

Sister Mary Magdalen is in the community of the Sisters of Mary Morning Star.

Mary-Therese       

"Mary is the Mother of God and she is the Queen of the whole world, Queen of Hearts, Mother of Peace and Mother of wonderful help."

Matt      

"I'm a convert and 3 years ago Christmas meant something very different to me. Christmas meant gifts, it meant taking annual leave and leaving work early .. Christmas now is about making time .. to think about what Christmas means in terms of the birth of Christ, what God, Jesus, really came into our lives for, which is really mind-blowing."

Matt      

"Mary for me is my mother, she's my guardian, my guide. I pray to her every day, I ask for her intercession and her protection in my life."

Matthew      

"I think of Mary every time I pray because she's the mother of Jesus."

Matthew      

"For me on this trip to Medjugorje I saw that peace that I could have and I realised that forgiveness is really for me the way that I can at last finally open my heart to God, to have no reservations, no boundaries or inhibitions for Him. If I'm closed off, if I can't forgive my brother or sister, how can God enter that bit. So I did! .. Ever since, peace at last has been upon me."

Matthew      

"Mary is a mother who is always there, keeping me safe in uni, helping me out whenever things get tough, and a great help in terms of purity as well."

Go in Peace      

"What I’d emphasise about confession is really the freedom that it gives us. Sometimes a feeling of peace, sometimes no feelings, but it’s just that knowledge that those things that we struggle with all the time are never too big for God, they are never a lasting obstacle between us and Him. But the obstacles that we put in place, we need to remove, those hurdles or for those bigger sins, the walls that we build between us and Him and the shadow they create onto us. And confession just gives us the chance to knock down that wall and to say ‘God, I want to be back with you, face to face, with no obstacles in between us.’ So really I’d emphasise the love that God has for us, the peace that that gives us and the freedom to live as children of God."

Word on the Street      

Philippians 4, 13: I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me - "I find this such a brilliant phrase because it's so applicable to every day life, I can be going about my daily tasks and remind myself of this line and instantly Christ is brought back into my life and I'm with him again, even in the basic things of normal life."

Matthew      

"When you discover the Eucharist and you experience this silent stillness, this simple piece of bread that flows from it all the fruits, the love, joy, peace, you experience from, in your heart you are receiving Jesus. When you receive this Eucharist you realise that all these things and worries of the world and your desires for selfish needs are just only for the self, but that which goes beyond the end is heaven, and in order to obtain eternal life we need to understand and come to live this now, which comes from the Eucharist. To me the Eucharist is everything."

Matthew       

"Our Lady is, for me anyway, a refuge and an eternal heavenly mother that we can go to in terms of need but also in terms of joy too, for gratitude, for her intercession. It is that sort of warmth and I suppose I feel a lack of judgment in Our Lady, that she just provides comfort and love at times of need."

Maureen      

"The Blessed Mother is a great help to me each and every day."

Meena      

"Mary is the holiest woman in the world and she said yes to God and she brung Jesus into the world to save us."

Mekaela       

"When I was about 10 I went to Fatima and I couldn't speak, and the doctors thought I was disabled and how my dad paid for me to see like helpers and things like that. I remember the evening when we went to Fatima for like the pilgrim thing with my aunt, I went and lighted a candle for Our Lady, and I cried. When I woke up, I was speaking and I was reading and like everybody was shocked. So I went to the doctors and they asked like what happened and my mum said 'She asked Mary and Mary interceded for her.' So this is kind of like my connection with Mary."

Melissa      

"The first thing I learnt about Mary, being a convert, was Monstrates in matrem" - "Show me that you are my mother"."

Mhari Bernadette      

"Our Lady has always been very special to me. Before I was born, they offered my mum an abortion, and I'm 65, so that's how long ago. Of course Mum refused. They then, when I was born, called me the miracle baby because I was perfectly alright. I was meant to be small and undersized - I'm about 5 foor 9, anything but! So they named me after Lourdes, Mhari Bernadette, because they went there on their honeymoon, my mum and dad.… She's always been part of my life. I'm sure she's the reason why I'm perfectly healthy and I've got 3 daughters of my own. So, yeh, she's very very special to me always, looked after me and she's always with me."

Michael      

"I believe in Mary, Mother of God and Mother of Jesus. I pray and ask her many favours. I love her like I love Christ. Amen."

Michael       

"We thank Mary for all our blessings but most importantly for our families."

Michael       

"Mary is the mother of Jesus Christ and she is the Blessed Virgin, and she is a very important person not only in my life but in the life of other Catholics, and also of other faiths as well."

Michael      

"Mary came into my life about 20 years ago. Having been brought up a Catholic and kicked it all pretty well into touch, somehow a place called Medjugorje came on the scene to me, and when I was searching I thought 'Yes, I'll have a look at this place. If she is there, she can tell me. If not, I'll carry on the way I'm going.' I went to Medjugorje - Mary touched me in the most extraordinary way and I can't really say very much other than that my parish priest (who said I was the most unlikely member of the pilgrimage) asked me what I was feeling and I said 'I am feeling extraordinarily loved, unbelievably loved and yet I am absolutely nothing.' And that has remained with me ever since. So Mary, through Medjugorje, brought me back to her Son and since then, yes, a change of life."

Michael      

"For me this came to show the willingness of our holy mother to accept us in all our faults, in all our sorrow, in all our hardships in this world, and to loving bring us towards the pardon that Christ offers."

Michael      

"Our Lady is the Immaculate Conception."

Michael      

"Mary is the Queen of my heart and she has not failed me yet."

Father Michael Dunne      

"Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta teaches us: 'If ever I become a saint, I will surely be one of darkness. I will continually be absent from heaven to light the light of those in darkness on earth." The paradox of darkness is that it is the gateway to light, through the cross to light - per crucem ad lucem. The key to holiness in every Catholic's life - not just in the lives of the great saints, every one of us is called to sanctity - must be this interiorisation of the Passion; of what St Paul of the Cross calls 'participation in the Passion.' Because if we can interiorise the Passion of Jesus Christ, live it in our own suffering, then we are open boundlessly to all that the Passion is for the redemption of the world. It is the means of our own purification, living our suffering, but even when we have done that, it is the means of reparation also, that we share Christ's redemptive role in the world, which is the dignity conferred upon us in our baptism."

Father Michael Krychiwsky      

"The essential point is not the number and kind of our sins but the presence of true contrition, the willingness to change. Confession enables us to experience for ourselves what the Church sings in the exultet 'Oh happy fault! Oh necessary sin of Adam which gained for us so great a redeemer.' Jesus knows how to make all of our faults, once they've been repented, into happy faults, no longer remembered for the guilt or the shame that they engendered but for the experience of divine mercy which they occasioned. The way to experience profoundly the joy of Easter is through the door of the confessional."

Father Michael Krychiwsky is a priest of the diocese of Leeds.

Michael      

"My mother died when I was 24, at a difficult time in my life, so I always think of Mary not as a substitute but as someone to replace her."

Michael      

"The Holy Mother is very important to me and very dear to me."

Michael      

"What Our Lady means to me is forgiveness, love, peace, joy!"

Mike       

Mike puts his conversion down to learning about Pope St John Paul II's Theology of the Body on a retreat.

His John Paul II quote is: "I can only respond to an abyss of evil with an abyss of love."

Mike      

"Mary represents purity and faith."

Molly      

"Our Lady means to me total overwhelming love and peace."

Monica      

"Mary for me is the mother who’s always there for me."

Moses      

"I think that the Virgin Mary is a light for me and she is kind."

Muriel      

"Mary to me has a special meaning in the Hail Mary because I say 'pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.' And we never know when that's coming so I always feel that every day Mary's praying for me and that keeps me going."