"My first memory of thinking about Mary as a person was when I was a child and I was having a hard time at school. There was this beautiful statue in school and I used to go and look up at this statue when I was feeling unhappy and it seemed to me that Our Lady was looking down on me kindly."
"I travelled to Lourdes about 6 years ago and I feel my relationship with her there was strengthened. I think she's an amazing woman and we have a lot to thank her for."
"I was in Fatima with my husband and we were sitting at the shrine and I had a sense that Our Lady was standing beside me; very powerful. And in fact I had felt very conscious that something would happen when we were making the journey to Fatima. And I believe she said to me "Teresa, pray the rosary and you will know me." Now, most of my life I've had tremendous difficulty in saying the rosary and I just felt this was a tremendous indication from Our Lady the significance of saying the rosary, how it can transform lives, and can actually bring a unity to the Catholic Church. If the rosary is said on a daily basis, we will certainly grow and Our Lady will protect us at all times."
Psalm 139, 6 - I can never be lost to your Spirit, I can never get away from my God; If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the place of the dead, you are there; if I ride the morning winds to the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, your strength will support me. - "I tend to feel very insignificant to God and for me this illustrates that I am never far away from God's thoughts; at every single step, I am very, very important to Him."
"Mother Mary has been a real mum to me and she’s given me so much love. When I think of her I think of a beautiful pink rose that's glistening and it's got little dew drops on it, and I think of an amazing hug, and I think of sitting on her lap and she's got her arm around me, and just peace. So, yah, she means everything to me. I got these little Miraculous Medal earrings in Medjugorje. The first time I went to Medjugorje I was just blown away, and I thought Mother Mary is living in Medjugorje, I want to go there. It's just so beautiful, she loves us all so much, she wants us to come to know her son, she wants us to pray, she loves the rosary. It's such a beautiful gift, I carry a rosary here in my pocket - it's just so easy, she takes us to Jesus."
"I went to Medjugorje and I think that was the real start of me with Our Lady, and I just felt her wonderful, wonderful presence, and I just feel that when I'm down or a bit fed up, it is always her that I ask to help me."
Colossians 3, 23-24 - Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as though working for the Lord and not for men, since you know you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. - "This inspires me to be motivated in my work; I work as a nurse and it helps me to see Jesus in the patients that I serve."
"When I was staying at a monastery in Galilee in Israel, when I was about 19 and just before I became a Catholic, there was a beautiful little grotto church with these hermits, which overlooked the Sea of Galilee. And in the small grotto church there was this most exquisite, very modern icon of Our Lady holding Christ, and she has the most unbelievably deep and profound look in her eye. Her face, it's a Palestinian woman - it's a representation of Mary that I've never really seen since but it's one that evokes the person of Mary, who was a Palestinian girl who God came to and revealed to us the salvation of the world."
"I regard Our Lady as very much my mother, with all the human attributes of a loving mother."
"Hilaire Belloc is one devotee of Our Lady I particularly admire .. In a letter her wrote: .. Our dear lady, the Blessed Mother of God, never fails us. She has never failed me in any demand."
"I stayed near the Abbey of Fontgombault (in France) where there is a wonderful image of Our Lady of the good death. It is a great grace to visit this abbey and to witness the life of prayer of the monks who live an enclosed life, they're Benedictines, and who say their daily Masses in their splendid 11th century building in the presence of this wonderful statue and to have so strongly the sense that they are all leading their lives in preparation for heaven. And with the accompaniment of this wonderful image, which is always decorated with flowers and surrounded by candles, it puts the cares and concerns of our secular lives into a completely new perspective .. Try always to remember that we are made for heaven, Our Lady wants us with her in heaven and this is how we should give true perspective to our daily lives."
"I fell in love with Our Lady at Fatima and the beautiful manifestation of her Immaculate Heart which Cardinal Cerejeira, Patriarch of Lisbon, said was given to the world in order to save it. And that’s what she said at Fatima, that’s why the children saw the vision of hell: not to frighten them but to establish in the world devotion to her Immaculate Heart because God wants to save them from that terrible loss of Himself through that devotion. So this is the centre of the meaning of Fatima. Can you imagine anything more beautiful? It's the Immaculate Heart of Mary alongside the Sacred Heart of her divine Son. When the request came for the consecration of Russia there was a vision of the Holy Trinity. Lucia was in the chapel, she saw the Trinity, she saw Jesus on the Cross, she saw the Precious Blood coming out of his side into a chalice suspended in the air and from his left arm came down the words 'Grace and Mercy' and on the altar Our Lady was standing there displaying her Immaculate Heart. And she said, on 13 June 1929, 'The moment has come when God asks the Holy Father to consecrate the world, Russia, to my Immaculate Heart.'"
"Mary the Mother of God is very much my mother too. I know that she cares for me and loves me... She cares for us so much and in her many apparitions around the world, she gives a message of faith, a message of peace and a message of hope. So when we can't have hope, she has hope for us. And as it says, 'If a mother forgets her child, I will not forget you'. Well, Mary will never forget any of the children that have been entrusted to her."
Timothy chose the Italian Rita of Cascia as his Incredible Saint
"St Rita of Cascia is a very powerful saint who, like Saint Therese, will send a rose as a sign of her intercession. And also she's a great saint for all those who have dysfunctional families and warring families, and arguments and strife in their own families. She knows what it is to experience domestic violence, she knows what it is to lose a child and children, she knows what it is to struggle and persevere in her religious vocation. ..Even if you're not sure of your own vocation or your own relationship with God, speak to St Rita, because she knows what it is to experience the hardship of life and she'll guard you and protect you always."
"I’ve been asked what is my feeling about Our Lady. Well, it’s like being asked what's your feeling about your mother, because she is my mother and I love her and I don't know what I'd do without her."
"Mary is someone who I know is there for me, who prays for me and who loves me in the most purest form of motherhood. She is also someone who I want to get to know a lot more."
"I see Mary as my spiritual mother. When I pray the rosary I feel very close to her, Wherever I am in life or whatever is happening to me, I feel comforted when I pray the rosary and it helps me to get through a lot of hard times in life and I think I'll always be grateful for the gift of rosary that we've received."
"Recently when I was ordained as a deacon it suddenly struck me that Our Lady is Queen of the Clergy and Mother of the Clergy (that’s the title we have at our seminary for Our Lady, Queen of the Clergy). And suddenly very personally I felt Our Lady is my Queen and my Mother and so I can take all my problems to her, and she is the model of clerical celibacy for us. So we pray to Our Lady."
"And it's through his prayers and his support that I am where I am today."
Tom chose Jeremiah for his Word on the Street
Jer 1, 4-10 - You have seduced me Lord and I have been seduced. - "It's not like a sexual seduction but Our Lord comes into our lives and He takes over, and He becomes our complete everything, he becomes our God, our lover, our friend. And so it's the totality of God's seduction, not in a deceptive kind of way, but in a completely loving, completely honest way and so it leads us to love God with our whole being."
"Our Lady is very special to me. I think it can be summed up in the words of Our Lady of Guadalupe when she said to Juan Diego, who had a very sick uncle. She said 'What do you fear? What troubles you? Why are you anxious, why do you fear illness? Am I not here who is your mother?' And that really sums up for me that Our Lady is all of our mothers. She is a very loving mother to all of us - she is forgiving, she is all enveloping. When I think of Our Lady all I can think of is peace and love, and just this wonderful woman who is bringing us to Christ, because that is essentially what she does."
"Why I like St Cajetan is a) because of this reliance on Divine Providence and b) because he's widely known as the helper of people who are unemployed or need jobs or who want to keep their jobs. And he's a great helper in that because his message of Divine Providence is that God will provide. Many, many people have prayed to him, for their jobs, to gain a job, and I think in these times of crisis we should all turn all together with same trust as St Cajetan towards God, just trusting Him that all will be well, however bad it might seem, all will be well. So I really commend to you to say a prayer to St Cajetan and all will be well."
O Glorious St Cajetan, Father of Divine Providence, help all those who are unemployed, who search for employment and who fear for their jobs, lead them towards what they are looking for and pray for us all that we may be courageous in the face of adversity.
"I have been really caught up with St Francis of Assisi since being a teenager. One of the ways that I was inspired by him is the way that he tried to follow in the footsteps of Christ in 3 different areas: through the Incarnation, through the Cross and through the Eucharist. The Incarnation of Christ coming to us as a child, and the way he held the manger up to people, but also how God is in the world in the face of our neighbour, in creation, and is to praised in all things. The cross for St Francis was the centre part of his following of Christ, of taking up the cross, of that complete outpouring of love; so much so, that he talked about carrying the cross on his own back and he actually received the wounds of Christ on his own body, he was so enveloped in the passion of Christ. And the Eucharist for St Francis was the most important thing about is spirituality, about his relationship with Jesus, that meeting in the Eucharist which has been given to the Church and that wonderful opportunity of communion with Christ each day. And for me there are 3 simple words that sum that spirituality: blessed, broken and given - and that is what St Francis means to me."
"One day Mother Teresa was asked by a bishop the secret of her success .. How she'd managed to touch the hearts of so many people. In reply she told a story - she said that when she was young she was walking with her mother to a neighbouring village, and it was somewhere she had never been to before. At one point in the journey her mother stopped and said to her 'Do you know where we're going?' and she replied 'No, this is the first time I'm going.' And her mother said 'You're right, you don't know where we're going but you're not frightened because I'm here and I'm holding your hand and I will lead you to the place we're going.' And her mother said her 'In the same way, as you're going through life, hold onto the hand of Mary and Mary will lead you to the heart of her son, Jesus.' And Mother Teresa said that was really the secret of her apostolate, that each day she thought about Mary and she felt herself holding Mary's hands and Mary leading her ever more deeply to the heart of Jesus. I found that such a powerful story, I think of it every time I pray the rosary, because when I pick up my rosary I see it as really holding Mary's hands .. and being taken into the heart of Jesus."
Father Tom Dubois chose Canon Liam O'Driscoll as his Man for Others
"I think for me being with someone who'd been a priest for so long (he celebrated while I was there his 50 years of priesthood), just still had this incredible energy and this incredible joy in his ministry and just a real vibrancy about him, really encouraged me, who was just on my way to priesthood. I think it really encouraged me to see the heart of priesthood, to see that heart founded in Jesus. As St John Mary Vianney says, the priest is the heart of Jesus for the world, open to the world. I think that was something I saw very real, in a very simple way, in Canon Liam and something that really inspired me in my own journey to priesthood."
Father Tom has been a pilgrim to the Holy Land
"As I was walking I was often on my own and being able to reflect in silence on the places where Jesus had walked, where he'd talked, the places that had really shaped him. As I was walking I was meditating on different passages from the Bible, of Jesus walking along and his closeness to nature. I was struck by the beauty of the nature surrounding me, I was really struck by the beauty of the birds, of the Sea of Galilee, of all the very rich agriculture around. I think it really gave me an insight into Jesus's world, but more than that into his heart. into that sense of His journey, of the many journeys which He undertook, those physical journeys but also those journeys of the heart. I think Jesus always invites us to journey further, to journey deeper."
"Mary for me has been a constant presence in my life from a very young age."
Trevor chose Peter as his Incredible Saint
"My favourite bit in the Bible is when Jesus walks on the water and I think Saint Peter the Apostle for the first time realises who Christ is. Peter says 'Lead me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.' That bit just strkes me that Christ can use someone in their absolute humanity."
Book of Exodus (Parting of the Red Sea) - "I always read that passage when I'm going through something difficult because I think it has quite a deep symbolic message about having faith, even when you don't see a way, God can part the Red Sea for you."