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The United States of America

Blessed Pope Paul VI was a pilgrim to the United States of America in 1965. Saint John Paul II followed in his footsteps, visiting the USA 7 times: in 1979, 1981, 1984, 1987, 1993 for World Youth Day Denver, 1995 and 1999. Papa Benedict XVI made a pilgrimage to the USA in 2008.

So many Americans have generously given their response to a Totus2us podcast (a great witness to the beautiful faith among America's young people), they are shown here alphabetically by Christian name:
beginning with A - D (here below) and E - I and J - Q and R - Z
- many thanks to you all   ♥

To download the free mp3 Totus2us audio recordings individually, right/double click on the play buttons.

If you'd like to visit a Catholic Church or know more about what's going on in your area, a good place to find out more on the web are the diocesan websites - links here.

Abby       

"I like to think of Mary as more of a role model for someone my age."

Adam      

"When I finally got the acceptance letter, it said “Adam, congratulations, you’ve been accepted to study for the diocese of Pittsburgh to be a priest. You start Sunday, August 15th, the feast of the Assumption." When I received that letter, I knew that Our Lady was all over it. And I continue to pray the rosary every day and I know that my vocation is to in such a large part due to her and her really protecting me and really preserving me in so many different situations. So thank you, Blessed Mother."

Adam chose Maximilian Maria Kolbe as his Incredible Saint      

"There was St Maximilian Kolbe who never lost his dignity of himself and of his fellow prisoners. And it was his love of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary that allowed him to love both his fellow prisoners but also the guards there too. And it was also that same love for the Blessed Mother that allowed him to step out of line. As we were there in the courtyard what really rung true is that I've always heard the story that Maximilian Kolbe stepped out of line to take the place of this prisoner who was chosen to die for someone else who had escaped."

Adriene      

"Mary is special to me because she gave birth to someone who sacrificed himself for us, and without Mary doing that, Jesus wouldn’t have been born."

Alexandra       

"I never really thought about the Blessed Virgin Mother until I hit upon my teenage years and then it was to be as a symbol of purity and so that's what she's really meant to me during these years of my life as an example of holiness and purity in a young woman. And the Memorare is also an important prayer to me and I find that if you say it very slowly and you really think about all the words you are saying, that .. it'll come through to you. Whenever I've had trouble and I've said it, it seems like the trouble goes away so that's why it's an important prayer to me. I also say the rosary a lot too."

Alexandra      

"When I was aged 7 years old and made my confirmation, I took the confirmation name of Mary. Mary as a result has stayed with me all my life as my friend and as my guide. And I love her very much and I thank her very much for all I have received through her intercession."

Alexy      

"I feel very close to Our Lady because I was meant to be born dead and my mama prayed to the Virgin Mary and here I am!"

Alida      

"I'm studying fashion design at university and Mary has always been my inspiration for true beauty and elegance." 

Alison      

"What Mary means to me: she is a symbol of strong femininity, she helps me realise what all women are called to be and helps me realise my need to serve Our Lord in however He calls me."

Brother Alphonsus Mary      

"The Blessed Virgin Mary knows who we are and what our dignity is. Her love is constant and she is constantly calling us back to her Son Jesus." 

Brother Alphonsus Mary is a 'Little Brother of Carmel'.

Amanda      

In her response for Papa Bene, We Love You, Amanda describes how her music, her ministry and her marriage would not be the same without Pope Benedict XVI.

BXVI quote: "Be prepared to put your life on the line in order to enlighten the world with the truth of Christ; to respond with love to hatred and disregard for life; to proclaim the hope of the risen Christ in every corner of the earth."

Amanda has a Catholic music ministry, having performed at WYD Sydney 2008 & JMJ Madrid 2011 (amongst other international venues) - for more info visit her website.

Andrew      

Andrew is currently studying at seminary in Rome. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was the backdrop to his vocation story:

"So God had put Father Nick in my life a year earlier so that when He called me to priesthood I’d be able to respond and feel open to talking to this priest about my vocation."

Brother Angelo CFR      

"I wouldn’t even say that she is Our Lady but she is My Lady."

Brother Angelo is a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal.

Angie      

"To me, the Blessed Virgin is the Mother of Jesus, the Mother of the Church and the Mother of Angie."

Angie was at St Peter's (where this recording was done) for the canonization of Catherine Tekakwitha.

Anne      

"We have over the past 20 years done approximately 550 Youth 2000 retreats in the USA and, when I introduce the retreat to the people who are going to run the retreat, I always say to them that Our Lady is the person who will bring the young people to know her Divine Son, and every retreat we have we start with the rosary. I've been told by many people that young people are not into the rosary but I say 'Our Lady is the one that will bring them to the rosary.' It's really beautiful to see how Our Lady works: she is the mother of all these young people and it is through her that she brings them to know Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament."

Anne Brawley is the National Director of Youth 2000 in the USA. In TOP CHAT       
she chats to Ruth about how she got involved with Youth 2000 and its beginnings in the USA, the way Eucharistic adoration has been transforming young people's lives and the participation of Youth 2000 at World Youth Days since WYD Denver in 1993

"From that experience I thought it was really necessary to bring young people to the Eucharist to really understand their faith. So we planned a Youth 2000 retreat in the States in 1992, never dreaming it would last and that we would have 1 retreat. We had that retreat and 700 people came; from there we've now had over 500 Youth 2000 retreats in the States and we've been to 21 countries. So it was a great grace from God, it was an inspiration from Our Lady. The whole Youth 2000 programme is based on bringing young people to know the true presence, and I find that that is the great grace that God has given us to do this work."

Sister Anne FSP      

"As I reflect on the Angelus, Mary’s response ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord', we can look at that and say that's how she lived her life. I'm reflecting on this and like, you know, that's how God sees all of us, He sees all of us at his disposition. We're the ones who don't always see it that way, but we're really in the same position as Mary (except for the Immaculate Conception part) that our lives are entirely in God's hands. And maybe the great gift that Mary can give us is the gift of being able to reflect on that mystery of divine providence in our lives, that nothing comes my way that doesn't come to me in God's providence, I'm always at God's disposition, even when I'm not aware of it, even when I think I'm not, we're entirely within God's providential plan. And the trick is to get to the point where, Mary pondered on these things and reflected on them in her heart, always seeing things in the light of divine providence - that's the challenge for me, the Marian challenge that I have right now."

Sister Anne Flanagan, a daughter of St Paul, is from New Orleans. You can read her thoughts on her Nun blog and follow her on Twitter @nunblogger.

Anthony       

"Both my grandmother and my mother had a very strong devotion to the Blessed Mother. They taught me about Fatima, Our Lady of Fatima, and they said the rosary almost every day. So they instilled a devotion to the rosary and the Blessed Mother in me at a very young age."

Ashmeeta       

"I know that Mary has been my guardian, my spiritual advisor, and I am just so thankful and blessed for everything she has given me in this period. Amen."

Father Austin OP     

Father Austin Litke was ordained a Dominican priest this May. His Man for Others is his parish priest when he was a child:

"I started thinking about being a priest when I was 10 years old, because in my home parish there was a young priest who came and I started serving Mass, and the witness of his life, the way that he said Mass, the reverence with which he said Mass, the way that he dealt with people just really struck me and I just had this very deep sense that that's what I wanted to do when I grew up, that I wanted to be just like him. It took me almost 20 years later, when I was actually ordained a priest, to actually understand what that meant. On the day I was ordained I had about 80 people ask me 'Do you feel any different?' And, to be quite honest, the answer was no, I didn't feel different. But I knew that something was different because everyone from my mum and dad to complete strangers I met that day, treated me differently because I was a priest, because they knew that I'd been ordained for them, that I'd been set aside by God, to serve God and to serve his Church and to serve his people. It was no longer my personality or my gifts in particular, but because I was the priest, I was the one through whom God was working and they knew that I lived for them."

Ava      

"To me Mary is the perfect version of Our Lord and a good example for little kids. That is what she means to me."

Avery      

"Our Lady for me is a guiding force, a light, a spiritual mother to whom I can turn; in those moments of difficulty, a spiritual mother to whom I can turn in the moments when I need a hug or when I just want to say 'Thank you for your prayers'."

Barbara      

"I was raised on the family rosary. My mother had us all saying it every night. We raised our 7 children with the rosary and we have had nothing but blessings come through the rosary… The Blessed Mother is always there to give the healing touch."

Father Benjamin      

"Consecration to Mary is a beautiful devotion and is one of the most powerful things you’ll ever do."

Bob      

"Mary is the person that can help us and she is the most perfect creation of God, to be able to house and give birth to Jesus. So she is the most perfect creation in the world, so she's very venerable and I love her."

Brother Bob      

"I’m a brother in the Apostolate of the Suffering Silent workers of the Cross. Our apostolate is a Marian apostolate, our founder was inspired by the Blessed Mother's messages, especially at Fatima and Lourdes. At Lourdes her message was penance, penance and penance, and pray for the conversion of sinners. At Fatima she repeated this message in many ways but probably never as emphatically as when she said so many souls are lost because there's no one to pray to offer sacrifice for them. So we in the Apostolate of the Suffering encourage the suffering people, the sick people, to offer their prayers because they are very, very valuable."

Brandon      

"For me Mary is my heavenly Mama. She’s everything to me. She helps me when I’m feeling bad and she loves me in a way that only a mother truly can."

Brandon      

"What I liked about Pope Benedict is that he was such a prolific writer, the way he wrote and how he synthesised all of his thought and really centred around the person of Jesus in a very wonderful way."

Bria      

"Mary is a wonderful model of what it is to be a woman, and I think that that’s really important, especially nowadays for women trying to find your way to cope with femininity and to embrace it, and Mary does that so fully and perfectly that we can look to her as a role model. I know that Mary will always be there whenever I call to her and that's incredible and that's such a gift that God has given us."

Bria was a pilgrim to Lourdes (in France)      

"Lourdes was an incredible experience. It is such a place of love, so unique and so different from anywhere else in the world. You have people from all over who’ve journeyed to meet Our Lady and spend time with Our Lord. They’re all helping each other to get there, so that whatever ailment you may have, be it mental, physical, whatever, you can bring it there and people are able to help you. It is such a place of prayer, so peaceful and wonderful, and almost like what the world should be.
"

Brian      

"I really like the Sacrament of confession. I think it’s an amazing Sacrament coz it really makes you feel a lot better afterwards, you know, and it’s crazy how like God’s mercy and how He really does truly forgive you of everything, it just blows my mind."

Brice      

"Mother Mary for me is the woman who’s always protected me in my life, and unfortunately on my side I’m the man that has not always listened to her. But she’s always been very loving, very listening and very patient with me, and I thank her every day for what she does."

Brice's Incredible SaintAlphonsus de Liguori      

"He is the Church Doctor of morality and the reason he’s my favorite saint is he brings profound clarity on the position of both free will, decision making, and the teachings of the Catholic Church, and particularly how the Church and its guidance and directions actually open up who we are as individuals and he sheds light on the beauty of both Church teaching and how we become great people through being Catholic."

Bridget      

"Mary’s relationship has recently been growing with me, especially since this year because i decided to consecrate myself to Mary. And I never really thought too much about Mary, I always thought more of Jesus at the centre. But then this year someone told me about a new book that was a new consecration to Mary and it focuses on four saints, Maximilian Kolbe, John Paul II, Mother Teresa and Louis de Montfort, and it really taught me to appreciate Our Lady. Ever since then I just feel she's been watching over me and protecting me."

Bridget       .

"Mary is my biggest role model, better than any of the celebrities that all the kids look up to these days, because Mary really helps guide you everywhere you go, and leads you closer to Jesus, her son."

Bridget      

"Our Lady is a special mother who holds you in her arms and lifts you up when you need help."

Carol      

"Mary to me is totally amplified in the Pieta and when I look at the Pieta and see Mary caring for Jesus as a mother, she set such a wonderful example for motherhood and sacrifice and grace and all of those things that are very special and important."

Carolyn      

"I think Our Lady brought me to the Church ... I knew instinctively that I needed to be able to be her friend, that I needed to be able to pray with her and to her, and so I think she has been very important to me. I came to the Church when I was 18 through her intercession and she has been my treasured companion ever since. So, I love her."

Casey      

"To me Mary is always there for comfort, when I need her she’s there to guide me and help me with whatever I need."

Cassie      

Cassie has known and loved JP2 all her life, thanks to her mother's trip to WYD Denver in 1993.

JPII quote: "Peace is not a utopia nor an inaccessible ideal nor an unrealisable dream. War is not an inevitable calamity. Peace is possible."

Cheri       

"For me Mary is the ultimate role model, she has this love for all of her children - to be so pure for her entire life and to dedicate it to God, no matter how much hurt was there for her. I just remember watching Passion of the Christ, and as much as Christ has done for us, that was the forefront, but what really struck me was her love and her trust in God, that it was always 'God, Thy will be done' no matter how much suffering she was going through."

Chris      

"Mary is protrectress, Mary is intercessor, Mary is mother, Mary is caretaker, Mary is hope for the present age of history, Mary is (as Fulton Sheen talked about) the world's first love, she's the woman that God fell in love with and I'm not sure that anyone can merit a higher title than that. So Mary is unique in my life and I think unique in the life of the world and the life of every human being whether they know it or not. She's everyone's mother, she's Queen of the universe, Queen of the cosmos, the devil's worst enemy and God's greatest ally. And so pray the rosary, turn to Our Lady for help, ask her for all your needs, use the miraculous medal, find out more about devotion to her and love her very much because she loves you more than you can imagine."

Chris works at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy.

Chris      

"The Blessed Mother is always there for us, she’s always watching out for us, and she wants nothing more than for you to be like John, to just take her into your home. What other better thing can we do than to do what he said on the Cross: 'Behold your mother. Mother, behold your son.' So I encourage you at every step of the way: if you're having trouble, if you're enthused, if you just don't know what to do, go to Our Lady, always stay close to Our Lady, because she'll do nothing more than point you towards her son."

Chris      

"Mother Mary, I respect her and her courage for believing in God when the angel came to her and she trusted God's doing in having Jesus come to life and come to our presence."

Christina      

"Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, to me is truly a mother of perpetual help who carries me always and carries every disciple of her son. She leads always to Jesus. And she carries us so that we can arrive to the beatific vision and be happy in our lives and enjoy Jesus for all eternity."

Christine      

"I prayed the rosary as a child every day with my family and when I went to college I quit praying my rosary. After I was married for many years I came back to the rosary because some special prayers were answered through the recitation of the rosary and my husband got a job. After that I had much hope and much joy in Our Lord Jesus because His Blessed Mother was like my mother."

Christopher       

"It's an easy reminder to have rosaries because when I see the rosary I think of our sinless, beautiful Mother and it just makes me more prayerful and spiritual."

Christopher chose St Augustine as his Incredible Saint    

"The way he lived his life proves to all of us that God never gives up on any of us. He didn't have a great life and he spent his money on drinking and women. His mother prayed for him every day and night for ever, so that one day he would share in her faith, and he did and he turned his life all the way around and became one of our great saints."

Cody      

"To me Christmas is about receiving the love of God. It's just like the day that the world got the most precious gift ever really, which was God-with-us, and so it's about celebrating that love, celebrating His love for us, and as Christians sharing that love with the world."

Collette       

"I just love the Blessed Mother because she is my hero and my inspiration in every way."

Father Conrad Osterhout CFR      

"I always go back in a communion of hearts with my confessor, who was a friar, and to my high school years for the strong impetus that they were, to my parents that taught us how to pray so that I would have a longing for prayer, the inspiration comes through those years, and the good Franciscan sisters who taught us, taught us actually to wear our rosaries on our belts as young second graders and so we already had the form of looking like religious even though we weren't religious. So I would say there were many, many opportunities, the strongest being my confessor I guess, who carried me with grace and with Our Lady's prayers to choose the vocation to religious life and priesthood. Amen. Alleluia!"

Courtney      

"I suppose that Mary’s significance in my life is a very positive role of a Christian woman, because you think of the Church as being so masculine and male dominated, but really Mary stands to serve as a model of a Christian woman and a friend and a member of the community."

Dan      

"Mary is the first Christian - that's not something I made up, it's from the Gospels. And she was the first to say yes to Jesus, despite all the consequences and that is a model for both men and women. And she is the first apostle; she showed us that in order to bring Christ to others we have to bear Him within us, physically and spiritually. And she is also my mother and there's not much I can say about that because my affection for her is not just theological but it's also human and natural; and I thank God for the peace I have every day for being secure in my mother and my father."

Dan      

The Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane - "I feel a very close connection to Jesus in those moments because I feel him suffering with me and I imagine him feeling the sort of difficulties that we feel and knowing that he does that out of love for me gives me a great joy."

Daniel      

"What I find most interesting about Mary is her universality. I discovered Mary by the fact that her son said on the Cross 'Behold your mother' and wasn't just speaking to the beloved apostle but to the whole world. Just seeing Mary depicted in so many different pictures, in so many different cultures, as a mother, but in so many different ways, with so many different faces, just shows that Christ gave her as a gift. Through her yes and through her humility she accepted herself as this gift and He gave her to the world so that we might have one of our own to pray for us next to him. That just fascinates me and deepens my devotion all the more."

Deanna      

"I pray to Mary to give me strength to follow in her footsteps; to surrender to God and not be afraid; to keep going and just say yes every day."

Don      

"I am especially attached to Mary because she is the sweet lady who, with no doubts in her mind, was approached with the situation of being married to Joseph, being found pregnant with child, not understanding fully what was happening to her, but the main point is that she had no misgivings, she had no doubts in her mind that something was moving her to become the first yes person, to say 'yes' to something very important which, for us as individuals, when situations come our way, we often let them pass us by not even considering saying yes to the Lord, yes to what the Lord may want, to what Mary wants, and to what the saints want."

Doug     

"One thing I like about Mary is just how she points us to Christ and, in view of that, I like reflecting on the wedding at Cana, when the servants needed more wine first they went to Mary. In that they were able to get what they needed because Mary brought them to Christ. Also Mary's words 'Do whatever he tells you' so do whatever Jesus tells us."

In Man for Others, Doug, who's 22 & currently studying at seminary in Rome, talks of the witness given by his parish priest who 'raditated the joy of Christ', and of how the Sacrament of Confession was central to his vocation story       

"When the priest was giving me absolution, I just felt the really intense call to the priesthood. It was the most powerful I had ever felt God in my life, and I just knew it was from Him, and I had to answer the call even though I had a lot of fears about celibacy and loneliness. I just knew I had to follow His call because He's God and He really cares for me. So, after answering the call, I've come to realise a lot more joy in the priesthood in following the Lord's will."

At Christmas 2012, Doug served for BXVI at Midnight Mass at St Peter's      

"It was a very powerful experience ..filled with grace. Just seeing the man, who is old and fragile, this man who the Lord entrusted the Church with, through Peter, Pope Benedict still has the same duties given to Peter: he's given the keys of the Church, he's the rock on which our Church is built, and that strong, central figure of the Catholic Church was incarnate in Pope Benedict and for me it was just good to see that and to see him."

If you'd be up for giving your something about Mary,
please do get in touch with the Totus2us team

- as well as hopefully bringing you joy,
you'd be really helping Totus2us   ♥

Totus tuus ego sum et omnia mea tua sunt.
Accipio te in mea omnia. Praebe mihi cor tuum, Maria. - St Louis de Montfort

Blessed John Paul II took his motto Totus Tuus from this quote.

"I am totally yours and all that I have is yours.
I accept you for my all. O Mary, give me your heart.”