Dear Little Handmaids, sisters in our Sorrowful Mother,
Several weeks ago I was speaking from the heart to our Sorrowful Mother. I was telling her that I felt that I am not doing enough for the Little Handmaids, to help us to grow spiritually. I received a prayer image of me as a very small girl (maybe 2 years old) sitting on our Mother’s lap. In the image I placed my very small hand in Mother Mary’s much larger hand. I was trying to see how my hand compared to my Mother’s hand. Did it look similar? Then our Sorrowful Mother communicated to me that she has that kind of close bond with each of the little handmaids.
In the weeks since then, I have come to understand that the image was our Mother’s way of calling us to reflect on our relationship with her, which is the Heart of our consecration to her and, through her, to Jesus.
With this in mind, I am beginning (with Fr. Jaime’s permission) a series of reflections on our relationship with our Sorrowful Mother, with the goal of our hearts being formed in her Heart. When I send a reflection out, it will end with a question, which you will be invited to reflect on, and, if you would like, you can write your reflection and send it to me, and Rosy and I will send it out to the rest of the little handmaids. With your permission, we will post your reflection on our website, and I will use the reflections to compose a monthly devotional to send out to everyone on our contact lists.
Please pray that the “Holy Spirit living in Mary,” will bless this endeavor.
In the beautiful Hearts of Mary and Jesus,
"...true devotion to our Lady is holy, that is, it leads us to avoid sin and to imitate the virtues of Mary. Her ten principal virtues are: deep humility, lively faith, blind obedience, unceasing prayer, constant self-denial, surpassing purity, ardent love, heroic patience, angelic kindness, and heavenly wisdom. (from True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary by St. Louis de Montfort)
Mary Comes to Us in Our Need
Mary is Sorrowful Mother to all of her suffering children, and our consecration begins when she comes to us in our time of deep need, as is expressed in the song Come to the Cross by Annie Karto (http://www.sorrowfulmother.net/come-to-the-cross.html):
Come to the Cross,
come stand by me.
I who am your Mother
love you tenderly.
I see your tears;
I know your pain.
In my pierced heart
I felt the same.
I have already shared with you how Our Sorrowful Mother came to me when I was desperately in need of loving support when my daughter, Sofia, was going through a period of intense aggression.
Our Sorrowful Mother continues to touch me with her presence when I am in need of a Mother’s comforting, encouraging presence. On Valentine’s Day I took Sofia, who is now 23, (going on 3 developmentally) to McDonald’s, and I bought her a parfait and me a hot mocha. Then I drove to Moore Park, across from McDonald’s and parked in a pretty spot so we could enjoy our treats. Sofia finished her parfait “lickety-split” and “jumped” out the car, moving quickly. I thought she wanted to take a walk, so I followed her. But she didn’t walk very far. She plopped down on the ground and started playing in a patch of dirt. There were some people at a picnic table about 30 feet from us, so I was not comfortable with Sofia’s behavior, but I found out years ago that I can’t make Sofia stop doing something that she wants to do. So I was just trying to talk her into going back to the car. “Let’s take a long ride, Sofia. You like to take a long ride.”
Then, out of the blue, I heard Mother Mary speak to me in my heart: “I am with you.” I silently spoke back to her: “I’m embarrassed…What are you feeling?” (It occurred to me that she might be able to give me a wiser perspective on my situation.) Mother Mary responded: “I am pleased with your patience.” (Wow! That relieved my stress a lot!)
Soon Sofia got up and started walking back to the car. “I’m relieved,” I said to Mary. “What do you feel?” Mother Mary responded, “I am pleased with your perseverance.” Her words were like a whirlpool bath washing all of my tension away!
Question for Reflection: How has Our Sorrowful Mother come to you in your deep need?
I have been taking prayer workshops, and one of the sessions that most got to me was the one which shows the obedience of Mary. When she was told by the Angel that she was going to be impregnated by the Holy Spirit, she showed only acceptance; she did not argue, did not complain, did not put her interests before God's command. She just said, “Let there be in me the will of God.” She suffered a great deal when she saw her only Son die on the cross, and even there she did not complain, did not argue, did not question God.
I am trying to live in that acceptance of the will of God, and even though it is very hard, I can feel her hand on my shoulder when I'm struggling to understand God's plan, encouraging me to keep going, to only see that God loves us, and that everything happening in my life is for the greatness of God, because I, like Mary, am a servant of the Lord.
"...true devotion to our Lady is interior, that is, it comes from within the mind and the heart and follows from the esteem in which we hold her, the high regard we have for her greatness, and the love we bear her." (from True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, #106, by St. Louis de Montfort)
I am confident that my Mother Mary arrived at a moment in my life when I needed her so much. She was, and will always continue to be, a blessing in my home. I feel secure with her.
I feel that she inspired in me more devotion to Santa Teresita del Niño Jesús (St. Therese, the Little Flower), whom I love so much. After all, Mother… She lives in my heart, cares for my children, and always gives to me. So I am very grateful.
Thank you for having presented to us this devotion, and may God bless you,
The way Our Sorrowful Mother came to me in my time of need was when I got married for the first time. This was a marriage that would last nine years, and would end in divorce. Our Sorrowful Mother came to me through my friend Mary, who took a trip to Medjugorje. When she came back she told me that the Virgin Mary was appearing to 4 young girls and 2 boys and that she was giving messages to them. She even showed me a photo that was taken at the time of the apparition, and when it was developed the image of a beautiful looking young woman came out.
In that instant I was fascinated and excited. I wanted to share this with everyone, but as always, it was faster to just share it with my Mom. After I walked to my Mom's house, she told me that I looked like I ran to her house; that's how quick I got there. My house was about 10 blocks from hers, and at that time I did not know how to drive. My Mom also told me that I looked like Saint Elizabeth when she greeted her cousin Mary (Lk 1:43): "Who am I, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?” And that is exactly how I felt.
Well, ever since then, the Virgin Mary has been with me. I have been on fire for her. I have wanted to do everything for her and I have, even though I was in a marriage that was not meant to be, and by the grace of God, I was able to get out. Our Lady was always with me, because since the beginning, she excited me to look into the Church's teachings.
I also watched EWTN which was also in its beginnings. I would try to watch as many shows as I could; I guess I was hungry for our Catholic faith. And with this came translations from English to Spanish, so that I could share all this with my Mother, who seemed just as excited.
I also received a book called Marian Movement of Priests, messages given to Father Stefano Gobbi. I would read this book every day; this was the way I felt Our Lady communicated with me. I would open the book randomly, and a lot of the times the message read, "Your liberation is near." Believe me, it was never my intention to be liberated from anything; it all just kind of fell into place.
It has been 25 years since Our Lady came to me, and she has never left me. After going through a divorce and an annulment, I am now happily married and still doing translations from English to Spanish, not only for my mother, but also for the Little Handmaids and anyone else who needs me.
Everything for the glory of God and His Will!
Rosie, a little handmaid of Our Sorrowful Mother
"...true devotion to our Lady is constant. It strengthens us in our desire to do good and prevents us from giving up our devotional practices too easily. It gives us the courage to oppose the fashions and maxims of the world, the vexations and unruly inclinations of the flesh and the temptations of the devil. Thus a person truly devoted to our Blessed Lady is not changeable, fretful, scrupulous or timid." (from True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, #109, by St. Louis de Montfort)
How did our Sorrowful Mother come to you in your deep need?
I would like to share with all of you, my sisters, that I never thought that someone, representing my Mother, would ask me that question. That someone must be, without a doubt, very pleasing in the eyes of Mary, and identified with her, especially in suffering…I have been living for 75 years. I have lived my life well, and have enjoyed it. I have my husband, who is my life, my strength, and my companion; I could say that he is my all, if I didn’t know that there is Someone who cares even more intensely for me: my God, and my Mother Mary.
I have five children and seven grandchildren; they are my breath, my joy, and my hope. I have my mother in law, who is 96 years old, and she suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. With her I have learned many lessons from Jesus, about how much He needs from us, here on earth—not in heaven—here!
Also a granddaughter lives with us, and I have no doubt that, in the manner in which God works, she gives us life. She is hyperactive, has A.D.H.D. Our Mother of Guadalupe protects her; I have been a witness of that protection. It is my hope that no one will hurt her, because my Mother will defend her. I pray a lot for those who are close to her, more than for her.
I have been in dialysis for five years, and God has shown Himself to me more clearly there, because, while science and technology make gigantic steps, can you imagine the incredible advances that Almighty God has for us, His children? No one should complain; it is not just. God has given us everything, and at this moment he is pouring out an abundance of His Mercy.
I’m going to share with you a spiritual experience I had. I was seated in my dialysis chair, and Jesus showed me, through the door across from the chair, some clouds that moved and then stopped. Afterwards he showed me a waterfall where pure water poured out. I know through other experiences that no one else saw that. During the vigil of prayer that I make, I asked Jesus and Mary what was it that I saw, and they opened my understanding, so that I could know that the clouds were a message from heaven, and the waterfall of pure water was the fount of Divine Mercy that floods souls for our salvation. God is working intensely, never doubt that! The battle against evil is already won, through the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, you can count on it.
Now I’m going to answer the question of what makes me a little handmaid of the Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart of Mary. Since before my birth, my Mother (Mary) has taken care of me; step by step, and especially in the most difficult moments, she has been with me. If sometimes I have ignored her help, now at this age—with a terminal illness and with so many manifestations that I have received—she has sustained me in all my struggles. Many ask: “Why her and not Jesus? That question does not bother me, because where she is, there is Jesus. Jesus gives the first place to His Mother, more than anyone else does.
There is a prayer taught to me by Fr. Gobbi—whom I still cry for, that he rest in peace. He says in his writings: “When you are confused, or you don’t know what to do or how to act, pray this ejaculation, which our Mother taught me, and she herself will come in to do what you cannot do: “Mother, I believe in you, I trust in you, I permit you to act for me—tell me what to do. I believed Fr. Gobbi, and for more than 15 years I have prayed this ejaculation that I have shared with you today. Believe it, live it, and you will see incredible results, and you will realize that our Sorrowful Mother is so close to all of her children.
With great love, deeply inside the Hearts of Jesus and Mary,
Rosy (Alfaro), a little handmaid of the Sorrowful Heart of Mary
(true devotion)...is trustful, that is to say, it fills us with confidence in the Blessed Virgin, the confidence that a child has for its loving Mother. It prompts us to go to her in every need of body and soul with great simplicity, trust and affection. (True Devotion to Mary, St. Louis de Montfort)
The way, I remember, Our Sorrowful Mother came to me in my time of need was through my friend, Mary. It was a time that I had problems with my mother and my sister. I did not know what to do, and I was desperately worried. My friend, Mary, who was living at the time, suggested that I make a trip to see Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos, and said that she would help me. I told my friend that it sounded like a good idea, but Our Lady of San Juan is in Mexico, and at that time I could not travel that far. She told me that I did not have to, that Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos also has a church here in Texas. I was amazed, because I had only heard of this devotion to Our Lady of San Juan to be in Mexico. I decided to travel to Pharr, Texas to visit the Shrine and to promise Our Lady that, if she helped me, I would go back to visit her in her shrine. I also promised her that I would go inside the church walking on my knees until I reached her statue. My prayers were answered, and that particular situation was solved. I went back to The Basilica of San Juan de los Lagos, walking on my knees as I had promised Our Lady. Our Sorrowful Mother comes to us, and she makes it easy for us to go to her, no matter where we're at.
One experience I had of Mary coming to me may not sound very dramatic but was very powerful to me. I was awaiting a biopsy result and I was very tense as I braced myself for what might turn out to be cancer. During those days, I turned to Our Mother of Perpetual Help. The familiar icon of Mary holding the Child Jesus as He ran to her in fear of the Passion that was shown to Him, depicts Him sitting on her arms with a sandal dangling from His foot, which got loosened by His running to His mother, and the two angels on top carrying the instruments of His future torture. Remembering this icon, (in prayer) I ran to my Mother. Within no time, I felt a sudden surge of courage and submission to whatever would come and it stayed with me for the days until I received my result. It was negative, and I was fine; but the whole thing left me permanently confident that my Mother is always with me, carrying me in her arms.
I was 8 years old in 1963 when my father had a heart attack and died. We were attending 8:00 Mass, on the feast of Christ the King, when he began to have symptoms. Mother spoke of it always. When he began to sweat profusely and have chest pain during Consecration, he sat down and told Mom he felt badly. And she always said that it was at this time that she heard the voice of the Blessed Mother saying, "Do you not realize that I am his mother?" She always talked about this, how she was sure she had heard these words, and how she knew she was turning him over to her.
Many years later, in 2003, my mother passed away. I held her in my arms as I turned her over to God. Then came the hardest time--going to her house, to begin to go through her things to dispose of some and to save others. First, I sat at the kitchen table and cried. I cried until I couldn't cry any more, and then I rose from my chair and turned around, and my eyes fell on a church bulletin that she had laying on a side table. On it was a picture of the Virgen de Guadalupe, and the words on it read, in the words of the Virgen de Guadalupe to Juan Diego, "Let nothing frighten you nor afflict you. Am I not here, who am your mother?" And I knew that Mary was there with me, and I was able to finish my task. I joined the Guadalupana Society while my mother was alive. Mama was a Guadalupana, as was her mother. But I know that it was when I lost my mother that our Sorrowful Mother knew I was hurting, and came to comfort me, as she comforted my mother when she lost the only man she ever loved in her life.