A handfull of years ago, my oldest daughter, Anamaría, spent a semester abroad (or rather, down under!) in Santiago de Chile, where she was introduced to the Schoenstatt Movement. That's the first time I ever heard of Schoenstatt When our family flew to Chile to visit Anamaría, the first place she took us was daily Mass at the Santuario de Schoenstatt in Santiago.
Since then, in God's sense of humor, Schoenstatt has entered my life through very different sources: my dear friend Rachel is involved with the Movement in Austin; my brother Ignacio's parish is ministered by Schoenstatt priests; and my writer friend Marge Fenelon is a part of the Movement in Wisconsin!
It is my pleasure today to introduce you to Marge and tell you about her newest book, "Imitating Mary: Ten Marian Virtues for the Modern Mom." And I will let Marge tell you in her own words about Schoenstatt and her intimate devotion to Mary through the Movement.
Marge, please tell me about your personal story with Mother Mary, your relationship with her.
My story with Mother Mary is a rather quiet one - not an earth-quaking,
blinding light experience like some others have had, but rather an awareness
of her presence that's grown consistently throughout my life, beginning when
I was only a year old. She's just always...there. But the fact that she's
always there draws me more and more deeply into her heart.
How did you first meet Mother Mary?
When I was one year old, my mother (carrying me along) briefly met the
founder of the Apostolic Movement of Schoenstatt, Fr. Joseph Kentenich. Fr.
Kentenich was visiting the home of my childhood neighbor, and the woman
invited my mom to meet this amazing man. Before we parted, Fr. Kentenich
gave my mom a picture of the Blessed Mother and Child Jesus - a copy of the
picture enthroned in the Schoenstatt Marian Shrines throughout the world. My mom took the picture home and hung it above our living room couch, where it remained for many years.
I was a sickly little girl, and spent many hours lying on that couch, always looking up at Mary above me. That was just the beginning of a relationship that would continue to grow, even until this day. I honestly believe Fr. Kentenich placed me under Mary's protection that day, and I owe a debt of gratitude to him. I've been through some really severe trials and dangers in my life and have each time come through relatively unscathed and with the conviction that my Mother Mary had been there, hanging on to me and shielding me from harm.
You have many other books on Mary, why THIS one? What makes it different?
Basically, this is payback—to Mary for all that she has done for me in my
life, and subsequently for the Fenelon Clan. One component of my life's
mission is to lead others to our Blessed Mother, and to share the gift that
I was given—being placed under her protection. We don't need another
person to do that for us; we can do it ourselves. We only have to ask her,
and she will do it.
I also know that one cannot confidently placed himself/herself under the
protection of a stranger, and so I set out to write a book that would truly
bring Mary to life for readers, making her so real that they could actually
picture themselves having a cup of coffee or tea at the kitchen table, with
Mary sitting across from them. She doesn't say much, but she's a great
What do you hope readers will walk away with after reading your book?
I put a lot of prayer, research and detail into the various scenes in Mary's
life so as to make them so real that readers can feel as though they're
actually right there, taking it all in along with our Blessed Mother. While
the book is angled toward mothers of all ages, I hope that even those who
are not mothers will read and learn about Mary from it—even men! Initial
response from male reviewers has testified to that.
Additionally, women who have not had the gift of a positive mothering experience growing up will benefit from the book, too. My hope is that reading Imitating Mary will help replace their missing experience, develop a genuine relationship with Mary, and from that form their own blessed motherhood, whether that be physical or spiritual.
How did writing this particular book change YOU?
The writing of Imitating Mary was a spiritual journey for me. As I worked
through the manuscript, I came to the realization that, for as much as I
already knew about Mary, there was always more to know. For as deep as I
thought my relationship was with her, it could always go deeper. I can
honestly say that the writing of Imitating Mary has enhanced my knowledge
of, and love for, Mary in unimaginable ways.
Now for a very important question, where can we get your book?
You can get personally inscribed copies from my website at www.margefenelon.com. Or you can check out your local Catholic bookstore. You can also order online at Ave Maria Press, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.
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Readers take note!
I have one copy of “Imitating Mary” to give away! To be entered to win, just leave a comment below. You may leave separate comments if you also share this post/giveaway on Twitter and Facebook. The contest ends at 8 pm CST on Sunday, May 5.
You can also win a copy of "Imitating Mary" at Ave Maria Press, but hurry! Their contest ends today, May 2!
To see the other blog stops on Marge’s Blog Tour, go here.