My first school was Academia Santa María in Ponce, an industrial town on the southern shores of Puerto Rico. It was here that I first said a rosary with my classmates, and learned as a kindergartner that the “big” girls loved Mary so much that they had a club called las Bernarditas, named after St. Bernadette of Lourdes. Since my full name is María de Lourdes, I was amazed by the importance given to this club by older classmates. I found it provoking that the older girls also thought it important to ask Mary for her protection and intercession on behalf of each of us as “women.”
Even after all these years, I still have in a keepsake box the small ribbon and medal of St. Bernadette that I received upon joining the club!
As I read today’s entry, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that this week our retreat will focus on St. Maximilian Kolbe, whose intimate devotion to Mary was particularly centered on how Mary revealed herself to St Bernadette of Lourdes—naming herself “the Immaculate Conception.”
It makes me smile to think how St. Maximilian Kolbe would have loved our Bernarditas club, and the emphasis that it placed on challenging each of us to develop a personal, intimate, and genuine relationship with Mary as our beloved Mother.
How can I foster and practice today the “purity of intention” that St. Maximilian Kolbe professed with his life?
Let Us Pray:
Mary, Mother of God, pray that I may be worthy of the promises of Christ.