There are many nights when I lay awake, mind swirling with worry and anxiety, and then there are nights when I lay awake heart overcome with the love and goodness of God. I love that latter kind of sleeplessness and gladly give up the slumber to relish the joy that flows throughout my heart and soul. Last night I had one of those sleepless nights of joy.
My good friends, Dick and Terry Boldin, are a divinely inspired couple who have given their lives completely over to the purpose of spreading devotion to the rosary. They began the Rosary Evangelization Apostolate in 2003 and have been actively sharing their love for Jesus and Mary with the Archdiocese of Milwaukee ever since. In honor of the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary they held a conference, Gazing on the Face of Jesus with Mary, that included a Friday night rosary and Mass with Archbishop Listecki and an all day Saturday conference at the gorgeous St. Jerome's Parish in Oconomowoc, WI. I was so honored to be invited to lector at the Friday night Mass and to be given the opportunity to promote Roses for Our Lady (Roses) and the Monthly Prayer Request for Priests (MPRP)at the conference on Saturday.
The conference included the opportunity to hear renown speakers Fr. Wade Menezes and Dr. Edward Sri speak on the value and importance of the Blessed Virgin and specifically on the rosary, in our lives today. They were both fabulous speakers and my pen couldn't take notes fast enough in an effort to remember all that they had to say.
But the highlights came in the little moments that punctuated the day...the opportunity for confession; seeing my son, John, fill in as a last minute server with the seminarians from St. Francis de Sales Seminary at the closing Mass with Bishop Perry from Chicago and being touched by the sight of John holding the Bishop's staff; witnessing the many, many people who stopped at my booth and offered a prayer at the statue of Our Lady of Fatima that I take with me to promote my organization (the statue belongs to my dear friend and Roses co-hort, Kurt Keidl)and meeting so many people who have a deep love for the Blessed Mother and a desire to pray for priests.
It is an amazing blessing to learn that I am not alone in my vocation to offer my all-my prayers and my life-for the sanctity of the many priests who bless my life, who bless all of our lives, with the gift of Christ personified through the Sacraments of the Church. So when I met people at the conference who were as excited as I am about praying for priests and who share my love and devotion for the Blessed Mother, I couldn't help but be overjoyed.
But by far, there was one person in particular who moved my heart at the conference. As I was busy working the crowd and sharing information about Roses and the MPRP, along came my friend, Fr. Jim Kubicki, SJ, who introduced me to Erin Berghouse, a woman who shares my interest in praying for priests. Erin is not only a beautiful person on the outside, but she is also a beautifully holy soul on the inside with the gift of a lovely singing voice which she generously shares for the glory of God. Erin had been the guest soloist of the day, singing Anima Christi after Holy Communion and several of her original compositions about the Blessed Virgin Mary throughout the day. Her music is amazingly beautiful and touching; each time she sang I was overcome with chills and tears. Erin is clearly filled with the Holy Spirit and is as equally moved as I am to pray for priests. How lovely it is to meet a kindred spirit and a new friend!
Please visit Erin's website to learn more about her and to order her music. For a sampling you might enjoy The Priest Song which she wrote in honor of the Year of the Priest.
As I spent time this weekend gazing upon the face of Jesus with Mary, it became evident to me that Jesus and Mary were both gazing upon me as well, and the looks they shared with me were pure love, and so when I finally do succumb to sleep I know it will be under the ever watchful looks of love from my beautiful Jesus and His Blessed Mother. Sweet dreams my friends!