Our mother Mary has may names. She is Notre Dame, Our Mother. She is Our Lady of Grace, Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of the Resurrection, Our Lady of the Snows, Our Lady of the Black Hills, Our Lady of the Lake, and so many others. Each of these names focuses on a facet of the wonders of her love for us.
Today is the feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, which has a special meaning for me, especially right now.
After growing up in the Boston area, and attending Notre Dame, I moved with my fiance (now husband) to Rapid City, South Dakota. The past three and a half years have been an adventure! Next week, I will be driving to New York where I am taking a new position and starting a new chapter of my life with my husband.
During the three and a half years we have lived in South Dakota, my husband and I have attended the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. She has watched over us as we struck out on our own, making our own little family (husband, wife and cat) in our own little house, far away from family and friends. She was there with us through homesickness, through illnesses, through the scary moments when we didn’t know what to do, and also through the parties, the new friends, and all of our small victories.
Mary is our Mother, doubly so when our earthly mothers are too far away to stand by us through the scary moments of our daily lives. I’ll admit to breaking down and calling home for everything from the ingredients for a favorite recipe to minor medical emergencies. When you’re lost or scared, you call your mother, that’s how it works. But even my mom, who is pretty good about keeping her cell phone around and answering it, can’t hold my hand through every day of my adult life, especially from 2000 miles and two time zones away. So I had to learn to turn somewhere else first, to turn to my Mother, who is always there to help and guide me, and let her take my hand in my trials. Sometimes, I still wind up calling mom in Boston, but with a combination of support from her and from Mother Mary, I am learning to act independently, to handle my minor crises, and become ever more like these two strong women that are so very important to me.
Today, I am reflecting on three and a half years of living in the shadow of Our Lady’s Cathedral here in Rapid City. I’m remembering all of the changes and experiences we have encountered here, and the constant feeling of being watched over by my ever-present Mother through it all. I am praying for her continued presence and her help during this time of change in my life, and in my husband’s, for her motherly presence with us both as we embark on the six week separation required by our moving plans, and our new adventure in New York. I am praying for her centering presence and calming influence as I plan the upcoming Ladies of Our Lady retreat. I am confident that my Mother with be with me.