It happened in the back of a cop car: the Blessed Virgin Mary showed me her motherly care.
It began while I was stuck in traffic on a daytrip bus tour through the Scottish highlands, and I was running late to catch my flight. When I booked the tour, I had carefully questioned the time to make sure it would not make me too late for my return flight. I was traveling alone and needed to catch a flight in Glasgow in order to make it on time to my connection in London before catching the final flight home to where I was living in Poland. Yikes! A travel sequence of two airplanes and possibly some trains were dependent on my catching the first flight.
Our poor tour guide could do nothing about it. It was a mini tour of about eight people, and we were stuck behind an accident on the highway’s bridge back to the main part of the city. The road was closed: there was no way around it and no way to turn around. The sun was setting, and I was getting nervous and desperate. I prayed to Our Lady and asked for a miraculous intervention, that she would make the seemingly impossible possible.
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Then I took the only action I could. I disembarked from the tour bus in the middle of the highway, suitcase in tow, and ran along the side of the road — a lone girl laden with luggage on a darkening night in a strange place, attempting to make my way on foot to the bridge and over to the other side. There I could escape the traffic and hope to catch a taxi to the airport. As I hurried up to the bridge on what I thought was a walking path along the road, a policeman stopped me, inquiring what I was doing. He cautioned that it wasn’t safe, and I explained my urgent situation. He advised me to return to my bus as they were just opening the bridge to traffic now.
That was impossible. I had left the tour bus a good distance behind me, where I had agreed with the kilt-wearing tour guide that, if I chose to leave the bus, there was no rejoining the group and there was no longer anything he could do to help me. I was on my own. I insisted to the officer that I had to make my way over the bridge. He told me to wait a minute until he finished opening the bridge to traffic. When he reappeared a few minutes later, he offered a solution: “My partner and I will give you a ride over the bridge in our squad car. We can drop you off at a hotel just on the other side of the bridge where you’ll be able to call a taxi.” I breathed a sigh of relief!
By the time I made it in the car and the officers and I had engaged in some friendly conversation, they changed their minds. “No worries,” they said. “We’re going to take you straight to the airport and make sure you have time to eat a nice dinner before you catch your flight.” Off we sped, one Scottish and one Irish cop giving me, a perfect stranger, a personal escort to the airport. I made it in more than enough time to enjoy a leisurely sit-down dinner of classic haggis, neeps and tatties in the airport while marveling at the goodness and provision of God. I must tip my hat to the hospitality and kindness of the Scottish police, but more than that, I stand in awe of how powerfully and swiftly the Blessed Mother intervened with a more-than-perfect solution — with the best story of my journey. That has been my experience of her love and care over and over again: When in desperation, stress, fear, or anxiety, call out to her in faith, and she will meet you there and lift you up over and over and over again.
I consecrated myself to Jesus through Mary during my college days, and I remember hearing at the time that it would be a completely life-changing experience — that Mary would take charge of my life and take me on the most wild, beautiful journey imaginable, if only I were willing to give her the reins and let her lead me to Jesus.
I can honestly say that has been my experience and more — from the doors that have opened in my schooling and profession, to countless adventures traveling the world, to my experience of marriage and bearing a child of my own. Mary is my mother, and her constant care and attention are evident over every part of my life.
As I prepared to give birth to my own firstborn son, I was left in awe at how deliberately Mary shows herself to those who have given everything to her. Mary has even used the calendar to reveal her greatness to me: The original consecration day was Dec. 8, the Solemnity of her Immaculate Conception. A couple years later, I was worried I might struggle with infertility because I had experienced 148 days without a menstrual cycle. The day my cycle miraculously returned was the anniversary of my consecration day — the day we celebrate Mary’s conception. Years later, I learned I was pregnant on none other than Mary’s birthday, Sept. 8. I suffered through nausea for months (even experiencing nausea for nearly a month before I could achieve a positive pregnancy test result), but it all subsided on Dec. 8. A month later on Jan. 1, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, I felt our baby move for the first time. And finally, the due date for our baby boy was mid-May, the month of Our Lady.
My experience of motherhood is so deeply linked to my special bond with Mary, my mother. Call it a handful of coincidences if you like, but that is something I’ll never be able to believe. And so we met our son Dominic, named (among other things) in honor of St. Dominic’s devotion to Our Lady and her Rosary.
My story will never be yours, but I can guarantee you this: When you give it all to Mary, your story will be unique, vibrant, miraculous. She will transform your mistakes into beauty, your pain into redemption, your life into legend. It is truly that simple. Be a child, and let her.
How do you say yes to this challenge? It’s simple: Choose a Marian feast day. Find the day 33 days prior to the feast, and begin your consecration. There are many courses of preparation. Choose the one that speaks most directly to you. Here are a few of the most popular:
- “33 Days to Morning Glory” by Father Michael Gaitley
- “True Devotion to Mary with Preparation for Total Consecration” by St. Louis de Montfort
- “Totus Tuus: A Consecration to Jesus through Mary with Saint John Paul II” by Father Brian McMaster
- “Marian Consecration for Families with Young Children” by Colleen Pressprich
But how do you keep your consecration fresh in your mind and heart? How do you claim it, not as a passing devotion, but as something that defines your daily existence? Here are a few ideas:
- Wear or carry a miraculous medal.
- Pray the simple prayer inscribed on the miraculous medal every day: “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”
- Honor Mary’s feast days with special anticipation and excitement.
- Pray the Rosary often.
- Share the wonders Mary works in your life with your family and friends.
- If you have consecrated yourself to Mary before but have never done so with your husband, children, family, or friends, find a way to share this entrustment with them.
What matters most is not the method but your heart. Will you trust it all to Mary? With St. John Paul II, will you make her your motto? Totus Tuus, Maria; all yours, Mary. That is my prayer, for when I belong fully to Mary, then I belong most fully to Jesus.