Living Under Mary’s Mantle

By Fr. Michael Weitl

This article will be my last for The St Hilda’s Parish Website, as I will soon be returning to the Madonna House headquarters in Combermere, Ontario.

I am so grateful for these past three and a half years, living in North Yorkshire (God’s own country).

The first and most lasting impression of living in our house in Robin Hoods Bay is that it truly is Our Lady’s home. It’s as if Mary’s mantle covers this house and all the activities therein. Sometimes people will ask what we do here at Madonna House. One good answer is, “We try to keep up with Our Lady’s plans!” [Note to those unaccustomed to such an articulation: Mary wants whatever God wants, and her principle activity is to intercede, praying that His will be done at every moment.]

Photograph by Fr. Michael Weitl

This is a photo that I took of a centuries’ old fresco on the exterior of a building along a street in Assisi (the attached file has it in colour).

I did a bit of looking, and I’m not sure that it is even known who painted it. Could this image be used with the article? The caption could be “Ancient fresco in Assisi.

I am convinced that Mary is the true organizer of our diary. She has led us to give talks to various schools and groups as well as to be present to dozens of diocesan, ecumenical, and community events (even bringing us to Lourdes).

She has given us opportunities to explore and cherish the many treasures of this beautiful land. And, she has even made use of various unforeseen circumstances to free up our diary when we were liable to run ourselves ragged by saying ‘yes’ to more than what God was asking!

But, what I have most cherished during my time here is witnessing the very simple and gentle ways in which so many individuals (and groups) have experienced a restorative peace come upon them by simply being, even for a moment, in this her home.

Many people have told me that they have felt loved and accepted here. I have seen people walk away with problems somehow lessened, and I have watched burdens, large and small, fall from people’s shoulders, as joy and openness returned to their faces.

What I am absolutely certain of, is that such experiences are not a result of our personal greatness! In fact, I think that one conviction that people must walk away with as they leave this place is that Madonna House members are diverse individuals who are ordinary, bumbling along, sort of messy, and certainly not having it all together!

We are no experts in any particular area, except that just maybe Our Lady is making us ‘experts’ in being imperfect, little and humbled (in spite of our pride), and desperately reliant on God’s Divine assistance for everything. Perhaps this is why at least some individuals feel at home among us. In any case, Mary seems to be at ease among such a lot. And it is her presence, most of all, that brings peace.

It seems that Mary often lead us to an interior place where we cannot make our home in self-reliance, where we need God’s help, and where we need to fall into His loving arms. Then, with Mary, we are truly home—home in His merciful love.

Thank You, God, for these past years, living in Mary’s home here in Robin Hoods Bay.

Previous Months Letters from Madonna House

May 2024: Vocation & Journey in Christ’ By Mathieu Dacquay

April 2024: Christ Lives! By Carol Ann Gieske

March 2024: Putting everything ‘on the altar’ By Jeanne Guillemette

February 2024: Finding Peace in Surrender to Christ By Mathieu Dacquay

January 2024: Celebrating Epiphany with the Christian east By Fr. Michael Weitl

December 2023: Journeying through Advent with Joseph By Carol Ann Gieske

November 2023: The Saints Are Alive By Jeanne Guillemette

October 2023: Ordinary Miracles By Mathieu Dacquay