I spent most of my life not truly knowing Mary, even though I knew all of her prayers by heart. But a personal relationship with her only began a year ago, when I was struggling deeply with my history with men.
I was born in a non-Christian family, with parents who are devout Buddhists. As I grew, I had a negative impression of Christianity due to the - to put it bluntly - 'cheap marketing' of Jesus by the Evangelicals and Pentecostals.
The first day of the year [or the 8th day of Christmas :)] also marks a special day for us Catholics - the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. The Virgin Mary who in her singular act of submission and faith at the annunciation carried the Christ, the Saviour, in her womb for nine months; who in her motherhood nurtured the Prince of Peace.
As I opened the door and walked into the Carmelite monastery, I was immediately overwhelmed by a sense of serenity and solitude. It was my third time visiting the monastery and I am still amazed by the pristine surroundings on the top of a hill. Indeed, many come here to seek peace and quiet in these sequestered grounds, away from the hustle