Dearest Mother Mary, I remember the day I first called on you as a mother. Even though I had been baptised as an adult eight years before, I was totally ambivalent towards you – I acknowledged your presence only on Christmas and prayer cards, the latter pretty much ignored. Perhaps it was because I had never really been close to my own mother, or because I had mostly non-Catholic Christian friends growing up, or because I simply found the rosary repetitive, boring and unnecessary when I could just pray to God and Jesus directly, quickly and succinctly.

If you ever feel distressed during your day, call upon Our Lady. Just say this simple prayer: ‘Mary, Mother of Jesus, please be a mother to me now.’ – St Teresa of Calcutta

But on that fateful day, when my youngest child was only a year old and had been in hospital for ten days for a high fever that would not break, I called upon you in desperation as one distressed mother to another. You were the last resort – I had called on the Father and the Son the past nine days with no answer – yet you helped me. The next morning the fever broke, and my relationship with you was never the same again.

Love Our Lady. And she will obtain abundant grace to help you conquer in your daily struggle. – St Josemaria Escriva

Dearest Mother, you helped me again in my struggles during my spiritual Dark Ages. Like you, God had sent me an honourable and wonderful Catholic man to love and provide for me, but whose work often left me alone at home. Like you, I had to give up my own plans for a promising future when I became a young mother (of three, in quick succession), living simply on a single income.

Like you, I had to clean, wash, tidy and child-mind, with no helper, parents or in-laws to assist except dear Grandma who I thought was the greatest cook in Christendom. But unlike you, I was a frustrated housewife with no prayer life, angry and proud yet of low self-worth, and it was my poor husband and children who suffered for it. That we are still a loving, intact family today is testimony that you indeed aided us all with your grace, albeit utterly unmerited, for we would often fall asleep during our short-lived attempts at evening family rosaries. Through your home-schooling, I learnt to love you and Our Lord more and more.

United to the Holy Spirit as his spouse, Our Lady is one with God in an incomparably more perfect way than can be predicated of any other creature… Let us beg our Blessed Mother that she might teach us how our soul might be a handmaid of the Lord, as was her own. – St Maximilian Kolbe

Dearest Mother Mary, you know I had no personal relationship with your Son. But that would change when Grandma was baptised and her simple faith in the power of your intercession – she would pray five decades of the rosary for each family member, both morning and evening every day – would lead me, despite much resistance and skepticism on my part, to the Life In The Spirit Seminars. It was there, nine years after I was baptised with water, that I personally encountered your Son and was baptised with your spouse, the Holy Spirit. Thus my spiritual Renaissance began. I slowly but surely started living a life in the Spirit, tasting his fruits, receiving his gifts and using them in service as a handmaid of the Lord in various ministries in the parish. I remember thanking you for teaching me the meaning of your Magnificat. But at the same time, I knew the Spirit was preparing me for a mission I intuited would not be easy.

Turn your eyes incessantly to the Blessed Virgin; she who is the Mother of Sorrows, and also the Mother of Consolation, can understand you completely and help you. Looking to her, praying to her, you will obtain that your tedium will become serenity, your anguish change to hope, and your grief into love. – St John Paul II

Dearest Mother, you only had the One child and I had the three, but I too had that one child who caused a sword to pierce my heart, beneath whose cross I also had to sit as she was, in turn, misunderstood and rejected by the very people she was trying to help, and left grieving by the tragic and untimely loss of one very dear to her heart. Then, in her weakness of spirit, she was deceived by the lies of the Evil One away from God and fell into the depths of Sheol. I was greatly distressed but completely helpless.

Yet, she was the very same child whose fever you broke that fateful day you changed my life, and once again I prayed: “Mary, Mother of Jesus, please be a mother to her now.” This time, there was no miracle of instant healing, but I am at peace because I know that you, her Mother, the Queen of Heaven and Earth, are watching over her and interceding for her until such time as your Son heal her and your Spouse bring her back to our Father. In the meantime, emulating your humility, obedience and surrender to God’s will, I thank and praise him that he has given me a glimpse of the love and the pain that filled both your Immaculate Heart and his Sacred Heart.

Through the Mother of God, the entire human race was renewed, and the sorrow of the first mother, Eve, was transformed into joy. – St John Damascene

Through the power of your maternal love, my mourning turns into dancing. So thank you, blessed Mother Mary, for being my Mother and tenderly forming all mothers – your daughters – into the image of Jesus, that like him, we may grow in wisdom and (spiritual) stature, and in favour with God and man.

Michelle Tan