|5th International Day of Prayer, Amsterdam 2003|
The Worldwide Action of the Lady of All Nations in the USA
It is a great joy and honor for me to be here with all of you at the 5th International Day of Prayer. I’ve been asked to share with you some of the many ways in which Lady of All Nations prayer and image has spread in the United States of America and from there to other parts of the world.
The Lady of All Nations has found her place
Allow me to begin by saying that the devotion to the Lady of All Nations has taken its place in the course of normal Marian devotion all throughout the United States. Especially in the month of May, we have learned of many Crownings of Mary in which the crowning was one of the images of the Lady of All Nations. Every year her image seems to be in more and more places of honor for public veneration. When the Action Center first began, we were pleased to receive requests for images for private homes, but were overjoyed when we received requests for larger images that would be venerated in public places such as convent or monastery chapels, hospital or school entrances, universities and parish churches. It still gives us much joy to receive these requests, but we receive them so often now, that they are no longer out of the ordinary.
Thanking the Lady of All Nations for my vocation
I had a personal experience of seeing one of these special places of honor when on vacation several months ago, I entered a lovely parish church in San Diego, California. To my surprise, I turned around to see a beautiful image of the Lady of All Nations; I was informed that this was a special gift to the parish from a young man that had entered the seminary. This beautifully framed image was his way of thanking the Lady of All Nations for the gift of his vocation. Isn’t it wonderful, dear friends, that she not only inspired this man to the priesthood, but now others in this parish prayerfully come before her image?
The Lady of All Nations in daily life of Catholics
In other ways the Lady of All Nations has also become part of the ordinary experience of faithful Catholics. There are a countless number of prayer groups that have been named in her honor, many parish churches and even several Cathedrals pray the Amsterdam prayer after each Holy Mass, thousands of people include the prayer after each decade of the Rosary, Mother Angelica’s Eternal Word Television Network reaching worldwide more than 60 Million households airs the prayer several times a day, prayer cards are to be found in Adoration Chapels and Churches throughout the nation, and finally there have been innumerous articles written in magazines, newsletters, and even diocesan newspapers regarding the significance of the Lady of All Nations.
“I want her in each parish of my diocese!”
Speaking of dioceses, one nice story that comes to mind is that of Sister Marie Antoinette Peltier, an elderly sister in the Incarnate Word Convent in Victoria, Texas. She was deeply inspired by the importance of the prayer of the Lady of All Nations during these turbulent times and wanted others in her dioceses of Victoria, Texas to also come to know Our Lady under this title. She therefore decided to personally bring information regarding the Lady of All Nations to her bishop, Bishop David Fellhauer, and to seek his permission to spread the devotion. When she visited him on a Friday afternoon, she kindly asked if he would review the information she brought for him and she said she would call him in a week for his decision regarding her request. On the following Monday morning she was quite surprised when he called her to personally grant his permission to spread the prayer and image in every parish in his diocese. With the Bishop Fellhauer’s full support Sister Antoinette quickly arranged to have an information night with every pastor in the Victoria diocese and/or his representative invited. Fr. Jackson and August Pyka attended together and they both came away from the meeting so inspired that an image of the Lady of All Nations will now hang in their parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. In addition, a parish novena has been prayed to the Lady of All Nations and is being completed today for the Feast of Pentecost. All this, Sister Antoinette told me, because someone gave her one prayer card!
... and the pilgrim image keeps on traveling from year to year
We now have nearly 300 guardians throughout the States who take responsibility for pilgrim images which they bring from home to home for a period of time. Although they first agreed to take this responsibility for a one year period, many have already been taking Our Lady’s image on visits for four or five years now. Many have told us that every time they think visits of Our Lady have been completed in their area, somehow they are inspired again and the program continues.
The Mother comes to those, who have never heard of her
In Miami, Florida, after bringing the pilgrim image for visits to homes of family and friends for several years now, Elsa Gonzales has decided that she should bring the image to those whom have never heard of or seen the Lady of All Nations before. Since she lives, as many people do in Miami, in a high rise apartment building, she thought she would contact others in the building, many of whom she never met before, to see if they would be interested in having the image in their apartment for awhile.
The heavenly Mother healed my earthly mother
One particular day, a gentleman, Carlos Montero, who lived with and cared for his elderly mother was very distraught about her failing health and was in fear of loosing his dear mother. All of a sudden there was a knock on the apartment door. Carlos, in very a sorrowful state, opened the door and there before him he saw the image of the Lady of All Nations. In utter amazement, knowing this was an image of Our Lady but one that he was unfamiliar with, he began crying. He then gladly accepted the image and explained to Elsa that his mother was very ill in the next room. Together they brought the image into her room and prayed the prayer. There the image remained for a week and when the time came for it to leave, Carlos’s mother was out of bed and feeling much better. He then called us wanting to know everything about this image of the Blessed Mother, whom he knew came to his home to heal his earthly Mother!
Our Lady’s Prayer for Peace
Throughout the time of war in Iraq, the prayer from Amsterdam has become widely known in the United States as Our Lady’s Prayer for Peace or Our Lady’s Peace Prayer. Indeed this is the essence of the prayer that the Holy Spirit comes into the world in a new and special way to bring His peace to all peoples and nations. The prayer has become such a comfort to many that they even find themselves awaking in the middle of the night praying it. Praying the prayer and spreading the prayer, have become concrete ways in which the faithful feel they can participate in bringing peace into the world.
Our Lady’s Peace Prayer – A Contribution for Worldwide Peace
Often before when people heard the prayer of the Lady of All Nations for the first time, “who once was Mary,” was the part of the prayer that remained in their minds. Now however, in this threatening time, “preserve us from degeneration, disaster and war” has become the most significant part of the prayer and it also serves as an inspiration for them to encourage as many others as possible to pray this, Our Lady’s Peace Prayer!
The Lady of All Nations comes to each Catholic Parish
When the Lady of All Nations said that she takes full responsibility for the spreading of her prayer and image, we can attest that she truly does. Leading up to the war in Iraq, we wanted to get prayer cards into Baghdad and to the US military stationed in Iraq but were unsuccessful on our own. We were astonished when a guardian in New York City called to say she found the names and addresses of all the 52 Catholic Churches in Iraq and wanted to send prayer cards to each parish. Within 24 hours packets were made up and sent on their way with the assurance from the United States postal service that they would be delivered even though the war had just begun. Also on the web Theresa made contact with a Jesuit priest in Amman, Jordan who was willing not only to accept prayer cards for his huge parish in Jordan but to also take responsibility to spread prayer cards throughout the Middle East! Presently we are in the process of printing Arabic prayer cards to send to Father for his distribution.
Through Military Chaplains distributed to all Military Forces
Before the war, during the war and now even after the war, we have received requests for prayer cards from several different military Chaplains. Fr. Kieran Mandato, US Navy, asked that 2000 prayer cards be sent directly to him aboard the USS Bataan while they were out at sea. Fr. Jose Del Toro, Air Force Captain from Charleston Air Force Base in South Carolina, sent them to his pilots and crew and Fr. Ken Carlson, Army Chaplain from the Main Support Battalion, stationed out of Fort Hood Texas asked to receive 3,000 prayer cards to give to his troops as their support before they departed for Iraq recently. I was extremely impressed by all the Chaplains generosity in wanting the prayer cards for all their troops, not only the Catholic ones. In total, as of our shipment to Fr. Carlson two weeks ago, almost 50,000 prayer cards have been distributed throughout all the troops. We promised each one of these military priests as well as the others we also heard from that we would send them as many prayer cards as they needed.
“Go with ardor and zeal about this work!“
“Go with ardor and zeal about this work of redemption and peace and you will behold the miracle.” Every day, in so many ways, we see this miracle that the Lady of All Nations spoke of in April 1951. The miracle for us, is the one quarter million prayer cards distributed in the United States in last three months or the two million, yes two million prayer cards, that have been distributed in the last few years. I believe that each and everyone of these prayer cards brings with it, a special grace for the individual receiving it, whether they are a simple woman in Baghdad, an Army Captain, a child in school, or the President of the United States, each and everyone is extraordinary!