Testimonies of the Worldwide Action
of the Lady of All Nations - 2013
We have often experienced that Mary, the ‘Star of the New Evangelization’, opens hearts to the Faith in an exceptional way through the worldwide action. Certainly some of you here today have experienced this while giving out prayer cards. That is why we would like to share some of these moments with you.
We bring you greetings especially from the shrine of the Mother of All Nations in Amsterdam. Even though the chapel there is small and modest, people still come from around the world to visit.
We were especially pleased on the feast of the Queenship of Mary, by the visit of 40 Greek Catholic doctors, geneticists, and lab workers from the Ukraine. They purposely made a pilgrimage to the Mother of All Nations, because eight years ago they received her image at a day of prayer in their homeland. Here you see just a small part of the many pilgrims at that Day of Prayer.
In Amsterdam, the deep believers and members of the Catholic doctors association from the city of Lemberg paid close attention to an introduction to the messages. Some of them wiped away tears as I explained how the visionary, Mother Ida, saw the Lady of All Nations spread her hands protectively over the Ukraine.
After they had the chance to go to confession, the Basilian monk, Fr. Viktor, celebrated Holy Mass for them in the Greek-Catholic rite.
Afterwards, they practically bought us out! In addition to one kind doctor who is responsible for a thousand sick and dying AIDS patients, all of the others took many prayer cards, posters, and brochures as well.
When it comes to the Lady of All Nations, there is nothing too difficult for Martin Plonka, a doctor’s assistant from southern Germany. Together with his wife and five children, he decided again this year to organize a pilgrim bus to the Day of Prayer.
Martin Plonka: For some time now I wanted to present the worldwide action of the Lady of All Nations to our Marian Men’s Congregation in Cham. The responsible priest, Fr. Liebl, seemed to be quite open. He suggested that I speak briefly about the Mother of All Nations at the chairmen’s annual retreat.
Roughly one hundred chairmen, who are leaders of their respective parish groups, were allowed to take prayer cards with them and give them to their parish groups. 5,400 prayer cards were there, and not a one remained!
A week later, one of the chairmen called me and said, “Since the worldwide action is so important, I want to order another 300 for the women’s league in my town.”
On May 1st, we were able to help spread the messages of the Mother of All Nations a second time by setting up a table at the pilgrimage shrine, Maria Rosenöd.
During the pilgrimage, Fr. Liebl spoke briefly about the Mother of All Nations during Holy Mass and pointed out our info table, which was well visited afterwards.
Our children handed out over 1000 prayer cards with particular zeal, and they were warmly accepted. It was on that day that our little Leopold began the Lady of All Nations candle you see here.
He then proudly brought the candle to his Kindergarten teacher the next day. She was very pleased and thought it fitting for the month of May. So Leopold was able to give the teacher and all the children in his group a prayer card. Yes, we always have prayer cards with us: in the car, in the handbag, and at my job in outpatient care, because there are often very unexpected opportunities to give them out.
In Nouméa, the capital of New Caledonia, an incredibly beautiful archipelago of islands east of Australia, Philipp Renaud, a banker, regularly gives in-depth slideshows about the Lady of All Nations. We see him here on the right in a white shirt.
Philipp was in Amsterdam for the first time two years ago, and through his talks, around 500 islanders have come to know the Mother of All Nations. They returned home outfitted with prayer cards, posters and brochures and subsequently began spreading the prayer and image of Amsterdam throughout the whole island.
By the way, we have already been invited in 2014 to organize a day of prayer for the Lady of All Nations on the South American island of Aruba, about 30 km from Venezuela and to Costa Rica in Central America where priests and laity are also organizing a Day of Prayer.
Sr. Marietta, from Austria, will tell us an example from daily life which shows what interior effects a prayer card can evoke:
As I was recently traveling by train from Vienna to Innsbruck, many young people got on in Salzburg. Among them was a girl who I immediately took note of because she sat alone in the aisle on her suitcase. I waved to her and said that there was still a seat free by me. As she sat down, I saw deeply etched wounds on both of her forearms and my only thought was that I had to be especially nice to this this girl.
Every time our eyes met, I smiled and she smiled back. Fairly soon, Vanessa – that was her name – began to speak, and she entrusted to me certain things from her dramatic life. Vanessa, who I estimated to be about 17, was only 13. Since the age of 6, she has lived far from her mother, who had her when she was herself only 16 and never accepted her. Even though Vanessa now spent two weekends a month with her mother, and was on the way there at that moment, her mother usually had no time for her daughter precisely on those days when she was there. As she was telling me all this, it was visible in Vanessa how deeply the thought of being unloved and unwanted by her own mother wounded her.
As I was looking into her suffering but beautifully deep eyes, it occurred to me: “The prayer card! That’s exactly the right thing now!” I quickly took one out, showed it to Vanessa, and asked, “Do you know who this is?” “No,” she answered. She was not baptized and had never heard anything about Jesus. I realized this as I was telling her about Jesus and she asked me, “Is he still alive?”
So, with the image in my hand, I tried to explain to her, “This is Mary, the Mother of God. She is also your mom, and she loves you so much that she continuously looks at you with love. She cannot do otherwise. She loves you as you are and always looks upon you, as if you were the only one in the world.”
For a moment she turned to stone, so that I initially did not know if she had accepted all of that or not. Then she quietly asked, “Really?” “Yes, really!” I answered. Vanessa then looked at the prayer card for a long time and with tears in her eyes said quietly, “No one has ever told me that before!” This moment was so special that the grace was really tangible. I also had to hold back my tears, because here someone had just discovered Mary as their personal mother. Vanessa took the prayer card, and in reality, she took her mother who she had met for the first time that day. And I am certain that Our Lady will give her wounded child the motherly love for which Vanessa has been thirsting for so long, but never received!
The prayer group Mary, Mother and Queen is from the harbor town of Trieste in northern Italy. Their modest but clear goal for the Mother of All Nations is truly exemplary and imitable. Trieste lays directly on the border to Slovenia and because of its geographical location, has united diverse peoples and languages for hundreds of years.
As the prayer group – here we see a few of its members – came to know the Lady of All Nations last year; they were immediately enthusiastic. They visited numerous parishes in Trieste and invited everyone to help spread the prayer of the Lady of All Nations.
Amazingly they found open doors and instant acceptance everywhere. Consequently, a considerable number of prayer cards were ordered by the various parishes of the city, also those that were bilingual. In the meantime, the number prayer cards distributed at this crossroads of diverse languages and cultures has risen into the tens of thousands, above all in Italian, Slovenian and Croatian, but also in ten other languages.
The Lady of All Nations found a special home this spring in the national Marian shrine of Monte Grisa. You see here the top of it above the green hills.
With the permission of the rector of the shrine, the prayer group set up this tasteful niche in honor of the Lady of All Nations. Everyone can take prayer cards and informational materials in various languages. The pilgrims, who come in great numbers from other lands in pilgrimage to Our Lady, and at the same to enjoy the glorious view, willingly take advantage of this offer. And now let us enjoy it as well.
About a year and a half ago, a Polish doctor, Aleksandra Zawadka, visited us after a convention in Amsterdam. She met a Dutch woman, Elizabeth, in a restaurant, with whom she soon began chatting about God and the world.
After some time, the conversation turned to the Lady of All Nations and the two quickly decided to take the trolley to the chapel.
Elizabeth found out that Aleksandra, seen here, had already been married for seven years but that due to hormonal problems since her youth had yet to have children despite a great desire for them. She therefore whispered to her as they entered the chapel, “Ask the Lady of All Nations for a child.”
Aleksandra later wrote us, “I immediately began a fervent prayer, ‘Mary, I trust in you. Please give my husband and me a daughter.’ Doing so, I looked at the face of the Lady of All Nations in the painting, and I knew in that moment with an interior certainty, ‘I will be heard.’ I was so happy and so full of trust. I felt like a child.”
Aleksandra’s visit was also an answer to our prayer, for precisely on that day we had prayed that Our Lady would lead us to someone who could make the final proof reading of the Polish prayer card. And Aleksandra was immediately ready to do so!
After returning home, it did not seem that the Mother of All Nations had answered her prayer. On the contrary, the doctor found even further abdominal problems. Aleksandra had to take medication and felt so ill that she remained home for several weeks. Finally she went to her parent’s to recover. Since she continued to feel ill, the thought came to her, “Could it be that I am pregnant?”
And in fact, tests proved it! She immediately called her husband, saying, “Honey, we are going to have a baby!” She also wrote to us, “I knew, it was the Lady of All Nations. She heard my prayer and asked God for a child for me.” The rest of her pregnancy went without problem and exactly a year ago, her daughter Zuzana was born. Aleksandra wrote us, “She belongs to you Mary. I will do all I can that she may know and love you.”
Georg Hunstig is a Latin and religion teacher at a Catholic girls’ high school in Neuss, a neighboring city of Dusseldorf on the other side of the Rheine. He has known the Mother of All Nations since the 1st International Day of Prayer in Amsterdam in 1997.
In the middle of June 2013, I made a pilgrimage to Amsterdam together with the English speaking parish of Cologne and Dusseldorf. I took prayer cards with me in every possible language. I actually always have them with me in at least ten languages. In the following days at school, it was my intention to give two Croatian girls the prayer card of the Mother of All Nations for their families in Croatian. The other students knew about the prayer card since I had often prayed it with the eleven and twelve-year-olds for morning prayer before German class. One some of them spoke up quickly: “My Grandma is from Poland and is visiting right now!” Another girl had a grandmother from Spain. One hand after another went up and after about 25 minutes, 75 images had been passed out in eight languages.
In the end, we prayed the prayer together as morning prayer, each in her mother language. I was genuinely amazed how Our Lady could reach so many nations so quickly! It is also beautiful that the students themselves give them out and pray it with their families at home.
I also gave the prayer card to other students from nine different classes, right up to the graduating class, so that we could pray it in the morning. Many of them carefully glued it into their notebooks, and one girl said, “Look, here I have one with the picture, and another with the text so that I can see them both at the same time.”
In the school year which has just begun, once again I have new students to whom I can hopeful bring the Mother of All Nations. The great thing about this prayer is that it is acceptable and ‘prayable’ even for those who are somewhat critical towards the Church or are distanced from Mary. We pray for peace which is something that everyone wants, and therefore – I am convinced – the image and prayer can really open hearts.
To conclude, there is one thing that I carry especially in my heart: that we implore the Mother of All Nations to give us good religion teachers.”
Paola Melo, a 29-year-old dentist from Peru, seen here, invests much time and energy for the worldwide action.
Together with pastoral ministers, she brings the image of Our Lady to prisons, hospitals and chapels, to prayer meetings and in schools, even to Brazil.
In all, Paola has passed out thousands of prayer cards. She wrote us:
During my last prison visit, 100 of the 400 prisoners came to Mass. You see the desire for a new beginning in many of them. As we passed out the prayer cards, they all wanted one, even the non-believers. One of them said, ‘I am not a believer, but I also want one because I need her in my life.’
At the end, they all prayed the prayer of the Lady of All Nations and the priest said to the prisoners: ‘The Lady of All Nations is your mother, just as she was for her Son.’
Before the final blessing they all lined up in a single row in front of the big image of Our Lady. Many of them kissed the image with tears in their eyes.
The numerous visits to hospitals, during which the large image of the Lady of All Nations is brought from room to room, are not just fleeting visits for Paola. Over the course of days and weeks she repeatedly visits the ill in her free time and prays at their bedside to the Mother of All Nations until improvement comes.
This three-year-old boy, for example, fell from the third floor. Unconscious and in danger of death, he was brought to the hospital.
The boy’s father, who is illiterate, learned the prayer of the Lady of All Nations by heart from Paola, so that he could pray it every day with his child by his hospital bed. To the doctors’ astonishment, he improved rapidly!
At the advice of a priest, Paola visited Isidora, who was sick with tuberculosis and in very poor living conditions, and brought the pilgrim image of the Mother of All Nations with her.
In spite of her great pain, she willingly prayed the prayer of the Mother of All Nations and even promised to finally get married in the Church if her situation would improve. Already a week later things were looking up for Isidora, and so her wedding really did take place, as you see here in photo.
Generous people took care of providing her with a wedding dress and paying for the celebration. Since then Isidora is healthy and her husband, Jorge, has found a permanent job.
A woman once asked for the pilgrim image even though her husband, who wanted nothing to do with God, was strictly against it. As Paola arrived with the image in her car, he got ready to leave the house in anger. She asked him politely, “Could you please help me with this picture?”
So he brought it into the house and set it on the altar which his wife had lovingly prepared. He remained motionless before the image, looking at it silently, and suddenly said, “Forgive me!”
“Then”, writes Paola, “he sat down and together we learned to pray the Rosary, something they had never prayed. I often went there to pray the Rosary, and the husband was always with us. They now faithfully continue to pray, also without me!”
Paola sent a letter to Amsterdam in July. She said that the Lady of All Nations and the worldwide action had changed her life that so much that she is thinking of entering consecrated life. We promised Paolo to pray today for this intention of hers today.
The next example leads us to Portugal, to Fr. Vitor Espadilha, who has known the Lady of All Nations for years now.
Over a year ago, he started passing around two large pilgrim images among the families of his parish in Aveiro, a picturesque city between Coimbra and Porto. The Mother of All Nations therefore visited 52 families last year, and this year, already in January, 104 families were signed up!
The pilgrim image remains with each family for a week. It then returns to the Sunday Mass and is brought to another family who has not yet had it. This family receives a special blessing from Fr. Vitor and afterwards the whole parish prays the prayer from Amsterdam in the church.
Could not some of us also propose something like this in our home parishes?
Today in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, there is also a Day of Prayer in honor of the Lady of All Nations. This year there were still other Days of Prayer in the Netherlands, Slovakia, Uruguay, Argentina, the Philippines, Rumania, and even in Thailand. Hans Jakob Stahl, from Cologne, works hard there together with a native named Raphael to spread the image of Our Lady.
In the Thai capital, Bangkok, 400 faithful from various nations took part in a day of prayer.
After Holy Mass, everyone was able to bring their personal intentions before the image of the Lady of All Nations which was very tastefully decorated with yellow orchids. Afterwards they made a procession with the picture of Our Lady.
As a crowning conclusion, we absolutely wanted to tell you about the Dutch Monfortan missionary, Fr. de Waard. He has worked for 45 years in Brazil, and here we see him crowning Our Lady.
Deeply devotion to the Lady of All Nations, he has been building a church in her honor for the past nine years in Atibaia. It is to be consecrated by the diocesan bishop on September 22.
We thank you Fr. de Waard for your example!
Really, each of us, ourselves included, must make a daily resolution: “I am going to take the prayer cards with me today and try to give some of them out.”
Now, at the end, let us watch a brief video about the Mediterranean island of Malta, which shows us how even a vacation can be used to help locals and tourists come to know the Lady of All Nations.
We thank you!