A tired mother with 9 children cried. She had been through so much. Trying to make ends meet while managing a large household in a not-so-large house. There had been many weeks of illness; nursing several of the children at once. At one point, when one wave of illness after another seem to break relentlessly over the lot of them, she moved the mattresses off the beds and downstairs to the living room–centralizing her home “nursing” station to attend to the children without wasting time and energy on the stairs.
Now, it looks like God was asking one more thing of her. Another child? Through tears, she squeezed her eyes shut in near despair, pleading to her constant companion, the Blessed Mother, help me…I am so tired…How will this be ok?
She heard a whisper of an answer within her spirit…
“This one will be the one to take care of you in your older age. She will always by your side. I will help you. Devote her to me and my son. Dress her in blue for the first six years of her life in devotion to me and I will help you through.”
On July 16th, The Feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel, we remember another promise the Blessed Virgin Mary gave another person, Saint Simon Stock, a Carmelite prior from Cambridge, England. He was given the habit of the brown scapular with a powerful devotion: anyone who wears the brown scapular as a sign of faith, entrusting themselves to her prayers for her son’s mercy, will surely not descend to hell, but will be saved.
On this same special day, centuries later, the desperate mother with a promise–my Nana–gave birth to her 10th child; a girl, aptly named Regina, after the Queen of Heaven. Maybe she was one of the only baby girls dressed in blue at the hospital, but it didn’t stop her mother from believing the promise that had been made to her, and she continued to wear blue for the next six years of her life.
Not only would my mother, Regina–the baby in blue–continue a lifelong devotion to her Heavenly Mother, but she would fulfill the promise made to her mother by accompanying her throughout her life, as well as her passage into the next one.
Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you.