Practicing the Family Rosary hopefully has (or will have) brought some fresh insight and vitality into your relationship with Mary and her beloved Son. Making sure your family has a daily conversation with heaven does amazing things for the heart, mind, soul and will. Imagine, however, if that conversation asked you to build something kind of specific? This is what one young, single mom experienced when she developed her relationship with Mary, and the results were astonishing.
Richeldis de Faverches was a young, wealthy widow living with her son in the countryside of Norfolk, England, in the five years before the 1066 Norman Invasion. She was known for her piety and generosity, and she prayed for the ability to do something special for Mary in gratitude for all she had done for her. Mary then appeared to Richeldis three times, inviting her to build a replica of the house in Nazareth where the Annunciation occurred. Mary gave her the dimensions and everything.
One morning, Richeldis woke up to find two separate rectangles of earth, both of the dimension Our Lady had specified, dry on the ground where all else was soaked with dew. Richeldis, being as practical as she was devout, decided to hire workmen to build the requested “Holy House” on the rectangle that was closer to a nearby well. Work began, but the workmen couldn’t seem to get the house to come together. How confused Richeldis must have felt. Finally, through prayer, she put the problem back in Mary’s hands and went to sleep, trusting it would all work as Mary had said.
In the night, Richeldis woke to the sound of singing in her garden. She went to see who was producing this sound, but once she was outside, she saw that the chapel her workmen had been building was gone! However, there, in the previously dew-less site farther from the well, was a building completed to Our Lady’s specifications and of better materials than Richeldis’s workmen had been using.
In the coming years, pilgrimages to Nazareth were made nearly impossible by the Crusades. Walsingham became a favorite site of pilgrims, soon equal in popularity to Santiago de Compostela in Spain and even Jerusalem itself. The Reformation brought destruction to the shrine and it’s supporting buildings, but in the 19th and 20th centuries, after Catholicism was once again permitted in England, through wars and hardships, Walsingham was rebuilt, and Catholic worship once again happened in Richeldis de Faverches’s very own backyard.
God loves to use Mary to ask impossible things of us, and Mary loves to be a part of making the impossible happen. The faith of Richeldis de Faverches is just one more example of the power of trust. When you’re feeling like you can’t follow through with so many good things, including the practice of the Family Rosary, put it all back in Mary’s hands and go get some rest. It worked for Richeldis.
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
Can you think of a time when you had an idea of how you wanted things to go, and God stepped in and changed your plans? What did God teach you about trust in that time?
Copyright 2018 Erin McCole Cupp