Our Lady of Charity Book Club: Chapters 3 and 4 Discussion

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Welcome to the Our Lady of Charity Book Club! We’re reading Our Lady of Charity: How a Cuban Devotion to Mary Helped Me Grow in Faith and Love by CatholicMom contributor Maria Morera Johnson.

I am convinced that Our Lady of Charity helped me during a recent car crisis.

Let me explain. On my birthday, filled with revelry and absent-mindedness, I left the emergency lights flashing on my sedan. All night long. When I sauntered out to the vehicle the next morning, the wonder car needed a miracle — or at least, a jump start. The battery had died, which meant an early-morning rendezvous with a mechanic.

What I had not realized was that, when my particular model of automobile loses battery power, the car radio also dies and must be reset, using a special code that is kept more secret than many national security issues. I did not have the magic code — therefore, I had no working radio.

I thought I would lose my mind in the silence. But I took a cue from author Maria Morera Johnson, writer of the insightful Our Lady of Charity: How a Cuban Devotion to Mary Helped Me Grow in Faith and Love.

In Chapter Four of this incredibly astute book, Johnson relates how she used to spend a great deal of time in her car. “I probably talked off my virgencita’s ears in those carpool days,” Johnson writes.

During my radio-free weeks, my car likewise became my prayer cell, where I discussed all manner of matters with the Blessed Mother and our beloved Jesus. I actually came to enjoy the quiet — no offense to the pop music princesses who normally inhabit my driving world.

Johnson sums up quite nicely what commuting with Christ and His Mother can mean: “These trips, these journeys, were opportunities to share the road and walk with the Lord; they were as much about the time spent with him as the destination I wanted to reach. Jesus wants us to walk with him. He wants us to invite him into our lives, to make him a part of our every day.”

But it wasn’t only in silence that I established a connection to Johnson and her musings on Our Lady of Charity. It was also in the remembered sound of my high school Spanish teacher’s accent.

For the woman who introduced me to the beauty and lilt of the Spanish language hailed from Cuba. She had sought exile in the United States, leaving family and friends behind. In encountering her, I encountered another land, another culture, and another aspect of the Blessed Mother.

For we never began a Spanish class without reciting the Hail Mary in the language we adopted for 45 minutes each day. And, in encountering Mary, we also encountered Jesus.

As Johnson writes in Chapter Three of her book, “Encounter. Isn’t that what the Blessed Mother wants for all her children? To encounter her Son?”

For me, the encounter has sometimes come during conversation with other people — like my beloved Spanish teacher. At other times, the encounter has occurred while alone — as in the silent sanctuary of my radio-less car.

Either way, Mary has consistently led me to Jesus, whether in the form of Our Lady of Charity, the Immaculate Conception, or Our Lady of Lebanon.

And in turning to Mary, I discover the sweetest messages this side of Paradise.

To Ponder, Reflect, and Discuss:

  1. Can you recall an encounter you had with the Blessed Mother that led you closer to Christ?
  2. What are some innovative ways you can find to expand your prayer time?
  3. Have you ever “opened your heart” to a pilgrimage? What spiritual treasures did you find along the way?

Order Our Lady of Charity from Ave Maria Press and save 25% with coupon code CHARITYBC. This offer expires August 31, 2019.

Read the rest of our Book Club posts.


Copyright 2019 Maria V. Gallagher

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About Author

Maria V. Gallagher is a full-time advocate for pregnant women and their children. A former radio reporter and television news producer, Maria has written freelance articles for a wide variety of spiritual and secular publications. She is the mother of a beautiful ballerina who is also an aspiring author.

6 Comments

  1. One of my special memories is a grotto to Our Lady that sat between my parish grade school and the convent. Several of us would make a visit to the grotto after lunch and before recess. I can’t even recall what the statue looked like, but that minute or two of daily prayer brought me closer to Mary.

    • Carolyn, That grotto sounds very special. What a wonderful way to spend part of your midday. I like that you mentioned it was something that several did – already having a sense of the beauty of community encouraging each other to prioritize prayer.

  2. Maria,
    I love that the book came at a perfect time for you to view possibility in your otherwise disappointing situation. I have found that I really appreciate driving in order to process thoughts. I often having Christian contemporary music playing but sometimes opt for silence as well. Thank you for sharing some glimpses into how the book impacted you/how you could relate.

  3. Thank you for you thoughts ladies! These questions are new to me, too, and love Maria’s insight. I think for the longest time I was drawn to an image of Mary holding the infant Jesus that just rugged at my mother’s heart ❤️. I used to go to the Abbey at the monastery of the Holy Spirit in conyers and sit in the blue light from the stained glass windows, seeking silence…and its where I wrote most of my first book! I would pass this statue every time and soon I began to po ser it, and Mary, and the. Of course Jesus. It’s just amazing how Mary brings us close and then has a little surprise.

  4. Maria Gallagher on

    Thank you, Maria! It is a bit daunting to reflect on an author’s work— you just hope to do her justice. For me, this was definitely the right book at the right time!

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