22 June 2012


Option 17: Mama Mary and Her Children by James B. Reuter, SJ
(Scroll down for the Rafflecopter and read the Giveaways page for more information)

I prayed to the Blessed Virgin Mary. This came naturally, because in the novitiate all of us were devoted to her. We said the rosary every day, walking in bands of three around the novitiate grounds. After the rosary, we recited the litany of the Blessed Virgin. We all knew that litany by heart.

The devotion to Mary was strengthened by the novice master, and by our teachers. They pointed out that whenever men live in a barracks, as we did--all men, no women--the barracks life tended to brutalise them. You see this in the army and in prisons. They said that a touch of feminine presence would help to keep us civilised. The Virgin Mary was that feminine presence for us.

So I prayed, with all my heart, to the Virgin Mary--to send me to the Philippines . . .

One of the best loved priests in the Philippines is . . . an American! Father James B. Reuter, SJ has lived here for over seventy years, coming to teach in a Jesuit college, weathering out World War II in a Japanese prison camp, and returning to the US only for his final exams and ordination. He came back to us as soon as he could and has been here ever since. I ran into him once outside my parish church. He had never met me before but was delighted to see me.

And now the delight is mine as I announce that his first book on Mary, Mama Mary and Her Children, is now in the June Giveaway pool. But the delight doesn't end there. If the winner picks it, I will throw in the two sequels, because I'm Marian like that.

The devotion to Mary in the Philippines is unique! You will find nothing like it anywhere else in the world. Other people in other nations call her the Blessed Virgin Mary. Some even say "our Mother Mary." But the only ones who use that warm, personal, loving name "Mama" are the Filipinos.

Despite the deliberate use of the name "Mama," Father Reuter's book is less a study of Marian devotion in the Philippines than a loose collection of stories from his own life and the lives of a few Filipino devotees who have written letters to him. Each one tells of a "miracle" obtained through the intercession of Mary.

Unless the reader already loves Mary, he probably won't be convinced by anything here. Not that apologetics is Father Reuter's goal or anything. His challenge is less about anticipating a skeptic behind every bush than about finding something special to add to the chorus of Marian devotion in his adopted country. As he puts it in his introduction, "Writing about the Virgin Mary in the Philippines is like writing about the sunrise. You are telling the readers what they already know, appreciate, and love."

But each new sunrise is unique, and so is each story about the experience of Mary's loving intercession. And Father Reuter is such a wonderful storyteller.

In this book, he shares the story of his great-grandparents' forbidden love . . . his uncle's deathbed conversion . . . his father's lifelong love for his mother . . . his "shanty Irish" aunt whom his family learned to love as one of their own . . . his German aunt who almost died delivering her eleventh child . . . his own prayer to be assigned to the Jesuits' Philippine mission . . . two conversions from a "hopeless" WWII prison camp . . . and many more stories he either experienced firsthand or heard from people who came to confide in him. These include letters from readers of his column, who took his advice to write to Our Lady of Lourdes and had their devotion rewarded when their prayers were fulfilled.

By the way, if you would like your own letter to be placed before Mary's Grotto at Lourdes, then just send it off to this address:

Monsieur L'Econome de L'oeuvre de la Grotte
65100 Lourdes cedes
Lourdes, France

You should choose this book in the giveaway if . . . you love Mary very much and want to love her more.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Image Source: Our Lady of Penafrancia Fluvial Procession


Spacetraveller said...

Awww, this one has my name written all over it :-)

I would love to get this book!
Sounds like a wonderful book!
I LOVE this post Enbrethiliel. Highly appreciated.

Enbrethiliel said...


I had been hoping someone would give this book a little comment love! =) Good luck to you in the drawing, Spacetraveller!

PS -- Remember to claim your extra entry for voting in Round 1 of the Westlife smackdown! And perhaps also consider voting in Round 4. ;-)