Our Lady and the Healing of Our Daughter: A Letter from Shannon
A Note from TCW
Thank you Shannon for reminding us of Mary's maternal love for us. She is our Mother and someone we may always turn to, in good times and hard. In the words of Shannon, "She is always opening her arms to us, folding us within her embrace, offering us her Son’s strength so that we can be weak." She is not only at the heart of the Church, but at the heart of Catholic sisterhood itself.
To learn about The Catholic Woman's Sisterhood theme for this quarter's collection of letters, click here.
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It was the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I was 20 weeks pregnant, working full time, my husband a masters student. We were preparing to enter the Church, and facing a lot of opposition to our decision. Our life was a bit of a roller coaster, to say the least. That day, December 12th, we walked away from our ultrasound—the first time seeing our first little baby—with words like “surgery,” “cysts in the lungs,” and “bi-weekly ultrasounds” crashing around in our heads and hearts.
That night, we got back to our tiny little apartment and I remember sitting in the dark living room, unable to get my thoughts together. I heard what sounded like a protest going down the street outside: drums, and some sort of chanting. Then I remembered that it was the feast of Our Lady, and the local parish planned a parade through the streets. In that moment, I felt Our Lady announcing her presence to me. She was telling me that she saw me, that she knew, that she was watching, that she would look out for me even as I felt lost and frightened.
Until that point in my journey to confirmation, Mary was simply a concept. After that day, she became a love.
I think often of her words to Saint Juan Diego: “Am I not here, I, who am your Mother?...Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need anything more?”
It seems that it is easy for us as women to feel like we have to hold ourselves together at all times. We need to be strong, capable, always ready to meet a need or take on another responsibility. We sometimes struggle to be weak, to accept the limitations and the hardships in our lives. Yet, that is precisely where Our Lord, and His mother, meet us.
Since that beautiful and also scary night two and a half years ago now, I have come to see that Jesus meets us precisely in our most mystifying and weakest moments. He comes to us and offers His mother as comfort, as reassurance. When we simply can’t hold ourselves together any longer, there is another who understands our womanly cares and concerns. She knows our discouragements, our fears, our hopes, and our joys. She is always opening her arms to us, folding us within her embrace, offering us her Son’s strength so that we can be weak.
I credit the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe with the healing of our daughter. At her six-month scan in preparation for lung surgery a few days later, the doctors didn’t find what they had been seeing on ultrasounds for months. They were speechless. Truly, our Blessed Mother sees us.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!
Get to know Shannon
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
My name is Shannon Lacy. I am a stay-at-home mother of two babies under two, wife to a PhD student, and a part-time literature teacher. At 26 years old, the details of my life are nothing like I would have planned for myself. Truly the Lord knows what we need better than we do ourselves!
What do the first two hours of your day look like?
My ideal first two hours look very different from what is reality for me right now. If I wake up before my children (depending on how the night before went!), I grab a quick shower. Otherwise, the first hours of my day are spent changing diapers, dressing babies, feeding little mouths, reading, playing, singing, and trying to mitigate all toddler whining! I try to foster an atmosphere of peace in our home to begin the day, and I have been trying to get into the habit of praying the morning offering with my daughter over our eggs. If there is a load of laundry running by 10 a.m., you know it's been a good morning!
Describe your favorite part of your current occupation.
Taking motherhood as my current occupation, watching these little people discover and experience and learn the world around them is awe-inspiring and delightful.
What's one fear that keeps you up at night?
My firstborn, Edith, has a very strong personality. She is a force, and I am often left wondering how to help her direct her tendencies—and her strong emotions!—towards goodness and beauty. I have a feeling this will keep me up at night, and on my knees, for many years to come.
Tell us about the first time you experienced a strong sense of belonging in the Catholic Church.
While I have experienced many moments of belonging in the Catholic Church in the last two years since my confirmation, the first time I sensed this belonging was a year before my confirmation. I attended an Easter Vigil at a local parish because our Anglican church did not have a vigil. After the readings when the lights turned on and the bells rang and the Gloria filled the entire church, I suddenly felt like I belonged there. That was my home, the place I had been looking for without even knowing it, for years. It was a whole twelve months that we had to wait until we could truly and fully belong, but blessed was that night!
Tell us about a woman you look up to.
The wife of one of my college professors serves often as an inspiration to me in my attempts to build a Catholic home. She is passionate, dedicated, honest, and wise. Not to mention she is raising three incredible young men—a true testament to her motherhood!
Favorite character ever. Go!
Kristin Lavransdatter from Sigrid Undset's trilogy. It is not so much because Kristin is a perfect woman, or even a woman who should be emulated for most of her life, but because she is a woman who is, slowly, over time, shaped and moulded, and redeemed until at the end of her life, this is written of her: "She was certain that God had held her firmly in a pact which had been made for her, without her knowing it, from a love that had been poured over her—and in spite of her willfulness, in spite of her melancholy, earthbound heart, some of that love had stayed inside her, had worked on her like sun on the earth, had driven forth a crop that neither the fiercest fire of passion nor its stormiest anger could completely destroy."