Walter Emerson Adams
One can understand this project only in the context of this preface.
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I am a business and educational professional with an undergraduate degree in Economics from Princeton University and a master’s degree in Public and Private Management from Yale University.
I am married and the father of one child. I converted to the Catholic Church prior to my marriage in 1985.
On July 16th, 1986, a little over a year after joining the Catholic Church, I submitted to the Holy Virgin Mary as her slave according to the method of St. Louis de Montfort. I had a powerful conviction to abandon myself to Divine Providence through her Immaculate Heart. My benefactor in grace through Mary’s heart was St. Thérèse of Lisieux, to whom I owe the grace of my conversion on her Feast Day of 1984. Twenty-four years later, in 2008, Thérèse miraculously brought St. Joan of Arc into my life instantly. This manuscript came together over the following fifteen years of lively devotion to St. Joan and St. Thérèse.
Our Lady had taken me seriously in 1986. Apparently, my prayer was sincere and well-received by Heaven. I was praying for what Our Lord Jesus Christ wanted to give me.
Soon after my consecration to Mary, I entered twenty years of painful devastation. Over these two decades, I lost everything of earthly value except my faithful wife and son. We lost our family business. Despite later holding high-level corporate positions that came through my degrees from Princeton and Yale, I suffered humiliating failures, ridicule, the loss of respect of family and friends, the loss of self-respect, the loss of mental and physical health, and financial collapse. Two decades after my consecration to Mary, I was a ruined man.
However, Our Lady and the Faith never left me. Never once during this time did Our Lord Jesus withdraw the grace of Faith. Despite my chronic moral failures and humiliations, the sacraments and the Mass remained central to my life. I remained drawn to the Virgin Mary and, still in spiritual chains, reconsecrated myself to her in 2004 following the method of St. Maximilian Kolbe. Still suffering in the summer of 2005, alone in a motel room for which I had paid cash to keep others from tracking my whereabouts, I writhed in pain on my bed. Suddenly, out of nowhere, with no forethought, I moaned, “I offer all my suffering in reparation for offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
My living death ended the following year. A resurrection began at the feet of a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in July of 2006 while on retreat at an abandoned seminary. As I drove through the previous night to the site, I prayed persistently to Mary, asking her to give me the Holy Spirit. The next evening after confession, I stood before her statue. I perceived her speaking through my heart, “I am the channel of the Holy Spirit in your life. I have always been with you. You have always had the Holy Spirit.” That moment freed me instantly from mental, emotional, and spiritual chains. Our Lady released me immediately from dependency on psychiatric medications. I never took another mental health pill after that movement of my heart. The following day, the priest read Matthew 6:33, “Seek ye therefore first the Kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.” I knew those words were Our Lady’s instructions for me.
I began seeking first the Kingdom of God by visiting the Eucharist in adoration consistently. My mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health improved steadily. Life became orderly again. I found a new senior-level career position to get back on my feet professionally. However, my hopes of finally succeeding in the world and showing others I was not a failure proved naive and immature. Our Lady had instructed me to seek the Kingdom of God first, not to return to the Kingdom of man to impress the world. I lost the new position within a year due to the economy and once again needed more employment. In the Fall of that year, through the influence of St. Thérèse’s plays and poetry, I came to an instant comprehension of St. Joan of Arc in my life and a fervent, supernatural devotion to her. In that flash of a moment, St. Joan became my guide for this journey to the Kingdom.
A few weeks later, I attended a large professional networking meeting in an attempt to find my next high-level corporate position. Halfway through the conference, I felt an overwhelming revulsion toward everything discussed. I felt compelled to leave and did immediately. The meeting facilitator had asked us to write down our impressions of the meeting before we left later in the day and drop the comments in a designated box. I wrote a short note saying they all needed to study Joan of Arc and placed it in the box on my way out. I never attended another networking event seeking a career position. I had to focus on seeking first the Kingdom, which, in my case, meant something other than becoming wealthy, prominent, and successful in the eyes of the world. I found obscure college and university-level adjunct teaching assignments that kept my income in respectable shape and allowed my wife and me to make ends meet. However, before we could build our new careers to the point of self-sufficiency, we had to file bankruptcy to save our home - another humiliation. Finally, the last of the storm called “my life” had passed over, and the sunlight appeared.
I began writing. In my deepest being, I felt that the Kingdom Our Lady referenced was inside me, and the way to seek it, to integrate this Kingdom into my being, was to write. I wrote for fifteen years. It was an ongoing prayer, an interior journey to the Kingdom. During this time, in late February of 2013, the relic tour of St. Mary Magdalene came to our area. We venerated her shin bone at the host parish. A few months later, a holy lady appeared to me in a dream, dressed in a brown robe and hood that resembled what I would imagine women wore in Our Lord’s time and place. She smiled at me just before I woke. My writing caught a second wind which continues to this day. Mystical France appeared on my horizon of meaning, and St. Joan of Arc appeared at my side to lead me there.
This manuscript is the result of my journey to “seek first the Kingdom.” Developing it, I became nothing in the world. My life is consecrated to St. Joan of Arc. One can understand this manuscript only in the context of this preface.
~ Walter Emerson Adams
Check out the Heroic Hearts podcast on Substack, Spotify, or Apple. Heroic Hearts is a podcast about healing, enchanting, and elevating our hearts through the stories and spirituality of St. Joan of Arc and St. Therese of Lisieux. Co-hosted with Amy Chase.