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My Life with St. Joan and St. Thérèse - Chapter 9
In the castle of the French King
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2008, St. Louis Missouri and Chicago Illinois
Though I was no French King after my healing on Joan of Arc’s day of victory, I felt like one. The newer Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis the King in St. Louis, Missouri, is magnificently majestic both from the exterior and interior. It is every bit fit for a saintly French King, the only French King in all of The Eldest Daughter’s noble history to ever reach the altar of sainthood. The new Cathedral was built just over one hundred years ago. The old Cathedral, the one down by the Mississippi River, is also lovely, just much smaller.
I was there that Mary’s rose might flourish.
Sitting in Our Lady’s Chapel just to the left of the main altar, I rested in peace. I read through St. Louis de Montfort’s prayer of total consecration, the same one I prayed on July 16, 2006. Through this prayer, I renewed my total consecration to Mary. That I did so in the Cathedral of St. Louis after my healing through the intercession of St. Joan of Arc was significant. It was here, in the castle of the French King, that a radically new life would pour forth in me. This radical new life started with my consecration renewal that day to Mary, whose womb had been the “Castle of the true King.”
Work had taken me to St. Louis from the Chicago area the previous year, 2007. My new workplace was within walking distance from the grand Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. Every day at lunch, I walked to Mass. I wanted to renew my consecration to Our Lady in her Chapel at the Cathedral.
Our Lady brought me to St. Louis so I could make my consecration renewal to her there, in that remarkable Cathedral. Somehow there was a mystical relationship between St. Joan of Arc and me, and the castle of a great French King was a fitting place to nurture that relationship. It began with me standing before her statue at Mont Saint-Michel off the coast of France in 1977 after my High School graduation. It developed through my relationship with St. Thérèse and her love for St. Joan. It was all very spiritual, very regal, and very French. It was also very Marian.
I wrote, “To Jesus through Mary in the friendship and sisterly care of St. Joan and St. Thérèse!” as I had earlier when I referred to their combined spirituality as “the most beautiful color in the Heavens!” It was about developing the most intimate relationship possible with Jesus Christ through His most beloved Holy Mother and these two extraordinary saints.
Our Lady brought me to St. Louis for this reason. Here is another reason I believe this. Three days after I made my consecration renewal, I was notified that I was no longer needed in St. Louis. We never sold our home in Gurnee, so we returned to it.
While back in the Chicago area, I began visiting the newly consecrated Icon of Our Lady of the Sign, Ark of Mercy, at the Church of St. Stanislaus Kostka. The Icon is one of a kind, a gorgeous hand-carved Eucharistic monstrance in the form of Mary with a crown of twelve stars on her head. It is absolutely fabulous. I made regular visits to the Blessed Sacrament there.
One afternoon as I sat praying before the Eucharist there, I felt Our Lady speaking to me in my heart. I had a contemplative vision of her walking beside me in a peaceful meadow. She said to me,
“If you have something you feel you need to say, you should probably think about saying it.”
After a few minutes of thought, I responded in my heart to her,
“Yes, I believe I do have something I would like to say now.”
I went home that afternoon and began to write. As I wrote over weeks that turned to months and months that turned to years, Mary’s rose of grace did, indeed, flourish.
Reading one of St. Thérèse’s poems about St. Joan of Arc at this time touched me more deeply than ever before, and my devotion to St. Joan flowered even more. It continues to blossom today. I am inseparable from St. Joan and St. Thérèse and, through them, from Our Holy Mother, Mary. Through all of them, I am inseparable from Jesus Christ as long as I do not fall back into my repugnant sins of separation. I pray fervently for the grace of final perseverance that this inseparability will carry forward into eternity.
“To Jesus through Mary in the friendship and sisterly care of St. Joan and St. Thérèse!” for they are together, indeed, “the most beautiful color in the Heavens!”
Thank you, Mary, most Holy Mother of God, for your rose of grace.
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.