Franciscan Moments @ Saint Miriam: November 25, 2019

According to a pious legend, one day St. Francis of Assisi had a vision in which he saw his friars trying to reach Christ by a ladder that was red and very steep. After climbing a few rungs, they would suddenly fall back. Our Lord then showed St. Francis another ladder, white and much less steep, at whose summit appeared the Blessed Virgin, and He said to Francis: “Advise your sons to go by the ladder of My Mother.”

Among those devotions rich in Franciscan tradition is a deep devotion to the Virgin Mother of God. St. Francis of Assisi was among the greatest Marian devotees in the history of the Church and, according to Thomas of Celano in his Second Vita, St. Francis had a love for her that was beyond words. “Inexpressible,” he writes of Francis’ love for the Blessed Virgin. St. Francis loved her so much that he chose her as the patroness and Queen of the Friars Minor and exhorted his friars to always possess a true and living devotion to the Mother of God.

Known as the Virgen Morena, or the ‘Dark Virgin’, Our Lady of Guadalupe, has fast become my intimate Blessed Mother! A good friend, and fellow priest, Father Stephen, enabled me to pray to her in the form of a Litany, and my intimacy, and devotion, has grown, as well as the life and ministry of our parish. She is known in my heart simply as, the Guadalupe!

The story is told that in 1531 a “Lady from Heaven” – Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe appeared to a humble Native American at Tepeyac, Juan Diego, on a hill northwest of what is now Mexico City. She identified herself as the ever-virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the True God for whom we live, of the Creator of all things, Lord of heaven and the earth. She made a request for a church to be built on the site and submitted her wish to the local Bishop. When the Bishop hesitated, and requested her for a sign, the Mother of God obeyed without delay or question to the Church’s local Bishop and sent her native messenger to the top of the hill in mid-December to gather an assortment of roses for the Bishop. After complying to the Bishop’s request for a sign, She left for us an image of herself imprinted miraculously on the native’s tilma, a poor quality cactus-cloth, which should have deteriorated in 20 years but shows no sign of decay 487 years later and still defies all explanations of its origin.

You will see why I am such a devotee now in the words I will share. They exemplify what we are as parish and a people that welcome the poorest of the poor and serve them without precondition as we welcome the hopeless and the marginalized and the maligned. I have prayed a Litany to Our Mother ever since I was given such a beautiful gift from Father Stephen. I share it with you here in hope that this Advent will be a time we all reach out to find the Christ child in the womb of His devoted Mother, Our Lady, and our hope.


The Litany to the Guadalupe


Mother of the unborn, pray for us.

Model of hope and new life,

Model of evangelization,

Model of simplicity,

Model of justice for the poor,


Mother of orphans,

Mother of the rejected,

Mother of the unrecognized,

Mother of the powerless,

Mother of the oppressed,

Mother of migrants,

Mother of the marginalized,

Mother of the destitute

Mother of the foreigners,

Mother of the immigrants,

Mother of the homeless,

Mother of those considered giftless,

Mother of those who see no value in their lives,

Mother of those who have no political influence,

Mother of those who have no reason to hope,


From becoming oppressive, deliver us.

From becoming cynical,

From denying options to the poor,

From becoming opportunists,

From, becoming deaf to the voices of the prophets,

From becoming blind to injustice,

From becoming complacent,

From becoming ungrateful servants,

From becoming arrogant,

From becoming elitists,


Model for love and compassion, may we imitate you.

Model of hope and new life,

Model of evangelization,

Model of simplicity,

Model of justice for the poor,

Enabler of the downtrodden,

Example of receptivity,

Example of humility,

Example of sensitivity,

Bridge builder of cultures,

Respecter of diversity,

Mother of consolation,

Mother of these who say ‘yes; to Jesus,

Mother of providence,



Let us Pray:  Virgen Morena, Dark Virgin, Mother of God, Lady of Guadalupe, we commit ourselves to follow your example, to be life-givers and to be receptive to new life. We will be faithful followers in your love towards the poor, in your desire to give dignity to all people and to treat all the abandoned with tenderness. Let us live with constant confidence that we need not fear when we acknowledge you as our Mother, Mother of God. Grant that we may participate in your plan for new life and give us faith in the daily miracles that you and your Son, Jesus, work in our lives. Amen.



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