LEAVES Website for November-December 2022 Issue

Excerpted from “Leaflets” column:

        The first Sunday of Advent is Nov. 27 this year. Advent is a time of waiting, a time of joyful expectation. We are to be preparing for the coming of Jesus. We recall Jesus’ arrival as a Babe in a humble manger and look forward to Jesus’ second coming at the end of time.

Waiting can be challenging, but we can make good use of the time by actively preparing ourselves for Jesus, body and soul. When we occupy ourselves with doing good works, active charity and prayer, the season of Advent is more valuable to us and to others. Our hearts expand whenever we reach out to help others.

In a hustle and bustle world, waiting is seen as a negative. Instant gratification is more the name of the game. In days past there were no credit cards, no car loans. Farmers went in together to purchase large equipment that they then shared. Many homes had multiple generations living there, sharing expenses until young families saved enough to buy their own homes.

Sharing was once common. People did not isolate themselves from their neighbors. They sat on the front porch or stoop, greeting those who strolled by on their evening walk. Conversations were had, not bowed heads at a fast-food restaurant, glued to a video on a cellphone.

There are many blessings of waiting. When we wait, we are able to notice someone else’s need or hurt so we can more readily be there for them, instead of just rushing by them. We can share what we have or help search for what is needed.

Waiting opens up a window of time that we can fill with prayer. If we are forced to wait, the opportunity is still there. Embracing it instead of becoming annoyed makes it all the more profitable. It might be at a traffic signal, a doctor’s office waiting room, a parking lot while picking up children from soccer practice – or any number of things that cause us to linger longer than we would prefer.

The days grow shorter during Advent, but we know this is only temporary. Even before Christmas, the tide turns and the length of days expands. Sometimes we need only to wait and things get better.

The greater use we make of Advent, the greater our celebration of Christmas. Do not neglect this important time, but rather embrace it and use it to full advantage. May your Advent be fruitful!

       Christmas is a special time of remembering family and friends. We lovingly remember our dear LEAVES family at Christmas. Our prayers are with you, as well as our hearts.

We wish you peace, love and joy this Christmas and may God grant you abundant blessings always – Fr. Thomas Heier, C.M.M.

Provincial Superior’s Christmas Greeting

Dear Readers, Benefactors and Friends of Mariannhill,

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18:3-4).

Christmas is at our door again and it is time to take a moment to reflect on this great feast of our salvation. Doing so, I let myself be inspired by no one else than Henri J.M. Nouwen and his own reflections on the Prodigal Son in his book entitled, The Return of the Prodigal Son. And I wish to share with you what I discovered there. It was new and inspiring to me, and I wish it will be the same to you.

Nouwen takes us to the hillside where Jesus proclaimed the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the poor in spirit... they who mourn... the meek... they who hunger and thirst for righteousness... the merciful... the clean of heart... the peacemakers... they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness...” (Mt 5:3-12). For Nouwen it is the portrait of Jesus and of every child of God. In pronouncing these words, Jesus was like taking a “selfie” of Himself, the Beloved Son of God. And He included us in His family when He taught us the Our Father. Each one of us is therefore the child of God, and the Beatitudes are our way of life.

Jesus is born among us as the perfect faithful child. And already at His birth, His Father entrusted Him with His mission. Seen in this way, Christmas takes on a totally different meaning. It is a serious moment for Jesus and for each one of us. It is a totally different picture from the simple little Jesus in the manger.

Jesus embraced this mission: He lived with the poor of heart, He was meek and patient even with sinners, He was hungry and thirsty for justice for which He died, He wanted peace, reconciling God and man. Consequently, to become a child of God, a faithful brother of Jesus, we also have to embrace this same mission.

It does not take anything away from celebrating Christmas with joy. On the contrary, it gives us hope because Jesus has gone before us and He accomplished His mission. But Christmas says to us, “Now it is your turn to take up the mission.” Maybe our “Merry Christmas” means just that! Happily walk in the footsteps of Jesus.

With your help, prayers and material support, the Missionaries of Mariannhill have tried, and still try, to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, proclaiming the Good News of salvation. For this I cannot but thank you most sincerely. And may God bless each and every one of you as a New Year is offered us. May 2023 make us forget the pandemic years of 2020-2022!

Yours sincerely,
Fr. Robert Deshaies, C.M.M.
Provincial Superior, American-Canadian Province
The Mariannhill Mission Society

Excerpted from “Our Family Album”:

St. Therese Extends Favor

Several years ago, my choir was going to Italy (the Vatican and Assisi). Of course, I signed up. Then I lost my job. I was out of work for months and I had no money for the trip to Italy. I sadly cancelled my reservation.

Around that time I was reading about St. Therese the Little Flower. I thought, “She wanted to spend her time in heaven doing favors on earth,” and I wished she could do me a favor. And then I forgot about it.

A few days before the choir’s departure to Italy, I was feeling sorry for myself, and the organizer of the choir called me. She asked if I still wanted to go to Italy with the choir. I told her that I was too broke. One of the other choir members suddenly had a business deal that would not allow her to leave, so she wanted to give her ticket away to another choir member!

I went to Italy and it was fabulous. Was it due to St. Therese’s intervention? The soprano (the organizer) who called me is named Theresa and the soprano who could not go is named Rose. The Little Flower could not sign her name any clearer, could she? – Antoinette.

Grateful for An
Answer to My Prayer

What is it that I am hearing? The prayers of gratitude that I am offering to God in thanksgiving for prayers answered. Two instances in particular relieved a great deal of stress.

First, the retail store where I work usually remains open on Easter Sunday. I am always praying that they would close on Sundays to keep holy the Lord’s Day, but that hasn’t occurred yet. Thankfully, last year and this year the store was closed for Easter Sunday.

The second incident happened after a seven-year wait when I was finally exonerated of a license  suspension due to a perceived insurance lapse. Though the suspension that would have prevented me from driving in Virginia wasn’t applicable, since I had moved to Arizona, there was still a suspension which prevented me from renewing my Arizona license. Making a long story short, I can say that the suspension was finally lifted when I was able to prove that I had insurance.

In appreciation that they will not try to extract a large fine from me and for the removal of the suspension, I am sending a donation that I promised to give to others when my prayer was answered.

The Scripture verse: “What return can I make to the Lord for all that He has done for me?” reverberates through my soul. I try to thank God for Himself, but more often than not I am asking for favors and thanking when the favors are received.

May all the Mariannhill missionary work be blessed with many priestly vocations, and may Mariannhill missionaries be blessed with every spiritual and material gift necessary – Miss V.J.L.

Roses Bloom as a Sign

In May of 2000, my husband and I embarked on a spiritual pilgrimage to Lourdes and other shrines of France. I suffered from a rare liver disease and was in need of a transplant. Our trip to Lisieux was remarkable.

In St. Therese’s home, we prayed in her bedroom where she had witnessed Mother Mary. I had a sense of peace and felt a closeness to my deceased grandmother (who prayed to St. Therese often). I loved to listen to my grandmother’s stories and in particular to a story in which she was saying a novena and a rose grew from a bush covered in snow in front of her statue of Mary in the backyard.

When we arrived home from France, roses were in full bloom from a small bush we had planted years ago, but which had never bloomed before. Nine months later, I received a life-saving transplant. My cousin gave me half of her liver. At the time I was 80 pounds and would have died without it. Jesus is wonderful! – Name Withheld.

Excerpted from Blessed Father Engelmar Testimonies:

A Life of
Blessed Father Engelmar

There is now available a booklet of the life of Blessed Engelmar Father Unzeitig, C.M.M. You may receive a free copy of it by sending a stamped (postage for one ounce), self-addressed envelope to us at: LEAVES, P.O. Box 87, Dearborn, MI 48121-0087.

I want to let you know that I so love LEAVES. My mom read it forever. My mind is so bad. I have depression and panic disorder. My knees both need to be replaced. I have a blood disorder that causes clots in my lungs, legs, and just all over. When I get LEAVES, I feel I am doing pretty good. I love to read what God does.

I pray to as many saints as I can for help. I also thank you for my novena to Fr. Engelmar – J.M.

+     +     +

I grew up in a relatively poor family. The only periodical I remember coming into the house was LEAVES. I would devour every issue as a young girl. Now, fast forward, my mother has passed away. Her mail is coming to my house, so please change the name on the account to mine.

Mom learned about Fr. Engelmar in LEAVES. She said a perpetual novena to him. I am a cancer survivor and I have a feeling that Fr. Engelmar probably had something to do with that.
Thanks for all that the Mariannhill Missionaries do and keep up the good work. It’s so nice to pick up a little, simple magazine that offers love and peace in this chaotic world. God bless you! – Cindy V.

Novena in Honor of
Abbot Francis Pfanner

Abbot Francis Pfanner founded Mariannhill Monastery, and 113 years ago its monks became the Congregation of Missionaries of Mariannhill. He was not only a great missionary, but also a holy man. The cause for his beatification has begun. We have available a novena in his honor and will send you a free copy of it when you send a stamped (postage for one ounce), self-addressed envelope to us at: LEAVES, P.O. Box 87, Dearborn, MI 48121-0087.

Prayer for the Deceased

O God, through Jesus’ victory over death we are given the ultimate promise of eternal life. The divine love of Christ binds all believers, living and deceased, to one another and to the Holy Spirit.

As we reflect on this glorious truth, we pray in earnest for those who have died (list their names), with an outpouring of love and gratitude for the gifts they shared in life. They may be gone from this earth, but will never be forgotten. In our sorrow, grant us the peace to celebrate their future in heaven.

We ask that, in your mercy, our departed may be cleansed of all sin and enjoy freedom from the anxiety and pain of this world, knowing only joy for eternity.  Amen.

Prayer for Healing

Lord, you invite all who are burdened to come to you. Allow your healing hand to heal me. Touch my soul with your compassion for others; touch my heart with your courage and infinite love for all; touch my mind with your wisdom, and may my mouth always proclaim your praise. Teach me to reach out to you in all my needs, and help me to lead others to you by my example.

Most loving Heart of Jesus, bring me health in body and spirit that I may serve you with all my strength. Touch gently this life which you have created, now and forever. Amen.

The Child Jesus
By Doris T. Cameron

In Bethlehem a wee baby
With arms reaching out,
All our world to save.
May we never doubt –
   This child called Jesus.

Heavenly angels sing,
Hear Mary’s lullaby.
Three kings’ gifts bring
Led by a star on high –
   To the child called Jesus.

The infant God sleeps on,
All are filled with joy.
Shepherds gaze upon –
Worshiping the newborn boy –
   The Child called Jesus.

Glory to the Father’s Son
On every Christmas Day,
Blessings to us, everyone.
Close may we ever stay –
   Near the Child called Jesus.

By Sr. Marcella LaKoske, OP

The angels were still singing
while the Baby slept,
but the shepherds had long departed.
Joseph, concerned, had the floor well swept.

And Mary lovingly watched her Child.
She kissed each tiny finger
and pondered all that happened,
wondering how long they could linger

in Bethlehem with insight so clear.
She knew God would reveal
the time and the place,
so she did not fear.

She pictured her Son
doing the will of the One
who held the universe in His hand.

Love had descended to help mankind,
and she knew there’d be work to do.
Those hands she had kissed would
   raise the dead,
   heal the sick,
   bless the children,
   embrace the world,
   rescue the apostles,
   forgive the sinners,
   comfort the lonely,
   feed the hungry,
   serve the disciples … and then?

She didn’t know that nails
would pierce those beautiful hands.
She held Him close and prayed,
“Thy will be done.” Amen.