LEAVES Website for Sept-Oct. 2023 Issue

Excerpted from “Leaflets” column:

     After our Good Lord called our dear Fr. Tom Heier back to Him, so many things have taken place here at our LEAVES headquarters. We just had to turn around and ask the Holy Spirit to help us find someone to take over the work. I had been wondering what we could do and had been thinking about offering myself to do that job, but I was hesitant. Yet, the idea kept coming back to me and I finally discerned that I should offer to do it. So, here I am.

For about 10 years I was director and managing editor of LEAVES and of our French magazine in Sherbrooke, Canada. At the same time, I was teaching English as a second language to our seniors and third-year high school students in our boarding school in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.

Then in July of 1980, I had the opportunity to spend a year in the Mariannhill missions in Papua New Guinea, in the Diocese of Lae, just to get a bit of field experience in mission work. At the end of that first year, my superiors asked me to come back via Africa to visit our missions in South Africa, the Transkei, and Zimbabwe. This would help me in my work as mission procurator back in Canada.

I realized that all of that experience was a blessing for me once I was back in Canada giving mission appeals and talks on our missionary work. At this time, Bishop Henry van Lieshout from Lae, in Papua New Guinea, kept writing to me, asking me to come back there, especially since the numbers of missionaries were small and I already knew the Pidgin language they use there.

Finally, I was able to go back to Papua New Guinea in the summer of 1984. This time, I was appointed there for three years. Eventually, I was assigned there until the summer of 1995, when I came back to Canada to continue to work as mission procurator and mission animator with the Propagation of the Faith, the French section in Quebec Canada.

In 2007, I was asked to come to Dearborn Heights, Michigan to work as mission procurator, giving mission appeals in various parishes in the USA. That is how I landed here.

No doubt I will have to ask you to pray the Holy Spirit to enlighten me and help me to work the best I can in this new and important task with LEAVES magazine. Since 1938, LEAVES has been published bi-monthly by the Missionaries of Mariannhill. It has been a great support to our mission work wherever the Lord has asked us to work. Your prayers and financial help have helped us in so many ways in all the countries where we work.

May the Lord bless you all and send you His Spirit. We always keep you in our prayers – Fr. Michael Sheehy, C.M.M.

Rev. Thomas Heier: In Service to the Lord
(May he rest in Peace!)

Editor’s Note: The following was written by Fr. Thomas Heier, C.M.M. himself several years before he died. We offer it to you as an example of a life well-lived in dedicated service of the Lord.

I grew up in Aberdeen, a city of 17,000 at that time. It was a railroad town — four railroads passed through it. My dad worked for Railway Express Agency, a package delivery service of the railroads, much as UPS and FedEx are today.

Our family was not rich, far from it, but we were not exactly dirt poor either. Like so many others at that time, we were poor, but we kids didn’t even know it. We always had food on the table, sufficient clothing and heat in winter.

Bread was always homemade and we wore hand-me-downs. Mom did a lot of sewing, especially for herself and my sisters. We made some of our own toys, the baseball had no cover on it, the bat, once broken, was nailed together and the bases were covers from paint cans.

My dad, a driver of a delivery truck, occasionally would bring home with him at lunch time a hobo he found at the train yards to give him a free lunch. Dad was grateful to God for what we had, and this was one way he showed it.

I was an altar boy in the second grade already. I liked serving. Sometimes, I even played Mass at home in the basement. I’m sure my later vocation was being planted even then already. School was not difficult for me and I liked to read, although I was not a bookworm.

We had a piano at home, so most of us kids took piano lessons at St. Mary School, taught by the music teacher, one of the Benedictine nuns. Sister required one-half hour of practice per day. That was okay with me during school months, but when summer came, I wanted to be outdoors playing baseball, my favorite sport, but my mom enforced the practice rule, even in summer.

At one time there were four of us kids taking piano lessons. In the spring there always was a recital attended mostly by the parents. That year each of us separately played some piece, but the special feature was an eight-hands quartet by three of my sisters and me at one piano — three of them on the bench and me on a chair, playing the bass of course.

People afterwards said, “Wasn’t that cute?” Of course it was, but it embarrassed me. Those lessons taught me to love classical music my whole life. We sons were expected to get summer jobs by the time we were in high school and earn some money for our family. Some of the jobs I had were selling daily newspapers, stock boy for local merchants, the railroad section gang and driver of a REA delivery truck.

Fr. Lawrence, the oldest child in our family, went off to the Mariannhill seminary after the eighth grade — it was in Sioux Falls, S. Dakota, at that time — when I entered the fourth grade. He was a model for me. When I went 1,000 miles by train to the Mariannhill seminary — which was now in Michigan — after the eighth grade, it was a bit easier to do for me because he was already there ahead of me.

Ordained for Mariannhill, Fr. Lawrence died in 1960 of cancer at the age of 34, a priest for only eight years. Fr. Vergil followed me to the seminary five years later; then Fr. Andrew followed him two years later. All four of us have been ordained for the Mariannhill Missionaries.

I liked teaching in the minor seminary after ordination, even though I knew few of the boys would become priests. I was made the faculty adviser of “The Bernardian,” the school’s newspaper, as well as editor of the alumni newspaper.

After ten years of teaching, I wanted experience in a parish. I got it, but it lasted only one year, for in 1970 I was named the provincial superior. Almost continually from then on I was in administration within our province.

Seven years later I went back to teaching in a minor seminary, again for two years. I found it hard work because both the boys and I had changed. I spent 11 years as novice master and local superior in eastern Pennsylvania. I always felt I was not holy enough to be in charge of novices.

When in 1990 that community house in Pennsylvania was closed, I returned to Dearborn Heights, Mich. The next year I was made editor in chief of the LEAVES magazine, an office I still hold in 2023.

Although I never served in the mission fields overseas, my work in this country nevertheless was still mission work for the good of the Mariannhill Missionaries: to educate boys to be future missionaries, to administer to the needs of the members in this province or region or local community, to promote support of Mariannhill’s missions abroad spiritually and financially, and to pray for our friends and benefactors.

       NOTE:  Fr. Thomas said: “I give thanks to God for all the graces He has bestowed upon me across these many years to be a faithful priest of His. I give thanks to Mariannhill for accepting me into its religious family and inspiring me to holiness. I give thanks to the LEAVES family for their spiritual and financial support. I give thanks to all my friends who have by their prayer and advice sustained me in following my vocation. I give thanks to my biological family, both living and dead, for their continuous love and support. Both parents, one brother (Fr. Lawrence) and four sisters have already gone home to God, and four brothers (myself, Fr. Vergil, Fr. Andrew and Phillip) remain on this earth.”  
(P.S. His brother Fr Andrew Heier has since died as a missioanry in Zimbabwe).

Excerpted from “Our Family Album”:

Red Roses as Sign

One of my favorite saints is St. Therese. I pray to her all the time. When I prayed many novenas that my son would get a job in his field, my prayers were answered again.

I requested to receive red roses from St. Therese. When we went to St. Ann’s that Saturday, I noticed two of the most beautiful red rose arrangements on either side of her statue outside. It was early May.

That’s not all. On Mother’s day, when shopping for flowers, my grandsons, ages five and six, insisted on buying me a red rosebush to replace the one that had died!

Next, a relative sent me a card with red roses on it, telling me of Masses to be said for me by the Carmelites of the Society of the Little Flower.

I promised St. Therese to publish a letter in LEAVES. My thanks to St. Therese, St. Jude,  the Blessed Virgin, St. Anthony, the Infant Jesus of Prague and Jesus – L.H.

Graces Received from
Holy Eucharist

The greatest journey of my life began with the Eucharist. There had been a strong desire in my heart 11 years ago that found an answer in deciding to convert to Catholicism. Within the weeks of the RCIA classes, the learning, the community, the discoveries, we watched Bishop Barron’s episode of CATHOLICISM on the Eucharist. It was like coming home, I knew within that evening that this was the right choice for me.

To take the Eucharist for the first time that Holy Saturday, after being anointed with the oil was a moment of true grace. The next morning the priest looked at me and said that I was a Catholic now, which was a true joy. God had truly called to me and blessed me.

It began to be a wonderful element to attend weekly Mass, and over time I felt the desire to attend daily Mass at least once a week. There grew an energy and focus, and I did begin to attend daily Mass before work, which then grew into a readiness to attend even more. It became more of a priority to balance work with being able to attend Mass.

On the day that I lost my current job the first thing I did was to attend Mass after God was within that situation by calling me to the Eucharist. A few months later I was asked by the priest to serve as the sacristan, as an employee. There was a full circle element in coming back to the Eucharist as a means of giving as well as receiving.
       The proximity to Christ, the very close level to priests, as close to the sacrament as a layperson can be. The word sacristan holds the Latin base Sacre, meaning “sacred,” and the journey of the Eucharist deepened in being with and serving the Eucharist in this way. It is a means to which God continues to call, bless, and guide me, in the sacrament He himself initiated – Amanda M.

Excerpted from Blessed Engelmar Testimonies:

A Life of
Blessed Engelmar

There is now available a booklet of the life of Blessed Engelmar 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.

My donation is for the hungry children in Africa as a thank you to God for all circumstances in our family. Please pray for Mary who had cancer surgery. She is unable to consume food by mouth. Pray that God heals her. Thanks to God, Bl. Engelmar, Ss. Maximilian Kolbe, Damian and Corrie Ten Boon, the Holy Spirit, the saints in heaven and the souls in purgatory. Gratefully – Adela.

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I promised to give a donation for the hungry children overseas if I came through my operation. It was seven and a half hours long for a stomach aortic aneurysm. I had to go to the hospital alone as it was during the pandemic. Being 73 years old, I was scared. I had St. Therese and Our Lady medals in my hand. All went well. Thank you, St. Therese, Our Lady, Our Lady of the Snows, Ss. Anthony and Rita, the angels and Bl. Engelmar. Please pray for my sons to get jobs and for four children to marry. Thank you, all the angels and saints. I was so scared in the hospital, but my prayers were answered. God bless. I love my LEAVES magazine – Mary Theresa.

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I am sending a donation in thanksgiving to God, Jesus, Mary, Ss. Ann, Peregrine, Rita and Bl. Engelmar for favors granted. Please continue to pray for me that cancer and mucus never enters into my body ever again, that my CAT scans are always clear with no changes ever and that I get back to losing weight and that I don’t develop diabetes. Please pray that my labs and bloodwork are always okay. Thank you and God bless! – Patricia S.

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I am sending thanks for prayers answered from Ss. Therese and Padre Pio and Bl. Engelmar. Our family needs many, many prayers always! – C.A.

Novena in Honor of
Abbot Francis Pfanner

Abbot Francis Pfanner founded Mariannhill Monastery, and 100 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 of
St. Thomas Aquinas

Grant me grace, O merciful God, to desire ardently all that is pleasing to you, to examine it prudently, to acknowledge it truthfully, and to accomplish it perfectly, for the praise and glory of your name. Amen.

Prayer for Peace
By Pope St. John Paul II

O God, Creator of the universe, who extends your paternal concern over every creature and guides the events of history to the goal of salvation, we acknowledge your fatherly love when you break the resistance of mankind and, in a world torn by strife and discord, you make us ready for reconciliation. Renew for us the wonders of your mercy. Send forth your Spirit that He may work in the intimacy of hearts, that enemies may begin to dialogue, that adversaries may shake hands and peoples may encounter one another in harmony. May all commit themselves to the sincere search for true peace which will extinguish all arguments, for charity which overcomes hatred, for pardon which disarms revenge. Amen.
[The feast day of St. John Paul II is Oct. 22, the anniversary of his papal inauguration.]

Prayer for
Divine Assistance

By St. Clement of Rome

We beg you, Lord, to help and to defend us. Deliver the oppressed, pity the insignificant, raise the fallen, show yourself to the needy, heal the sick, bring back those of your people who have gone astray, feed the hungry, lift up the weak, take off the prisoners’ chains. May every nation come to know that you alone are God, that Jesus Christ is your Child, that we are your people, the sheep that you pasture. Amen.

To Our Lady
Of the Rosary

By Anne Pileggi-Gabbamonte

O Mary conceived without sin,
Immaculate from the start,
We offer you our rosaries,
To console your sorrowful heart.
If we form a chain of rosaries,
Bead to bead, and link to link,
Do you think it would help to change the world?

What do you and Jesus think?

For you know what awaits our world.
Which is in a state of great upheaval,
Since we seem to have forgotten your Son,
Because of the spread of evil.
We seek refuge in your Immaculate Heart,
And the Sacred Heart of your Son.
Please help us to remain in the state of grace,
Until our life is done.

O sorrowful Heart of Mary, what would you and Jesus say?

If the world said a rosary every day,
Would this wipe your tears away?
Our Lady of the Rosary, we come on bended knee,
To ask you to intercede for us … to Jesus, lovingly.

No Longer
By Grace E. Easley

As quick as a prayer can bring Him,
He answers my call for aid,
And doors that were locked swing open,
… And I am no longer afraid.
No evil has power to touch me,
As long as I am His own,
And placing my feet in His footprints,
… I find I’m no longer alone.

He shows me the wisdom of patience,
Consoles when the going is rough,
And pleasures that used to entice me
… Are strangely no longer enough.
With Him I find a completeness,
Fulfilling my deepest hope.
He lends me His shoulder to lean on,
… When I can no longer cope.

The joy that surrounds His presence
Enriches me greater than gold.
His gentle hands lift the burden
… That I can no longer hold.
He dresses the wounds of my spirit,
Inflicted at such a cost.
He reaches for me through the darkness,
… And I am no longer lost.

For I am the captive He ransomed,
The reason for which He came,
And touched by His infinite mercy,
… I find I’m no longer the same.
Born without any possessions,
What care I when these be gone,
For I belong to the Master,
And I am no longer my own.

By Michael Joseph Luksch

On a day like any other,
There was something new to learn,
A delightful surprise arriving,
And no reason for concern.

Initially there was curiosity,
Wondering who it could be,
With hope of all the happy dreams,
For whatever he or she could see.

From inside out the spirit shined,
The beating heart grew strong,
A little hand was waving,
The wait should not be long.

On a day like any other,
The joy had turned to pain,
God took our little angel,
But we know we’ll meet again.

God’s Plan
By Margaret Peterson

Man was meant to sort things out
With help from his Creator.
The less he prays,
The more trouble stays,
Till he kneels to Him sooner or later.