Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

May peace and blessing be yours

To all our readers, benefactors and friends - 
a Happy New Year to you all!
May peace and blessing be yours.

*Photograph taken by Catherine Nicolette
With thanks to the stone artist

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Christmas

For unto us a Child is born
Unto us a Son is given

Happy Christmas and a Blessed New Year!
We remember Christ's Birthday and the joy and hope it brings us.
Let's make this next year the best one ever!
A candle has been lit for each Marian Praise reader.
The picture of Mary of Nazareth and Jesus was drawn by
one of the children Lumiere Charity assists.
With thanks to the artist.
Please click this link for the beautiful song by Amy Grant
'Breath of Heaven' - Mary's song
With thanks to Ms Grant, Mr Jose Tony Cortes and Youtube
Why not purchase this inspirational music
and sing it in your Church choir?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Prolific flowering of Marian verse Part 1

In England the two periods which saw some of the most prolific flowering of Marian verse were the Middle Ages and the nineteenth century, the highlights of the latter period being the Oxford Movement and the 
Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, from whose ranks the composition of much of the century's blossoming of Marian poetry stems.
 A striking point is the way English poets throughout the centuries emphasise Mary's role as the New Eve and her multiple role as daughter, spouse, sister and mother of God.

One reason why the Eve-Mary theme has provided so fruitful a field for poetry through the centuries may be the fact that the annunciation of the birth of Christ to Mary of Nazareth by the Archangel Gabriel offers so many possibilities for poetic presentation.
A number of poets have translated the 9th century Latin poem "Ave Maris Stella" (Hail, Oh Star of the Sea), repeating the Eve-Mary theme in ways that show great diversity in imitation.

The poem states inter alia that if Eva, Eve's name in Latin, is turned backwards, it spells Ave, the first part of Gabriels' salutation to Mary.

Sumens illud Ave                      Taking that Ave (greeting)
Gabrielis ore                             from Gabriel's mouth
Funda nos in pace                    establish us in peace
mutans nomen Eva                   changing Eva's name

This has been translated in numerous ways.
In A hymn to Mary, a macaronic poem found in the Egerton Manuscript, the poet states;

All this world was forlore          lost
Eva peccatrice                           by Eve
Tyl our Lord was ybore            Till; born
De te genatrice                         from thee, mother
with Ave it went away 

In this poem the turnabout is stated without being spelt out.
Conversely, the translation of "Ave Maris Stella" by the Franciscan Friar William Herebert (d.1333) found among seventeen pieces of translation by him is quite explicit:

Of the aungeles mouhth kald Gabriel      angel's; mouth; called
In gryht ous sette and shyld vrom            grace; establish; shield; 
       shome                                                  shame
That turnst abakward eues nome             reverses Eve's name

A translation of the relevant section of "Ave Maris Stella", preserved at Merton College, Oxford (MS 248) reads as follows;
tornand the name of heue a-gayne (8) [turning Eve's name around].

The popularity of "Ave Maris Stella" did not wane as the centuries passed. 
The sixteenth-century Jesuit priest Robert Southwell (1561-1595) wrote in his poem The Virgins Salutation:

Spell Eva backe and Ave shall you finde.               backwards
The first began, the last reverst our harmes          evils

In the nineteenth century the Gabriel-Mary theme was continued. 
Edward Caswell (1814-1878) translated the poem into a version used as a hymn that was regularly sung. Titled Hail thou Star of Ocean, the relevant lines read:

Oh, by Gabriel's Ave,
uttered long ago
Eva's name reversing,
'stablish peace below.

See link for Ave Maris Stella and a beautiful rendition of music by The Daughters of Mary

See link for William Herebert OFM

See link for Merton College Oxford

See link for Robert Southwell SJ

See link for Edward Caswell

*Photograph taken by Catherine Nicolette

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Mary of Nazareth - a woman of intellect

Mary of Nazareth had mastery over her tongue. However, this mastery should not be misconstrued as a sign of inarticulacy. Luke recounts her Magnificat (1;46-50).
In this oration Mary expresses her previously suppressed ecstasy when her cousin Elizabeth, inspired by the Holy Spirit, hailed her as the mother of God.

Set free from her silence by Elizabeth's inspired insight, Mary launched into her exultant discourse, an unusually long speech for a woman in the patriarchally-orientated society of her era, manifesting both an astonishing eloquence and an intimate knowledge of Scripture;

My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.  
Because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid: for behold from henceforth all    generations shall call me blessed. 
Because He that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is His Name. 
And His Mercy is from generation unto generation to them that fear Him. 
He hath showed might in His Arm: 
He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble.
He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich He hath sent empty away.
He hath received Israel His servant, being mindful of His Mercy.
As He spoke to our fathers: to Abraham and to his seed for ever.

Though some Biblical scholars regard this proclamation which shows a marked kinship with the Canticle of Hannah (I Kings I I:1-1), as constituting Luke's own understanding of salvation rather than as Mary's composition, there is no reason to suppose that the Blessed Virgin was unfamiliar with the Canticle of Hannah or with the other sources from which the Magnificat derives its elements. 

The oration indicates that Mary was a woman of intellect, able to quote from the Scriptures and possessed of the insight to interpret the readings and correlate the prophecies of the Old Testament with the miraculous situation in which she found herself, and that moreover she was the first to ascirbe the glory which covered her to the bounty of God. 

The brilliance of this powerful oration and its ancient connotations marked a unique development in the Blessed Virgin's life. In Scripture, at least, there is no recorded repetition of ecstasy. Henceforth Mary is shown to be involved in a process of personal development that was to ripen into the maturity she would need to support her Son both during His private and His public life, and at the time of His agonising death on the cross. 

Though her trials would test her resources to their limit, the texts in Mary's praise that have come down to the present time establish beyond all doubt that her glorious prediction that from henceforth all generations would call her blessed has been amply fulfilled in English literature and more specifically in its poetry. Moreover, only Mary has inspired so vast a proliferation of praise verse, distributed so steadily over the centuries.

*Photograph of artwork on a noticeboard on a church taken by Catherine Nicolette. With thanks to the artist.

Rosary Novena for the Protection of our unborn

54 Day Rosary Novena

This novena (series of prayers) runs for 54 consecutive days, and should be prayed in union with all the other novenas being offered throughout the world. It can begin any time. 
Our Lady of Fatima, during each of her six apparitions, requested that we pray the Rosary every day. 
The Rosary greatly favours union within the family. The family that prays together, stays together.

Please consider praying the Rosary in the form of a 54 day Rosary Novena for the Protection of our unborn. If you wish to learn how to pray the Rosary, please visit the following link;

Mary has a Mother's Love for all. See the following link for inspirational music about the beautiful prayer of the Rosary.

A guided rosary;

*Photograph taken by Catherine Nicolette. With thanks to the glass artist
* With thanks to and Youtube

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Mary of Guadaloupe - Castlebar Rally for the Protection of the Unborn

Breaking News - Pro-Life Rally Castlebar County Mayo

Mary the Mother of Jesus Christ and
Protector of the Innocent Unborn

Massive Pro-Life Rally in Castlebar County Mayo
Today Lumiere Charity represented our dedication to the sanctity of life by taking part in the massive Pro-Life Rally in Castlebar, County Mayo in Ireland. Coaches, buses, cars streamed in from all over Ireland bringing people to the beautiful city. People with health disabilities came by wheelchair and with carers, braving the cold wet weather to take part in the Rally. Despite the icy cold and lashing showers, the crowds stretched in all directions as far as the eye could see.

Those to whom I spoke were from Kerry, Dublin, Mayo, Donegal,  Monaghan, Knock, Galway, Ulster, Leinster, Ballinasloe, Maynooth. I was told by other people at the Rally that there were representatives from every part of Ireland.

As we were about to begin the Rally, I noticed a little boy of about six and his sister who looked about four, standing in front of me. The little girl said to her brother, "What are we doing here?"
Her brother looked down at her and answered, "Protecting all life."
The little girl considered this gravely for a few moments, and then said "Oh."
She gave him her hand, and the two of them turned to start walking alongside their parents in the Rally.
Ireland still has her greatest wealth; her children.

Walking the roads of Castlebar - only a tiny portion of the crowds

God has created each one of us - the beautiful words of the great prophet Jeremiah
Rally in the streets of Castlebar
The Rally took to the streets of Castlebar, wending through the streets. There were so many people that traffic came to a standstill. Posters showing the sanctity of life were everywhere. People prayed and sang as they walked. Speakers then spoke of the proud heritage of Ireland through the centuries; the decency and respect for life that has always been the hallmark of Ireland. People gave strong voice to their approval of this wonderful legacy.

Many groups were represented at the Rally. I had the privilege of speaking with Mrs. Carmel Waters who gave me the DVD entitled 'Prolife testimony and the Rosary of the Unborn.'
Please see the link below for the testimony.

The ecumenical website for Pro-Life can be found at

In pregnancy crisis?
If you are a mother in pregnancy crisis, and not sure what to do, why not watch the following video. When making decisions, the best decisions with the most balanced consequences follow from knowing all the facts. Factual evidence shows that a baby's heart starts beating some days after conception. The baby already shows personality in the womb, such as sucking a favourite thumb. This little being inside you is a person, your son or daughter, albeit in very small form. 
At the moment the sperm fuses with the egg, new and unique DNA is created, a tiny human being. From the very first moment of conception, the DNA begins growing at a rapid rate. Where there is growth, there is life. This is your little son or daughter.
At this great moment of conception, there are not only two people involved; Almighty God is involved in the great act of creation too. Each human being is gifted at the moment of conception with a unique soul, the spirit; that part of yourself which makes you unique, and which continues living for eternity after your human body completes its normal human cycle here on earth. 
The conception is not just a random few body cells with no life in them; it is a human being with a soul gifted by the Divine in His own Image and Likeness, destined for an earthly life and an eternal destiny.

For development of your little baby in your womb, please see the following link;

The Adoption Option
If you need assistance, why not consider the Adoption Option?
The contact as given below is
Holy Love Information Centre
Knock County Mayo
Tel; 094-9376900

Pro-Life Rally supporters in Castlebar, County Mayo

Pro-Lifers carrying image of Mary of Nazareth 'Our Lady of Guadaloupe'

Gracious lady 'I'm pro-life'
Braving the icy cold and blustering showers to support the sanctity of life
We are for Life

Pro-Life Crowds filling the streets of Castlebar
Mary of the Gaels, pray for us
Wonderful monument in the heart of Castlebar

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mary of Nazareth - Patron of the Innocent

How Sacred Your Life is - Lumiere remembers Belfast

Mary of Nazareth, Patron of the Innocent

Today in Belfast there were scenes of protest as 
people made their voices heard for the innocent unborn

People from all parts of Ireland and from different countries made their way into the beautiful city to stand outside the premises where an abortion clinic was due to be opened today.

Fifty protesters and children in one bus alone
Lumiere Charity was invited to come to add our dedication to the sacredness of each person's individual life, gifted by God. Our one bus from Dublin brought fifty protesters and their families to the event. As we arrived, buses and cars were streaming in from all over Ireland.
So many protesters packed the pavement and road in front of the proposed clinic, with more arriving throughout the day, that the courteous and efficient police had to constantly keep moving the overflow of people to other areas such as over the road where the pavement became packed too. The police had to clear single pathways for passersby on both sides of the road through the peaceful and praying protesters, who carried placards and banners.

Many nationalities from all over Ireland
Throughout the day, I was privileged to speak with many of the protesters. 
Protesters to whom I spoke were from Counties Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh. Londonderry and Tyrone, Dublin, Cork; from the UK, Dundalk and elsewhere.
Parishioners, clergy representatives of many denominations, fathers and mothers with their babies and children packed the sidewalks.
Different nationalities had come to make their protest at the proposed clinic. 

'Beep for Life'
People were encouraged to beep their car horns if they were in support of the Pro-life protest.  At one stage I was on the phone to South Africa speaking to the South Africans who were holding an all-day prayer vigil for all the protesters in Belfast, when one of the praying group asked me,
"What's that deafening noise?" It was the ongoing sound of the cars registering their protest against the proposed new clinic. So many cars supported the protest that we arrived home with ringing ears from the constant noise of car horns hour after hour, as they passed our protest area.

General public consensus at protest
The general consensus of the public was that 
We fully support the right of the woman within the woman to her life.
We fully support the right of the unborn man within the woman to his life.
Life, according to the Holy Law of God, is sacred and not to be taken.

Lumiere Charity is dedicated to equal rights for all. The basic and first right of each man and woman is the right to live out his or her personal life, once that life has been called into being.  Ireland has always been greatly admired on the international stage for her noble history of deep spirituality and respect for life. 

Stormount investigation
During the day we were informed that a Stormount investigation is to be carried out into the legality of the clinic.
In the spirit of Lumiere, why not write an email/ post a letter/ phone your protest against the opening of the clinic in Belfast?

Can you help?
Also, in the spirit of Lumiere, why not help a teenager/woman in pregnancy crisis? If a woman is considering availing of the service, it means that she is in dire need of assistance. Perhaps she cannot afford to continue her schooling or education while being pregnant, or afford other needs for the newly pregnant mother. Perhaps she needs emotional support during this vulnerable time. As a member of our global human family, let us help her to make a decision which will not have the power to haunt her in years to come, either with physical illness, possible infertility problems, regrets or emotional sadness.

If you are a counsellor, why not offer your services gratis for a period of time each week to a pregnancy crisis/group and/or helpline?

If you are a mother in pregnancy crisis
If you are a mother in pregnancy crisis reading this post, please consider contacting a pregnancy crisis centre for the assistance you need. There are many people who dearly wish to adopt a little one - if you are anxious about your pregnancy, why not consider carrying your little one to birth, while exploring the adoption option.
The following link will lead you to a crisis pregnancy programme

Candles have been lit
Candles have been lit by Lumiere Charity in remembrance of Belfast, and for
Mothers in pregnancy crisis

 "Not In My Name"
Stop Abortion

Precious Life
Keep Ireland Abortion Free - Protect Life

Protesting the clinic

So sad

The sad reality 

*Photographs taken by Rev Catherine Nicolette with permission
*With thanks to and 
*With thanks to northern ireland

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mary wrapped Him in swaddling clothes

The evangelist Luke recounts the way Mary and Joseph searched in vain for an inn before finding refuge in a stable in these poignant words (II;7):

   And she brought forth her firstborn Son and wrapped Him up
   in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger : because
   there was no room for them in the inn.

This stark verse depicts Mary as a woman who scorned to exhibit hysteria and distress and tackled the task at hand with the resources at her disposal, regardless of their paucity. Angels sang in the sky above Bethlehem and shepherds arrived at the stable to pay homage to the newborn King and she held her tongue, while she "kept all these words, pondering them in her heart." (II:19)

Eight days later, claiming no preferential treatment on account of Christ's divinity, Mary took Him to Jerusalem for His presentation to God in terms of the Law of Moses. The holy Simeon took the Christ Child in his arms and praised God for His gift of salvation. Simeon then forecast that this Gift was a Light of Revelation to the Gentiles. He then warned Mary, saying (II;35):

   ... thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that out of many
   hearts thoughts may be revealed.

*Photograph taken by Catherine

Friday, September 14, 2012

Mary of Nazareth and Bridget of Sweden

Mary of Nazareth

Bridget, celebrated saint of Sweden, left us the legacy of the fifteen prayers known as 'The Secret of Happiness'.
Bridget came from a prominent family.
Her father, Birger, was a royal Prince of Sweden and her mother, Ingeborg, was a descendant of the Gothic Kings.
Both her parents were devout followers of God.

Ingeborg nevertheless knew what was due to her estate.
The story is told that when, during the last stages of her pregnancy with Bridget, she went visiting, she was arrayed in sumptuous garb.
A woman, observing her costly raiment, thought to herself: "Well, there's a proud woman for you!"
That night an unknown person visited the woman and spoke to her in these words:
"You are mistaken about Ingeborg, my servant. At heart she is truly humble.
By dressing in a manner befitting her position she seeks to avoid the notice of the world.
Simple clothing would give rise to comment.
I will soon bless her with a daughter who, through love for me, will obtain such graces that she will be the admiration of the whole world."

A further sign is connected with the birth of Bridget. At the hour of her birth, in the year 1302, a priest saw a shining cloud above her house.
Seated in the cloud was a woman holding a book, who said: 
"Birger has just been given a daughter whose fame will become worldwide."

A few months later Ingeborg died and her child was brought up by an aunt.
Like her parents, Bridget was deeply devoted to Jesus of Nazareth and her life was filled with signs and grace.
One day a woman knocked at her door and begged for milk, for the love of God.
All Bridget could give her was water. 
When she had drunk it she revived and said it had been the best milk she had ever tasted.

Mary of Nazareth
Bridget was inspired by Mary of Nazareth never to stop praying.
Around 1317 Bridget married a nobleman by the name of Ulf Godmarson, Prince of Nericia in Sweden.
The couple had eight children.
Later Ulf, with Bridget's consent, devoted his life to prayer as a Cistercian monk.
He later died in the Cistercian monastery in 1344.
After his death, Bridget renounced her rank of Princess, and devoted her life to prayer.

Devoted to prayer and worship
Bridget began a group for women devoted to prayer and the worship of Almighty God.
The group was known as the Order of the Holy Saviour, or Bridgettines.
Bridget built the motherhouse of Wastein.
She undertook a pilgrimage to Palestine and returned via Rome.
In Rome, Bridget assisted people who were sick, and those struggling in the poverty trap.
She lived a simple and prayerful life.
Bridget dictated a book, known as the "Revelations".

Day of special remembrance
Bridget died in Rome, after having lived for almost seventy years. 
The day of special remembrance of this great woman from Sweden is 23rd July.

Fifteen Prayers of St Bridget of Sweden
*Please find a link to the Fifteen Prayers of St Bridget of Sweden
With thanks to Lady of

*Photograph taken by Catherine Nicolette

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mary of Nazareth


Mary Queen of heaven is a mighty queen,
but Mary of Nazareth was a queen no less,
although Nazareth folk never dreamed they had seen
in the carpenter's house a queen in working dress;
a queen sweeping a floor or laying a table,
or washing the supper things at fall of night,
and, even had they watched, they would not have been able
to see the angel who came in a cloud of light,
an angel with great eyes aflame with wonder
who knelt before this girl and spoke to her.
The sound of his voice was more terrible than thunder,
but she was not terrified. She did not stir.
and when she spoke, the angel bowed his head,
knowing what power moved in the word she said.

Sister Maris Stella
Commonweal. 23 December 1938
Used with permission
Poem researched by Luky

Catherine Nicolette;
This beautiful poem highlights the sacred in the ordinary - the queen in the village girl - the royal in the servant. Mary - humble, true and pure - was royal in heart and soul, and chosen by the God of All to bear the incarnation of Sacred Jesus. Sister Maris Stella portrays this reality in a poem of subtle touches, showing the power of the royal in the everyday humble things of life.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Stone markers where the pilgrim can pray
The beautiful St Bridgid's Cross

The winding country road leading to St. Bridgid's Well,
the greenery soft with white wildflowers


Catherine Nicolette;
Bridgid is an Irish holy woman. It is told she was the daughter of an Irish chieftain and a Christian slave. 
  Her father was Dubtach, descendent of Con of the Hundred Battles, and her mother Brotseach of the House of O'Connor. 
  It is told that her mother was sold to a Druid around the time of Bridgid's birth - some accounts say just before, others just after her birth. Bridgid was brought up in her father's household. 

Bridgid was known for her kindness and sense of justice. 
  She followed the Christian religious path of life, and in 480 AD arrived with her nuns in the present day Kildare. 
  She decided to build her abbey on Druim Criadh (the ridge of the clay) rising above the Curragh plain there, under a great oak tree. 
  Hence came the present town's name Kildare - Cill Dara, the cell or church of the oak. 

Medieval times
In medieval times abbeys of Franciscans and Carmelites were stationed in Kildare. 
  St. Bridgid's Cathedral is located on the original grounds of St Bridgid's wooden church. 
  The present Cathedral was built between 1223 and 1230. It was restored to its present form from 1875 to 1896.

Celtic icon
Bridgid is an icon of Celtic spirituality, and she has long been associated with Mary of Nazareth, the mother of Jesus the Christ. 
  Bridgid is known affectionately as 'The Mary of the Gael'. She was known for her firm and good character. 
  Her outstanding hospitality has been illustrated in this poem cited in Robert Van de Weyers' book, Celtic Fire. 

'Brigid's Feast

I should like a great lake of finest ale
For the King of kings.
I should like a table of the choicest food
For the family of heaven.
Let the ale be made from the fruits of faith,
And the food be forgiving love.

I should welcome the poor to my feast,
For they are Gods children.
I should welcome the sick to my feast,
For they are God's joy.
Let the poor sit with Jesus at the highest place,
And the sick dance with the angels.

God bless the poor,
God bless the sick,
And bless our human race.

God bless our food,
God bless our drink,
O God, embrace.' 

St Bridgid's Cross
Bridgid wove a cross out of rushes which is famous throughout Ireland and is known as St Bridgid's cross. 
  It is a beautifully interwoven symbol of the love of Jesus the Christ for all humanity.

St Bridgid's Cross

St Bridgid's Well
St Bridgid's Well is located close to the Black Abbey, near the site of the Millrace which was used by her.
 This well is set within green fields and clouds of wildflowers and greenly Celtic trees. 
  A sense of mystery and calm pervades the holy site which is a place of pilgrimage. 
  Water makes muted music through the well site, and there is a stone well area with a cross.    Pilgrims tie prayer cloths to the tree, and the multicoloured linen strips flutter in the soft breeze.  Prayer stones mark the site, and a statue of Bridgid stands tall in the midst of the site. 
  A picture of Jesus the Christ stands before a stone shrine, where pilgrims have left items symbolic of their prayer. 
  A green chapel of branches has been grown around a prayer seat, and it seems almost as if there is a chapel within the nature wherein the pilgrim can worship.

Flower floating
Beautifully - today - as I knelt before Bridgid's Well and remembered all readers of Lumiere Charity and Marian Praise - a pilgrim had left a soft white flower floating on the water of the well.   As I closed my eyes, a sense of deepest peace pervaded me. 
  I blessed my forehead with the water of the well, and as I left the area a calm remained with me.

If you are in Ireland, or visit this wonderful isle, why not make a prayer visit to this beautiful well shrine quietly waiting, as it has for centuries, deep in the Irish fields.

Links to find out more about the wonderful Bridgid of Ireland;

Here is a link to make your own St Bridgid's Cross. With grateful thanks to Fish Eaters website for this free weaving pattern..

A devoted pilgrim had left a flower floating on the well water

At the beautiful well, a place of mystery and prayer

Sculpture of St Bridgid at the well
A prayer stool amid the soft Irish greenery at the well