Tuesday, August 9, 2022

I am All Yours

 By Marea Lyn Almiranez, Columban Lay Missionary - Taiwan

 

    When Sr. Joyce Arevalo, OSA, our pastoral coordinator in Hsinchu Cathedral, asked me to be the Directress of the Filipino Legion of Mary in 2017, the only answer I gave was, “I’ll try.” I do not know how to fulfill the role of a spiritual directress of the Legion of Mary (LOM) and how I’ll accompany the migrant and immigrant members of the LOM. I had no previous experience in this line of work. The LOM Handbook states that the Spiritual Director/ directress should be a priest, deacon, religious sister or brother. Because of this, I, being a lay missionary felt undeserving to be the spiritual directress. During the ACIES, (function of the LOM when all the members renew their promises to Mary), I had the opportunity to ask an Augustinian sister, a former Spiritual Directress of the LOM, on why they chose a lay missionary instead of a priest or religious sister. She simply replied, “Why not? I pondered at her response and drew similarities with the call of Mary. Out of the millions of women, God chose Mary to be the mother of Jesus. From that time on, my journey as the Spiritual Directress of the Legion of Mary started.

    The situation of the LOM members was rocky at that time. A huge number of old members did not like to attend the weekly meetings. Some new members were also confused because they didn’t know what the direction of their Praesidium (unit of the LOM) was. I didn’t know how to accompany the LOM members. I worried because I didn’t know where to start. I prayed to God for the grace to handle this situation. Every time we have a weekly meeting, I read a spiritual reading from the Legion of Mary Handbook and gave an Allocutio after recitation of the Catena. I kept praying to the Holy Spirit and to Mary to assist me in giving the Allocutio (a short talk on the Legion of Mary handbook). I listened to their sharing about their LOM duties and daily experiences most especially their ups and downs. Reading the LOM Handbook gave me an opportunity to know more about Mary, particularly her qualities and her values, and it also brought me closer to the Holy Spirit. I became aware of the functions of the Legion of Mary and appreciated the association’s works in the Church.

    So many things had happened while journeying with the LOM members. Despite the challenges that came with the good times, I continued to accompany them. All the members of the Legion of Mary work in factories and in homes as caregivers. They are very committed in participating in the weekly meetings after work, serving during the Masses as Ushers/Usherettes, attending the labor education in order to share their knowledge to other migrant workers , and sometimes visiting the sick. I am a witness to their passion to serve God despite the time restraints and the effects of the pandemic in their lives. Most of them  work at night and they go to Church to serve in the morning after work. They are happy to attend Mass and  their weekly meeting and do their apostolate during the Mass before they go back to their dormitories to rest. I am inspired by how they are living out their faith.

Members of the Legion of Mary

    For almost 5 years as their Spiritual Directress, I didn’t imagine that the Praesidium that started out on such unsteady ground would become peaceful and active in their apostolate. As I reflect on how the Holy Spirit works through the intercession of the Blessed Mary, I realized how good God is to me and to the Praesidium. The doubts I had before are now replaced with the faith I have now. I learned from Mary on how to be open, be receptive to God’s call, and let the Holy Spirit guide me.

    Journeying with the LOM members brought me assurance that nothing is impossible with God. I saw how the LOM members grew in their faith and became faithful to their promises to Mary. "I am all yours, my Queen, my Mother, and all that I have is yours,” the promise that they recite during annual consecration is the promise that they live daily as children of Mary. This is also my promise not only as part of the Legion of Mary but as a servant of God. I am all yours.


 

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