Joy of Mary: The Coronation of the Virgin in Heaven
“…a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet.” ~ Revelation 12:1
By Patrick Kelly

Coronation of the Virgin, Fra Angelico

Queen of Heaven

Since Our Lady was conceived without the stain of original sin on her soul, God chooses her to be the Mother of His only begotten Son. The Son of God receives a human nature through her acceptance of and cooperation with God’s will. Of course, her role as the Mother of God does not end with giving birth or even raising the Son of God. Her role as His mother is a much deeper and intimate role as she completely adheres to the Son’s redemptive work (CCC, 966), remaining with Him throughout the pain and agony of His Passion until his last breath. (Lumen Gentium, 58). Furthermore, since she was detached from all sin, she did not suffer the effects of sin, namely death and decay. For this reason, she was assumed body and soul into heaven. What we see in Mary’s glorious Assumption is our own potential for holiness

Mary is without a doubt the perfect model of faith and charity. She was never separated from God and was never resistant to His grace. It is easy to say that we should all be like Mary because she does what God wants, but if we put ourselves in Mary’s place, we see that God was asking a lot of her. Enduring pregnancy, giving birth and raising a child is no small feat; the fact that the child is the Son of God undoubtedly increases the pressure. Furthermore, Mary had to see her Son scourged, taunted, beaten, humiliated, made to carry His cross and die while standing by. Only Mary’s incredible faith and trust in God sustained her through those moments.

When Our Lady was Assumed into Heaven and crowned the Queen of Heaven, she became “more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death” (CCC, 966). When we place our trust in God, when we rely on His grace to free us from the burden of our sins. When we live charitably, when we accept and follow God’s will, we too become more conformed to Christ. If we persevere in pursuing God and His will in this life, by not allowing ourselves to become separated from Him through sin, we too will be more fully conformed to Him in heaven in the communion of saints in the next life.


Sorrow of Mary: The Piercing of Jesus’ Side with a Spear
& Descent from the Cross
“…one soldier thrust his lance into His side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.
An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may believe.” ~ John 19: 34-35
By Gretchen Erlichman

Descent from the Cross, Fra Angelico

‘Mercy and Love Flowed Out’ 

The Blessed Mother, exhausted and her eyes swollen with tears, looks upon the crucified, bloodied, lifeless body of her Son. How has it happened that her beautiful child, Who once sat upon her lap and laid His little head upon her breast, now hangs limply upon a wooden cross, covered in blood and dirt?  Thirty-three years earlier, on the day of Jesus’ presentation in the temple, an old man had told her: “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:34-35) And now, kneeling at the foot of the Cross, she gazes upon the cruciform figure of Him, Who hangs as a sign of the unfathomable mercy and love of God. Behind her, she hears heavy footfalls crunching upon the dry dirt. She doesn’t take her eyes off Jesus’ pitiful body but, as the footsteps get closer, she realizes that a soldier is approaching the Cross. As she watches, a young Roman draws his lance and drives it into Jesus’ already bloodied body: “ soldier thrust his lance into His side.” (John 19:34) As soon as this wound in His side is opened, Mary winces and cries out in pain; it is the dead body of her Son that has been pierced with the soldier’s lance, but it is her immaculate heart that acutely feels the pain of this wound. Yet, as she struggles to open her eyes and again look upon her crucified Lord, she realizes that a stream of blood and water is flowing from the wound in His side: “…and immediately blood and water flowed out.” (John 19:34). Despite the pain of the ‘sword that has pierced her heart,’ a flood of consolation washes over her; it is love and mercy that flows from the side of her Son – it is life that pours forth from the side of Christ.

Blood and water poured forth from the wound in Christ’s side so that ‘we also may believe’ and so that we may have life. (cf. John 19:35) Both blood and water are sources of life – blood circulates throughout the body of a living creature to keep it alive, and water nourishes the body of that creature so that the blood may continue to circulate. The blood and water that flows from the crucified Christ are the love and mercy of God. Gushing forth from His open side, Christ’s blood is “poured out” (Matt. 26:28) so that we may have life; in becoming human and dying on the Cross, He “emptied Himself” (Phil. 2:7) to show us His mercy. Through the blood of Christ’s Passion, we are  invited into a sharing in the divine life and love of the Trinity. Through the mercy poured out upon us in the waters of baptism, we are nourished in this new life of grace. Just as the physical body requires blood and water to remain alive, so too does the spiritual life require the blood and water of Christ’s wounded side to remain in the life of Love. Let us then abandon ourselves and dwell in Christ’s wounded side so that we may unite ourselves ever more intimately to Him.


About the Series:

These past few months have surely been filled with many unexpected difficulties and challenges, yet there were probably also many little blessings and surprising gifts as well…maybe even ones that were hard to see at first. Human life is full of joys and sorrows; so too was the beautiful life of the Blessed Mother, who was entirely conformed to the will of God from the moment of her conception. The joys and sorrows of her life form the jewels of her heavenly crown and, at this very moment, she sits beside her Son on the throne of Heaven and intercedes for us.

Now, more than ever, we are called to unite our happiness and our suffering to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In doing so, she gently leads us to the merciful Heart of Our Lord and the ineffable love of the Trinity. Please join us this summer as we contemplate the joys and sorrows of the heart of Mary in our series, The Coronation of Love; The Joys and Sorrows of Mary. Each week, we will explore a paired joy and sorrow of Mary which will help us to further unite our pondering hearts to that of the Blessed Virgin. We look forward to praying through these mysteries of our faith with you. God bless!

In the Peace and Love of Christ, 
Gretchen, Thomas, Victoria & Patrick


About Us:

Gretchen Erlichman

Hi! My name is Gretchen Erlichman, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace in North Guilford, Connecticut. I am a native of upstate New York, but I am currently residing in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Labouré Society, in which I hope to mitigate my student loans and enter into religious formation. Watch My Video   Read My Story  Donate   Contact

Patrick Kelly

Hi! My name is Patrick Kelly, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I grew up and live in Virginia. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Laboure Society. I am hoping to mitigate my student loan debt in time to enter the Novitiate next summer.
Watch My Video   Read My Story   Donate   Contact  

Victoria Clarizio

Hi! My name is Victoria Clarizio and I am an aspirant with the Passionist Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Sorrows in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I am from Connecticut and live there currently. As an aspirant with the Laboure Society, I hope to remove the obstacle of student debt so that my classmates and I can enter formation.
Video  Story  Donate  Contact

Thomas Conroy

Hi my name is Thomas Conroy, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I was born and mostly raised in Northern Virginia. I graduated from Mount St. Mary’s University in 2019. I am in my second 6 month fundraising period with the Labouré Society. I am hoping to have my student debt mitigated and enter formation next summer. Video  Story  Donate   Contact 




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