DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     October 22-24, 1999     vol. 10, no. 202


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    "Getting to the Heart of the Matter" is what Sister Mary Lucy Astuto pinpoints in every issue when she takes a common sense approach to living our faith with her practical columns.

    This weekend Sister begins to relate a story from a dear friend who experienced conversion through God's providence and His Blessed Mother's secret weapon - the Rosary. It all began in Medjugorje after her dear friend Kathy, like so many other millions, had read about the "Miracle of Medjugorje" from Wayne Weible and heard the call of Our Lady to come to her special Oasis of Peace in then Yugoslavia back in 1988. Sister writes from Kathy's point of view in sharing how Kathy's heart was moved to pray with the heart for that is truly the crux in getting to the heart of the matter as Sister Lucy shows in the first of a multiple part entitled simply Kathy's Rosary Story part one.

    Her column provides effective, vital insights into our faith and ways of fulfilling God's Will every day in every way. You can visit Sr. Lucy at her web site for Heart of Mary Ministry at http://www .heartofmaryministry. com or you can reach her at Srmarylucy @aol.com by e-mail.


        Kathy is a dear friend of mine. The following is a true multi-part story of her conversion through the rosary. It is inspirational and told from her point of view:

          My story begins in 1988 when a close friend gave me a copy of Wayne Weible's "Miracle at Medjugorje" newspaper story. Six children were reportedly having visits by the Blessed Virgin Mary. These children were receiving messages or secrets for the world. The author, himself a Lutheran, was asked by the Lady to write her story and tell the world.

          The article really caught my interest and provoked real thought, even though I was a non-practicing baptized Christian non-denominational. Yet the stage had been set for the Lady's plan for me, for which I was totally unprepared.

          This close friend of mine, who gave me the newspaper article, then journeyed to Medjugorje in November 1988. He returned with a rosary for me. My friend, a Catholic, had not been to church in probably 20 years. But he returned from Medjugorje full of enthusiasm. He had gone to confession, attended daily Mass, recited the rosary every day, heard the stories from the visionaries, climbed Mt. Podbrodo and Mt. Krezivic and was truly reborn into Christ. I listened to him go on and on about all this praying, especially the rosary. I looked at him and said: "OK, but prayer doesn't mean anything unless it is from the heart." I stressed that you could do all the rosaries in the world and attend church forever, but unless it was from your heart and not just imitating what you saw, it didn't mean anything. I was adamant and stubborn in my position.

          Perhaps a brief account of my own religious upbringing would be in order. When my dad married my stepmother, she made sure we all went to church on Sundays and attended summer church camps. We belonged to a Christian non-denominational church where we sang acappella because we were not allowed to have musical instruments of any kind. The sermons were very literal, strict, and full of fire and brimstone.

          I grew up amongst mostly Catholic and Jewish persons. I questioned what they were learning and judged that they couldn't be right, if it didn't come from the Bible.

          I had no clue, as to why Catholics did not eat meat on Fridays except some "Church bureaucrat" said they couldn't. And confession! No, no me! I wasn't about to tell anyone my sins, much less someone who was going to make me say something called a Hail Mary. I gave many lectures to my friends over the years about repetitious prayer. I chastised the Catholic faith many times, All the way from the Pope to priests and nuns.

          However, as a child, I would go into the Catholic church with my friends on Friday nights, when they would go for confession. Then I felt that I was in the holiest place ever. There were statues on the walls, candles everywhere. There were confessionals with red velvet on them. There was the altar. And, of course, my favorite thing was to light a candle. (Only a nickel then!) As I reflect back on all of this, I find it ironic how I felt such holiness in a place that I had criticized so adamantly.

        God bless you, dear reader. More of Kathy's story coming next week!

October 22-24, 1999       volume 10, no. 202


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