I remember the day quite clearly. I had just told my mother that I was going to enroll in the Scapular, and consecrate myself to Jesus, through Mary. After first asking what it meant, she proceeded to tell me about my Beppe –dutch for grandmother– (my grandmother on my Dad’s side, who passed away from cancer when I was 8 years old). She told me that my Beppe had a great love and respect for Mary, and was greatly interested in Our Lady of Medjugorje. Proven by the many books I inherited from my grandparents house after my Granddad passed away my senior year of high school. That night, my mother told me that my Beppe would have loved that I had a devotion to Mary. It is something that I have held dear in my heart for quite some time, and it brings me to the legacy I have through Mary. My Beppe, whom I really barely knew, only as the best grandmother ever, and a strong, independent, amazing woman. I later learned that she had a devotion to Mary, which was passed along to my own mother when she converted to Catholicism around the time she married my dad, and I believe is very much the strongest part of her Catholic faith. To me, consecrated to Mary, and willing to give everything for her.
My legacy became even greater when my mother told me that my Beppe was the one to tell her that she was pregnant with me. It was amazing to hear that story. To know that my Beppe knew.
She was always telling me to be strong, to hold out, to not give up in the face of adversity. (Back then, she meant my siblings who like all older siblings, definitely had it out for me back then) Before she died, I remember climbing into her lap after a particularly bad teasing episode, and she whispered into my ear to be strong and that one day when we were older, things would be better. Another time, my last memory of her alive, and the last time I would see her was shortly before she passed. The cancer had taken it’s toll, she was tired, and in pain, but from the moment my family walked in the door, you wouldn’t have known had you looked at her. It is a very distinct memory that I have of her. She was sitting in a chair by the window, and she had a bruise on her forehead, but she looked SO strong. Just like the woman I had always known.
When she passed away not long after, I could hardly believe it. She had looked so healthy and vibrant. (But that’s pancreatic cancer for you).
Anyway, even now, there are amazing things that my Beppe keeps on showing me from Heaven. Through the books she had on Mary, opening one of those was quite an amazing experience for me, I had gotten a big stack of them and was going through them on my bed, I picked one up, and noticed that it’s jacket was being used as a bookmark to one of the pages. I opened it up, and it was to a page that had a year on it, the year was 1993, the year of my birth. It was like my Beppe had meant for me to have these books one day, that’s what I thought in that moment. She was passing on her love and devotion to Mary to me in that exact moment.
I imagine her as she was, strong, loving, fierce, devoted, independent, capable, compassionate, wise, kind, and understanding, and that is the woman I want to be. I don’t remember much other than those two memories, but I know that she’s watching me from heaven, and I just hope that I’m making her proud.
So My Legacy begins, my life belonging to Mary–the family I have through the consecration. The Motherhood of Mary. These are things I hope to pass on to my children, and my grandchildren, and their children and grandchildren. Just like my Beppe, my grandmother passed it on to me.