On Barb’s Bookshelf: My Queen, My Mother

My Queen My Mother book notes
Image created in Canva using free elements.

My Queen, My Mother by Marge Fenelon (Ave Maria Press) is more than simply a novena of prayers: it’s a pilgrimage memoir, travel guidebook, and prayer book all in one. Fenelon leads the reader on a journey around the USA, visiting nine holy shrines to the Blessed Mother and sharing what makes each a unique and worthwhile place to visit and pray.

As Fenelon’s spiritual itinerary crisscrosses the United States, she reveals the close-to-home spiritual treasures we may have overlooked. Along the way, readers are guided through a novena of consecration to the Blessed Mother. The book can be read over nine days, weeks, or months — but I had a tough time stopping at the end of any single day’s entry.

my queen my mother

Each shrine has a particular “personality,” emphasizing a different aspect of the Blessed Mother. For example, the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche (St. Augustine, Florida) is the center of devotion for women seeking intercession for infertility and other difficulties of motherhood. The Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation (Carey, Ohio) is visited by many seeking healing. And the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace (Santa Clara, California) offers refuge for all seeking peace in the hustle and bustle of daily life in the Silicon Valley, one of the busiest places in the country.

The author ends by emphasizing the importance of making regular visits to holy shrines, as these are in danger of disappearing due to lack of visitors and funding. To my shame, I can witness to this: I’ve lived within 15 miles of the Shrine of St. Katharine Drexel since 1992, but I only made one visit there, in 2015, before it closed permanently. But shrines, large and small, dedicated to the Blessed Mother and to various saints, dot the American landscape: chances are good that there’s one near you.

Don’t let shrines become a thing of the past. In My Queen, My Mother, Marge Fenelon makes it clear that visiting a shrine — even briefly — can be a beautiful spiritual experience.


Copyright 2019 Barb Szyszkiewicz
This post contains Amazon affiliate links. I was given a free review copy of this book, but no other compensation. Opinions expressed here are mine alone.

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#WorthRevisit: Old Neighborhood

I’m breaking the rules for this week’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday (hosted at Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb.) You’re supposed to find an old blog and reblog it.

But yesterday I attended my great-uncle’s funeral, in a day that was all about revisiting.

On June 9, 1979, I graduated from St. Bonaventure School, part of the 100th 8th-grade class. I’ve been back in that church only a handful of times since I moved away from that area as a young adult. It’s almost always been for funerals. Yesterday, on my graduation anniversary, I was back for another funeral.

Nannys HouseI arrived early today, because I live 100 miles away from St. Bon’s and I didn’t want to be late–you never know what the traffic on the NJ Turnpike is going to be like. On my way to the church I took a 3-block detour so I could see my grandmother’s old house. It’s changed in the past 13 years. But I have many great memories of time spent there. Those won’t change, no matter what the new owners do to the door and the siding and the front porch.

My memories of St. Bon’s Church are all tied up with my grandmother. So, since I was early, I revisited the attached Shrine of St. Anthony. Nanny was a regular visitor to that shrine, and I honestly didn’t realize that all churches didn’t have those. (Then again, I was probably in 8th grade before I learned that not all priests wore brown habits.)

I couldn’t take photos in church because I wasn’t alone in there, but I did grab a few shots of the shrine (inside and out).

St Anthony Collage

This wasn’t my old neighborhood but I spent a lot of time there. Quality time. It was good to go back, even for only a 2-hour visit.