We know that our Blessed Mother has made dramatic appearances all over the world, Fatima, Lourdes, and so on. We need to be attentive to what she has done and said in those appearances, as her messages are very relevant and important to us even today. However, in this brief blog posting, I want to mention how active Mary is below the radar and how effective she is as an evangelizer.
A few weeks ago I was involved in a women's retreat, and during one of the lunches I asked a group of the women at the table how those who had not been raised Catholic were drawn into the Catholic Church. One woman said that she and her husband really had no religious affiliation when they married. They decided to at least do some investigating. She went online and looked specifically for what she called "structured prayers," thinking those might be particularly helpful. She came across information about the rosary, ordered a rosary and started saying the rosary on a regular basis. She did not tell her husband about her new prayer resource.
After some time went by, the husband said it was time for them to make a decision. His wife blurted out that she had been saying the rosary, so they might as well become Catholic. And so they did. As more time went by, they learned even more about the Catholic faith and became even more committed to their new religion.
Another woman at the same table had a similar background. I can't remember all the details of her story, but she apparently was something of a jewelry maker as a hobby. In addition to the other products that she made, she for some reason started making rosaries and selling or distributing them. When she also reached the point of wanting to choose a specific religion, she thought how peaceful she felt whenever she made a rosary. That sense of peacefulness she experienced when making rosaries brought her and her husband into the Catholic Church.
These aren't particularly dramatic stories of conversion like Paul getting knocked off his horse and blinded, but they don't have to be. Mary can be very subtle and still be effective. I think there's a lesson for all of us in that.