Back on May 13, I had the blessing and honor of celebrating Mass for our dear Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist at their convent. Not only was it the Memorial of Our Lady of Fatima, but it was also the patronal feast of the Sisters’ Order – Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament. In all sincerity, this Marian title was completely unbeknownst to me until the sisters made mention that we will be celebrating this Feast on the day I was to celebrate Mass. This sent me on a wonderful adventure of discovering more of Her title, Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament.
The title of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament was first given to Mary by St. Peter Julian Eymard in May 1868, while speaking to his novices. A few years later he described what her statue should look like: “The Blessed Virgin holds the Infant in her arms; and He holds a chalice in one hand and a Host in the other.” He exhorted them to invoke Mary: “Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, pray for us who have recourse to thee!”
I was sent on another adventure to discover the life of St. Peter Julian Eymard. As with many saints, I have heard of their names, but not the entirety of their stories. He was known as the “Apostle of the Eucharist” because of his deep passion and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. One of my favorite stories of St. Peter Eymard is one during his youth. His devotion to the Eucharist started from the beginning of his life. At the ripe young age of 5, he went missing – every parent’s nightmare! His parents sent his sister, Marianne, to go search for him and bring him home. After searching near and far, Marianne was at her wits end and decided to look in the last place she thought he would be, the church. Perhaps it was God’s movement in Marianne’s heart, but nevertheless, she found him! Not only did she find him in church but found him on the mensa of the high altar leaning his head on the tabernacle door! When Marianne saw this, astonished and shocked, she asked him what he was doing; with childlike simplicity he replied, “I am near Jesus, and I am listening to him!”
I am so grateful that the Dominican Sisters sent me on this beautiful adventure of not only knowing St. Peter Eymard, but to enhance my own love for the Eucharist. In this month of June, we have celebrated a Priesthood Ordination and the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, which should be an encouragement to all of us that the Eucharist is the source and summit of our lives. As Vocations Director, I journey with our seminarians towards priesthood and it has been a goal of mine to enhance the love of the Eucharist of our men, that we be like St. Peter Julian and say, “I am near Jesus, and I am listening to him!” In these years of the Eucharistic Revival, may these words by St. John Vianney resonate in our hearts, souls, and minds:
“Without the Blessed Eucharist there would no longer be any happiness in this world, life would be unbearable. When we receive Holy Communion, we receive our joy and all our good.” -St. John Vianney
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, pray for us who have recourse to thee!