Though Mary is the ideal Woman in every truly Christian life, I cannot express how real she has been in my life. As a mother carrying a child often feels the kicks of the young, so Mary has felt my rebellion, but still sought to form Christ in my soul as she formed Him in her womb. “It is not good for man to be alone.” That verse of Genesis applies just as much to a priest as to the laity. There must be a Woman in the life of a priest. That Woman came into my life at birth. When I was baptized as an infant, my mother laid me on the altar of the Blessed Mother in St. Mary’s Church, El Paso, Illinois, and consecrated me to her. As an infant may be unconscious of a birthmark, so I was unconscious of the dedication — but the mark was always there. Like a piece of iron to the magnet, I was drawn to her before I knew her, but never drawn to her without Christ. When I received my first Holy Communion at the age of twelve, I made the conscious dedication of myself to Mary. Though I cannot recall the exact words of my prayer, it was certainly similar to the motto which I chose for my coat of arms as bishop: Da per matrem me venire (Grant that I may come to Thee through Mary). My First Communion book with its mother-of-pearl cover contained the Litany of the Blessed Virgin, which I began reciting every night as a boy and have continued to this hour.
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.