The Blessings of Mary
Taken from
Irish Ursulines, 1920 with IMPRIMATUR


The Power of a "Hail Mary"

Under this title the Catholic Times published some time ago, the following true story, told by a Lancashire priest:

"One day an honest workman came to the presbytery, and asked to speak with me at once. He said that he was not a Catholic, but he would be very grateful if I would kindly visit his wife, who was in a decline, and he believed that she had not very long to live. I asked him if she were a Catholic.

'No,' he answered, 'but she insists on seeing you, and will not hear of a clergyman of any other religion,' then inquired where he lived, and found that it was in the most miserable part of the town.

"On reaching the house, I was welcomed most eagerly by the poor woman. She at once declared of our religion. I was astonished at all this, for I learnt that not one of her relations or neighbors were Catholics; so I asked her somewhat anxiously if she really knew I was a Catholic priest. She answered in the affirmative, and added that she perfectly understood what she was saying, and what she was about. Under these circumstances, I at once began my instruction, and was surprised to find how quick the poor woman was; she was very eager and interested about all I had to teach her, and showed a very retentive memory. The thought of Confession and Communion did not trouble her, and as death did not seem so very near, I had time for a thorough preparation. After six weeks she made her first Confession, and when death was approaching she received the Last Sacraments with great devotion, dying a very happy and edifying death shortly after.

"Before her death, she made her husband solemnly promise to become a Catholic, and to send their two children to the Catholic school, and to have them brought up in the Faith. After his wife's death, he faithfully carried out this promise. He declared that he owed his conversion mainly to the extraordinary patience and cheerfulness which his wife showed during her painful illness. I myself have not the slightest doubt of the sincerity of her conversion, and I am firmly convinced that at her death she was a Catholic from the bottom of her heart.

"Astonished at the exceptional graces the poor woman had obtained, I was naturally curious to find out by what means she had merited such favours. I asked her if, before her illness, she had ever entered a Catholic church. Having received an answer in the negative, I continued: 'Have you ever spoken to a Catholic priest?' 'No,' she answered. Then I asked her if she knew the 'Our Father'
-----she knew nothing of it-----nor did she know the Apostles Creed. 'Have you ever said any other prayer?' First, she answered in the negative; then, as I asked if she never prayed before going to bed, she answered, smiling, and hesitatingly, as if not quite sure, if what she did say deserved the name of prayer: 'When I was a little girl, I often played with some Catholic children, and I caught a few words from them, which I have repeated every night, before going to bed.' She then recited the words:

'Hail Mary, full of grace,' etc.

The secret was at last discovered. In the hour of death, Mary, her Heavenly Mother, had claimed her for her own."


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