In September of 2011, Fr. John Lankeit, Rector of Ss. Simon & Jude Cathedral felt the Lord calling him to create a Perpetual Adoration Chapel at SSJ. Unsure of how to proceed with obtaining the necessary plans and resources, he enlisted the help of 12 young ladies in the diocese to serve as intercessory prayer warriors for this intention. Undertaking a daily Rosary, the prayer girls were delighted to see the fruits of their prayers unveiled in June of 2012. Since then the Little Flowers of St. Therese, as they elected to be called, have been growing in numbers and continue to pray a daily Rosary for various intentions and other needs throughout the diocese. Over the years, the Intercessory Prayer Group has expanded and developed its mission to include Holy Service, Vocational Experience, and Public Representation of the Church.
When I heard that Father Lankeit was calling for prayer warriors for the installation of a Perpetual Adoration Chapel, I had only just begun the RCIA program; but I felt like it was a good way to serve the Church that I had decided to join and a good way to make the Rosary (which I had just learned how to say) a part of my life. Not being that good with words, my mom helped me with an e-mail expressing my desire to join the group and I was soon accepted. October 7, 2011 was the official start. Little did I know that God had way more graces in store than I thought would be brought about by this decision. My life was about to be changed forever, in more ways than one.
Before I became a Little Flower of St. Therese, I hardly ever prayed. Oh, sure I said a little “Help!” or “Thank you!” when I was feeling particularly anxious or happy, but I didn’t often sit down and have a serious prayer time. In becoming a Little Flower, however, I learned to discipline myself and make daily prayer time a top priority. My daily goal went from amusing myself with whatever frivolous thing struck my fancy to setting aside time to bring other people’s concerns before the Lord in what I found to be one of the most powerful, beautiful, and rewarding prayers ever, the Most Holy Rosary. For the girl who hardly ever prayed, prayer became a habit and a passion, even at times a hobby.
Better yet, there was a method to my madness. I discovered the mission and joy of intercession: making other people’s lives happier through the simple act of prayer, and more importantly, invoking the prayers of the Blessed Mother and the saints. Intercessory prayer now seeps into just about every aspect of my life, and it is very welcome to do so! For instance, I have picked up the habit of praying for my priests at Mass, and also praying for the penitents and priests during the Confession times each Tuesday and Saturday. This can actually be pretty fun!
The Rosary has indeed become a part of my life, and a great one at that! Through the Rosary, I have received many gifts, blessings, inspirations (this essay for instance, which God helped me find the words to write), and “mini-miracles”. One “mini-miracle” that stands out in my memory is when my mom and I were driving to the Cathedral for Mass one Tuesday night. We hadn’t realized the gas tank was just about empty until we got on the freeway; and Mom didn’t want to be late to Mass, so we were hoping not to have to stop at the gas station even though church was over 15 miles away. We popped in our Rosary CD and decided to pray about it. Believe it or not, those two drops of gas got us all the way there! Go Mary!
The Perpetual Adoration Chapel, the original purpose of our Little Flowers of St. Therese Prayer Group, has been a source of great graces as well. For about a year, since November 2011, I had been given the cross of scrupulosity. It was a confusion and sometimes quite a torment, but talking with my mom helped me to not let my worries interfere with Communion or Confession. Still, God wished to relieve me of this burden since it was always a struggle in my mind. As a birthday gift, in September 2012, I got a Holy Face medal with a paper containing these words: “Whoever wears this medal and, if possible, pays a weekly visit to the Blessed Sacrament on Tuesday in a spirit of reparation for the outrages received by the Holy Face of Our Blessed Savior during His Passion and those bestowed on Him every day in the Sacrament of His divine love, will be granted the gift of a strong Faith and the grace to fly to its defense conquering if need be all interior and exterior difficulties. Moreover, they are promised a happy death with the special assistance of Christ Himself.” Wanting to seize the chance at a holy death, I was eager to take advantage of this promise. I started wearing the medal to Adoration on Tuesday nights, even though it wasn’t yet blessed. Later, that December 2012, I finally got my medal blessed. So the next Tuesday night Adoration I wore my now blessed Holy Face medal and offered my Adoration time for the described intention. On the way home, my mind was enlightened and I realized that healing had finally been granted me. The Chapel I had prayed for as a Little Flower was my healing and I am now worry-free! Thank You Jesus! The Chapel has also been a source of many other graces, blessings, and inspirations too numerous to name.
As I discern a possible call to the Order of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration(that I heard of through the Little Flowers Intercessory Prayer Group), I find that my being a Little Flower has greatly aided this discernment journey. It was through being a Little Flower that I learned what a charism is. The guaranteed minimum of daily prayer as a Little Flower has helped me maintain a prayerful attitude in my discernment journey even in it’s more rocky areas. Also, the grace of love for Eucharistic Adoration and intercessory prayer I have acquired as a Little Flower have been big pointers to this Order for me as I consider one of life’s most important questions: “What are God’s plans for my future?”
Being a Little Flower is truly awesome, and the adventure is not even close to over! There is MUCH more to come! My thanks to the Holy Spirit for inspiring this and to Father Lankeit for putting it into action! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA!
St. Jean Marie Vianney said: “If we are not praying, we are losing the battle.”