Our Lady of Unity

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Shine on us, dear Lady, with thy bright countenance, like the sun in his strength, O stella matutina, O harbinger of peace, till our year is one perpetual May. From thy sweet eyes, from thy pure smile, from thy majestic brow, let ten thousand influences rain down, not to confound or overwhelm, but to persuade, to win over thine enemies. O Mary, my hope, O Mother undefiled, fulfil to us the promise of this Spring.

-Bl. John Henry Newman


It was 20 years ago that I became a Catholic, and a couple years after that, when I first began attending the parish named after her, that I first came to know the Mother of God as Our Lady of the Atonement.  But even then, it wasn’t until I entered the monastery in Alabama that I actually began to take a greater interest in her.  I think it started with homesickness, and a longing for everything I was missing from Texas.  But then I came to know her story in much greater depth when I stumbled upon a book called Our Lady and Reunion, in the cloister library.  Imagine my surprise when I opened it up to find Our Lady of the Atonement herself, looking up at me from the title page!IMG_6982

It’s been almost 15 years since I’ve read the book, but one thing that that’s always stuck with me is something that Cardinal Newman wrote about Our Lady’s role in the return of England to the Catholic faith.  Our Lady of the Atonement is the Mother of Unity – this is what her title denotes the At-One-Ment of man with God, and with all men in the Church founded by Christ.  It’s all there, even in the beginning of devotion to her under this new Continue reading

The American Madonna

OL Atonement

We must understand by virtue of our new birth into the Kingdom of God that the Blessed Virgin is our real mother and not merely a mother that has just adopted us. By baptism we are incorporated into the Mystical Body of Christ and by that process of incorporation we are also brought into relationship with the Blessed Virgin, which is intrinsically similar to the relationship which Christ has to the Blessed Virgin as his mother. The Blessed Virgin is not our stepmother. She is our real mother as far as are the Sons and Daughters of the Atonement and members of the Mystical Body of Christ.               -Fr. Paul of Graymoor

On this Independence Day we wanted to remind you of a uniquely American title of Our Lady, one which is lesser known, but no less important, than many of her more well-known titles.  Devotion to the Blessed Mother as Our Lady of the Atonement began with an Episcopalian priest, Fr. Paul Wattson, who was inspired to found a religious congregation devoted to the work of unity, reconciling men with God, particularly by leading those outside the sheepfold home to Christ’s Church.  With the help of Mother Lurana Mary White they founded the Society of the Atonement in the late 1800s.  They eventually came to realize the they couldn’t wait for the entire Episcopalian church to reunite with the Chair of Peter, and so, they and the members of the society made their profession of faith in 1909 and were received into the Catholic Church.  They brought with them this devotion to Our Lady of the Atonement, whose feast day they celebrated on July 9th.

In Rome She is known as “the American Madonna”.  She is Our Lady suffering with her Son at the foot of the Cross.  She wears a red mantle to symbolize the Precious Blood of Jesus, the Blood which makes us at-one with God.  The red mantle is worn over a blue tunic, and together with her white veil, the colors remind one of the American flag.  Independence Day always falls in the middle of the novena leading up to her feast day, and so it is yet another reminder of her special connection with our nation.

May Our Lady of the Atonement, Mother of Unity, protect and guide our country, that we may truly be one nation under God, made at-one with Him by the Precious Blood of Jesus.



Show Notes – A Good Habit 7/9/14

A Good Habit Show Notes
Hello, everyone, and happy feast day!  As we discussed on Wednesday’s show we were celebrating the feast of Our Lady of the Atonement.  By happy coincidence, or divine appointment, we are also celebrating the feast today, because at the parish here in San Antonio which bears her name the feast day is always transferred from July 9 to the nearest Sunday.

This unique devotion began with two Episcopalians, Fr. Paul Wattson and Lurana White, who were called by God to found the Society of the Atonement, a religious order in the Continue reading

Monday, multiplied

Christ's Entry into Jerusalem by Hippolyte Flandrin c. 1842The holiest week of the entire year began yesterday with Palm Sunday.  We are drawing ever closer to the consummation of Lent, actually of the whole liturgical year: The Paschal Mystery of Our Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection.  (Click here for Pope Francis’ Palm Sunday homily.)  The Palm Sunday Mass here at Our Lady of the Atonement was solemn, beautiful,  and filled with incense and beautiful music.  It was an incredible way to begin  our Holy Week journey to Calvary.

So what happens between now and Holy Thursday? Monday and Tuesday of Holy Week never seem to get much attention.  All the action begins on Sunday, and then we often  don’t hear much again until the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper.  What does Monday of Holy Week look like?  I’ll tell you, because this is where we leave the somber beauty of Holy Week behind and enter the nitty-gritty realities of daily life:  It looks like a typical Monday, MULTIPLIED.  What do we mean by that?


The crowning glory of it all, though, of which we, regrettably, do not have a photo, was when I picked our dog, Mia, up so she could pass over the puddles rather than through them, and in her excitement at going on a car ride (clearly this was before she heard anything about vets and rectal thermometers) she squirmed right out of my arms and fell.  Luckily for the dog, her fall was cushioned by an unexpected object.  Unfortunately for Sr. Grace Marie, she was the object.  She had bent down to pick up an envelope before opening the door and Mia fell right on her neck.  Yeah, her neck.  Right where she has those titanium plates. Ouch.

So, if that was Monday of Holy Week I can only imagine what Tuesday and Wednesday will be like.  Actually, I’d rather not think about it…

A day to rejoice

Hence, the august Mother of God, mysteriously united from all eternity with Jesus Christ in one and the same decree of predestination, immaculate in her conception, a virgin inviolate in her divine motherhood, the wholehearted companion of the divine Redeemer who won complete victory over sin and its consequences, gained at last the supreme crown of her privileges—to be preserved immune from the corruption of the tomb, and, like her Son, when death had been conquered, to be carried up body and soul to the exalted glory of heaven, there to sit in splendor at the right hand of her Son, the immortal King of the ages.

                                 -Pope Piux XII, Munificentissimus Deus

The feast of Our Lady’s Assumption is a day of joyful celebration for us – not only because of the importance of this feast, but because of three very important anniversaries which are also celebrated today, days which have had a great impact on us:  On this day in 1944, Rita Rizzo entered the monastery of the Franciscan Nuns of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Cleveland, Ohio.  Thirty-seven years later on this same day, with incredible faith in God’s providential care she launched the Eternal Word Television Network, the world’s first global Catholic tv network.  Two years after that, Christopher Phillips, an Episcopalian cleric, who despite much personal hardship and sacrifice had crossed the Tiber, was ordained a Roman Catholic priest, and established the first Anglican Use parish, Our Lady of the Atonement.

God has woven all of these threads together in the life and mission of our little community, and used each one of them to bring us to San Antonio.  With much gratitude for Mother Angelica and Father Phillips – for the ‘yes’ each of them wholeheartedly gave to God, their sacrifices and fearlessness – we give thanks to Our Lord and His Blessed Mother!

Getting her attention

If you want to get Our Lady’s attention, I have found it most effective to call upon her using one of her beautiful, yet lesser known, titles.  Today is the feast day of Our Lady of the Atonement, a unique title, which has its origins outside the Catholic Church, and a most appropriate title for these times, because of its ties to Christian unity.  Devotion to Our Lady of the Atonement  began with Fr. Paul of Graymoor and Mother Lurana, the Anglo-Catholic founders of the Society of the Atonement, the first to call upon Our Lady by this title.  When they, along with the members of the Society were received into the Church in 1909, it was an historic day: the first time a group of converts had been received corporately into the Church since the reformation.  Fr. Paul and Mother Lurana sought to heal the wound in Christ’s Mystical Body which had been caused by Henry VIII’s schism, and Our Lady of the Atonement, who seeks to make all people At-One with her Son, was their greatest weapon and their greatest advocate in bringing souls back to Christ’s Church.  And she is still our greatest intercessor today, at a time when Christians need more than anything to be at-one, need to be unified, in order to fight the culture of death that works so hard to quench the light of truth.  The only way we can truly be united is when we are united in truth.  Our Lady always leads us to her Son, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  Today let us ask Our Lady of the Atonement to keep our hearts ever open to truth, and ever willing to root out from our hearts and souls those things which keep us from being united with Jesus.

If you want to learn more about this beautiful title of Our Lady, click here to listen to last week’s episode of A Good Habit. Fr. Christopher Phillips was with us to talk about Our Lady of the Atonement, Fr. Paul and Mother Lurana, and Our Lady’s role in his own conversion.  If you frequent Fr. Phillips’ blog you are probably already well versed in all things Atonement, since he blogs about her frequently – do an image search on Our Lady of the Atonement, and most images relating to her come from his blog.

A Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols


A Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols

Can’t make it to Cambridge this Christmas Eve? You’re in luck! Our Lady of the Atonement presents A Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols this Sunday, December 16, at 4pm.

For info on how to listen to the service from King’s College, a Christmas Eve tradition since 1918, click here.