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Yesterday we carried an article on a 102-year-old nun from Massachusetts who gave us old correspondence with Sister Mildred Mary Neuzil, the American seer who said the Virgin had come to her as "Our Lady of America." In that correspondence is a clear endorsement of the Marian Movement of Priests.
"Be assured of continued prayer for the Marian Movement of Priests towards which you and your friends are working so hard," said a letter from Sister Neuzil to Sister Mary Zita Butler of Waltham on December 29, 1982. "The need is great but it seems that very few priests see it that way. They would have to curtail some of their involvements which they are not ready to do. However, God's time will come and the wonders will begin. Your work, your prayers, will not be in vain, dear Sister. Do what you can, what you may, and wait on God. He will do the rest. We may not see it happen but it will happen and God will have His way."
It was a clear reference to the crisis in the modern Church and to the lack of belief in a clergy that in many cases has quashed the mystical in modern Christianity in favor of an intellectuality that has emptied the pews. Indeed, Sister Neuzil's own messages have been largely ignored. "Yes, priests need our prayers very specially, that's why your work in the Marian Movement of Priests is so important," wrote Sister Neuzil on April 20, 1983, as Sister Zita had initiated a Marian group at her own convent in Waltham.
The Marian Movement of Priests is a group who have followed the alleged locutions of an Italian mystic -- himself a priest -- named Father Stefano Gobbi.
There have been questions, as with all mysticism, about aspects of these messages -- but the main thrust has been devotion in a priesthood that was all but ravaged in the wake of Vatican II and in many quarters the movement has rescued a priesthood that would otherwise have been destroyed.
"Our Lady is greatly in need of helpers to promote her cause," wrote Sister Neuzil. "There are so many, even good people backing wrong or even evil causes because they are being deceived as to their purpose. However, Our Lady always manages to win in the end."
And the victory, she said, would come through prayer. "Without prayer all works, no matter how great, are empty," wrote the seer -- who died in 2000, but whose visions are now under close scrutiny as having already met first-stage ecclesiastic approval. "I'm sure you have noticed as I have that the first thing to go in a busy life is the time for prayer. That seems to be expendable. That is a serious mistake but many do not look upon it as such. These good people will argue that work is prayer. Work is not prayer. Prayer brought to the work sanctifies it and transforms all it touches. It is then that the Hand of God envelopes the work and the Lord Jesus claims it for His own."
"Give your whole self to Jesus and His Holy Mother and let God take care of His world, His Church, and His priests," said Sister Mildred. "Only He can bring order out of chaos. Our work is to love, love Him with all our hearts. Quoting St. John of the Cross, 'At the end of life we will be judged by love.' Love for Him and love for neighbor -- that's what it's all about. The future will be what our love makes it. There must be more souls who love. We must never cease praying for this because it is only the transforming power of love that will save mankind and the world."
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