Today we're a day early instead of a day late! I'm not so sure about that extra dollar, but who needs money when we have such a rich feast to celebrate?
That's right - it's the Vigil of Our Lady's birthday! But guess what else we get to celebrate tomorrow? It will be the 128th anniversary of St. Therese's Carmelite profession (when she said her vows and became one with Jesus! Kind of like her wedding day!) and not only that . . . September 8th is also the day Marcel made his Redemptorist profession! He was so super duper excited that his vows were the same day as his big little sister's! He knew that meant something special - and I think he's going to be so surprised that we remembered to celebrate with them both and Mary!
He had a surprise for me just now, too, and it's so much fun - you'll never ever guess! Well, I couldn't for the life of me remember when Marcel's profession was (now that he told me, I'm laughing that I couldn't figure it out. I know the year(s) in which he wrote Conversations, and I know his profession was toward the end of the book - can you figure it out?) If you really want to break your head with me, we can do a math problem. It goes like this:
If Marcel's profession (day of becoming one with Jesus!) was 72 years ago tomorrow, what year would it have been? (been in? wow, this is a hard problem. I don't even know how to write down the problem grammatically, and since I had to do a math problem to get the answer which is now the question - like Jeopardy? - we could be in big trouble here!)
Well no, I don't really want you to break your head, silly! Because none other than our best bud Jack Keogan has the answer for us (without any math! Thanks, Jack!) at his wonderful Marcel website. How do I know? (I mean that he has the answer . . . well, yes, and how I know that is actually the same way I know the answer to our problem/question!) It's not as complicated as I'm making it out to be. But I do have a knack for making the simple complex. Here's what happened:
I googled "St. Therese chronology" (that last is a big word meaning timeline or something of the sort) and that led me to "Important Dates in the Life of St. Therese" (thank you, Society of the Little Flower!) which got me the info that her profession, which I knew was on September 8 (tomorrow!!) was in 1890.
Since what's good for the goose is good for the gander, I figured I'd just try asking the google elves if they knew Marcel Van's profession date. I sure didn't expect them to know it, but they know Jack, and Jack knows, because there on his website is the most delightful photo (which I'll post below this post) of Fr. Antonio Boucher - yes, bearded Jesus himself! - and our brother Marcel on the very day we're celebrating tomorrow!!! And the caption (which is how I knew all this) says:
"Father Boucher with Brother Marcel on the occasion of his first profession at Hanoi, September 8, 1946"
And in case you want to celebrate with Jack (for free! thus no need for that extra dollar that would go with the extra day if only we'd been more frugal at the grocer's before this little online fest), you can go see his website and say a prayer for this man to whom we owe so much. Need I say why, again? Of course I must! We are little Miss and Master Marcels - no memories here! Well, Jack translated Marcel into English for us! That's why we owe him a Rosary at least, but I'm sure he'll settle for an Ave . . . . Let's see, if 50 of us say an Ave, that's practically a whole set of Rosary mysteries! Hey, I know! Let's make up a pretend Rosary for Jack, Therese, Marcel, and Mary (and little Jesus of course)!
1st Mystery - Mary's birth!
2nd Mystery - the Annunciation (Jesus becomes Incarnate!!!!!! for us!!!!!)
3rd Mystery - Therese's Carmelite profession (leading to the Little Way!)
4th Mystery - Marcel's Redemptorist profession (he & Jesus are one!!!)
5th Mystery - Jack Keogan translates Marcel into English for us!
Yup, I left out a big mystery, I know. "We find Marcel"!!!!!!
How did we get so lucky?
God is just that good, so grab your favorite yummy treat (or your 2nd favorite if that's near at hand; and if you have your choice, I happen to know that Therese is partial to eclairs) and join the party! It's not merely a birthday, after all - not even such an incredibly special birthday as Mary's!
(And you're not going to believe this, but yes, I did find some banana Moon Pies for as cheap as they could possibly be - I'm guessing they'll expire soon, so I'd better eat them quick....Marcel is laughing so hard I'm afraid he's going to get a stomach ache - kind of like the one I'm bound to get if I eat these Moon Pies!)
Oops, I almost forgot to get you a portal to Jack's Marcel Van Association website. There, did you sit it flickering in the very name? It's HERE too. Click away, and give Marcel a kiss for me, and don't forget the Ave for Jack and his family - wow, I can't even think where we'd be without him and his crazy, spontaneous, "Hey, I'll translate Marcel's Autobiography," about 16 years ago . . . . little did he know how many lives he'd change! So cheers to Jack, cheers to Marcel and Therese, cheers to Mary, and most of all, cheers to little Jesus Who loves us so much that He keeps giving us the Best Gifts in the Whole Wide World! (No, not the Moon Pies! His dear spouses, Therese and Marcel, and His Mother for ours: Mary!)
In case an Ave feels beyond your powers (or memory!), here's our prayer (bilingually!) and then Marcel and Fr. Boucher below the prayer so you can kiss them here too before you go see them at Jack's place. Happy Birthday, Mary! Happy One-with-Jesus-Day, Therese and Marcel! We love you!!!
Draw me (sweep me off my feet, Jesus!); we shall run!
Entraine-moi! nous courrons a ta suite!
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