The Meaning of Home During a Crisis
Millie Blanchard, Louisiana
Millie Blanchard, a long-time missionary of Louisiana, survived hurricane Katrina. We asked to tell us how she compares the care and protection of the Mother Thrice Admirable (MTA) back in 2005 with the here and now of 2020.
You asked me to compare how the Blessed Mother took care of me during the crisis with Katrina and now, during the pandemic.
Katrina destroyed our home and the lives that we had before the storm. Our Pilgrim MTA was also destroyed. We missed her visits tremendously. During that time, the word home took on a different meaning. We lived with different family members, in various cities, etc. Therefore, home became for us the place where we were—in whatever place we happened to be.
The pilgrimage grace of being at home came alive for us. Our new life was to live out of this grace. The Blessed Mother helped us to know that our home was with God through her care and love. Wherever we were, we experienced it.
Getting another Pilgrim MTA and starting up our new group was one of our happiest moments of the post-Katrina days. We were all so happy to have her with us again.
In our home, in Hammond, LA, Mary has been with us at every moment. She has guided us in so many ways as we developed the property, piece by piece, shrine by shrine—that is, pictures of the MTA in different parts of the house. One of my sons asked me one day: “How many shrines does one home need?”
The Blessed Mother’s assistance during this pandemic has been different. We haven’t been homebound like so many others due to caring for family that doesn’t live with us. But when I do seek peace, I have only a short walk to our home shrine or to our wayside shrine. The Blessed Mother’s love for us pours out the peace and strength sufficient to get us through anything. Having these physical shrines around me is a constant reminder of the love that both Our Lord and Mary have for us. Since we blessed our wayside shrine outdoors, we have also been able to offer private prayer time to others. We are very happy to share these blessings!
Before Katrina we lived on Rose Street. Since Katrina waters washed us into a new life, we always joked that we would name our new street Rose Waters. When we decided to build a wayside shrine we were told to choose a title. Rose Waters had taken on an entirely new meaning: Rose for the Blessed Mother and Waters for cleansing as she leads us to her Son. The words hope, mercy, healing express the process we must allow to take place in our lives. Mary leads us each and every day on this journey. We hope that our wayside shrine will help many go through that process.