Sisters invite prayer intentions to take to Lourdes ‘fountain of mercy’ Easter week
Everyone is capable of performing acts of mercy. If they have a generous heart that cares for others, the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary will help them take the next step.
The religious community is collecting prayer intentions that will be taken to Lourdes by 100 missionaries from their spiritual family during the week between Easter, March 27, and Divine Mercy Sunday, April 3. Each person commended to them will be prayed for by name and remembered at each Mass, said Sister Isabel Romero, SCTJM, of Nazareth House Retreat Center in rural Henry.
Where to send intentions: Prayer petitions are being accepted through March 14. They may be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org (English) or email@example.com (Spanish), or by mail to Sister Isabel Romero, SCTJM, at Nazareth House Retreat Center, P.O. Box 165, Henry IL 61537.
Sister Isabel has received thousands of prayer petitions in English and Spanish, and each one is handwritten on prayer cards that the missionaries will use at Lourdes.
“They will spend an hour praying for the five people on the card in their hands,” Sister Isabel said. “At the same time, this opens the door to other kinds of mercy.”
The very act of asking that someone be remembered in prayer is an act of mercy, she explained.
In this way the community seeks to foster a “culture of intercession.”
“There is no way you can say, ‘I can’t,’” Sister Isabel said.
Moved by the prayer petitions she has received so far from all the places her Miami, Florida-based community serves, she noted that the majority are from the Diocese of Peoria. Of those, many are from young people who ask for prayers for friends and family members who are struggling.
Almost all of the petitions begin with expressions of gratitude for the opportunity to do this, she said.
BEFORE LOURDES, A HOLY WEEK RETREAT IN FATIMA
Sister Isabel is one of the missionaries traveling to Lourdes. Joining her from the Diocese of Peoria is Sister Silvia Tarafa, SCTJM, director of the St. John Paul II Catholic Newman Center at Illinois State University.
In order to prepare themselves to assist pilgrims seeking healing in the waters of Lourdes, as well as bringing all of the prayer petitions they have gathered “to the feet of Mary,” the missionaries will spend Holy Week on retreat in Fatima.
“So here you are, a vessel in front of the Lord for a whole week, receiving his graces. But now it’s time to pour that out to others,” said Sister Ana Pia Cordua, SCTJM, director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Peoria. “The grace of the retreat will be to put into practice what you have received.”
The prayer campaign grew out of the community’s focus this year, which is to “Be Witnesses and Missionaries of Mercy: To Open Fountains of Mercy in the Grottos of the World,” said Sister Karen Muniz, SCTJM. The theme was determined by Mother Adela Galindo, foundress of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
Prayer petitions are being accepted through March 14. They may be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org (English) or email@example.com (Spanish), or by mail to Sister Isabel Romero, SCTJM, at Nazareth House Retreat Center, P.O. Box 165, Henry IL 61537.
The missionary campaign to Lourdes is called “Take Me to the Fountain.”