In the fall of 1993 Carole and her husband’s holiday plans were suddenly changed. They had intended to attend a prolife conference in Edmonton, Alberta. Shortly before leaving Carole read about a Marian and Eucharistic Conference being held in Nanaimo, British Columbia on the same weekend. A quick decision was made and they attended the latter.
The conference was a truly inspiring event. The Consecration to Jesus through Mary was emphasized. The book True Devotion to Mary written by Saint Louis deMontfort was promoted as the means to be followed for making the consecration.
Returning from Nanaimo, they shared their spiritual experience with many friends. Carole showed St. Louis deMontfort’s book to her friend Lillian and suggested they get a group together to study this important work. Lillian agreed at once and suggested a priest should lead the study. She then approached Father Jan Otlowski asking if he would teach the deMontfort method to us. His answer was an immediate yes! “I know of this devotion. I will teach you and the others.” He then explained his own introduction to Saint Louis deMontfort. Just three months earlier, while on retreat in his native Poland, he saw the book on his seat in the chapel. Upon reading it, he experienced the beauty and power of this treatise. Elderly in age, he was surprised that he had never heard of or read this book previously. One can appreciate his delight in being asked to share his new-found knowledge with us.
Our first meeting occurred on a cold stormy night. Father phoned ahead and asked us to pray that people would not be deterred in coming because of the storm. We knew of five people who were interested in attending for sure. We arrived with a statue of Our Lady of Grace, a picture of the Divine Mercy, candles and flowers. Our prayers were answered. The meeting began with 24 eager “students” in attendance! We continued to meet every second Sunday. Each meeting began with the Rosary, followed by Father Jan’s teaching and a time for group discussion and questions. We made our Consecration to Jesus through Mary on March 25, 1994, following holy Mass. It was a beautiful ceremony. We continued to meet with Father until the end of June.
Summer came. Both of us were eager to live out the fruits of our consecration. Considering what apostolic work could be done, we decided to open a Catholic book and gift store. We approached Father Jan with our idea and asked for his blessing. To our amazement, Father Jan had a totally different idea. He said to us “what is needed now is a prayer book with catechesis as there is such a lack of knowledge of the faith among so many of our people”. Our husbands, being very supportive of our new endeavour, were looking into real estate options for a store site. You can imagine their surprise when we told them that we were asked to compile a prayer book instead. With no theological or published writing experience, we began this endeavour with trepidation, enthusiasm and an incredible trust in God. We continued to receive Father Jan’s encouragement and direction until his death in 2005. It was a great loss for us to be deprived of his friendship and spiritual direction, however, we continued with joy and trust to complete the work that he had requested.
Shortly afterward, the winds of change brought another separation when Carole and her husband moved to Niagara Falls. With new technologies and a long distance telephone plan, we were able to continue working together doing research, revising, and seemingly endless hours of editing.
It was our unexpected privilege to have been asked to undertake this work and we thank God for His grace in supporting us along the way. We are grateful to our husbands and sons for their ongoing support, interest and encouragement. We also thank God for our deceased parents who made the Catholic Faith an integral and essential part of our family life and instilling in us a great love for the Faith.
This prayer book Oremus, Let Us Pray, is the fruit of our consecration and we pray many souls will come close to God in daily prayer. May it be an aid to the new evangelization under the patronage of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.