May 10, 2015 admin

HERO: “LETTERS” TO MARY

by Quentin Colgan

Age 72. Columbus, OH

There is little doubt that for anyone the road to character is rife with pitfalls and potholes.  But there can be even less doubt that for some the road to character is even more challenging than for most….

In response to your invitation, I would like to write about a young woman by the name of Virginia Cyr.  From the very first, her life was filled with hardships.  At the age of four the first signs of Cerebral Palsy appeared, at which point her mother abandoned the family.  From that time on Virginia lived in one institution after another; from orphanages to boarding schools, and eventually to a hospital for the elderly and infirm—even though at the time Virginia was in her early twenties.

One could certainly understand and possibly even expect that a person who went through life with so many “strikes” against her would have been angry and filled with self-pity.  But such was not the case.  Virginia was one of the most positive—even radiant—individuals one could ever hope to meet.  Without fail, people who met Virginia wished to stay in touch with her.  In fact many invited her into their homes.  She received so many invitations that she usually kept a suitcase packed for any eventuality.  Her spiritual director suggested to her that she had become God’s little hobo.  She embraced the idea wholeheartedly.  As a result, at the time of her death at the age of 24 in 1967, her list of correspondents numbered in the hundreds.

And so I love the stars, and mostly how I love to laugh with them at their brilliance and my own humble dignity.”

It was my great privilege to have been very close to Virginia—a confidant and friend.  Her road to character was forged in loneliness and formed by Faith.  Virginia had always wished to join a religious community, but because of her physical disability no community would accept her.  Instead she took vows privately.  She had a great devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus. 

In fact her journals were written as “letters” to Mary.  Those journals contain many passages astounding for their insight, beauty and humor.  Here are a few examples:

  • “Do I smile in my sleep?  I should; each heartbeat, breath, every second of life is a proclamation of God’s goodness.”
  • “I’m nearly afraid tonight, afraid of my weakness because it hides such strength.”
  • “If I live in His Love, even my tears are precious, and in complete humility I can become an Alleluia from head to toe.”
  • “The stars are out again, always, though daylight still fills the sky.  And when the stars appear soon I shall laugh at them, as I do so often.  For there they sparkle and thousands of little souls look upon them.  Yet, as Father Lucien once reminded me, ‘Not a star that floats through space will ever see God face-to-face.’  And so I love the stars, and mostly how I love to laugh with them at their brilliance and my own humble dignity.”
  • “Please send [the angel] Raphael to assist a very weary hobo, to make her love strong.  All other weakness…I welcome.”
  • “I AM that others might have life, abundantly. How or when is not for me to ask.”
  • “Please let the incessant heartache I bear be this, that Jesus has given me His Heart and my littleness cannot contain its immensity, and in its lack of universality reels but, O please, does not skip a beat.”
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