I GIVE YOU WHAT GIVES ME JOY *
I didn’t sleep too good that night. I kept waking, and my thoughts were occupied with trying to identify a figure in one of the Stations of the Cross that I had been studying the last few days. Around 3:30am I awoke again and started pondering once more on who the person might be. I had clues from some of the other figures in the scene. Eventually I arrived at a name. A quick check on the internet confirmed I was on the right track and the person was in fact Blessed Marie Therese Haze (1782-1876).
I must confess I hadn’t heard of her before. My knowledge of the beatifieds is scant. Blessed Marie Therese was the founder of the the Congregation of the Daughters of the Cross of Liége. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in April 1991.
Shortly before the inaugration ceremony for the new congregation in 1833, Jeanne, as she was known then, had a vision. She saw a large black cross surmounted by a white crown, clearly outlined in the summer sky. She understood its wordless message and adopted it as the emblem of her congregation. Ever since, the Daughters of the Cross have worn this simple cross and surmounted crown. For many years it was fashioned from ebony and ivory but in more recent times made from silvered metal.
This account of the emblem reminded me of the time the Medjugorje seer Marija Pavolic had a vision of a dark cross. It occured on Podbrdo on the third day of the Medjugorje phenomenon, June 26, 1981, the feast day of the Sacred Heart.
Marija was ahead of the group of seers making its way down the hill after they had met with Our Lady. Suddenly she felt herself pushed to the side of the hill at the place known locally as ‘Lokventina’ and Our Lady appeared to her again, this time in front of a dark cross. The Virgin’s expression was sad and she said: “Peace, peace, peace! Let there be peace between God and man. Let peace be restored.” Ever since then, the spot on what is now known as Apparition Hill has been marked with a large wooden cross.
The next morning I went walking. It was a bright sunny day and I prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Afterwards my thoughts turned once again to Blessed Marie Therese, the simplicity of the black cross motif and its connection to the vision given to Marija Pavlovic. I thought how it would be nice to have such a cross to wear to remind me that the Cross is the greatest sign of God’s merciful love for the world and his creation, his Divine Mercy, his Sacred Heart.
Completing my stroll and walking up the path to my house, I took out my set of keys to open the front door, and as I put the key into the lock my attention was drawn to the key fob – a silver metal cross with a crown-cut stone in the centre – “this simple cross and surmounted crown”!
I can’t recall how I obtained this key fob, who gave it to me, or even if I may have bought it myself. I know it has been attached to my set of keys for quite a few years, and if I have ever taken notice of it during that time it was never in connection with Blessed Marie Therese or the Daughters of the Cross.
Should I be surprised? Should I ever doubt that God reveals his wonderful mercy in so many varied ways?
A couple of weeks later I received a call from a friend of mine, Marguerite. She had seen the story and the above photo published elsewhere on the internet and wanted to know more about the image of Marie Therese.
Marguerite explained that she had been given a medal by a woman which once belonged to her sister who had died. Marguerite had kept the medal attached to her rosary beads but posted it to me and said I was to keep it if there was a connection. And there was. The front of the medal depicts Blessed Marie Therese, while the reverse is inscribed “Congregation of the Daughters of the Cross” encircling the “simple cross and surmounted crown”. Thank you Marguerite!
The key fob with the silver metal cross... the obverse side of the medal depicting Marie Therese Haze... the 8th station of the cross from Antwerp Cathedral... the black cross on Apparition Hill at Medjugorje.
* “I give you what gives me joy” – Pope Francis, The Name of God is Mercy treatise