Thursday, December 23, 2021

Our Lady’s Garden: A Benedictine Oblate’s Prayer Initiative for Catholic Families

A Benedictine oblate with whom I have been in correspondence for some time asked me if I would post this at NLM.--PAK

Our Lady’s Garden
“Who maketh a barren woman to dwell in a house
The joyful mother of children.” Psalm 112:9

I would like to introduce both myself and my apostolate.

My name is Barbara Swan. I am a parishioner at Mater Ecclesiae in Berlin, New Jersey. I am also Sister Barbara Mectilde of the Blessed Sacrament, OSB Oblate, and as such, I am an “external monastic,” an Oblate, attached to Our Lady of the Annunciation Abbey in Clear Creek, Oklahoma. (Clear Creek Abbey is a daughter of the Abbey of Fontgombault, which is, in turn, a daughter of the Abbey of Solesmes founded by the great Dom Prosper Guéranger, the author of The Liturgical Year.) My apostolate is prayer—prayer especially for the many young faithful families at Mater Ecclesiae.

Starting on December 28, 2021, the Feast of the Holy Innocents, I will begin praying a daily Holy Hour at my home oratory for any family who would like to have me do so. What I ask is that, if you are interested, you provide me with the following:

The names of all family members
A recent photograph of the entire family to put on my altar (because we are often anonymous to each other; preferably portrait orientation so I may use it on my mobile devices)
Any special prayer requests or concerns you would like me to pray for

My daily Holy Hour for each family would consist of:

Monastic Vespers according to the Rule of St. Benedict
Five decades of the Rosary of the Mysteries of the day
Individual prayers for each family member
Intercessory prayers to each member’s patron Saint
A daily sacrifice or mortification
Dedication of the graces and blessings of entire day to that family

On Sundays, I would offer my intentions at Mass and the Divine Office for all the families for whom I am praying.

I take my inspiration from Father Pasley’s declaration of gratitude for, and encouragement of, the many “young families making many sacrifices to pass on the Faith…(who) give me strength and hope…(and who) remind me every day that the Lord will be victorious.”

You, young faithful families, are our future and it is incumbent upon all of us to also offer our own sacrifices along with yours so that the entire Body of Christ will be strengthened.

If you are interested in allowing me to offer what I can to the Lord for your family, please contact me at:

I hope to be able to set up a website for this apostolate if it generates enough interest.

Our Lady’s Garden

I sit in a Garden of Flowers
In bud and in bloom
Precious in the eyes of Him
To Whom they lend their fragrance:
their fragrance of innocence, purity and  love

Many blooms has this garden
Too numerous to count
O that they will bloom for eternity
Planted in His hidden garden of
Life Everlasting

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: