Growing up with the Blessed Mother

By Br. Joseph Lappe, MIC

Brother Joseph Lappe, MIC, will be ordained to the transitional diaconate on Saturday, Jan. 6. Please keep him in your prayers now, and through his journey toward priesthood.

Praying was always important in our family, especially the Rosary.

When I was very young, my mom, my brother, and I would go out in early spring with holy water to bless the fields on our farm in Carroll, Iowa. We would pray for good weather for our crops throughout the year. These prayers would always include the Hail Mary.

I have been blessed with parents and grandparents who reinforced prayer and attending Mass. My mother and father would make my brother, Pat, and me sit at the dinner table in our kitchen and listen to the Knights of Columbus broadcast of the Rosary on the radio. We would often kneel in a circle and pray it together as a family. During our time of prayer, I would look at a children's booklet that had pictures of the Mysteries of the Rosary. When I was a little older, Mom allowed me to lead the Rosary. I thought that was pretty cool. We prayed the Rosary regularly, but most especially during storms and tornadoes when we would go down into the basement and ask for God's protection.

Our parish, St. Mary's in Willey, Iowa, had a beautiful annual tradition. We had made this large rosary, so big that each person could hold one bead. It was the size of the circumference of our small church. One person would say an Our Father, and then the next person would say a Hail Mary, and so forth. One of those years, the pastor asked me if I would say a Hail Mary. I said, "No." I was shy and did not like to stand up and talk in front of a crowd. My mother, however, encouraged me to participate. I did fine even though I was nervous.

Watching my family and older members of my parish reverently take part in such devotions had an impact on me. These experiences taught me at an early age to foster a respect and reverence for Mary. I learned to have confidence in asking for her intercession.

When I was in college, my faith was challenged, and I began to lose what I had learned over the years. I did not fall away, but I knew that I needed to improve my prayer life.

Then I joined the Knights of Columbus and began carrying my rosary with me at all times. I started to pray it more often. First, I prayed for a new job, which Our Lady provided. Finally, the Rosary led me to my vocation with the Marians. Now, I am a perpetually professed brother with the Marian Fathers, and I am looking forward to being ordained to the priesthood soon, God willing.

During this time in community life, I have fostered a devotion to Our Lady of the Ten Virtues. Our community was originally founded on the Rule of the Ten Virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our Lady has helped me in times of struggle, in my studies, and in community life. She gives me the grace to persevere, and to grow in humility and patience. With her help, I hope to become a better Marian and a better priest.

Learn about Marian vocations and how to support Marian vocations

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