Betty Duffy

Friday, August 6, 2010


I got tagged by The Anchoress to list my five favorite Catholic devotions. I’m thrilled she knows my blog exists, and as Danielle Bean said, if the Anchoress tags you, you don’t ignore it.

I know this tag game doesn’t call upon anyone to write an essay on the subject, but that’s sort of my schtick, and it just happens, I’ve had some thoughts in the pipeline about the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, because I think sometimes particular devotions seek us out rather than the opposite. I wouldn’t know where to begin to find my favorite Catholic Devotion, to shop through thousands of Saints, Novenas, so many practices and prayers, two thousand years of devotions.

But the Chaplet of Divine Mercy has been handed to me, not once, but three times, from three different priests, in three different Confessionals. When that happens, you begin to think that God must really want you to say that prayer.

The first time was in Rome, where I went a month after my engagement to “The Wrong Guy”--back in the college years. The priest in the Confessional went to the effort to teach me the prayer, gave me a little card to practice it, and told me to say it for the following nine days.

I said it in restaurants. I said it on walks. One night, very close to midnight, I said it in a bar at a youth hostel while my traveling companions danced on the tables. But I made it through the nine days in reparation for my sins, and at the end of it, I broke up with my fiancé. After years of wondering whether or not the relationship should go on, I had no doubts that it needed to end.

Two years later, different priest, different confessional, different “Wrong Guy” and my penance was the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. I already knew that this wrong guy was on his way out, but I felt a little broken and discouraged by life, trying and failing to make it back to my faith with conviction.

Within three days of this Novena, I received a phone call from one of the girls I’d met in Rome. She was going to Rhode Island for a retreat with Regnum Christi and she wanted me to go with her. I was scheduled to start a new job in Boston , but I had a week to spare so I went on the retreat. By the end of the week, I had canceled plans to go to Boston, and became a “co-worker” with Regnum Christi.

That friend of mine was/ is my husband’s sister. And after a year of working together she discerned that I should go home and marry her brother—that we were perfect for each other. I went out with him on my first night back home, and we were married ten months later.

Finally, not very long ago, actually, I received the Chaplet as a means of overcoming a particular attachment of mine. This one came from my parish priest who has had a mural of The Divine Mercy painted on the wall over the Tabernacle in our Sanctuary. Every time I go in there, I’m reminded to pray for detachment, for myself, and for all people who struggle with this particular attachment.

And so it happens that I have on a few occasions in my life felt as though I were on the precipice preparing to jump. But I have been stayed, and commanded to flee in the opposite direction saying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

Other devotions that seem to have sought me out somehow? A devotion to Saint Therese, the Little Flower. I could write another post about strange coincidences that have led me to her, even after I snubbed her at my Confirmation—knowing I wanted to take “Theresa” as my Confirmation name because I had a pretty art teacher named Theresa. But I chose St Theresa of Avila, because she was a “Doctor” of the Church. It didn’t take long to realize I had the wrong Theresa.

Other devotions:
1. The Rosary
2. Our Lady of Guadalupe
3. Saint Joseph

And of course, I’m going to tag my girls at Reading For Believers

Mrs. Darwin
Emily J
Melanie B

also, Jen, who has been incredibly generous with the links lately.


mrsdarwin said...

I already knew that this wrong guy was on his way out, because I’d recently uncovered his gay double life.


I too love the chaplet, because it's so straightforward. I need mercy, and the best way to ask for it is to offer God something He can't refuse: His son's suffering and death.

You must beware of St. Therese. My father has twice prayed a novena to St. Therese for changes in my life, and each time I've ended up pregnant unexpectedly. I even named the first after her, but she wasn't mollified. I only ask St. Therese to pray for me if I either know I can't get pregnant, or want to become so.

BettyDuffy said...

So THAT's where these kids are coming from!

BettyDuffy said...

I guess that gay double life comment is sort of a bomb of resentment to drop. I probably ought to take that out.

mrsdarwin said...

It sounds like a novel waiting to be written, is all. Lots of backstory packed into the one line. But I can understand if it was a story you maybe didn't want to tell on the internets.

Melanie B said...

I've been watching this meme make the rounds and wondering when I was going to be tagged, or if I was going to make it through unscathed. Not that I mind. I'd just decided I wouldn't do it if I wasn't tagged. And so now I've got to come up with a list.

Funny about your getting the wrong Teresa. My sister, Theresa, is actually named for both St Teresa of Avila and St Therese. My dad wasn't a secular Carmelite back then; but I suppose he was already being drawn to that charism.

eaucoin said...

This devotion was introduced to me when I was unsure what to ask God for on behalf of my grown children. Now there is none of the old confusion about what to pray for. I ask Him always: "Lord, have mercy on my children and make them obedient!" And in that short prayer I am casting all my cares on Him. Another wonderful devotion you may not have heard of--the crown of mercy chaplet, with which you offer the the merits of Jesus' holy wounds and the sorrows of Our Lady for merciful intervention to comfort one who is suffering right away. I have used this one as a palliative care volunteer, and it works fast! Even in the hallway of the hospital, listening to someone moan without seeing them, you can say the crown of mercy chaplet and hear them quiet.

BettyDuffy said...

Mrs. D. I think I've already written that novel--not to see th light of day until anyone affected is dead and gone. Including me.

Melanie, I won't feel bad if you don't want to do the tag. I never know how to feel about Memes (and I still don't know how to pronounce that word). I like to read other people's, but I feel silly writing out my own.

Eucoin, I am definitely adding the "have mercy on my children and make them obedient" prayer to my repertoire.

Claire said...

You and I share some of the same devotions. My top one is the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Praying the chaplet led me to detachment, and I wasn't even praying for detachment. My others are St. Anthony (helps me find my brains when they take a walk), St. Joseph (he's now my dad)and I'm trying to get the Rosary in daily.