Sister Maria Regina of the Sisters of Life speaks at the annual Women Affirming Life Mass and breakfast in Norwood, Dec. 10. Pilot photo/Mark Labbe
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NORWOOD -- In a culture filled with darkness, God needs the love and the light of women now more than ever, Sister Maria Regina of the Sisters of Life told the almost 300 women gathered for the annual Women Affirming Life Mass and breakfast at Four Points by Sheraton in Norwood, Dec. 10.
Sister Maria spoke about Mary, and how a deeper connection with Jesus can be fostered by examining her life.
She focused on three aspects of Mary's life -- her love for God, her trust in God, and her surrender to God -- reading Gospel passages and offering personal stories and experiences to emphasize each aspect.
"Our Lady entrusted and surrendered her whole life and being to the plan of the Father, and became a conduit of grace to the world. And so, too, for each one of us, the Lord makes our surrenders to him fruitful," said Sister Maria.
"And whenever we allow him to work, to love, to speak through us, to guide us, grace is born for the world," she continued.
It is through our love, trust, and surrender that "we grow in imitation of Our Lady, and become light in a darkness for others," said Sister Maria, referencing the theme of the event, "Light in the Darkness."
"So, no matter what is going on in our lives, no matter where we're at, our Blessed Mother is with us, she's leading us, she's protecting us and guiding us closer to Jesus, who is the true light in the darkness," she said.
The Women Affirming Life event began with a Mass, celebrated by Father Ed Riley, dean of men and director of Pastoral Planning at St. John's Seminary and homeschool liaison for the Archdiocese of Boston.
In his homily, Father Riley made note of the uniqueness of the event's attendees.
"It's not that you're just a group of women, it's not you're affirming and being very positive about life, as if life were a state or a condition or a moment in time, you are women captivated by life with a capital L who's a person, who is the Christ child," he said.
"You are women who not only support pro-life as issue of concern so important, especially in our country, you, by your very intuitive gift, as women, as feminine, created to be a lover, a servant of life himself. And that's what makes the difference," he continued.
By being women and mothers, Father Riley added, "you have said your yes, as Mary said her yes. You give your life to be able to receive and be open to life."
"Your yes is in the fabric of your very person, the gift of your femininity is the consent to give all that you are," he said.
Speaking to The Pilot at the end of the event, attendee Stephanie Groskulsky said she was "blown away" by Sister Maria's talk.
With tears in her eyes, she said she had lost her best friend from breast cancer. Before she died, she had traveled to the Marian shrine at Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and brought back a gift for Grokulsky.
"She brought me back Our Lady of Guadalupe that was blessed in Medjugorje and I wear it every day," she said, touching the necklace around her neck.
"So when I think of the Blessed Mother, I think of [her]," she said.
Sister Maria's talk was "just really beautiful. Emotional, but beautiful," she added.