On to New York: Little Sisters attend airport arrival

From our Little Sisters in Queens Village, NY, who attended the Pope's arrival in New York with two Residents, one of whom was celebrating her 100th birthday that day:

When we arrived, a bus was stuck, we couldn’t move… we could not go onto the runway… the line for security was a mile long and there we are in the blazing hot sun with the residents and no phone # to get some help.  Msgr. Jaime was around and another priest saw Mary Frances’ sign and they brought us up to the gate.  Security wanded us right away and a car picked up Mike and Mary Frances and Sr. Alice and Luis… yes Luis got in … he is so personable, helpful and it was obvious that we needed help. I was sticking the last w/c in the back of the car and there was no way to get into the car!  I walked to the runway but it wasn’t far.  On arrival, we met Mr. Heyer who arranged our tickets.  Behind us were representatives from the various ethnic groups in the Diocese.  We saw the stairway and then realized that we had prime seating. At 4:00 PM  Fr. Jamie started the Luminous Mysteries.  The Rosary took until 4:40 … the excitement was building as you could tell the plane was coming.  As soon as we saw it the crowd roared!  Then when the door opened they really let loose. I had the opportunity to thank Bishop Di Marzio for remembering us and he said he was pleased to help. 

As soon as the holy Father got off the plane, the Bishops and priests went to meet him. The school children offered him a spiritual bouquet … 30,000 prayers for the Holy Father’s Intentions. They also gave him an etched glass plaque. It had the Brooklyn Bridge on it and I am not sure what else. After that, the Holy Father made a beeline for the crowd.  The Bishops told him about Mary Frances and he came right over. Then Luis told him in Spanish that it was the actual day of her 100th birthday. He had read the sign and then all of a sudden he turned for one of his aides and then gave her a beautiful rosary. He also kept holding her hand and she kept both hands on him. She was so happy… She held his hand. Then he looked at me. I thanked him for his talk in the morning at Congress and for supporting the Little Sisters by his visit to the home in Washington. They were moving him along but I tried to ask for a blessing for the Congregation.  He spoke briefly with the young man next to me. I was able to get his photo as he embraced the Holy Father.


Our centenarian can't stop repeating, "I waited 100 years to see a Pope and it was worth the wait!" She won't put the Rosary down!























The best day of our lives

How do you describe a day where a morning visit to the White House is NOT the most important thing that happened? This was our day in Washington on Wednesday as three of our Little Sisters attended the White House Papal welcome, and then Pope Francis CAME TO US! after the Mass at the National Shrine of the Basilisa of the Immaculate Conception. We are still trying to put it into words, but in the meantime we will let the images on our home page speak!



Here is the heart of Pope Francis' message to us encouraging us in our mission to the elderly, based on the recollections of the Little Sisters present:

(spoken in Spanish and translated into English by Msgr. Mark Miles)

 Caring for the elderly is not a job that many people like to do. In the world we live in it is regarded as burdensome and useless…

Many of the elderly are put aside, forgotten…what you are actually doing [in caring for the elderly], is that you are safeguarding the memory of the church’s family, the memory of faith…

Our Lord said, whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do unto me. When you sing to the elderly, when you pray to them, when you caress them or show tenderness, you are doing it to Christ....

You will have a surprise, one day. You will find that in caring for the elderly, doors will be opened to an encounter with Christ.

After we prayed a Hail Mary with him and he blessed us, the Holy Father said, “Pray for me because I have a difficult task.”




WMOF Impressions: The "Knot Grotto"

On our first full WMOF day two of us visited the Cathedral Basilica of STs Peter and Paul, where we witnessed the “Knot Grotto,” created in honor of the Pope’s visit in recognition of his great devotion to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots. We were immediately struck by this unusual work of prayer and art, which allows the faithful to write their prayers and struggles on long ribbon-like strips of material. These are then tied to the frame of the semi-spherical frame structure called the “Knot Grotto,” which bids participants to take a quiet moment of prayer. WWE were also encouraged to help “untie the knot” in someone else’s life by undoing any of the prayer strips already tied to a nearby wall and placing them on the frame of the Grotto.

The prayerfulness surrounding this unique Grotto was palpable!

For the complete story of the “Knot Grotto” click here.










































At the White House

The Pastoral visit of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, to the United States and in particular to Washington, D.C. had been in the planning for months. There was an ever-growing excitement throughout the Archdiocese as plans for the events reached their final phases. But the invitation to Mother Mary Michael, superior of our home in D.C. to meet the Holy Father at the White House was a complete surprise. She recounts how it came about, “I received a phone call from the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò offering me two tickets to attend the welcoming ceremony of our Holy Father at the White House in the morning of September 23. He called back shortly afterwards with a third ticket, insisting that representatives of women religious from the archdiocese of Washington be present among other invited guests. He also invited me to be a part of the special delegation that was chosen to greet the Holy Father that morning.”

On September 23, we left the home at 5:30 a.m. in order to proceed through many road blocks, detours, and security checkpoints leading to the White House. Mother Mary Michael was assigned to a guest bus and soon found herself among some U.S. cardinals and the auxiliary bishops of the archdiocese of Washington, as well as the staff members from the Apostolic Nunciature. The bus departed from the hotel at 8:00AM with a police escort and motorcade as it travelled approximately one mile to reach the White House. Upon arrival each person was escorted to their assigned seat on the lawn of the White House a few feet front the platform where the Holy Father and President would be speaking. The other two Little Sisters were seated in the gold rope section on the other side of the podium, among the Biden and Kennedy families and other invitees. Members of the four branches of the military were positioned on the lawn as well, and all were patiently awaiting the Holy Father’s arrival.

Mother Mary Michael continued her account, “at about 9:15 President Barak Obama and the First Lady, Michelle, stepped out of the White House and took their place on the red carpet. Within a few minutes, the Fiat carrying the Holy Father arrived to thunderous applause. He was warmly greeted by the President and his wife. After mounting the platform, both leaders stood at attention as the Pontifical and U.S. National Anthems were played. Speeches were given by both leaders. The President and First Lady then led the Holy Father into the White House and the three appeared from a balcony waving to the approximately 15,000 people in attendance.”





“Once the Holy Father and President Obama were safely inside and out of view, those with specially designated seats were ushered into the White House as well and were led upstairs to the East Room. Mother Mary Michael then found herself on a receiving line with the others. Archbishop Viganò suddenly appeared behind me and whispered, ‘The Holy Father wants to see the Sisters today after the Canonization Mass.’ He left abruptly to get back to his place in line. I was trying to assimilate this news as the receiving line was moving forward and suddenly found myself shaking hands, first with President Obama, then Pope Francis. At this point, I was overwhelmed with emotion as the Holy Father held my hand and thanked me for the work we do. I kissed his ring and promised him our prayers and he himself said: “Please pray for me. I need prayers.” After greeting the First Lady, I made my way outside and was reunited with my companions. AS we headed home we started to wrap our heads around what was about to happen!”

Who would ever have dreamed of attending such a ceremony at the White House and that this was only the prelude to greater things to come?


















WMOF Blog: What did you learn from your grandparents?















At our World Meeting of Families booth we are giving out buttons that read "I love my grandparents," and "I love my grandkids." We are also asking people of all ages to tell us what they learned from their grandparents. Read some of our first day responses...