May 2021
Dear Friends,

I grew up as a fifth generation Irish Catholic from Wylie, Texas.  This family and my small parish instilled in me a love for our Blessed Mother.  This love and devotion included the Rosary and Crownings in the month of May (the month of Mary).  I carried these traditions and prayers with me to St. Mary’s University where I met men who were dedicated to carrying on Mary’s mission of bringing Christ into the world.  As I got more involved in ministry, prayer, and Liturgy at St. Mary’s,  I was challenged to grow in my relationship with Jesus and his Mother.  That manifested itself in many ways.  The most rewarding and challenging were service experiences.  These experiences caused me to focus on others and how God was (and is) calling me to be of service to people around me and speak out against injustice. 

The Marianists introduced me to Mary of Nazareth.  She kind of looked like the Blessed Mother of my devotions and prayers, but she was a woman of action!  A woman dedicated to lifting the lowly and helping the mighty come down from their thrones.  A Jewish mother, who “encouraged” her son into his public ministry by insisting that the lack of wine at a marriage in Cana was indeed his business.

This Mother that followed her son in his ministry and did not flee when that ministry called him to suffer and die on a cross.  When all the others had left in fear, Mary and the beloved disciple remained at the foot of the Cross.  “Behold your Mother” Jesus said as he gave us his Mother to watch over us and intercede for us.  Mary continues to be an important part of my prayer and devotion life.  I do find that she leads by example to call me to care for the poor, to assist the immigrant, to champion those who might not look or pray as I do.  In all this she points to Jesus and tells me, and all of us, to “Do whatever he tells you."

Paul Combest
I don’t know about you, but I always feel like this time of year is very hectic. There are so many events and people to celebrate, so many loose ends to tie up and so many directions I am being pulled. As a teacher, I also find my patience waning a little as the school year comes to a close and the weather outside gets nicer. A few years ago, I came across this prayer from Fr. James Martin, called the “New Serenity Prayer” and I find it to be refreshing at this time of year. I hope you can pray with it or at least get a good laugh out of it this May! 

A New Serenity Prayer by Fr. James Martin, SJ
God, grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change,
which is pretty much everyone, since I'm clearly not you, God.
At least not the last time I checked.
And while you're at it, God, please give me the courage
to change what I need to change about myself,
which is frankly a lot, since, once again, I'm not you, which means I'm not perfect.
It's better for me to focus on changing myself than to worry about changing other people,
who, as you'll no doubt remember me saying, I can't change anyway.
Finally, give me the wisdom to just shut up whenever I think that I'm clearly smarter
than everyone else in the room, that no one knows what they're talking about except me,
or that I alone have all the answers.
Basically, God, grant me the wisdom to remember that I'm not you.

-Abbey Saurine, Head of Education
Marianist Feast Days

May 12- Mary Mother of Graces and Mediatrix
May 13- Ascension and Our Lady of Fatima
May 23- Pentecost
May 24- Mary, Help of Christians
May 31- Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Welcome to the Pillars Marianist Lay Community! 
On Saturday, April 24, seven students at the University of Dayton made their commitment as a Marianist Lay Community! The members of the Pillars Community were involved in a semester long formation process directed by LeeAnn Meyer, Bro. Mitch Schweickart, and Sr. Emily Sandoval. Their community name represents the pillars of the Marianist charism they strive to live by and also evokes the image of Our Lady of the Pillar. Please hold this new community in your prayers and welcome Andrew Buchanan, Diego A. Buxeda, Morgan Cox, Jack Dalton, Tyler Horton, Ashley Kush, and Nicole Vanvoorhis to the Marianist family. 

Prayer for our Marianist Family in India
Holy Virgin of Guadalupe, 
Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas. 
We fly to you today as your beloved children. 
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son, 
as you did at the wedding in Cana. 

Pray for us, loving Mother, 
and gain for our nation and world, 
and for all our families and loved ones, 
the protection of your holy angels, 
that we may be spared the worst of this illness. 

For those already afflicted, 
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance. 
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful, 
wipe away their tears and help them to trust. 

In this time of trial and testing, 
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind. 
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts. 

We come to you with confidence, 
knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother, 
health of the sick and cause of our joy. 

Shelter us under the mantle of your protection, 
keep us in the embrace of your arms, 
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. 

-LeeAnn Meyer, Head of Spirituality
Year of Shared Discernment
Get Involved

1. Fill in a YSD survey to share your insights and experiences with MLC-NA! These insights will be used to help MLC-NA write a strategic vision for the future.

Please share your insights with us on a survey (individual and/or community):

2. Join in a YSD Zoom call with other Lay Marianists:

  • Tuesday, May 18 from 8-9 PM ET/7-8 pm CT/5-6 PM PT: 
  • Zoom Link to JoinMeeting ID: 868 4813 5191; Passcode: Marianist
  • Hosted by Kay Stone & Errol Christian 
  • Thursday, May 27 from 10-11 PM ET/9-10 PM CT 7-8 pm PT/4-5 PM HT: 
  • Zoom Link to JoinMeeting ID: 859 1984 8149; Passcode: Marianist
  • Hosted by Grissel Benitez-Hodge & Ellen Celaya
  • Monday, June 14 from 8-9 PM ET/7-8 PM CT/5-6 PM PT
  • Zoom Link to Join; Meeting ID: 865 2391 3506; Passcode: Marianist
  • Hosted by Linda Flores-Tober & Jose Matos Auffant

Important Links:
Other Important Announcements:
Marianists Write Now! Workshop
Registration is now open for the Marianists Write Now! June 11-12, 2021 workshop! The topic for reflection is: What is the role of the Marianist Family in the future of the Church and of society? Click here to fill out the online registration form. This program has been designed by NACMS to encourage thoughtful writing about the Marianist charism, in alignment with MLC-NA's Year of Shared Discernment.

Lay Marianist reflections from NACMS' two previous Marianists Write Now workshops can be found here. Don't miss out on this amazing program!
Seed Grant Announcement
Do you have a project that needs additional funds? The Marianist Visitation State Community is a virtual community of vowed lay Marianist that have a long history of serving the Marianist Family. As an expression of our commitment to "do whatever he tells you" in support of Mary's mission to respond to the needs of the world, we have put some of the resources with which we have been blessed at the service of others.  

In previous years, we have provided financial assistance for the an intergenerational retreat, MSJC's Changemakers program speakers, and we issued a challenge grant for the Marianist Lay Community of North America (MLC-NA).  Last year, three grants were awarded. The application process is now open for 2021. We want to enable small communities and fledgling service projects to thrive; to grow, and respond to the needs of the young and the poor and to engage in the struggle for peace and justice.

Applications are due by Tuesday August 31, 2021 and will be evaluated by a subcommittee from the Visitation State.  Grant winners will be notified by the end of October 2021.  Grants of $1000 - $5000 will be awarded by year end.   See the attached application form for more information.

Marianists in Action
Do you know of any #MarianistsInAction, who are deeply living the charism, that we can highlight in our newsletter? Reply to this email with any nominees you have for Marianists in Action so that we can highlight them in future newsletters! Thank you.

Your donations directly support the work of the Leadership Team, formation programming, administrative and staff costs, and our financial commitments to other Marianist organizations, like MSJC and the IO-MLC.

Please consider how your time, talent, and treasure can further the mission of the Marianist Family. Contribute today and THANK YOU!
MLC-NA Leadership Council and Area Representatives
Click on the Leadership Council member's title and Area Rep's name to email.
MLC-NA Leadership Council

Margy Lisjak
Abbey Saurine

Paul Combest

LeeAnn Meyer

Rob Brodrick

Caitlin Cipolla-McCulloch

Fr. Ted Cassidy, SM

Marceta Reilly

Luke Horner

Kelly Welling

Sarah Gray
Area Representatives

Southeast (FL, NC)

Northeast (PA, NY, NJ, MD, VA)

To be determined
Central States (CO, IL, KS, NE, MO, WI) 


West Coast (CA, OR, WA)


Canada (French-Speaking)

Virtual Communities
To be determined