When I have been given the opportunity to speak about my spiritual experiences, people often ask me how they have influenced my life. From childhood on, I believe that God guided my family through some troubled times. Faith was an important part of our family life. I was the oldest of four children. My parents divorced when I was ten and my mother raised my brothers and me alone. There were many times when she struggled with the responsibilities of having a job, keeping a home, and raising a family. It seemed that there were very few people that we could depend on. Through the example of my mother’s strong faith, I learned to trust that God would provide what we needed. There were many instances during those years in which I now see His hand at work.
In the fall of 1995, the Blessed Mother interceded in my life. I remember that it was a lonely time for me. I had said goodbye to several close friends who moved away to college that summer. I had also lost a close family friend. Most discouraging was the fact that God suddenly felt distant. Prayer no longer came easily. At times, I doubted I was being heard at all.
I remember praying as I stood outside one night. I asked for the Blessed Mother’s help. Looking up toward heaven I asked, “Can you hear me God?” Whether by miracle or coincidence, a shooting star appeared in the sky at that moment. I found comfort in my belief that God had indeed heard me and was present with me. What I did not know was that God was about to enter my life in a special way.
God began to change my heart. He softened me. He helped me to accept disappointments with grace. I began to find joy in unexpected places. I became more aware of His hand guiding me. I began to appreciate the sacraments and to pray more. I was drawn closer to Him.
One evening, my mother invited me to join her in attending a prayer group at Madonna University. That was the first of many visits to this school. Although I was set to attend Michigan State University after high school, something drew me toward this Catholic school. I began to reconsider my decision to attend Michigan State.
One afternoon while I was praying for help in choosing the right school, I asked to understand God’s will. I clearly heard the words, “That which brings you closer to Him is always His will.” I was stunned. I had heard someone speak to me in a way I had never before experienced. It was a voice that I did not hear with my ears, but within me. I knew in my heart who had spoken to me. It was Mary, the Blessed Mother.
Over the next few months, the Blessed Mother continued to speak to me. She asked me to pray more. She guided me in my personal life and taught me about holiness. Jesus and God the Father also began to teach me. Oftentimes when they spoke to me, I would see visions to help me understand what words could not describe.
When I graduated from high school in 1996, very few people knew about my spiritual experiences. Most of my classmates talked about colleges, jobs, and graduation. I had no idea how to explain what was happening to me. That June, my mother and I made a pilgrimage to Medjugorje. She had become drawn to the messages given there by the Blessed Mother. I wanted to spend time praying and discerning the gifts God had given me.
I began college at Madonna University in September. The Blessed Mother, Jesus, and the Father continued to speak to me when I prayed, and sometimes unexpectedly in the middle of my activities. On December first of that year, the first Sunday of Advent, the Blessed Mother asked me to begin a journal of her words. “I would like for you to spend several minutes each day in quiet meditation,” she said. “Because the Lord has allowed it to be so, I will give you each day a teaching for the good of the world.” Each day after that she gave me a lesson to write down. These teachings ended in May when the Blessed Mother explained that this was all that God wanted to teach me in this way. She asked me to spend the summer growing in my own faith and prayer life, since there would be more for me to do.
In the fall of 1997, God blessed me with another grace. I began to see visions of the Blessed Mother and particular saints who came with her. The saints spoke about their lives while on earth and the great workings of God. As I experienced these visions, I could describe them to those who were present. As the Blessed Mother and the saints spoke, their words came through me to those who were listening.
The first to share in this grace was my mother. One evening when we were praying, I was given a vision of St. Augustine. I described what I saw and spoke his words as my mother listened. Some months later, again while praying, I saw the Blessed Mother with St. Monica. This time, when my mother realized what was happening, she quickly went to get my stepfather and they both were present. In October, the Blessed Mother promised that she would come with St. Therese on the last day of a novena. My mother invited a friend to join us. This was the beginning of a prayer group that the Blessed Mother now guides.
These visits from the saints continued for a year. Each time, the Blessed Mother announced the saint that she would bring. My parents opened their home to anyone who wanted to be there and, as word spread, more came. We began to record the messages of the Blessed Mother and the saints so those who were not present could know them. By the end of the year, a group of people met each month to pray together, learn from the Blessed Mother and the saints, and support one another in their faith.
I received the last message from a saint in August of 1998. The Blessed Mother then asked that the prayer group continue to meet each month. She promised to speak to the group through me for as long as God permitted. She asked that we celebrate Mass together and share the graces that we have been given with others. This prayer group continues to grow. It now meets at St. Mary Church to celebrate Mass, say the rosary, and learn from the Blessed Mother.
During this time I met Nick and came to appreciate his love and support. We were married in October of 1998 and our son was born thirteen months later. I am about to graduate from college with a degree in pastoral ministry. The Blessed Mother, Jesus, and the Father continue to speak to me.
Sometimes God has to tear down the walls in our lives that block His graces. Though a painful process, He always leads us to His love and mercy. He also sends His Blessed Mother with words of love and encouragement. It is by her request that I publish these daily messages and the messages of the saints as a book. She has titled this book “Heavenly Grace” because it is by the grace of God that we have been given these messages. It is her desire that we read them and live them.
Carolyn Belprez Kwiecinski