Igniting Our Values
Igniting Our Values

March 7, Saturday

Our Lady of the Way

Our contributors gave us plenty to pray about this week. With the ancient story of Abraham and Isaac as our constant backdrop, we considered how the Jesuit value of the Magis is inextricably linked with the Greater Good and with notions of service, community, self-sacrifice, trust, fidelity, availability, sustainability, care for the whole person and the centrality of God in all our choices. Whew! Perhaps today we can ask ourselves if our understanding and practice of the Magis can grow to include more of these attributes.

As a Jesuit vocation director, a good part of Fr. Chuck Frederico’s life is spent on the road. This, and his innate appreciation for all things Italian, makes Fr. Chuck a natural choice for our celebration of Santa Maria Della Strada — Our Lady of the Way. As a special treat, Fr. Chuck submitted an Italian version of his reflection, to accompany the English and Spanish. Those of us whose Italian is limited to ordering off a restaurant menu can still appreciate the warmth and musicality of “la bella lingua.”

Daily Reflection

Our Lady of the Way
by Chuck Frederico, SJ

art“Aided by the prayers and example of the Virgin Mary, His mother, may we follow faithfully the word of Your Son, and safely reach our journey’s end in You.”

These words come from the Mass Collect prayer on the Memorial of Our Lady of the Way. The history of this feast speaks to St. Ignatius’ own vocation – his vocation of journeying with Jesus. St. Ignatius, as a priest in Rome prayed in front of the image that now adorns the Mother Church of the Gesu. Many Jesuits missioned throughout the Society’s history also have prayed with this image before departing for their new land.

The journey is a good image to contemplate – both the journey with Jesus and the journey with Mary. In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius asks the retreatant to pray to Our Lady by asking, “To place me with your Son.” Ignatius asks this after his own human experience of wandering and conversion brought him to understand the magnitude of God’s love and mercy. He asks this from knowing that Mary’s magnanimous response mirrors her Son to us. The journey indicates that we move forward in relationship, move forward in conviction, move forward in courage, and we move forward in faith – all trusting that we have a companion on the way of life, Jesus. The word journey also indicates various possible roads; however, all the possible routes on the journey are protected and guided by a God of mercy and love. Trust that Jesus walks with you on the way as your friend. Trust too that the Blessed Mother guides you to her Son.

Yes indeed, to take up the journey of Mary requires a vulnerability like she had when Mary said “yes” to God to bear His Son. But we know from experience that this vulnerability brings us closer in contact with God’s grace. My friends, allow your hearts to be accompanied to new paths, new heights – to the Magis. Join the journey of Mary, with Jesus, and know love.

Nuestra Señora del Camino
Por: Chuck Frederico, SJ

"Con la ayuda de la oración y el ejemplo de la Virgen María, su madre, que podamos seguir fielmente la palabra de tu Hijo, y con seguridad llegar a final de nuestro viaje en ti."

Estas palabras vienen de la oración que se uso para recoger la misa de aniversario de Nuestra Señora del Camino. La historia de este pasaje habla de la vocación de nuestro mismo San Ignacio, la vocación de su viaje con Jesús. Como sacerdote en Roma, San Ignacio oró frente a la imagen que ahora adorna la iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Gesu, así como muchos misioneros jesuitas oraron frente a esta imagen antes de partir hacia nuevas tierras.

“El Viaje” es una buena imagen para contemplar, tanto el viaje de Jesús como el viaje de María. En los ejercicios espirituales, San Ignacio pide a sus alumnos que oren a nuestra señora para que los “ponga en la gracia del Señor”. San Ignacio hace este requerimiento después de que sus propias experiencias y cuestionamientos lo llevaron a comprender la magnitud del amor y la misericordia de Dios nuestro Señor.

El pide eso a sus alumnos sabiendo que la magnánima respuesta de la virgen María es una muestra de nuestro señor. El viaje demuestra que estamos avanzando en nuestra relación, nuestra convicción, nuestro coraje y en nuestra fe; todo esto confiando en el acompañamiento de Jesús en nuestro estilo de vida. La palabra viaje también significa la posibilidad de tomar varios caminos; sin embargo todos los caminos esta guiados y protegidos por la misericordia y el amor de Dios. Confiemos en que Jesús camina con nosotros en el camino como nuestro amigo. Confiemos que la Santa Madre nos guía en el camino hacia el señor.

Es cierto que para embarcarnos en el viaje de María se necesita humildad, la misma humildad de la Virgen al aceptar la misión de llevar al hijo del señor. Pero por experiencia sabemos que esta humildad nos acerca a la gracia de Dios. Amigos, dejen que Jesús acompañe sus corazones en estos nuevos viajes y nuevos caminos; sigan el viaje de María con Jesús y conozcan el significado del amor.

Nostra Signora del Cammino
da Chuck Frederico, SJ

“Aiutati dalla preghiera e sull’esempio della Vergine Maria, Sua Madre, possiamo seguire fedelmente la parola di TuoFiglio e giungere al sicuro alla fine del nostro cammino che ci porta a Te.”

Queste parole provengono dalla preghiera della Colletta della Messa nel Memoriale della Madonna della Strada. La storia di questa celebrazione è anche quella della vocazione di Sant'Ignazio: la sua vocazione del cammino con Gesù. Sant'Ignazio, da sacerdote pregò davanti all'immagine che ora adorna la Madre Chiesa del Gesù. Anche molti altri gesuiti, nel corso della storia della Compagnia di Gesù, hanno pregato davanti a questa immagine prima di partire per le loro missioni.

Il cammino è un'ottima immagine da contemplare: sia il cammino con Gesù, che quello con Maria. Negli Esercizi Spirituali, Sant'Ignazio invita a pregare la Nostra Signora: “mettimi accanto a Tuo Figlio”. Ignazio chiede questo dopo che la sua stessa esperienza personale di peregrinazione e conversione lo ha portato a comprendere appieno la magnitudine dell'amore e della misericordia di Dio. Egli chiede questo sapendo che la misericordiosa risposta di Maria rispecchia quella di suo Figlio per noi. Il cammino indica che noi avanziamo nella relazione, convinzione, coraggio e fede – fiduciosi di avere un compagno nella nostra vita, Gesù. La parola cammino indica anche diverse possibili strade da percorrere; tuttavia tutti i possibili percorsi del cammino sono protetti e guidati da un Dio di misericordia e amore. Confidate nel fatto che Dio cammina con voi lungo la via come vostro amico. Confidate che la Beata Vergine Maria vi guida fino a suo Figlio.

È anche vero che intraprendere questo cammino richiede vulnerabilità, la stessa che Maria ha mostrato quando ha risposto positivamente alla richiesta portare il Figlio di Dio nel suo grembo. Ma sappiamo per esperienza che questa vulnerabilità ci avvicina alla grazia di Dio. Miei cari amici, consentite ai vostri cuori di essere accompagnati lungo nuovi percorsi, verso nuove altezze – fino al Magis. Unitevi al cammino di Maria con Gesù e sperimentate l’amore.

Fr. Chuck Frederico is the Vocation Director for the Northeast and Maryland Provinces of the Society of Jesus. He graduated from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, before entering formation in the Society.


Almighty Father,
you chose Mary to be blessed from age to age,
help us in this age to know your overwhelming love
through her example.
May her “Yes” be our “Yes!”
to accept you into our very persons,
so that we might always be on the way with you.
Today we claim your faithfulness to us on our journey,
even when the road is dark
and we are unsure if we have what it takes
when the road looks too long,
too steep
and too lonely to bear.
We ask for your Spirit to rush upon us
and carry us forward to you.


Hail, O greenest branch,
sprung forth in the airy breezes
of the prayers of the saints.
So the time has come
that your sprays have flourished:
hail, hail to you,
because the heat of the sun has exuded from you
like the aroma of balm.
For the beautiful flower sprung from you
which gave all parched perfumes
their aroma.
And they have radiated anew
in their full freshness.
Whence the skies bestowed dew upon the pasture,
and all the earth was made joyful
because her womb
brought forth corn,
and because the birds of the firmament
built their nests in her.
Then there was harvest ready for Man
and a great rejoicing of banqueters,
whence, O sweet Virgin,
no joy is lacking in you.
Eve rejected all these things.
Now let there be praise to the Highest.
: Hildegard von Bingen

They say He was a serious child,
And quiet in His ways,
They say the gentlest lady smiled
To hear the neighbors' praise.
The coffers of her heart would close
Upon their smallest word.
Yet did they say, 'How tall He grows!'
They thought she had not heard.
They say upon His birthday eve
She'd rock Him to His rest
As if she could not have Him leave
The shelter of her breast.
The poor must go in bitter thrift,
The poor must give in pain,
But ever did she set a gift
To greet His day again.
They say she'd kiss the boy awake,
And hail Him gay and clear,
But oh, her heart was like to break
To count another year.
: Dorothy Parker


Procession in honor of La Madonna della Strada in San Lorenzo Maggiore, Italy (2010)

O Viridissima (Hildegard von Bingen/Jocelyn Montgomery)

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Our Lady of the Oaks Retreat House
Our Lady of the Oaks Retreat House, located in Grand Coteau, La., has provided a beautiful setting for retreats since 1938.