Well, I’m back after a very grace filled and unexpected retreat.
Fra Roderic and I left on Sunday morning with some friends, who invited us to go with them on a pilgrimage to a shrine that we had never heard about before, Our Lady of Ephesus House of Prayer, in Jamaica, Vermont. Our plan was to visit the shrine with our friends and then continue on separately to Maine, New York, Mt. St. Francis, our retreat house, where we had two cabins reserved for the week.
Our Lady of Ephesus is a title that refers to Meryem Ana Evi, the home of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ephesus in modern day Turkey, that was provided for Her by St. John when he took Her with him there. In the late 1800’s a Catholic priest followed up on the location and description of Our Lady’s last home, in Ephesus, as it was described by Blessed Catherine Emerich in her mysical writings. What he found was a ruin that exactly conformed to the mystic’s writings. Furthermore, there was a local tradition in the area held to by both the orthodox and Muslims that the ruin was indeed Our Lady’s home.
Don and Mary Tarinelli, the founders and costodians of the House of Prayer in Jamaica, Vermont, have a long history of association with Our Lady’s House in Ephesus. I will leave all the particulars of that very interesting and inspiring story to AirMaria, as I did a video interview with Mary, just before we left Vermont today. Fra Roderic will have that up, hopefully, in a day or two.
Anyway, we celebrated Holy Mass in the replica of Our Lady’s House in Jamaica, Sunday afternoon, and then with our friends were invited by Don and Mary back to the House of Prayer for a tour. What we found, among other things, were two fully furnished priest’s apartments that Mary left at our disposal. The offer seemed so providential, and the place so graced that we eagerly accepted, and I am so glad we did.
It was so quiet there, Fra Roderic and I were virually hermits, save for morning Mass at which Don and Mary assisted. I was able to walk down a trail to Our Lady’s house several times over the week to pray in solitude. What a blessing!
The House of Prayer and the replica are open 24 hours a day, and no notice of one’s plans to visit is necessary, unless accommodations for the night are needed. Mind you, this place is out in the sticks, but it is well worth the trip. As I said, I will leave the more interesting details of the House of Prayer and replica for the AirMaria post.
I just want to thank Don and Mary Tarinelli for their gracious hospitality and for the inspiring work they are doing on behalf of Our Lady.
Just one, more thing. Ephesus was also the site of the proclamation of the first Marian dogma, the Divine Maternity, at the Council of Ephesus in 431. In Ephesus, the celebration of the Maternity of Mary on the second Sunday of October, takes place in the ruins of the oldest Church dedicated to Mary. Since the Feast of the Holy Rosary takes place on October 7 (Our Lady of Victory; see this image, it stands outside the House of Mary in Ephesus and reminds me of OLV), this is also a very important feast at the House of Our Lady. Ephesus was also a launching point for some of the Crusading activity, and was in the possession of the Ottoman Empire. It is full of chivalrous significance.