Pope Francis’ recent encyclical ‘Fratelli Tutti’ contains much material worthy of reflection, particularly in a year that has challenged our social connections in so many ways. However, it is a small paragraph towards the end, echoing a theme emerging in the Holy Father’s recent writings which is of particular interest to the members of the Little Company of Mary. He writes:
“For many Christians, this journey of fraternity also has a Mother, whose name is Mary. Having received this universal motherhood at the foot of the cross ( cf. Jn 19: 26), she cares not only for Jesus but also for “the rest of her children” (cf. Rev 12:17). In the power of the risen Lord, she wants to give birth to a new world, where all of us are brothers and sisters, where there is room for all those whom our societies discard, where justice and peace are resplendent.”
In another address given in October of 2020 to the professors and students of the Pontifical Institute for the study of Mariology in Rome, the Marianum, he said:
“The Catholic Church needs to rediscover its maternal heart and the world needs Mary’s motherly guidance so it can become a place where everyone is welcomed as brothers and sisters”.
It appears that in Pope Francis we have “an ardent apostle of the Maternal Heart”, a description we know well from the prayer for the Beatification of Venerable Mary Potter. One can only wonder how influential the intercession of Venerable Mary Potter may have been in this spiritual inspiration and outpouring of Pope Francis’, especially at this time of such upheaval in the world. The need for the “universal motherhood” to which he refers is as necessary now as it was in the “perilous times” to which Venerable Mary Potter referred in the Path of Mary.
We know we have a powerful intercessor in Mary Potter and while we wait for an official ‘miracle’, we know the many graces and inspirations that have been received through petition in her name. How wonderful to reflect that the Holy Father affirms and proclaims for the world, the charism formed and articulated by Mary Potter in the obscurity of Victorian England two centuries ago.
The dream of our Venerable Foundress was to have the world consecrated to the Maternal Heart of Mary. Clearly our Holy Father Francis has great regard for and devotion to the heart of Mary and the spiritual riches flowing from it. So much so that on October 13th 2013, he consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. At a time in history when The Little Company of Mary is facing diminishment and the future is more and more obscure, it is surely reassuring and affirming to ponder that the charism and mission that we have been drawn to follow and embody, is being given new expression and a universal exposure we have long dreamed of.
The giving birth to “a new world, in the power of the risen Lord” that Pope Francis describes in Fratelli Tutti is the charism and mission of the Little Company of Mary writ large. He calls upon the universal Church to become what we promote as the Greater Company of Mary, those that have the ability to share the healing love of Jesus with their sisters and brothers everywhere, in response to the words of Venerable Mary Potter, “go forth, the whole world is your domain”.