Ecce Mater Dei…Behold, the Mother of God. Some people have asked us why we named the ridge top house “Mater Dei.” We wanted to honor Our Lady, the Mother of God. When we seek to imitate her life in our own vocations of giving our lives for the sanctification of priests, we know this will mean imitating her when she stood beneath the Cross on Calvary. At Cor Jesu Monastery in New Mexico, the front door to the Motherhouse had this wooden sign with iron work on it depicting that very scene from the life of Our Mother of Sorrows.
The Ecce Mater Dei sign was lovingly packed up, shipped, and placed in storage as we waited to prayerfully discern where God would want it in our new home. Over the winter, when construction quieted a bit, it was unearthed from storage and prepared for the Tennessee elements of rain and humidity. The wood was cleaned up and refinished for outdoor use and the sign was hung on the front of the first building we occupied when we moved here in July 2015. It just so “happened” that the workman’s selection of a convenient spot on which to hang the beautiful sign on the exterior of the house was precisely on the other side of the interior wall of the Oratory. In fact, the Ecce Mater Dei sign is hanging right on the other side of the tabernacle where we first had adoration on the very night we arrived. See? Mary always leads to Jesus.
We have a long way to go towards building an actual monastery, but the simple act of hanging up an old, familiar piece of art from our New Mexico monastery is a wonderful reminder that, in Tennessee, we will all still have to go to Calvary if we want to stay with Jesus. But his Mother will be there, standing, and waiting for us. To Jesus Through Mary.
“Behold, Your Mother.” he said. We entrust ourselves once again to her care.