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March 2023

April 2023

Lessons from Our Lady of the Broom

There are times, whether we are teachers, writers, engineers, counselors or chefs, when we have to move past our skills, experience and wisdom, and Our Lady of the Broom John McCoy pick up a broom.

Sometimes, the repetitive sweep, sweep, sweep, is a satisfying meditation that cleans away the dust and crumbs and leaves things refreshingly clean.

Other times, we pick up the broom with a grumbling heart, tired of the mundane, boring task of sweeping – again.

It was in one of those grumbling moments when a conversation with a favorite monsignor came to mind. He shared with me his deep appreciation for Our Lady of the Broom. As I heard, again, the joy and laughter in his voice as he spoke about the Mother of God, Queen of Heaven, pushing a broom around the floor of her humble home in Nazareth, I began to smile, as well.

He reminded me that we tend to take ourselves too seriously, think of ourselves too highly, when the everyday blessing of caring for the gift of a home – or a classroom, or an office or a kitchen – is reason to complain. Sweeping, he reminded me, is an exercise in humility, as Mary has modeled for us.

Mary's humility was not a self-effacing weakness but drawn from the strength of self-knowledge and a trust in God's love. 

She possesses the virtue of humility, which as one theologian explains, "is to recognize and acknowledge the truth of who we are and where we stand in relation to God."

Artwork by John McCoy. Our Lady of the Broom.