LOVE FOR OUR LADY

In the  surroundings  of  their  ordinary family life,  Henry and  Inez  Casolani evangelised both by the spoken and the written word, as well as through testimony of their personal living.  They both found their very vocation within their family by being true witnesses of their faith in Christ and their love for Him, both with each other and also with their daughter. Not only were they aware that they were called to lead holy lives but they also felt a strong calling to share the life of the Church in all its aspects, including that of proclaiming the Good News.

   Mr. Henry Casolani used to get quite emotional when reading (during Mass), but this attributed to his zeal for the Word of God, since we often shared about the beauty and wisdom of the Word. (Fr. Ugo Cremona O.P.)

   The couple, Henry and Inez Casolani, were apostles of love and they expressed this virtue at all moments in their life. So by practicing deeds of love in their ordinary everyday life they were being instruments of God’s extraordinary presence.

   Yet, can one be so close to the Son without being close to the Mother? Henry and Inez Casolani loved Our Lady ardently; they prayed heartily to her and entrusted themselves completely to her maternal care. They were outstanding promoters of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary through the public recitation of the Rosary, through fervent prayer and alsothrough their writings.

   The modern world is in turmoil, yet it longs to uphold the virtues by which Our Lady is endowed. (Inez Casolani)

   Through the Rosary Henry and Inez Casolani discovered a genuine path to growth in holiness, and because of their own personal experience of the beauty of the Rosary, they promoted it with conviction.

   What serenity is found in those families who recite the Holy Rosary together before an image of Our Lady! (Inez Casolani)

   Inez recited the fifteen decades of the Rosary daily. Yesterday I recited the Fifteen Decades of the Rosary 15 times. I finished them at 15 minutes past midnight. (Inez Casolani)

   Henry regularly used to lead and recite the Rosary before Mass for the congregation gathered at the Dominican Church (Our Lady of the Grotto) at Rabat. Both Henry and Inez looked upon the Rosary as the prayer of the family.

   The Rosary is the Gospel of the Family. (Inez Casolani)

   Their insistent prayer to the Mother of God was based on confidence that Her maternal intercession can obtain all things from the Heart of Her Son.

   All prayers to Our Lady are heard and answered. The Holy Child Jesus grants His Mother all that She asks on our behalf. (Henry Casolani)

   Henry and Inez loved Our Lady and were keen on making others love her. They often encouraged the daily recitation of the Rosary. From their youthful years, this prayer held an important place in their family life and Inez did not spare herself from emphasising the effectiveness of the Holy Rosary as a prayer that brings the family together. A favourite phrase she often repeated was the family that prays together stays together. A perfect witness to this is the fact that both in joy and in sorrow their daily family Rosary was never missed.

   Inez encouraged newly wedded couples to pray the Family Rosary and to have recourse to Mary in trials and difficulty.

   I encourage families, particularly newly wedded couples, to pray the Family Rosary so that they may live happily together. (Inez Casolani)

   As Henry and Inez Casolani prayed the family Rosary together, they seemed to recall something of the atmosphere of the Family of Nazareth. An acquaintance of Couple Casolani declared that  During the recitation of the Rosary, nothing would distract Henry and Inez Casolani.

    Not only did they recite it as a family, but Inez regularly used to make her cleaner pause during her work so as to join her in reciting five decades of the Rosary. Also if the same did not have time to go to Church Inez used to send her to Mass before starting work. She also used to assemble a group of girls at her Veranda in order to pray the Rosary together.

   Obviously, meditating daily on the Holy Rosary Henry and Inez Casolani were impelled to see Christ in others especially in the mournful and sorrowful. They could easily contemplate the mystery of the Child of Bethlehem in the joyful mysteries since they themselves experienced the desire to defend and promote life and marriage and to shoulder the burdens of suffering children all over the world in the way that was possible to them. They could contemplate Christ carrying the Cross as they themselves often acted as Simon of Cyrene for others who wereweighed down by grief or crushed by despair. They could also contemplate the Crucified Christ as they too went through sufferings of all sorts. But they could also gaze upon the Glory of the Risen Christ and upon Mary Queen of Heaven. Surely it was through our Blessed Mother?s help that they did their utmost to foster peace while conforming themselves at all times to the Will of God.

   Henry and Inez did their utmost to propagate the devotion towards Our Lady. May we earnestly pray to Our Lady to intercede for us from Our Lord showers of graces and to help us in all our undertakings. (Inez Casolani)

   Inez was indeed an influential figure in her neighbourhood. She was a staunch devotee to Our Lady and imitated the Mother of God in her virtues especially in her immovable faith, her absolute confidence in God and her utterly selfless charity towards others. Both Henry and Inez imitated Our Lady in a special way through the virtues of humility and obedience – though their strongest and most dominant characteristic was joy.

   Our Lady testified to the virtue of humility when the Archangel Gabriel announced that she was to be the Mother of God. In great humility she accepted the call and said, I am the handmaid of the Lord. (Inez Casolani)

   Henry and Inez Casolani looked upon Our Lady as their model of humility, poverty, patience and perfection.

   This humble, obedient and marvellous young woman was a child of God. She was called byHim tobe the Mother of His Only and Beloved Son and the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. (Inez Casolani)

   Following the example of Mary their love of God was an authentic one, lived in obedience to His teachings and in the observance of His Commandments. Henry and Inez Casolani found no objection in helping those who had hurt them. Through the Rosary and through prayer Godgave them the strength to walk straight ahead in the path of holiness no matter how hard things could be. Though loved by many Inez Casolani happened to be badly treated by a person. This individual was taken ill suffering from a terminal disease. At the same period, in spite of her own severe heart trouble, Inez went to visit this sick person in hospital. When Inez left the place realising that this person was not accepting her illness at all Inez cried, telling her daughter: I’d rather bear this sickness myself. She is much younger than me! (Inez Casolani)

   When Inez passed away the afore-mentioned person pleaded to have one of Inez Casolani’s Rosary Beads and actually snatched an old one from her daughter’s hands. Please give me her old Rosary beads. I was not a devotee of the Holy Rosary. It is Inez who instilled in me the love towards the Holy Rosary. After a very long illness this same individual had a peaceful death.

   Henry and Inez Casolani had the ardent courage to follow daily in Our Lady’s footsteps aware that they lived and worked under her watchful eyes. Let us live in imitation of Our Lady. (Inez Casolani)

From Mary they understood that suffering out of love is a joy. In an outburst of love towards Our Lady Inez expressed the following during one of her pilgrimages at Lourdes:

   I sat in front of the Statue of Our Lady – to look at Her, pray to Her and above all wonder and admire Her! I could not put my eyes off Her! (Inez Casolani)

   How I thanked Our Lady and how fervently I prayed to Her. (Inez Casolani)

   I could not say Goodbye to Our Lady. I could not pronounce it, but only said Au Revoirat least, if not in this world maybe in the next. (Inez Casolani)

   Running through Inez Casolani’s letters and writings, there is a truly remarkable spirit of reverence and love towards Our Lady. Inez would pray on her knees the Novena in honour of Our Lady of Pompei towards whom she had great devotion. She prayed and hoped that she would die on a feast day, any feast day, of Our Lady. Incredible but true, Inez was called to enjoy the Beatific Vision on 13th July 1992, a day commemorating a most important apparition of Our Lady at Fatima!

   Inez Casolani, like Blessed Scotus and other saints, was kindled with a special love towards Mary. ( Canon Joseph Grech Cremona)

   Henry Casolani was called to the Risen Lord on 29th December 1999. The very last words he uttered in a most clear yet imploring tone were: Madonna, henn ghalija! (Mother of God, have mercy on me.)

   Henry and Inez Casolani’s love for Mary has been witnessed by people from all sectors of society, including eminent members of the Church.

   I must not miss mentioning their deep devotion towards the Holy Virgin Mary whom they deeply venerated through the beautiful prayer of the Holy Rosary. (Emeritus Bishop of Gozo, Mgr. Nikol Cauchi)

   Henry tremendous love for Our Lady exploded in a poem he wrote himself in Maltese dedicated to Our Blessed Mother:

                                                                                 (translation)

Int li Alla stess mar jaghzlek                    You whom God himself

Bhala l-omm ghaziza taghna                    Has chosen to be our dear mother,

Biex lejk ahna nirrikorru                          May we turn to you

Halli inti tieqaf maghna.                          That you may in turn stand by us.                                            

An extract from a Maltese poem by Henry Casolani

dedicated to Our Lady

May we truly imitate Henry and Inez Casolani’s love for Mary and may we, through their intercession, always find Our Blessed Mother by our side for all our needs!