Dennis and Angelina Girard, who created the Divine Mercy Rosary DVD, had originally planned to design a Marian consecration retreat for adults based on the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Fatima and Our Lady of Lourdes. But Dennis realized, “Mary has actually been appearing and wants to help us in each of our missions as little souls.”
The Marian Consecration for Little Souls retreat uses two cartoon characters: Fr. G, a surfing priest who “surfs for souls,” and BB, a blue butterfly. The stories of the various apparitions are told through a conversation between Fr. G and BB.
The Fr. G character had popped into Dennis’ mind back in 2015. The idea for BB, Angelina said, came from a series of experiences the couple had with butterflies, starting with an anonymous, encouraging letter they received with a blue butterfly on the envelope. Angelina wondered whether blue butterflies had any relationship to the Virgin Mary, and a simple search of the Internet revealed they do.
The retreat with Fr. G and BB has nine Marian consecration sections that Angelina said can be done in flexible ways. It can be done as a family after dinner on nine consecutive days or weeks, perhaps having the children act out the parts of Fr. G and BB, Angelina said. The retreat could also be done by taking children to a nearby Adoration Chapel and having them read the book there.
“They are in the presence in the Lord and they are in quiet. Many testimonies happen from people being at the feet of Jesus.”
Each apparition has a special focus.
“Our Lady of Guadalupe builds up the trust in a little soul; the Fatima message is about turning back to God and repentance and sacrifice; the Lourdes message is about healing,” Dennis said. “Of course as we turn back to God, God wants to heal us, He wants us to know He loves us, He has a plan for us and of course Mary will help us.”
In addition to leading a little soul to make a consecration to Jesus through Mary, the book teaches children to set aside a place for daily prayer and devotion.
“That’s where they learn to make their own little secret place in their own bedroom at home,” Angelina said.
The secret place is based on Matthew 6:6 where Jesus says “When you pray, go into your room, shut the door, pray to your Father in your secret place and your Father will reward you openly,” Angelina said.
“We all love rewards, especially children,” she said. “If they spend time with the Lord, what kinds of rewards is He going to give them? What kind of graces does our Lord and our Mother Mary have for them? Will they discern a vocation? We’re hoping it will bring on vocations to the priesthood. It’s amazing what things can happen once children start establishing their own secret place with the Lord.”
For Dennis, “the idea of retreat is to make a deliberate, focused effort to separate oneself from the world and develop the relationship with the Lord, just to really set that time apart for God, with the intention of connecting with the Lord, with the intention of developing a relationship and maturing in that relationship.”
The Girards hope the book will also encourage adults to make a Marian consecration. It suggests adults make a Holy Hour retreat on a Marian feast day, using the book, quoting St. Louis de Montfort, who said, “Mary is the safest, easiest, shortest and most perfect way of approaching Jesus.” They pointed out “little souls” are all those who are humble, no matter what age.
Ultimately, the Girard’s goal is to encourage adults and children to join in “apparition evangelization.”
At the web site frggandbb.com there is free downloadable manual on how to guide the retreat as well as ways to order Marian Consecration for Little Souls.