An anthology of short stories on the centenary of the Legion of Marylaunched in Stevenage, UK
Text by Myla Arceno, MCSP
Images by Sharon Taylor and Myla Arceno
From left: Stevenage Deputy Mayor Myla Arceno, Mayor Margaret Notley & book publisher Betsy von Atzigen
In honour of the 100th year of the Legion of Mary, the book 100 Miracles of Our Blessed Mother was launched on 18 August 2022 at St. Joseph's Church, Stevenage UK. The book is a collection of selected stories by various authors across continents published in English and German.
The Book Launch
It was a beautiful occasion to launch the book 100 Miracle Stories co-authored by friends and contacts around the world, lovingly edited and published in English and German by main co- author Elizabeth (Betsy) Jance von Atzigen. Betsy came all the way from Switzerland to bring the printed books to our special UK launch. There was travel anxiety on that day in London due to the National Railway strike, but it didn't deter us. We all knew blessings await those who firmly believe.
Betsy was met at the train station by Direk Ramon Tenoso, International Award-winning film director and co-author, together with Marisal Bos, one of our ardent online rosary group members. Marisal delayed her plans on that day in order to usher Direk and Betsy to St. Joseph's Church, venue of the book launch. Guests from the local government and church community attended in good number.
The organizers greeted, welcomed, and seated everyone. Short speeches followed on how the book initiative came about, how authors were invited and how the stories evolved.
To celebrate the centenary of the
Legion of Mary in concrete ways,
these stories were published to share personal experiences of the writer, bringing to light the wondrous interventions of the Blessed Mother in the lives of believers and non-believers alike in different countries, over a hundred years.
The book cover is affectionately painted using ordinary coffee by artist Dennis Valenciano Castaneda of the acclaimed Valenciano family of artists from Negros Occidental, Philippines.
By way of introduction to the book, Betsy asked me to read one story.
My Story: The Young Doubting Thomas
The miracle I wrote and shared at the launch was about the challenges of a parent of a growing teenager and how I surpassed them all with faith, impacting education, leveraging our community, parish, and society. As I was reading my story aloud, I was looking at my son John and it made me so happy to be able to share his story, in the hope that readers may also be inspired by the 99 other stories in this book. We both know that there will always be challenges along the way but with faith and prayers, the road may be long and bumpy yet fulfilling. Let us not give up on our miracle.
Guests and Attendees
A beautiful diversity of guests and attendees came together on this awesome day. This was not just a book launch, but a gathering of a close-knit community, regardless of faith and belief. We are a part of humanity that shares similar challenges and difficulties.
We were honoured by the presence of our Stevenage Mayor Cllr Margaret Notley. Stevenage parish priest Fr. Michael Doherty gave his blessings and prayers. Professor Dr. Shahid Anis Khan Executive Committee Member of Stevenage Muslim Community Centre and our Lister Hospital Consultant highlighted the importance of unity in our community. He shared the significance of the Blessed Mother in his early Catholic education in Karachi. Stevenage Borough Council Leader Sharon Taylor, an advocate for Women Power, reminded us of the importance of the woman in all aspects of society, and the Blessed Mother herself.
We are grateful for the presence of the Irish Network of Stevenage - Peggy and Luke, the Polish Community - Gosia Poczo and friend, the Sikh community and the World Forum - Charanjit Kang, Welwyn Garden City Parishioners - Joy Muceros and friend, work colleague Gurjit, Westminster diocese pilgrimage team - Grace , Lois and Dr Syzgula, Cllr Maureen Mckay, Stevenage CLP - Kevin Bonavia and Graham Spence, Chinese- Filipino community - Aravel Cheng and Stephanie, retired Deputy Head Teacher - Mrs. Rosemary Sherry and Couples for Christ - Rosebelle Acosta.
Co- Author, Editor and Publisher
Elizabeth (Betsy) Jance von Atzigen is co- author, editor and publisher of the book 100 Miracles of Our Blessed Mother. Betsy is the elected president of the Legion of Mary - Zurich Comitium in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, correspondent / coordinator for the Legion Curia in Bergen, Norway and president of the Legion Praesidium in Wil, Canton St, Gallen. She is an Ilongga (like me) from Bacolod City, Philippines. She is an inspiring woman of faith. We are truly blessed that she keeps us in her prayers.
50 Days of Easter and Katagman Film
The launch of another book “50 Days of Easter”, authored by dear friend Hyacinth Reguindin made the day even more memorable. Written for 50 days from Easter of 2020, the book contains a series of reflections in the time of the Coronavirus pandemic from the point of view of a trying-hard Christian. But anyone and everyone can relate to this, as the whole of humankind have been affected by Covid. It is available on amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle edition.
After putting a well-written Ilonggo script with English subtitles in motion, Ramon Tenoso - playwright and artistic director - shared his film “Katagman”, which was produced in collaboration with Oton, Iloilo government. It highlights the history, culture, and people of his hometown Oton, a municipality of the Province of Iloilo in Panay. Katagman also happens to be the name of the municipality’s annual festival of week-long celebrations commemorating the town’s foundation. This fabulous film has been entered into various International and European film competitions. We wish Direk Ramon and his team the very best!
Behind the Scenes
It was the work of our Friends in Faith that made the event run smoothly and beautifully. Lynne - our church secretary, booked the church hall for us that day; Fiona Keeley and Josephine Newton - our First Communion Class team, came early to help with the table and chair set up; Cheryl Orlina and Nancy Velasquez - both significant members of our parish, decorated the hall with table cloths and flower centre pieces; Bernadette Herbert - our church Safeguarding Officer, came with her yummy homemade sausage rolls, Mike Doyle arrived with crunchy spring rolls lovingly prepared by his wife Ate Vicky; and young Mary Velazquez - our altar server came to help, this time to serve food and drinks. How blessed we were to have most of the pillars and significant members of our Parish at the launch.
From left: Filmmaker & Director Ramon Tenoso, Deputy Mayor Myla Arceno, Nancy Velasquez, book publisher Betsy von Atzigen, Joy Muceros, Rosebelle Acosta, Cheryl Orlina and book author Mary Tondo / Hyacinth Reguindin
To close a memorable day, powerful prayers and songs of worship were shared among us who stayed behind to tidy up. It was indeed a wonderful celebration of faith, unity, and camaraderie in our community, and we felt so blessed!
Leaving Stevenage after the event did not pose a problem despite the train strike after 5. We did have Mary on our side - Mary Tondo / Hyacinth Reguindin, book author of 50 Days of Easter, who drove Betsy and Direk Ramon back to where they needed to be. How perfect!
The 100 Miracles of Our Blessed Mother book is a gift, thanks to publisher Betsy. She and I wish to express our gratitude to all who contributed towards its publication costs.
A complimentary book in English or German may be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org. Contribution towards the publication and shipping costs is appreciated.