Nestled in Joy Valley in Petoskey, Blessed Mother Mary’s oasis awaits her children. For 19 years, The Marian Center in Joy Valley has provided a place of peace, inspiration and hope for weary travelers on their journey of life. When people make a pilgrimage here, they are never disappointed. Jesus is always ready to pour out His graces upon those who seek Him.
The Archangel Grotto stands here as a testament to the archangel’s protection over us. This is the only Archangel Grotto in the United States dedicated to the Archangels Michael, Raphael and Gabriel. Inspiration for the grotto came when a prayerful woman, while talking with Barbara Smith, opened the Sacred Scriptures three times, each time to the story of one of the archangels!
What do you do at the Marian Center?
We have been asked this question several times over the years. Here we will briefly explain our mission.
The Marian Center is all about people. People seeking, people questioning, people searching for some peace and
quiet, people wanting to learn about their Catholic faith. The Marian Center is about Alex. Alex is a young man in his early 20’s that was sent down the driveway one day in 2011. Alex, a non-Catholic, was searching for answers to many things, such as what he should do about college, questions about the Catholic faith, and general life questions. Over the next year and a half, Alex came to the Center on occasion. I had many great conversations with him about life, faith, and the Catholic Church.
Guided by the Holy Spirit, Alex entered the RCIA program this past year, is attending Aquinas college in Grand Rapids, and it is likely he will be welcomed into the Church within the next year.
The Marian Center is about Tina. Tina is a wonderful woman who was studying to become Catholic along with her three children. Tina’s husband is Catholic. Her sponsor, Donna, recommended she come to the Marian Center for gifts for her children to celebrate their entrance into the Church. After a time of visiting and sharing, she left to go back home just a couple miles away. When she got to top of the Center’s driveway and began to turn left, her car spun around and stopped, pointing directly back down the Center’s driveway! Not being sure what this meant, as she had never spun out before, she sat there for a few moments. She went home feeling anxious, understanding something “strange” had just occurred. Once home, she paced around anxiously. Her dog, sensing something, paced with her at her heels. She had a strong feeling that she had to return the Marian Center. She came back, telling us that we were likely going to think she was crazy! All along we are thinking, “Just another day at the Marian Center.” Julie told her to stay as long as she wanted to try to discern why God brought her back.
While Tina was there, Keri came back from an outing. Julie went home to finish some chores, leaving Tina and Keri to get to know one another. Unusually, Julie had left her computer on with Catholic Radio playing. When she got in the door, she heard that there was a “smoke watch” at the Vatican for our new Holy Father. Not expecting white smoke at that point, Julie called the Center anyway and put everyone on alert just in case! The television was turned on, and as the Holy Spirit would have it, Tina was at the Center when Pope Francis was announced! She got to experience the joy and excitement of the moment with Keri and myself. We don’t know if this is the main reason Mary brought Tina back down the driveway, but it was certainly a beautiful gift to her. Incidentally, not much later that day, although it was not a very warm day, the snow on the road at the top of the driveway was completely gone! If Tina would have come then, she would not have been able to spin out. Tina and her children were joyfully welcomed into the Catholic Church on Divine Mercy Sunday!
Many stories have accumulated over these 19 years of graces received from God upon the grounds of the Marian Center. Many of these stories are being collected from Barbara Smith’s manuscript.
How we work to reach out to the catechized and uncatechized
St. Joseph Catholic Books
We have been taking our well-stocked store on the road to other locations to insure that people who want Catholic literature and gifts have them available to them. Most recently, we were at the Absolute Catholic Men’s Conference in Traverse City. We even had a small table at the Sacramentine Monastery during the JP2 Mother/Daughter Retreat. This was very well-received. Thanks to Absolute Catholic and to Sr. Barbara for having us!
We are working to identify other parishes or conferences to which we can bring in the store. Please contact us if you have a conference or a parish which we could travel to. It is a wonderful way to get great Catholic material into homes. We provide a 10% stipend back to the sponsoring conference or parish. Visit our catholic online bookstore here