How the Blessed Mary got to Mongolia

Mongolia’s Darkhan. Photo by Colin/Flickr

Nguyen’s narrative states that the residents of Darkhan once collected recyclables like plastic and metal to make a living. Tsetsegee, a woman who had spent years scavenging in landfills, was one of these people. She came across a statue that was skillfully concealed in some clothing one day as she was sorting through the trash. Nobody responded when she asked those around her if they wanted to keep it. Tsetsegee was enchanted by the statue’s beauty and made the decision to bring it home. After learning the tale from the Missionary Sisters of Charity who paid a visit to her family, Tsetsegee made the decision to donate the statue to Mary Help of Christians Parish. It was initially stored at the parish office until Marengo learned about it.

The cardinal dedicated Mongolia to the Virgin Mary on December 8, 2022, by installing the statue in Ulaanbaatar’s Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul. He visited Tsetsegee in Darkhan a few months after this ceremonial dedication because she couldn’t attend at the time due to illness. The cardinal told Catholic-Kazakhstan.org in an interview that Tsetsegee felt so sick and was on the verge of passing away, and she said, “If I am alive now, it is thanks to that Lady.” She made the wish to be baptized, feeling an intense connection to “that Lady” who she had once found in a waste.

The Virgin Mary was consecrated to Mongolia on December 8, 2022, in Ulaanbaatar’s Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul by Cardinal Giorgio Marengo and clergy. Credit: Mongolia’s Catholic Church

The Catholic community has embraced Mary devotion enthusiastically. In both households and society as a whole, Mongolians have a great affection for their mothers.

In our church, it’s typical for men to first pay their respects to Mary by lighting a candle, leaving a donation in the box in front of her statue, or writing their intentions on sheets of paper. This shows a great amount of faith and trust in her, in my opinion,” Nguyen said.

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