Apparently it was common to see people stop in their tracks in front of it and smile wide in sheer joy or wonder. Some panned the scene with video cameras, or had their pictures taken next to it. Parents especially grabbed this made-to-order, teachable moment: while the kids gazed at the figures, parents pointed and talked, no doubt reminding them of the story. One family of six paused, and a girl, maybe nine-years-old, spontaneously held her hands up in prayer.
A display of faith in a business area like the Loop is striking. We North Americans have so departmentalized and even privatized religion that placing it within a commercial setting seems incongruous. Yet, “missionaries to Main Street” is precisely how Blessed James Alberione and Sr. Thecla Merlo envisioned the Daughters of St. Paul and all our co-workers in each PBM Center. People who frequent these Centers get that. Following are eleven of the many comments we’ve received from our guests within the past few years:
Pauline Books and Media is a respite and niche where I find comfort and peace. It is a pool of knowledge where I gain access to the wisdom of God.
Easter A., Hawaii
It is an extension of home, the sisters are welcoming, I know them by name, and they are extremely helpful answering questions and recommending books.
Lucia M., Florida
|Juan Villegas, PBM Chicago, |
serves a guest.
Robert G., New York
A heart doctor from Sweden just came into the book center here. He wanted me to let the sisters know how much he appreciates our mission in Manhattan. He said this is his favorite stop whenever he comes to New York.
Sr. Susan J. Kraus, FSP, New York
It is both an expansive oasis and a barren desert where I can find God in print—a fuel and water station of sorts! Here the Word of God comes alive and penetrates the heart when one is fully and prayerfully engaged. And the Sisters, heralds of zeal and faithfulness to many!
Isabel G., Florida
Was over at the store today [Redwood City, CA] 09.03.09. No words to describe it. Like a Black Hole, something draws people from the public sidewalk, and once inside, good luck if one can ever escape....The center of this Black Hole is definitely the chapel: one's inner-light is absorbed into this core, one experiences a sort of time warp, that is, we planned to stay only 15 minutes, but when we came out it was really an hour!!!...It's a vortex; one's appetite for physical food disappears. One feels content, satisfied, and full....If one is lucky enough to escape this phenomenon, one feels rejuvenated, young, happy, content, can't stop smiling...a very, very strange and unnatural experience indeed. Please share this feedback with others. I hope I am not the only one to report this mystery.
Paul M., California
A stylish lady in her 40’s came up to the counter, and I rang out her purchases. At the end I invited her to stop in to our beautiful little chapel for a visit with Jesus.
She said: “Sister, I really can’t stop in today, but I just want to tell you that I was in your chapel another time. At that time, although I tried not to show it, I was having a very bad day. I went in with a terrible problem for which I could see no solution. I got my answer there. Imagine my surprise when I saw it written right on the wall: ‘Do not be afraid! I am with you’” [the words of Jesus to our Founder, Blessed James Alberione, found in many Pauline chapels worldwide].
The lady patted my hands and whispered, “That made all the difference. Everything worked out.”
Sr. Susan H. Wallace, FSP, Massachusetts, July 15, 2008
When I think of Pauline Books and Media, I think of the centers. I don't think of it as a “brand” like Coca-Cola. I was struck by Sr. Margaret [Obrovac’s] discussion of how the centers are at a point where they need to change, because retail stores no longer function as the primary places where people purchase media. What will a PBM center in the future look like? I ask myself this question as I think about the proposal I want to write for a [Pauline] Cooperator-run PBM center in Wilmington. This question gets to the core of what “Pauline Books and Media means.” It means primarily a mission to evangelize along the lines that Blessed Alberione envisioned. It means a mission to bring to the world the truths, way, and life of the gospel using modern media. How? The “good press” has been a primary means in the Centers, along with a decent collection of music and video. And the future?
Rae S., Delaware
|Sr. Anna and a guest in the|
PBM Center, Dedham (Boston).
Pauline Books and Media store is a place where Catholic faith and culture is promoted and nurtured in an increasing secular society. The Daughters of St. Paul have been visible signs of our Catholic faith and help to nurture vocations to the religious life.
Melissa C., Hawaii