Recently, we were discussing the (then upcoming) feast of the Assumption at table. Sr. Elaine, who had been a teacher for a time, shared that this was the day on which they would travel to their school assignments for the new year. She did not remember all the details, but recalled that they used to recite an antiphon a number of times: “Mary has been assumed into heaven: the angels rejoice. They sing for joy and praise the Lord.”
I, personally, never took part in this, but have my own valuable memory connected to this feastday. Fourteen years ago, I made the St. Louis de Montfort Marian consecration on this day. The last couple of years, I have forgotten to do the prayers and readings in preparation for renewing it, but I still remember the feast in conjunction with this.
I also remember my mother, who grew up on a farm near Karlsruhe, ND, sharing her memories of this special day for our Lady. They would pick chokecherries, rather than take part in the normal farm labor. Even though one normally might take a break on a holy day (the phrase from which holiday is derived), she remembers that they didn’t get a break from the chokecherries even after finishing for the day. She would close her eyes in the evening and still “see” chokecherries before her.
One beautiful custom held around the feast of the Assumption is the annual diocesan pilgrimage at the Carmelite monastery outside Wahpeton, ND. I was privileged to take part in this beautiful gathering in honor of our Blessed Mother once when I was in formation in Hankinson.