St. Andrew Novena Starts Today!

This Novena starts today, November 30th!  Many blessings abound!!

From The Rosary and Gifts

A Favorite Christmas Novena ~
The St Andrew Novena

The Christmas Novena, the St Andrew Novena  (November 30th – December 24th), is I believe, one of the most popular Catholic Advent prayers.

My family and I love to say this novena each year in preparation for Advent. We offer the intention as a family intention, one we wish to gain for the family as a whole, and also a private intention, one that each one of us would like to gain like a particular virtue or help in fighting against a vice.

Because the prayer is longer than nine (9) days, and not quite 27, it’s technically not a novena or a set of novenas, but, because it is prayed ‘novena style’, that is, repeatedly for a set amount of days, it is referred to as a novena.

In my family, we have found that we remember to say the novena best when we attach it to our daily Rosary. We set the slips of paper that we have written or printed the prayer out on next to our Rosary bowl. I do know other families say this novena with their grace before dinner while they light the candles as part of their Advent wreath prayers.

The prayer can be said at anytime during the day, but if you have a regular time the whole family is together like for the Rosary, morning/night prayers, or at meals, it might be a good idea to say the novena at a set, regular time.

Imagine a child who loves you…he is willing to do just about anything in his power to please you.

NOW imagine the Christ-Child. He too is willing to do just about anything for you. Everything is in His power to do and to give, as long as the petitioned favor isn’t contrary to what Our Lord deems necessary for your eternal salvation. This is an important caveat that I have trouble remembering! 😉

In this Advent season of preparing for Christ’s coming, the St Andrew Christmas Novena is a loving way to prepare ourselves and our families.

St Andrew holds the honor of being the first apostle to be called by Christ to follow Him.

This novena is a bit different in that it does not invoke the intervention or aid of the saint himself, but is adoring, glorifying the hour of Christ’s birth and seeking aid from God Himself!

The novena is begun on the Feast of Saint Andrew, November 30th, and is said thru Christmas Eve, December 24th.

**(If you start late, or if you miss a day do not be discouraged! Catch up by saying the extra prayers you missed along the way….Jesus will bless every effort!)

St Andrew Christmas Novena

Hail and Blessed be the hour and the moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold.  In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

Recite 15 times per day. It is permitted to break it up and pray 5x’s in the morning, afternoon and evening, but for the sake of missing one of the times and forgetting, I prefer to say them all at once.

Prepare for Miracles!

This Advent Chaplet is to keep track of your 15 Christmas Novena prayers. It has a lovely brass crucifix, is durable and wire-wrapped to last for many Advents to come! Limited quantity. 🙂   Included is a laminated prayer card with the novena prayer on it. If you are interested click here.

Review: “Quality materials and workmanship. There will be no losing beads because the wire is beautifully woven in and around each bead itself. The box it came in had a handmade flower glued on it, inside a little ribboned gift bag with the prayer card. It could have been gifted as is. Shipped quickly.

An aside: This chaplet was quickly and accidentally adopted by my four year old because “It’s pretty so its prayers will be pretty.” Well, that isn’t quite the point but I love how little kids’ minds make connections. We prayed 15 Glory Be prayers that day, and the next day 15 little Acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity.”

December Planner Printable! Print & Use each year!

~ Meal Menu/Homeschool Page ~ Daily Gratitude/Spiritual Checklist/Daily

Available here.

Review: “I have been looking for a couple of years at getting a pretty pricey Catholic planner. I had a very hard time justifying the cost because, “what if it wasn’t actually useful?” When I saw this I was super excited. I have a printer and the price point was perfect. Even going and buying a fancy binder and pretty paper doesn’t have me close to the other price. Some days I use every aspect and every blank and other days I’m lucky to get one line filled out. Because it is so beautiful and yet so price friendly I do not even have to feel guilty about those days I mostly miss! This has been a Godsend and I am eagerly awaiting the December download! Thank you Leane for another wonderful product!”

Welcome to your Traditional Catholic Printable Month Planner! This printable is for the Month of December and can be printed and used each year! *For personal use only ©Finer Femininity
Following the timeless Traditional Liturgical Calendar, each day you will be reminded of the feast day!
Daily, you will have your hourly planner schedule that you can fill in. There is a space for Daily Goals and an “I am Grateful For” space. Also included is a Spiritual Goals Checklist to remind you of the important foundation of your day!
A Monthly Meal Menu Page is included along with a Monthly Home School Page that you can print out according to how many children you are teaching.
A beautiful quote is on each day of the planner giving you something to think about…Quotes by solid Catholics with their timeless commonsense and knowledge.
Get yourself a pretty binder and you will have a lovely tool to assist you. Your life will run more smoothly as you plan in advance your daily duties…
(Digital Items are non-refundable.)

 

For those who have the Advent Journal, this is your November 30th page that has the heart that can be checked when you have said your novena for that day. Don’t forget! Printable Journal Available Here.

“Children must be taught constantly from their tenderest years to have a real love and friendship for their Angels, to have boundless confidence in them. They must be accustomed to feel and realize the personal presence of their Angels, to call on them in all their fears and troubles.” -Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, All about the Angels

Leane and Theresa from Finer Femininity discuss the lovely Catholic customs and traditions in the home during the Advent and Christmas season…

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  • 24 Windows to Open
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  • 24 Windows to Open
  • Find a Picture & Corresponding Bible Text Behind Each Window
  • Glitter on the Front
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This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

Christkindl and Other Advent-y Things

From Around the Year With the Trapp Family

After our first gathering around the Advent light, and the singing of the first Advent hymn, an air of expectancy spreads over the family group; now comes the moment when the mother goes around with a bowl in which are the little cards with the names of the new saints.

Everybody draws a card and puts it in his missal. This saint will be invoked every morning after Morning Prayer. Everyone is supposed to look up and study the life story of his new friend, and sometime during the coming year he will tell the family all about it.

As there are so many of us, we come to know about different saints every year. Sometimes this calls for considerable research on the part of the unfortunate one who has drawn St. Eustachius, for instance, or St. Bibiana.

But the custom has become very dear to us, and every year it seems as if the family circle were enlarged by all those new brothers and sisters entering in and becoming known and loved by all.

And then comes another exciting moment. Once more the mother appears with the bowl, which she passes around. This time the pieces of paper contain the names of the members of the family and are neatly rolled up, because the drawing has to be done in great secrecy.

The person whose name one has drawn is now in one’s special care. From this day until Christmas, one has to do as many little favors for him or her as one can. One has to provide at least one surprise every single day—but without ever being found out.

This creates a wonderful atmosphere of joyful suspense, kindness, and thoughtfulness.

Perhaps you will find that somebody has made your bed or shined your shoes or has informed you, in a disguised handwriting on a holy card, that “a rosary has been said for you today” or a number of sacrifices have been offered up.

This new relationship is called “Christkindl” (Christ Child) in the old country, where children believe that the Christmas tree and the gifts under it are brought down by the Christ Child himself.

The beautiful thing about this particular custom is that the relationship is a reciprocal one. The person whose name I have drawn and who is under my care becomes for me the helpless little Christ Child in the manger; and as I am performing these many little acts of love and consideration for someone in the family I am really doing them for the Infant of Bethlehem, according to the word, “And he that shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me.”

That is why this particular person turns into “my Christkindl.” At the same time I am the “Christkindl” also for the one I am caring for because I want to imitate the Holy Child and render all those little services in the same spirit as He did in that small house of Nazareth, when as a child He served His Mother and His foster father with a similar love and devotion.

Many times throughout these weeks can be heard such exclamations as, “I have a wonderful Christkindl this year!” or, “Goodness, I forgot to do something for my Christkindl and it is already suppertime!”

It is a delightful custom, which creates much of the true Christmas spirit and ought to be spread far and wide.

And there is still one very important thing to do for Advent. According to Austrian custom, every member of the family writes a letter to the Holy Child mentioning his resolutions for the weeks of Advent and listing all his wishes for gifts. This “Christkindl Brief” (letter to the Holy Child) is put on the window sill, from whence the Guardian Angel will take it up to heaven to read it aloud to the Holy Child.

To make small children (and older ones, too) aware of the happy expectancy of Advent, there is a special Advent calendar which clever hands can make at home.

It might be a house with windows for each day of Advent; every morning the child opens another window, behind which appears a star, an angel, or some other picture appropriate to the season.

On the 23rd, all windows are open, but the big entrance door still is closed. That is opened on Christmas Eve, when it reveals the Holy Child in the manger, or a Christmas tree.

All kinds of variations on this theme are possible, such as the Jacob’s Ladder shown on our illustration, which leads step by step to the day of Christ’s birth. All such little aids make Christmas more wonderful and “special” to a child, and preparing them adds to our own Christmas joy.

{Advent Calendar: Take piece of cardboard; cut out clouds, leaving them attached at one point so that they can fold out. Cut spaces in ladder as on insert so that they can fold down. Take transparent paper same size as cardboard. Paint and draw pictures of stars, angels, toys, etc. on spots behind clouds and ladder steps. For top cloud, put Christmas tree or Christ Child in crib. Paste this on back of calendar. Each day another cloud or ladder step should be opened, until Christmas Eve is reached on top of ladder.}

 
“Where on earth shall we find Jesus but in the arms of Mary! Was it not she who gave us the Eucharist? It was her consent to the Incarnation of the Word that inaugurated the great mystery of reparation to God and union with us which Jesus accomplished during His mortal life, and that he continues in the Eucharist.” -St. Peter Julian Eymard,
Painting by Nellie Edwards, www.PaintedFaith.net

 

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Catholic Mother Goose, Volumes One and Two!

Advent Journal Printable available here!

Advent Journal Printable~Daily Checklist~Spiritual Christmas Crib~St. Andrew Novena~Advent Wreath Prayers~Blessing of Christmas Tree & More!

Review: (Thank you Annamaria!)

Love the Advent Journal. A wonderful way to keep my heart, soul and mind on the way toward Christmas …. In fact I am always looking at all the journals put together by Meadows of Grace. Unfortunately I never thought I would be able to purchase this because for Australian customers the postage costs more than than the journal!!!! So I am so grateful and delighted that Leane offers a printable version, so very happy to join with so many others following the journey toward Christmas. God bless you abundantly Leane😘❤️

Author Mary Reed Newland here draws on her own experiences as the mother of seven to show how the classic Christian principles of sanctity can be translated into terms easily applied to children even to the very young.

Because it’s rooted in experience, not in theory, nothing that Mrs. Newland suggests is impossible or extraordinary. In fact, as you reflect on your experiences with your own children, you’ll quickly agree that hers is an excellent commonsense approach to raising good Catholic children.

Delicious Christmas teas…. I love this brand of tea! What a great Christmas gift idea!


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Giving of Yourself this Advent

Book by Katherine Evans, 1960

Mary Reed Newland The Year & Our Children: Catholic Family Celebrations for Every Season  reminds us of the richness of the season of Advent and how we can make it come alive for us and for our children!

From The Year and Our Children:

“Next, there is the all-important matter of a birthday gift for the Light of the World. If there are to be gifts for others, there must first be a gift for Him. It is His birthday, not ours; and what kind of birthday is it when all the gifts go to the wrong people? What kind of gift would He like?

There is a story to tell at the beginning of Advent, about someone who had nothing to give. It illustrates best of all for children how the intangible is to God the most tangible, and makes entirely reasonable to them a scale of values one would suppose far over their heads.

The story is “The Juggler of our Lady.” It is as old as old, but each time it is told, it seems more beautiful.

It is about a monk who had no great talents, who could not illuminate manuscripts or write music or sing songs or paint pictures or compose prayers or do any of the dozens of things the other monks were preparing to do in honor of the Mother of God and her newborn Son.

So he made his way to the crypt below the main altar of his abbey church, and there before her statue, he humbly confessed that he had nothing to give. Unless … but of course. He had been a tumbler and a juggler in the world. Long ago. He had been a rather brilliant tumbler and juggler, if the truth were known. Might she like to see him juggle and tumble?

She was young and happy. She had laughed and clapped her hands. Surely her Child had. Perhaps he could tumble for them, all alone in secret? That is what he would do: give her the only thing he had to give. He would display his talent for the honor and glory of God and the entertainment of the Queen of Heaven.

So he removed his habit down to his tunic, and then he danced. And he leaped and he tumbled and he juggled in the most inspired fashion until finally he fell in a swoon at the feet of his Lady. And while he lay there limp and wet from his efforts, senseless as though he were dead, she stepped down from her pedestal and tenderly wiped the sweat from his brow and sweetly considered the love he had put into this performance for her and her dear Son’s sake.

And this happened every day.

Now, there was another monk there who began to notice that the tumbler came not to Matins and kept watch on him because “he blamed him greatly.”

So he followed closely the movements of the tumbler. One day he followed behind him and carefully hid himself in the recesses of the crypt and witnessed the whole performance. So profoundly was he impressed and inspired that he hied himself straight to the abbot, who prayed God would let him, too, witness this wonder of dancing and juggling for the Mother of God.

And he did see not only the dancing and the juggling and the leaping and the capers but also the Queen of Heaven, in the company of angels and archangels, come down and with her own white mantle fan her minstrel and minister to him with much sweetness.

When it came to pass that the abbot made it known to the minstrel that he had been seen – poor minstrel! He fell to his knees to beg forgiveness and plead with them not to send him out from the monastery.

Which, of course, they did not do but held him in high esteem until the day he died, and there about his bedside they saw the Mother of God and the angels of Heaven receive his soul and carry it to everlasting glory.

Think you now that God would have prized his service if that he had not loved Him? By no means, however much he tumbled…. God asks not for gold or for silver but only for true love in the hearts of men, and this one loved God truly. And because of this, God prized his services.

This, then, is the pattern for the gift: it must be a giving of self.

Our children usually give Him their desserts and treats during Advent except on Sundays, the two feasts, and the two birthdays that we celebrate with special festivities.

These days they give Him something else instead. They try to give more willingly than before their bumps and hurts, and (this really hurts) their will in such matters as being first, sitting by the window in the car, licking the bowl, doing the dishes without being asked, or doing homework first instead of last.

No funnies (especially no Sunday funnies) makes a beautiful gift for the funnies and comic-book addicts, and no radio for the radio fans. No TV is an excruciatingly difficult gift to make but more beautiful for its being difficult; and the Christ Child has a way of giving back more than you have given Him.

Ultimately we must insist on times of quiet, away from the manufactured entertainments of this world, in order to form the habit of recollection.

We are supposed to be contemplatives according to the capacity God has given us – which means that we see the world, ourselves, and all that is created in the right relation to God and that we think on these things often with love.

Whether we will end up “contemplatives” in cloisters or as contemplatives who are farmers, writers, bus drivers, policemen, dancers, whatever – in order to grow, we must be reaching constantly to God with our minds.

We need quiet for the very least of this, for the beginning of meditation.

Parents can begin the process for their children, especially in this wonderful season of Advent!

 

It is not the size of the home or how humble it is. It is not the amount of decorations we have up, it is not the gifts that make Christmas special. It is the people within the home. And you, Mom, have a significant role in this beginning with your attitude. Make this a special season by enveloping those around you with joy! Do your Advent preparations, decorate your home, make it special…but most of all, learn to spread cheer, trying your best to be there to serve others! -Finer Femininity

Beautiful and durable Wire Wrapped Rosaries! A great gift!

Each link is handmade and wrapped around itself to ensure quality. Available here.

Author Mary Reed Newland here draws on her own experiences as the mother of seven to show how the classic Christian principles of sanctity can be translated into terms easily applied to children even to the very young.

Because it’s rooted in experience, not in theory, nothing that Mrs. Newland suggests is impossible or extraordinary. In fact, as you reflect on your experiences with your own children, you’ll quickly agree that hers is an excellent commonsense approach to raising good Catholic children.

Fr. Lawrence Lovasik, the renowned author of The Hidden Power of Kindness, gives faithful Catholics all the essential ingredients of a stable and loving Catholic marriage and family — ingredients that are in danger of being lost in our turbulent age.

Using Scripture and Church teachings in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step format, Fr. Lovasik helps you understand the proper role of the Catholic father and mother and the blessings of family. He shows you how you can secure happiness in marriage, develop the virtues necessary for a successful marriage, raise children in a truly Catholic way, and much more.

Fall candles!

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The Advent Calendar by An Australian Grandmother

I’ve always wanted to make my own Advent Calendar. I love this dear Grandma’s calendar idea….

From the “Catholic Family” Magazine, Australia

In past years it was possible to go to a Catholic Liturgical Supplier and buy an Advent Calendar which delighted and instructed my children. The family took turns each day to open a small door, and disclose inside a picture or symbol connected with the coming Birthday.

This led to a discussion about the real meaning of Christmas, and why we were placing straws in a basket beside the hearth where the Crib would be set up, to represent the acts of sacrifice which were to be presents for the Newborn King.

However, the quality of these Advent Calendars declined as worldliness increased, and there was a year when there were lollipops and peppermint sticks and tinsel-wrapped presents behind the doors, so no more were purchased. Nowadays it is common to find real chocolates and other gaily-wrapped sweets inside the doors.

So passes the old austere Advent, and the new “Me” generation takes over. There are a number of ways in which traditional Catholic families can restore old traditions, and “Catholic Family” has been helping them powerfully to do so.

Here is a different form of Advent Calendar, and to make it all you need is: 1. A large sheet of cardboard, and a small cord, or bluetack to hang it. 2. Your last year’s Christmas cards — and old drawing skills if suitable pictures cannot be found. 3. Knowledge of the Christmas story — and this had better be good, because the children will have lots of questions to ask you as Advent passes.

To begin with, copy the calendar for the Advent season, ruling your sheet into the appropriate squares. The First Sunday of Advent is on 27th November, so in this year of 1994 you’ll have these four November days; on your calendar (some years, only December days appear).

You are going to need pictures or drawings, one for each square. The Sundays are simple — each of the 4 squares shows either the Advent Wreath with its 4 candles unlit, and the child whose turn it is “lights” one candle, the second Sunday another is “lit” (e.g. colored in with yellow biro), and so on.

It is also possible to cut out pictures of lit candles from your old cards, and in this case you will need 1 + 2 + 3 + 4, or 10 pictured candles. The child whose turn it is — you can begin with the eldest, or the youngest, as you prefer, then sticks the picture onto the appropriate square — you will have numbered each square in the top left-hand corner to leave room for the picture.

Now, after the ceremony of GLUING (a very serious subject at “kindy” for those who participate!) comes the discussion, and why there are four Sundays in Advent. Waiting for Christmas is hard for the little ones.

You then tell of sin, and the need for Redemption, and the thousands of years the world had to wait for the Redeemer…

You can light the candle on your Advent Wreath at this time, and read the prayer, and sing hymns, or whatever is your family custom.

Your remote preparation for making the calendar consists in gathering suitable little pictures for the story your calendar is going to tell. You are going to begin in Nazareth, and it is not hard to find pictures of Eastern towns — the children’s imaginations will supply what is missing.

The Holy House of Loreto — so tiny, so simple — you may know someone who has been to visit it. If not, reread St. Therese’s account of her visit with Celine (in Story of a Soul).

The Angel Gabriel — the Hail Mary will remind you of what to tell here. As the days go by, and the pictures grow in number, you will be recalling all those marvelous events as you gather together around your calendar.

Joseph — the little donkey he borrowed for the coming journey — the edict from Rome, a drawn scroll with tiny writing such as “every man must go to register…” — a lantern, a crook, a small casket for their needs and those of the Baby, and on 8th December, Our Lady. Here is the time to speak of her Immaculate Conception, and the part she plays in our Redemption.

“Setting out” can be the holy pair with their humble beast of burden. Then comes the long weary walk from Nazareth.

Pictures of a winding road, hills, trees, a few late tiny flowers, and you can explain the difference between the climates of the Northern and Southern hemispheres.

Maybe your tree could be wind-blown? It was no easy journey, this. Snow. Other travelers along the way. Sheep in the fields. Shepherds. Jerusalem — King Herod? Bethlehem, “house of bread”. Inns with closed doors. The cave or stable. The Star. Angels. Straw. The ox.

Work it all out as well as you are able, and number your pictures on the back to correspond with the way your story is to be told. Keep the pictures in a large envelope.

Older children enjoy helping to prepare the pictures, drawing the ones not readily available, while the little ones enjoy the surprise element each day.

One four year old granddaughter of mine began in July to ask her mother “When will it be time to start our sticking-in for Jesus again?”

The empty crib is for the 24th, and the Babe for Christmas Day, and on 26th you can show the Holy Family together.

You can choose when best to introduce the shepherds, and their lambs which remind us of the Lamb of God.

Although Advent is over, you may like to complete the squares with scenes which tell of the Joys of Christmas — Mass, crowds going to church, carol music, choirs, and the Wise Men, camels and presents.

You’re in charge, and can plan it all as you think best. Each year you will improve through experience, and may each year see you and your family grow in love for Jesus, Mary and Joseph, as you seek their help in recounting the Great Adventure of Advent and Christmas.

 

 

 

 

“Perfect harmony cannot be forced in a day, cannot indeed be forced at all—but must come through gentleness and perhaps only after much time.There must be mutual adaptation, and time must be allowed for this. The present duty is unselfish love. Each must forget self—in devotion to the other. There must be the largest and gentlest forbearance. There must be the determination on the part of both to make the marriage happy and to conquer everything which lies in the way. Then the very differences between the two lives will become their closest points of union. When they have passed through the process of blending, though it may for the time be painful and perilous—the result will be a wedded life of deep peace, quiet joy and inseparable affection.” -J.R. Miller, Art by Robert Papp

 

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Christmas Nativity Apron! Feminine and Beautiful!

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Vintage Christmas Apron! Feminine and Beautiful! Available here.

 

Country Christmas Apron! Feminine and Beautiful! Available here.

 

 

book suggestions

To the modern mind, the concept of poverty is often confused with destitution. But destitution emphatically is not the Gospel ideal. A love-filled sharing frugality is the message, and Happy Are You Poor explains the meaning of this beatitude lived and taught by Jesus himself. But isn’t simplicity in lifestyle meant only for nuns and priests? Are not all of us to enjoy the goodness and beauties of our magnificent creation? Are parents to be frugal with the children they love so much?

For over half a century, Catholic families have treasured the practical piety and homespun wisdom of Mary Reed Newland’s classic of domestic spirituality, The Year and Our Children. With this new edition, no longer will you have to search for worn, dusty copies to enjoy Newland’s faithful insights, gentle lessons, and delightful stories. They’re all here, and ready to be shared with your family or homeschooling group. Here, too, you’ll find all the prayers, crafts, family activities, litanies, and recipes that will help make your children ever-mindful of the beautiful rhythm of the Church calendar.
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Where did Advent Go? – Maria Von Trapp

First Sunday of Advent is today! Maria von Trapp reminds us what this preparation season is about…

 

The events that come to mind when we say “Christmas,” “Easter,” “Pentecost,” are so tremendous that their commemoration cannot be celebrated in a single day each. Weeks are needed.

First, weeks of preparation, of becoming attuned in body and soul, and then weeks of celebration.

This goes back to an age when people still had time–time to live, time to enjoy.

In our own day, we face the puzzling fact that the more time-saving gadgets we invent, the more new buttons to push in order to “save hours of work”–the less time we actually have.

We have no more time to read books; we can only afford digests. We have no time to walk a quarter of a mile; we have to hop into a car. We have no time to make things by hand; we buy them ready made in the five-and-ten or in the supermarket.

This atmosphere of “hurry up, let’s go” does not provide the necessary leisure in which to anticipate and celebrate a feast.

But as soon as people stop celebrating they really do not live any more–they are being lived, as it were.

The alarming question arises: what is being done with all the time that is constantly being saved? We invent more machines and more gadgets, which will relieve us more and more from the work formerly done by our hands, our feet, our brain, and which will carry us in feverishly increasing speed–where? Perhaps to the moon and other planets, but more probably to our final destruction.

Only the Church throws light onto the gloomy prospects of modern man–Holy Mother Church–for she belongs, herself, to a realm that has its past and present in Time, but its future in the World Without End.

It was fall when we arrived in the United States. The first weeks passed rapidly, filled with new discoveries every day, and soon we came across a beautiful feast, which we had never celebrated before: Thanksgiving Day, an exclusively American feast. With great enthusiasm we included it in the calendar of our family feasts.

Who can describe our astonishment, however, when a few days after our first Thanksgiving Day we heard from a loudspeaker in a large department store the unmistakable melody of “Silent Night”! Upon our excited inquiry, someone said, rather surprised: “What is the matter? Nothing is the matter. Time for Christmas shopping!”

It took several Christmas seasons before we understood the connection between Christmas shopping and “Silent Night” and the other carols blaring from loudspeakers in these pre-Christmas weeks.

And even now that we do understand, it still disturbs us greatly. These weeks before Christmas, known as the weeks of Advent, are meant to be spent in expectation and waiting.

This is the season for Advent songs–those age-old hymns of longing and waiting; “Silent Night” should be sung for the first time on Christmas Eve. We found that hardly anybody knows any Advent songs. And we were startled by something else soon after Christmas, Christmas trees and decorations vanish from the show windows to be replaced by New Year’s advertisements.

On our concert trips across the country we also saw that the lighted Christmas trees disappear from homes and front yards and no one thinks to sing a carol as late as January 2nd.

This was all very strange to us, for we were used to the old-world Christmas, which was altogether different but which we determined to celebrate now in our new country.

 

 “Love is the most wonderful educator in the world; it opens up worlds and possibilities undreamed of to those to whom it comes, the gift of God. I am speaking of love which is worthy of the name, not of its many counterfeits. The genuine article only, based upon respect and esteem, can stand the test of time, the wear and tear of life; the love which is the wine of life, more stimulating and more heart-inspiring when the days are dark than at any other time,—the love which rises to the occasion, and which many waters cannot quench.”
-Annie S. Swan, Courtship and Marriage And the Gentle Art of Home-Making, 1894

We got our Advent wreaths out, did you? Today we light one purple candle and will say the Advent Wreath prayers from the Advent Journal!
These are our unique Advent wreaths…you can see the first one is made to hold tea lights (those are still there from last year) and the other one is our “Advent Block” decorated and ready to go!
Advent Wreath Prayers from the Advent Journal:

Advent Journal Printable~Daily Checklist~Spiritual Christmas Crib~St. Andrew Novena~Advent Wreath Prayers~Blessing of Christmas Tree & More!

Available here.

“Advent meditation on silence. How the noise of today’s society drowns out God’s voice. You cannot hear Him with all the noise in your life. Food for thought is the great saints of our day did not have mp3 players, cell phones, the internet, etc in their lives.”

Coloring pages for your children…

Do you need some inspiration? For some great book suggestions visit…
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A Spiritual Christmas Crib ~ With Printables!

Yes, it’s that time of year again when I remind you (and me) to take this season of Advent (starting on Sunday!) to make it special for your family! The magic and charm of Christmas comes from our Catholic Heritage!

 

This is a beautiful devotion that can be made simple! Especially now that I have some free printables for you to make it easier!

And just a note: It’s nice to follow this devotion from a book so consider getting the Finer Femininity Advent/Christmas Maglet.

OR The Catholic Mother’s Traditional Advent Journal which has the devotion on each day of Advent! (Bottom left corner of each page.)

I also have the Spiritual Christmas Crib Flip cards here.

I now have an Advent Journal Printable if you are late in ordering! It is available here.

You don’t need any of those though for this devotion because here are the instructions:

 

This is a custom we have kept throughout the years. It is a beautiful little devotion preparing our hearts for the coming of Our Lord at Christmas.

You can do the special activities indicated each day in this devotion in your own manger scene, using your imagination. When my older ones were young we made a 3D stable out of heavy cardboard and added the different themes each day…whether it was drawing in the cobwebs or making paper doll figurines for the nativity scene.

Or you can do what we have done the last few years. We put up 4 big white posterboard papers on an empty wall to make a big blank paper just waiting for the crayons and sharpies to make their mark! (You can make it as big or small as you like, using just one or two posterboards.) Each morning we draw the part of the manger scene that is applicable to that day.

I usually do the drawing in pencil then the child whose day it is traces it with colored markers and colors it in.

OR, (and I wish to thank my friend, Mary Ann for for this!!), you can use these Stable printables and get your children to color them on the day they go into the stable, and voila! you can add them to your Nativity scene!

We also print out (or write out) the special prayer for the day and put the assigned one up so we can say it throughout the day.

We sometimes forget a couple days and have to back track. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It is a wonderful family devotion that helps to make Advent and Christmas meaningful!

Here’s the devotion:

Start on December 1.

Read the thought indicated
about Christ’s first crib.
Practice it during the day. Do this daily during
December and make your heart a worthy crib for
Christ on Christmas Day.

DEC.1 – THE STABLE
Frequently during the day offer your heart to the
little Infant Jesus. Ask Him to make it His home. –

Sweet Jesus, take my heart and make it meek and
pure.

DEC.2 – THE ROOF
See that the roof of the stable is in good
condition, so that the Infant Jesus is protected
from rain and snow. This you will do by carefully
avoiding every uncharitable remark. —Jesus,
teach me to love my neighbor as myself.

DEC.3 – CREVICES
Carefully stop every crevice in the walls of the
stable, so that the wind and cold may not enter
there. Guard your senses against temptations. Guard
especially your ears against sinful
conversations.–Jesus, help me to keep
temptations out of my heart.

DEC.4 – COBWEBS
Clean the cobwebs from your spiritual crib.
Diligently remove from your heart every
inordinate desire of being praised. Renew this
intention at least three times today. —My Jesus,
I want to please You in all I do today.

DEC.5 – FENCE
Build a fence about the crib of your heart by
keeping a strict watch over your eyes, especially
at prayer. —Sweet Jesus, I long to see You.

DEC.6 – MANGER
Fix the best and warmest corner of your heart
for the manger of Jesus. You will do so by
abstaining from what you like most in the line of
comfort and amusement. —Mary, use these
sacrifices to prepare my heart for Jesus in
Holy Communion.

DEC.7 – HAY
Supply the manger of your heart with hay, by
overcoming all feelings of pride, anger or envy.
Jesus, teach me to know and correct my greatest
sins.

DEC.8 – SOFT STRAW
Provide your manger with soft straw by
performing little acts of mortification; for
instance, bear the cold without complaints; or sit
and stand erect. —Dear Jesus, Who suffered so
much for me, let me suffer for love of You.

DEC.9 – SWADDLING CLOTHES
Prepare these for the Divine Infant by folding
your hands when you pray, and praying slowly and
thoughtfully. —Jesus let me love you more and
more.

DEC.10 – BLANKETS
Provide the manger with soft warm
blankets. Avoid harsh and angry words; be kind and
gentle to all. —Jesus, help me to be meek and
humble like You.

DEC.11 – FUEL
Bring fuel to the crib of Jesus. Give up your own
will; obey your superiors cheerfully and
promptly. —Jesus, let me do Your will in all
things

DEC.12-WATER
Bring fresh clean water to the crib. Avoid every
untruthful word and every deceitful act.
Dearest Mary, obtain for me true contrition for
my sins.

DEC.13 – PROVISIONS
Bring a supply of food to the crib. Deprive
yourself of some food at mealtime or candy as a
treat. —Jesus, be my strength and nourishment.

DEC.14 – LIGHT
See that the crib has sufficient light. Be
neat and orderly about your person; keep
everything in its place in your room. —Jesus, be
the life and light of my soul.

DEC.15 – FIRE
Take care to have the crib of your heart warmed
by a cozy fire. Be grateful to God for the love He
has shown us in becoming man; behave with grateful
respect towards your parents and relatives. —
Jesus, how can I return Your love; how can I show
my gratitude to You?

DEC.16 – THE OX
Lead the ox to the crib. Obey cheerfully without
making excuses and without asking “why.” —I will
obey for love of You, Jesus.

DEC.17 – THE DONKEY
Bring the donkey to the crib. Offer to the Divine
Infant your bodily strength; use it in the service
of others. —Jesus, accept my service of love;
I offer it for those who do not love You.

DEC.18 – GIFTS
Gather some presents for the Divine Infant and
His Blessed Mother. Give alms for the poor and say
an extra decade of the rosary. —Come, Jesus, to
accept my gifts and to take possession of my heart.

DEC.19 – LAMBS
Strive to bring some little lambs, meek and
and patient. Do not murmur or complain.

Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make

my heart like Yours.

DEC.20 – SHEPHERDS
Invite the shepherds to pay homage to our newborn
King. Imitate their watchfulness; stress in your
speech and thoughts the idea that Christmas is
important because Jesus will be born again in
you.
Jesus, teach me to love You above all things.

DEC.21 – THE KEY
Provide the stable with a key to keep out
thieves. Exclude from your heart every sinful
thought, every rash judgment —Dear Jesus, close
my heart to all that hurts you.

DEC.22 – ANGELS
Invite the angels to adore God with you.
Cheerfully obey the inspirations of
your guardian angel and of your conscience. —
Holy Guardian Angel, never let me forget that You
are with me always.

DEC.23 – ST. JOSEPH
Accompany Saint Joseph from door to door. Learn
from him silently and patiently to bear refusals
and disappointments. Open wide your heart and beg
Him to enter with the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Saint Joseph, help me to prepare for a worthy
Christmas Communion.

DEC.24 – THE BLESSED VIRGIN
Go meet your Blessed Mother. Lead her to the
manger of your heart and beg her to lay the
Divine Infant in it. Shorten your chats and
telephone conversations and spend more time today
thinking of Jesus and Mary and Joseph.
Come, dear Jesus, Come; my heart belongs to You.

 

“Cultivate kindness of heart; think well of your fellow-men; look with charity upon the shortcomings in their lives; do a good turn for them, as opportunity offers; and, finally, don’t forget the kind word at the right time. How much such a word of kindness, encouragement, of appreciation means to others sometimes, and how little it costs us to give it!” -J.R. MIller

Leane and Theresa from Finer Femininity discuss the lovely Catholic customs and traditions in the home during the Advent and Christmas season…

Advent starts Sunday and if you are new to using my Catholic Mother’s Traditional Advent Journal (if you are not, this tidbit is still a good reminder), you will want to peek at the following page. It will help you to get the things together you will need to do the Advent Traditions in the book. If there are some activities you are not doing then check or cross them off this list. We do them all but that is optional. Pick and choose as you see fit…

Advent Calendars (we have used the pop-up ones in the past….sweet, if you have a place to set it…can be purchased off Amazon.) The Advent candles can be bought online, too!

Advent Journal Printable available here!

Advent Journal Printable~Daily Checklist~Spiritual Christmas Crib~St. Andrew Novena~Advent Wreath Prayers~Blessing of Christmas Tree & More!

Review: (Thank you Annamaria!)

Love the Advent Journal. A wonderful way to keep my heart, soul and mind on the way toward Christmas …. In fact I am always looking at all the journals put together by Meadows of Grace. Unfortunately I never thought I would be able to purchase this because for Australian customers the postage costs more than than the journal!!!! So I am so grateful and delighted that Leane offers a printable version, so very happy to join with so many others following the journey toward Christmas. God bless you abundantly Leane😘❤️🙏🏻

Nov. 30th is the start of the St. Andrew Novena! Don’t forget! Say this prayer 15 times from Nov. 30th to (and including) Dec. 24th. If you forget a day (try not to) then double up the next day…

You can print out this page from my Advent Journal and write down your petitions!

Check out my Advent/Christmas Finer Femininity Maglet here

Save when you buy all 5 Maglets here.

Perfect books for the holidays! (And they make great gifts, too!)

In this joyful and charming book, Maria Von Trapp (from The Sound of Music) unveils for you the year-round Christian traditions she loved traditions that created for her large family a warm and inviting Catholic home and will do the same for yours.

Mary Reed Newland wrote numerous beloved books for Catholic families, but The Year and Our Children is her undisputed masterpiece. Read it, cherish it, share it, put it into practice and give your kids the gift of a fully lived faith, every day and in every season.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

Happy Thanksgiving from Finer Femininity / The Winner of the FF Advent Giveaway is…..

May your Thanksgiving Day be filled with blessings! I am thankful for you, your prayers and support!

And now…the winner of Finer Femininity Giveaway is….

Congratulations Emily!! I sent you an email….

Some inspirational quotes

Mothers,  on Thanksgiving, know how very special you are. You are the essence, the heart of your home. Your smile lightens the burdens, your words brighten the hearts of those who will be part of your festivities. The tone of this special family time is set by you! We, as mothers, are privileged to have such an important part in the making of our homes! May your day be filled with grace and love! <3

This Thanksgiving let us offer up our little inconveniences, our stresses, our fatigue for those less fortunate than ourselves. And, on the flip side, let’s start becoming more aware of the little things and thanking God for them.

“After committing a fault of whatever kind, rather than withdrawing into ourselves indefinitely in discouragement and dwelling on the memory, we must immediately return to God with confidence and even thank Him for the good that His mercy will be able to draw out of this fault!

We must know that one of the weapons that the devil uses most commonly to prevent souls from advancing toward God is precisely to try to make them lose their peace and discourage them by the sight of their faults.”
Searching For and Maintaining Peace, Fr. Jacques Philippe https://amzn.to/2pSwDmQ (afflink)

Thank God for His many blessings. Make the most of each and every day. Enjoy the journey. The world will keep whizzing by but we must take time to smell the roses. Each day is a gift, each person in your life is special. Take nothing for granted.

“For me, prayer is an aspiration of the heart, it is a simple glance directed to heaven, it is a cry of gratitude and love in the midst of trial as well as joy!” -St. Therese of Lisieux

Be attentive to the sacrifices your husband makes for the family. Each day he battles the world, the flesh and the devil out in the workforce for you. Don’t let that go unnoticed. Thank him often! Appreciate him. -Finer Femininity

Discussing the dynamics of Catholic family life…

The Spiritual Christmas Crib Picturesque and Prayer-Filled Coiled Flip Cards!

Help make Advent more meaningful for you and your family with the Spiritual Christmas Crib Coiled Flip Cards! Follow along and prepare your heart for the coming of Our Lord each year at Christmas using these special picturesque and prayer-filled cards to help keep your mind and heart focused each day. Keep the cards in a visible spot in your home as a reminder to your and your children.  Available here.

Lovely Advent & Christmas Items available here.

 

Advent Calendars…

 

 


Author Mary Reed Newland here draws on her own experiences as the mother of seven to show how the classic Christian principles of sanctity can be translated into terms easily applied to children even to the very young.

Because it’s rooted in experience, not in theory, nothing that Mrs. Newland suggests is impossible or extraordinary. In fact, as you reflect on your experiences with your own children, you’ll quickly agree that hers is an excellent commonsense approach to raising good Catholic children.

Fr. Lawrence Lovasik, the renowned author of The Hidden Power of Kindness, gives faithful Catholics all the essential ingredients of a stable and loving Catholic marriage and family — ingredients that are in danger of being lost in our turbulent age.

Using Scripture and Church teachings in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step format, Fr. Lovasik helps you understand the proper role of the Catholic father and mother and the blessings of family. He shows you how you can secure happiness in marriage, develop the virtues necessary for a successful marriage, raise children in a truly Catholic way, and much more.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

So Very Thankful by Theresa Byrne

So very thankful,
Incredibly grateful,
Unbelievably blessed!

Without the cloves, cinnamon and ginger, the pie is mundane and tasteless. So it goes with life….a little Joy, Thanksgiving and Gratefulness adds flavor!

The past year or so it has become very apparent to me how important it is to be grateful. As the thought-provoking question goes, “If you were able to keep everything you were grateful for today, what would you have?”

When I seriously look at my life I see how I have been so blessed, but it’s so easy to get caught up in the “what I don’t have” or the comparing game.

Thrift shopping, I overheard a conversation between a grandmother and a small grandchild, that she had on an outing. The child loudly, obnoxiously hollered in the middle of the store, “I want to go to Chick-fil-A, not stupid McDonald’s!”

Ugh, is this what we have become? I remember the first time I went to McDonald’s it was on my honeymoon. Growing up, going out to eat was a very rare, joyous occasion!

For me, having children is the best way to see where my attitude is at. They reflect me. As a stay-at-home, homeschooling Mom, there is no one that they rub shoulders with more than me. The more I have become aware of their attitudes, the more I know me.

When my seven-year-old daughter started yelling more at her siblings, I stopped and saw me. When my nine year old son kept getting frustrated in school and repeating, “I’m not comprehending,” I saw me. And so on and on we go.

The positive I have learned through this, is that I can change my attitude, and just like the bad, the good also rubs off. In the past year I have tried to be more consciously grateful. …For the beautiful day, for a warm home, good food, the people I love. While this has been a huge positive, I realize that in order for my kids to pick it up I must verbalize gratefulness.

So I try. During the day I will say things like, “Thank you for this beautiful day, Jesus,” or “We are so blessed to have this good food!” The more I have verbalized gratefulness, the easier it has become. Just like the yelling rubs off, so does the gratitude.

It warms my heart when my very hungry four-year-old gushes, “Thank you, Jesus, for this beautiful food!”

As we have begun to practice gratitude more and more, we have found more to be grateful for. The negatives can turn into a positive. For instance, “Daddy has to work late again tonight, but we are very grateful he has lots of work and we might be able to do something as a family, with the extra money.”

In general, I feel that gratitude has made us more happy and joyous. Sometimes I can feel the joy bubble over, and I believe that has become the side effect of gratitude….

“When gratitude becomes your default setting, Life Changes.” -Nancy Demos

It has also made me more aware of the lack of gratitude. When we were young, mom would go shopping and usually bring us home a little treat from the Health Food Store. We would always work very hard to have the house sparkling clean, and we were always very grateful for our stick of licorice or stevia soda.

So one day, when I got home from a shopping trip, and my son demanded, “What did you get for me?” I thought, “Uh-oh, what am I creating?”

Next time I went to town, I skipped the treat….and that seemed to make the impression… that it is not something to be demanded or expected, but to be grateful for.

I feel like gratitude has helped us make a big deal out of little things for us. We are grateful to make homemade fries, to go on a walk, to have a bonfire. It is beautiful, simple and I feel blessed!

This Thanksgiving, our family is trying to remember the spices of Joy, Thanksgiving and Gratefulness! It just makes the pie so much better!

“A true wife makes a man’s life nobler, stronger, grander, by the omnipotence of her love ‘turning all the forces of manhood upward and heavenward.’ While she clings to him in holy confidence and loving dependence she brings out in him whatever is noblest and richest in his being. She inspires him with her courage and earnestness. She beautifies his life. She softens whatever is rude and harsh in his habits or his spirit. She clothes him with the gentler graces of refined and cultured manhood. While she yields to him and never disregards his lightest wish, she is really his queen, ruling his whole life and leading him onward and upward in every proper path.” J.R.Miller

Follow this link to sign up for the Giveaway featuring these two Advent/Christmas Books!

Available to purchase here at Meadows of Grace.

🤍Old World Veil and Capelets. A beautiful twist on the normal chapel veil. Ties with a ribbon in front..made from chiffon and lace. Available here.

 

S

In With God in Russia, Ciszek reflects on his daily life as a prisoner, the labor he endured while working in the mines and on construction gangs, his unwavering faith in God, and his firm devotion to his vows and vocation. Enduring brutal conditions, Ciszek risked his life to offer spiritual guidance to fellow prisoners who could easily have exposed him for their own gains. He chronicles these experiences with grace, humility, and candor, from his secret work leading mass and hearing confessions within the prison grounds, to his participation in a major gulag uprising, to his own “resurrection”—his eventual release in a prisoner exchange in October 1963 which astonished all who had feared he was dead.

Powerful and inspirational, With God in Russia captures the heroic patience, endurance, and religious conviction of a man whose life embodied the Christian ideals that sustained him…..

Captured by a Russian army during World War II and convicted of being a “Vatican spy,” Jesuit Father Walter J. Ciszek spent 23 agonizing years in Soviet prisons and the labor camps of Siberia. Only through an utter reliance on God’s will did he manage to endure the extreme hardship. He tells of the courage he found in prayer–a courage that eased the loneliness, the pain, the frustration, the anguish, the fears, the despair. For, as Ciszek relates, the solace of spiritual contemplation gave him an inner serenity upon which he was able to draw amidst the “arrogance of evil” that surrounded him. Ciszek learns to accept the inhuman work in the infamous Siberian salt mines as a labor pleasing to God. And through that experience, he was able to turn the adverse forces of circumstance into a source of positive value and a means of drawing closer to the compassionate and never-forsaking Divine Spirit.

He Leadeth Me is a book to inspire all Christians to greater faith and trust in God–even in their darkest hour. As the author asks, “What can ultimately trouble the soul that accepts every moment of every day as a gift from the hands of God and strives always to do his will?”
This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

The Keys to Mutual Love ~ Fr. George Kelly

 

by Father George Kelly. The Catholic Marriage Manual

To succeed at any vocation, you must have patience, a determination to learn, a willingness to put aside momentary desires for the sake of final success. The vocation of marriage is no exception. It requires hard work. In fact, it is probably the hardest job of all.

For example, consider what a wife and mother must be. She must be an inspiring companion to her husband. She must be a housekeeper who has some skill in cooking, sewing and cleaning. She must be something of an economist, able to handle her household budget and to shop efficiently for food, furnishings and clothing.

She must be proficient in the feeding and physical care of her children. She must be a nurse. She must be a teacher with a working knowledge of child psychology to discipline her youngsters properly.

In addition to the actual skills needed for the successful performance of these jobs, she requires spiritual and emotional qualities —patience, tolerance, understanding, kindness, gentility, fortitude, prudence.

The successful husband and father needs similar qualities. To inspire respect for his leadership he should be reasonably competent as a man: he must be the head of the family; he must be a provider for his wife and children.

He must be a source of inspiration to his wife, encouraging her to fulfill her duties as wife and mother. He, too, must be a teacher, for his example will probably be the most important influence in the development of his son’s personality.

He also requires insights into the spiritual and emotional needs of his wife and children. He requires high resolutions and a strong sense of duty to meet those needs.

Since it is obvious that a man and woman need so many qualities to succeed as husband and wife and as father and mother, why do so many take the marriage vows without really knowing what will be expected of them?

Even couples who have lived together for years sometimes fail to realize how many adjustments they must make and how much self-discipline they must impose if their marriage is to weather future difficulties successfully.

Listen to the dreamy popular songs on the radio, read the romantic novels in many magazines, and view the love stories portrayed on television or in the movies. Seldom will you find even a vague suggestion that the vocation of marriage requires unremitting hard work by both partners.

Problems that arise in marriage as portrayed on television are almost always solved in time for the final commercial. Popular songs convey a constant impression that personality conflicts can be washed away in the sea of sex.

Even articles on marriage in popular magazines and books, seriously intended to help couples achieve better adjustment, often introduce a typical problem and, a few sentences later, report how the couple, by performing a magic act like visiting a marriage counselor, correct all past difficulties and live happily thereafter.

Few publications emphasize that mutual sacrifice is essential to marital success.

In that magnificent little volume The Imitation of Christ, compiled by Thomas Kempis in the fifteenth century, it is written: “Unless thou deny thyself, thou shalt not have perfect liberty.”

Those words might be studied by every married person. Unless you practice severe self-discipline and subjugate your own desires, striving instead to fulfill the needs of your spouse and children, you cannot gain the full happiness of marriage.

Despite what the movies say, no one “finds” happiness. If you obtain it at all, you must earn it. And it will be earned only by what the Catholic marriage ritual calls “the great principle of self-sacrifice.”

On your wedding day you surrendered your individual lives in the interest of a deeper and wider common life. From that day forward you belonged to each other. You were expected to become one in mind, one in heart, and one in affections.

And as the ritual counseled: “Whatever sacrifices you may hereafter be required to make to preserve this common life, always make them generously.”

Does this mean that we must picture married life in grim, terrifying colors? Not a bit! Sacrifice is difficult and irksome only in the absence of love.

Love makes it easy, and the more perfect the love, the more joy in the sacrifice.

When two people learn to bear patiently with marriage and with each other, marital harmony is the result. And this meeting of minds is the greatest source of happiness humans can obtain on earth.

No earthly pleasure can match that which the loving husband gives his wife, the wife gives her husband, or children give their parents. Very few people indeed appreciate that it is the warm and living union of two persons which alone gives life its full meaning.

“Where is the busy mother who cannot find time enough to spend thus a few moments every night with each child before it falls asleep, in sweet, loving talk; and tender, earnest prayer? Far down into the years, the memory of such sacred moments will go, proving thousands of times a light in darkness, an inspiration in discouragement, a secret of victory in hard struggle, a hand to restrain from sin in time of fierce temptation.” -J.R. Miller

 

Follow this link to sign up for the Giveaway featuring these two Advent/Christmas Books!

Available to purchase here at Meadows of Grace.

 

Reviews:

I am smitten with this apron! The colors are true, and the fabric is weighty enough to absorb any spatter from cooking. My family really likes it too!

Love my new apron! Well made. So beautiful and feminine.

I rarely leave reviews, but I was so very impressed with the communication and customer service on this order that I wanted to publicly thank them. My impression only rose when I received the aprons and they were stunning. They are not only lovely, but sturdy and well made as well. My daughter and I have worn the aprons often and I could not be more pleased. In fact I purchased another for myself as well as some of the books and a Rosary. I ha e been beyond pleased with everything! Thank you for wonderful service and stunning products.

LOVE it! I’ve been eyeing these aprons for a while. Everytime I feel the need to look at something pretty I wander over to the Meadows of Grace Shoppe to look at all the beautiful aprons, jewelry & kanzashi flowers. I decided to treat myself with this apron as a belated birthday gift & I have no regrets! It’s absolutely perfect! The attention to detail is astounding. It’s fully lined, a coordinating fabric on the reverse side, a jewel on the pocket & fancy stitching… It’s BEAUTIFUL! The picture of our Blessed Mother & the Christ Child on the front is perfect. With this quality I’m sure this apron will last a long time & I look forward to doing my vocation as a wife and mother with this apron & having my children ask about the picture on the front. P.S. My baby points at the apron & says”Touch it?” She thinks it’s pretty too!

Beautiful, Feminine Aprons! Available here.

Advent Package available here.

 

Why do we wear our best clothes on Sunday? What was the Holy Ghost Hole in medieval churches? How did a Belgian nun originate the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament? Where did the Halloween mask and the jack-o’-lantern come from?

Learn the answer to these questions, as well as the history behind our traditional celebration of Thanksgiving, in this gem of a book by Father Weiser.

Celebrate the Faith with your kids all year round!

For over half a century, Catholic families have treasured the practical piety and homespun wisdom of Mary Reed Newland’s classic of domestic spirituality, The Year and Our Children. With this new edition, no longer will you have to search for worn, dusty copies to enjoy Newland’s faithful insights, gentle lessons, and delightful stories. They’re all here, and ready to be shared with your family or homeschooling group. Here, too, you ll find all the prayers, crafts, family activities, litanies, and recipes that will help make your children ever-mindful of the beautiful rhythm of the Church calendar.This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

History ~ Harvest Festivals/Thanksgiving Day

by Father Francis Weiser, The Holyday Book

HARVEST FESTIVALS PRE-CHRISTIAN FEATURES

One special, and yearly, thanksgiving celebration going back to ancient times took place at the successful conclusion of the harvest. That is why we find harvest festivals with thanksgiving rites everywhere as far back as we can go in our knowledge of religions and cultures.

Among the Indo-European races it was the great “Mother of Grains” to whom these rites were addressed. Within the various ancient nations this common mythological Mother of Fields was represented as a national god or goddess of vegetation (Astarte, Osiris, Tam-muz, Demeter, Ceres ). Great festivals were held every year in their honor in thanksgiving for the harvest.

The most famous of all these feasts were the Eleusinian Mysteries in Greece, held every September as a tribute to the grain goddess Demeter.

Among the Slavic, Germanic, and Celtic races the ancient belief in the great Mother of Grains has persisted to our day in the form of many superstitious practices connected with fall harvesting, especially with the “last sheaf” in every field.

Sometimes the sheaf is personified, molded into the form of a straw doll and, as “harvest baby,” carried in joyful procession from the field to the village.

In Austria it is shaped into a wreath and placed on the head of a girl who then is designated at the harvest festival as “queen” or “bride” (Erntebraut).

Similar customs were universally practiced in England, where the last load brought home with great rejoicing bore the name “horkey cart,” and in Scotland, where the last sheaf is called “kirn [grain] doll.”

In northern France harvesters, seated on top of the last load brought home from the fields, chant an ancient traditional tune to the text Kyre-o-dle. This is an interesting relic of folklore from Carolingian times, when shepherds and field workers cheered their solitary toil by singing the Kyrie eleison as they had heard the monks sing it at High Mass.

In southern France the last sheaf was tied in the form of a cross, decorated with ribbons and flowers, and after the harvest celebration was placed in the best room of the house to be kept as a token of blessing and good fortune.

JEWISH CELEBRATIONS

Moses instituted among the Jews two great religious feasts of thanksgiving for the harvest: the Feast of the Spring Harvest (Hag Shavu’oth, Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost; Leviticus 23, 15-21) and the Feast of the Fall Harvest (Sukkoth, Feast of Tabernacles; Leviticus 29-43): Thou shalt celebrate the festival of weeks to the Lord thy God, a voluntary oblation of thy hand which thou shalt offer according to the blessing of the Lord thy God. And thou shalt feast before the Lord thy God, thou and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy man-servant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates. and the stranger and the fatherless, and the widow, who abide with you in the place . . . (Deuteronomy 16, 9-11).

Thou also shalt celebrate the solemnity of tabernacles seven days. when thou hast gathered in thy fruit of the barnfloor and of the winepress. And thou shalt make merry in thy festival time, thou, thy son, and thy daughter, thy manservant, and thy maidservant, the Levite also and the stranger, and the fatherless and the widow that are within thy gates (Deuteronomy 16, 13-15).

CHRISTIAN TRADITIONS

In the Christian era the custom of celebrating a thanksgiving harvest festival began in the High Middle Ages. For lack of any definite liturgical day or ceremony prescribed by the Church, various practices came to be observed locally.

In many places, as in Hungary, the Feast of the Assumption included great thanksgiving solemnities for the grain harvest. Delegates from all parts of the country came for the solemn procession to Budapest, carrying the best samples of their produce.

A similar ceremony was observed in Poland, where harvest wreaths brought to Warsaw from all sections were bestowed on the president in a colorful pageant. These wreaths (wieniec), made up of the straw of the last sheaf (broda), were beautifully decorated with flowers, apples, nuts, and ribbons, and blessed in churches by the priests.

The most common, and almost universal, harvest and thanksgiving celebration in medieval times was held on the Feast of Saint Martin of Tours ( Martinmas) on November 11. It was a holiday in Germany, France, Holland, England, and in central Europe.

People first went to Mass and observed the rest of the day with games, dances, parades, and a festive dinner, the main feature of the meal being the traditional roast goose (Martin’s goose).

With the goose dinner they drank “Saint Martin’s wine,” which was the first lot of wine made from the grapes of the recent harvest.” Martinmas was the festival commemorating filled barns and stocked larders, the actual Thanksgiving Day of the Middle Ages. Even today it is still kept in rural sections of Europe, and dinner on Martin’s Day would be unthinkable without the golden-brown, luscious Martin’s goose.”

THANKSGIVING DAY IN AMERICA PILGRIMS’ CELEBRATION

The tradition of eating goose as part of the Martin’s Day celebration was kept in Holland even after the Reformation. It was there that the Pilgrims who sailed to the New World in 1620 became familiar with this ancient harvest festival.

When, after one year in America, they decided to celebrate a three days’ thanksgiving in the autumn of 1621, they went in search of geese for their feast. We know that they also had deer (a present from the Indians), lobsters, oysters, and fish.

But Edward Winslow, in his account of the feast, only mentions that “Governor Bradford sent four men on fowling that so we might after a more special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruit of our labors.”

They actually did find some wild geese, but a number of wild turkeys and ducks as well.

The Pilgrim Fathers, therefore, in serving wild turkeys with the geese, inaugurated one of the most cherished American traditions: the turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day.

They also drank, according to the ancient European tradition, the first wine of their wild-grape harvest. Pumpkin pie and cranberries were not part of the first Thanksgiving dinner in America, but were introduced many years afterward.

The second Thanksgiving Day in the New World was held by the Pilgrims two years later, on July 30, 1623. It was formally proclaimed by the governor as a day of prayer to thank God for their deliverance from drought and starvation, and for the safe arrival from Holland of the ship Anne.

NATIONAL CELEBRATION

In 1665 Connecticut proclaimed a solemn day of thanksgiving to be kept annually on the last Wednesday in October. Other New England colonies held occasional and local Thanksgivings at various times.

In 1789 the federal Congress authorized and requested President George Washington to proclaim a day of thanksgiving for the whole nation. Washington did this in a message setting aside November 26, 1789 as National Thanksgiving Day.

After 1789 the celebration reverted to local and regional observance for almost a hundred years. There grew, however, a strong desire among the majority of the people for a national Thanksgiving Day that would unite all Americans in a festival of gratitude and public acknowledgment for all the blessings God had conferred upon the nation.

It was not until October 3, 1863, that this was accomplished, when President Abraham Lincoln issued, in the midst of the Civil War, a Thanksgiving Proclamation. In it the last Thursday of November was set apart for that purpose and made a national holiday.

Since then, every president has followed Lincoln’s example, and annually proclaims as a “Day of Thanksgiving” the fourth Thursday in November. Only President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the date, in 1939, from the fourth to the third Thursday of November (to extend the time of Christmas sales). This caused so much consternation and protest that in 1941 the traditional date was restored.

Be attentive to the sacrifices your husband makes for the family. Each day he battles the world, the flesh and the devil out in the workforce for you. Don’t let that go unnoticed. Thank him often! Appreciate him. -Finer Femininity