Health and Holiness

A balanced approach to the subject of health written for Catholic teachers….

From The Catholic Teacher’s Companion, 1924

An ounce of sanctity with exceptionally good health does more for the saving of souls than striking sanctity with an ounce of health.—St. Ignatius

Carlyle remarks that health and holiness are etymologically first cousins. And Dr. James J. Walsh has pointed out that health and holiness “have many surprising relations, and some of them contradict current notions; but it must not be forgotten that they are really coordinate functions.

For while we talk about the influence of the mind on the body, and the body on the mind, we must not forget that these two constitute one being; and there is quite literally no idea which does not make itself felt in the body, and no emotion which does not make itself felt in the mind. Wholeness of body and soul that is, health and holiness—work together for good in that mysterious compound we know as man.”

The Claims of Body and Soul

Body and soul are twin gifts from God, and bring with them responsibilities, and it is no sign of superior care of the soul to be slothful and neglectful in regard to the body.

Asceticism is another and quite a different thing. It is one thing to discipline one’s body; it is quite a different thing to neglect one’s teeth, or wash one’s body, or see that one’s food is digestibly prepared, or masticate it properly, or take reasonable exercise and fresh air.

Habits of this sort may quite as easily be owing to slothfulness as to superior spirituality. The distinction is not always observed. The wisdom of the ancient sages proclaiming the demand of the sane soul for a sane body has been further established by the insistence of the Christian saints, notably the founders of Religious Orders, Sts. Benedict and Ignatius, of Bernards, the Franciscans, and the Teresas.

St. Benedict’s Rule contains wise provisions for the bodily as well as the spiritual well-being of its followers. If the monks were to work, they were adequately to eat.

Think of it! “A pound of bread daily and two dishes of cooked food at each meal!”
“The habits that are to be worn are to fit the wearer, be sufficiently warm, and not too old.”
Again, each of the brethren is to take “from six to eight hours of unbroken sleep daily, with the addition of a siesta in summer”; each likewise is to have “a blanket, a coverlet, mattress and a pillow!”

St. Francis of Assisi strictly enjoins the Superiors of his Order to “take special care to provide for the needs of the sick and the clothing of the friars, according to the places, seasons, and cold climates.”

Health and Long Life

These are some obvious illustrations of how wisely the saints provided for the body—other folks’ bodies especially: they did not seem always to mind so much for their own.

Our sisters should take their teachings to heart for, as a rule, they neglect unduly the care of their bodily health. The Rev. Arthur Barry O’Neill, C.S.C., has made a thorough study of this subject and we shall follow him as a reliable guide in the matter.

We agree with him that an examination of the mortality statistics of our Religious Communities of women will probably show that the longevity of Sisters is by no means so notable as one should expect.

It may sound somewhat extravagant in the statement, but it is probably verifiable in fact, that from thirty to forty percent of American Sisters die before “their time comes,” their death being of course, subjectively, entirely in conformity with God’s will; but being, objectively, merely in accordance with God’s permission, which is quite another matter.

Now, long life is a blessing. As Spirago says, “It is a great boon, for the longer one lives, the more merits one can amass for eternity.”

So precious a boon is it that God promised it as a reward for keeping the fourth commandment, a fact of which St. Paul reminds the Ephesians, “Honor thy father and thy mother . . . that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest be long-lived upon earth.”

Accordingly, any procedure, any scheme of life, which contributes even indirectly to the shortening of one’s days assuredly needs unusually strong reasons to justify it; and, with all due deference be it said, such procedure, negative if not positive, is not uncommon in our convents.

Neglecting to take daily exercise out-of-doors may appear a small thing in youth or early middle life, but there is nothing surer that such neglect is seriously detrimental to health; and, exceptional cases apart, poor health is correlative of a truncated career rather than of normal length of days.

Underlying this disregard of the open-air exercise which all physicians declare to be essential to bodily well-being, there is probably in the minds of many Sisters an inchoate, if not fully developed, conviction that vigorous, robust health is more or less incompatible with genuine spirituality, that an occasional illness of a serious nature and a quasi-chronic indisposition at the best of times are, after all, quite congruous in professed seekers after religious perfection, incipient followers of the saints.

That is a pernicious fallacy of which their spiritual directors and confessors should strenuously endeavor to rid them.

Ill-health directly led by God is doubtless a blessing; but it is also an exception. In the ordinary course of God’s providence, men and women, in the cloister as in the world, are in duty bound to take such care of their bodies as will result in the greater efficiency of their minds and souls, and in an increasingly acceptable service of their whole being to their Heavenly Father.

Health is to be sought for, not as an end, but as an excellent means, most frequently indeed an indispensable means, of attaining the true end of both religious and laity, which is holiness, or sanctity.

Theory and Practice Among the Saints

The saints themselves thoroughly understood this truth, and their preaching frequently emphasizes it, even though the practice of some of them, in the matter of austerities and penances, does not apparently conform thereto.

Apparently, for in many a case it was precisely the superb health of the saintly body that rendered the austerities and penances possible.

Like the trained pugilists of the present day, those old-time spiritual athletes could “stand punishment” to an extent that would permanently disable physical weaklings.

It is to be remembered, also, that some of these unmerciful castigators of their bodies–St. Ignatius and St. Francis of Assisi, for instance-frankly avowed in their later years that they had overdone the business of chastising the flesh.

St. Ignatius took good care to offset the influence of his Manresa example in this matter by making due provisions, in his rule and his counsels to his Religious, for proper heed of bodily health.

Time and time again he gave, in varied phrase and amplified form, the advice stated in this, his general precept: “Let all those things be put away and carefully avoided that may injure, in any way whatsoever, the strength of the body and its powers.”

Since sanctity is, after all, only sublimated common sense, it is not surprising to find other saintly founders, reformers, and spiritual directors of Religious Orders giving the same judicious counsel. “If health is ruined how is the Rule to be observed?” pertinently asks St. Teresa.

Writing to some of her nuns who were inclined to follow their own ideas in the matter of prayer and penance, the same great Carmelite advises: “Never forget that mortification should serve for spiritual advancement only. Sleep well, eat well. It is infinitely more pleasing to God to see a convent of quiet and healthy Sisters who do what they are told than a mob of hysterical young women who fancy themselves privileged. . .”

“Govern the body by fasts and abstinence as far as health permits,” says the Dominican Rule. “I have seen,” writes St. Catherine of Siena, “many penitential devotees who lacked patience and obedience because they studied to kill their bodies and not their self-will.”

To every Religious Order and its members may well be applied the words of a Jesuit General, Father Piccolomini, to his own subjects: “It may be said that an unhealthy Religious bears much the same relation to the Order of which he is a member as a badly knit or dislocated bone does to the physical body. For just as a bodily member, when thus affected, not only cannot perform its own proper functions, but even interferes with the full efficiency of the other parts, so when a Religious has not the requisite health, his own usefulness is lost and he seriously interferes with the usefulness of others.”

Health – A Great Good

Were further testimony needed to expose the fallacy that health is something to be slighted, rather than cultivated, by a fervent nun, it could be furnished in superabundance. “Health,” says Cardinal Newman, “is a good in itself, though nothing came of it, and is especially worth seeking and cherishing.”

In 1897, Pope Pius X, then Cardinal Sarto, reported to Rome concerning his seminary in Venice: “It is my wish, in a word, to watch the progress of my young men both in piety and in learning, on which depends in a great measure the exercise of their ministry later on, but I do not attach less importance to their health.”

A distinguished director of souls in our times, the late Archbishop Porter, favored one of his spiritual children, a nun, with the following sane advice:

“As for evil thoughts, I have so uniformly remarked in your case that they are dependent upon your state of health, that I say without hesitation: begin a course of Vichy and Carlsbad. . . Better far to eat meat on Friday than to be at war with every one about us.

I fear much, you do not take enough food and rest. You stand in need of both, and it is not wise to starve yourself into misery. Jealousy and all similar passions become intensified when the body is weak. . . Your account of your spiritual condition is not very brilliant; still, you must not lose courage. Much of your present suffering comes, I fear, from past recklessness in the matter of health.”
This is merely repeating in other words what St. Francis of Sales, three centuries before Archbishop Porter, wrote to a nun of his time: “Preserve your physical strength to serve God within spiritual exercises, which we are often obliged to give up when we have indiscreetly overworked ourselves.”

What has been said should disabuse some minds of the idea that disregard of bodily well-being is a condition, if not an essential, of holiness; or the other no less dangerous prejudice that adequate reasonable care of the body, if carried out with the proper spirit and intention, does not of itself include thorough discipline of the soul.

Francis Thompson has well said in the preface to his Health and Holiness: “The laws of perfect hygiene, the culture of the ‘sound body,’ not for its own sake, but as the pliant, durable instrument of the soul, are found more and more to demand such a degree of persevering self-restraint and self-resistance as constitutes an ascesis, a mortification, no less severe than that enjoined by the most rigorous masters of the spiritual life.”

Supernaturalized as it surely will be by the purity of intention so characteristic of Sisters, such mortification will be no less a spiritual asset than a physical boon.

What Bishop Hedley says in his Spiritual Retreat for Religious is very much to the point: “There are certain things which are the best promoters of health and cheerfulness—viz., fresh air, exercise, and recreation.

They are duties, too, in a Religious Community. In such houses it is a very common thing to meet with nervous complaints which entirely arise from the neglect of these three powerful tonics of the human system.

I do not say that this is the case with all. But it is a remarkable fact that those members of a Community who have the most active duties are usually the most healthy in mind and body, while the others are the reverse.

These two things, fresh air and exercise, are of the utmost importance even from a spiritual point of view. They are not material, but really supernatural matters. The same is true of recreation. The three ought to be combined.”

“Who shall blame a child whose soul turns eagerly to the noise and distraction of worldliness, if his parents have failed to show him that love and peace and beauty are found only in God?” – Mary Reed Newland

Here is a simple outline to ensure we are carrying out our daily duties as best we can on this road we travel as Catholic women. This is my own list of what I deem the basics of a successful day. It is an ideal I strive for. You may have your own plan, and I hope you do. If this can help in any way, then I have accomplished my goal with this video…

Every minute counts! Let Saint Joseph remind you of the time with this beautiful Saint Joseph pocket watch. Available here.

Dear Young Lady, You are at a very important crossroad in your life. In the next short while your vocation will be settled and you will roll up your sleeves and fulfill God’s will in that role. This will, ultimately, be your means to happiness in this life and in the next.

The decisions you make in this short interim before that will greatly affect your whole life.

That is where this journal comes in. All of the quotes deal with your time in life….whether it is courtship, religious vocations, modesty and just a better spiritual life in general.

You will be disciplined in the next 30 days to write down positive, thankful thoughts in this journal. You will be thinking about good memories, special moments, things and people you are grateful for, etc.

This will help you to work on that inner happiness that needs to be developed even before you find your vocation. Now is the time to improve your life!

The pages in this maglet (magazine/booklet) is for the Catholic wife…to inspire her in the daily walk as a Godly, feminine, loving wife. As wives, we have a unique calling, a calling that causes us to reach into our innermost being in order to give ourselves to our husbands the way Christ would desire.We, as women, have the awesome responsibility AND power to make or break our marriages and our relationships. Let’s not wait to fix it AFTER it is broken.It is all about self-sacrifice, thankfulness, kindness, graciousness, etc.The articles in this maglet reflect these virtues and will serve to inspire and encourage. It is a Catholic maglet, based on solid Catholic principles.

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Heart of Hearths – The Sacred Heart of Jesus

by Solange Hertz

No one insisted more than St. Margaret Mary that devotion to the Sacred Heart must not be limited to individual piety, profound as this might be. Nor was Our Lord’s “burning thirst to be honored by men” to be restricted to worship in churches.

“He has much greater plans,” she wrote, “which can be put into effect only by His almighty power, which can accomplish whatever it wills. It seems to me He wishes to enter with pomp and magnificence into the homes of princes and kings, to be honored there to the extent He has been outraged.”

In other words, He wished to establish His loving rule over human society by being acknowledged as true Head of every family, from the highest one down. The divine request was supposedly transmitted at the time to King Louis XIV, but if so, nothing came of it.

The King continued on the disastrous course of secular glorification which eventually produced the French Revolution, and now Marxist tyranny. One by one the nations of the world have said, “We will not have this Man to reign over us!” (Luke 19:14).

The world has now reached the point that the very laws of nature are being ignored, if not outright repealed. Based on the false principle that power comes from below, a giant mechanism of organized disorder has been erected where the bond-woman Hagar habitually and by law dictates to her mistress Sarah. No one knows his proper place, because it can’t be found.

Money manipulators who should be the hired servants of politics and economics are in fact formulating government policies—and that on an international level. Schools are laying down the law to parents, the family itself now the puppet of the state designed by God to serve it. Publishers determine what authors shall write. Manufacturers condition the consumer to the goods they produce.

Agriculture, the sovereign human art, is indentured to industrial production, made to follow factory methods and objectives. The sovereignty of nations themselves is being absorbed into an artificial super-State organized on purely rational lines.

Needless to say, the members of Holy Mother Church, already weakened and divided by the “reforms” of the so-called Reformation, are falling prostrate before the scourges of the New Order, apparently powerless to rise and protest. How to establish the rule of the Sacred Heart in such contrived chaos?

As St. Margaret Mary saw long before the French Revolution, only God’s omnipotence can accomplish a task of this proportion. Exactly how He will do it is His secret, but do it He will.

“What are you afraid of?” He asked her. “I shall reign in spite of Satan and all opposition.”

If His past methods are any precedent, however, He will use as His instruments the same “little ones” in all ranks of society He has always used to confound the wise of this world. St. Margaret Mary in fact predicted this: “He gave me to understand,” she wrote to her Superior Mother de Saumaise, “that He does not need human power for that, because the devotion and reign of the Sacred Heart will be consolidated only by subjects poor and contemptible, amid contradictions, so that none of it can be attributed to human potential.”

As always, He will scatter the proud in the conceit of their heart, putting down the mighty from their seat and exalting the humble, filling the hungry with good things and sending the rich away empty (Luke 1:51-53).

Until then they need only remain in His Sacred Heart, attentive to its every beat, careful to follow its manifest directives. He will tell them what to do, even though for the time being the fulfilment of His magnificent promises remains blocked by the malicious authority of the great ones of this world.

Things being as they are, about the only unit of temporal government left to us that can be brought under the sway of Christ is the private home. Furthermore, for some of us it may be the only place of worship we have left outside the privacy of our own souls. For which God be thanked, for that is exactly what a home is designed by God to be: a domestic economy over which God presides, where He is praised by its members.

If home is where the heart is, then the Christian home must be where the Sacred Heart is.

Rediscovering this truth may be one of the greatest blessings He means to draw from the wanton destruction of parishes and parliaments. It’s a beginning.

At home Christians can still share the “one heart” which God promised Jeremiah He would give His people, “and one way, that they may fear me all days: and that it may be well with them, and with their children after them” (32:39).

The Acts of the Apostles relate how “the multitude of believers had but on heart and one soul; neither did any one say that aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but all things were common unto them” (4:32). This “one heart” of saints who lovingly share all they possess is today in open confrontation with the “one world” of androids intent on robbing one another of even the most elementary right to private ownership. There can be no co-existence between the two.

We cannot repeat too often that devotion to the Sacred Heart, promulgated from the very first as a devotion for the latter times, is now only beginning. What has been achieved so far is the merest preparation or predisposition for a fullness yet to be even suspected. It would be ridiculous to think our Lord hasn’t foreseen and provided for all the deprivations we are facing—the desecration of Churches, suppression of sacred images and sacramentals, the defections from the priesthood…

We have noted already that devotion to the Sacred Heart has established once and for all the primacy of the interior life. What it does for the individual in his own soul it is equally prepared to do for society, in the home. We start where we can.

Is there any reason why what our Lord requested of worldly monarchs can’t be accorded Him by lesser heads of families? Let those who preach “power to the people” beware of that power when it is brandished in the service of God! What is to prevent exposing and honoring the picture of the Sacred Heart in our homes—is only because “wherever this holy picture should be exposed to be honored He would lavish His graces and blessings”?

Better still, why not satisfy at home our Lord’s longing to be adored in the Blessed Sacrament? That Benediction has all but disappeared from the liturgy, or that the Church doors are locked, or that the Sacrament itself may no longer be reserved, can be seen to be no excuse at all when we look deeply into the matter.

One of the first to see this was the late Fr. Mateo Crawley-Boevey, of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, who initiated the movement for Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in the home. With truly prophetic insight he began preaching Eucharistic Adoration as a practice most proper to the home. Already in the late 1920’s he was signing up families for one hour a month of night adoration, at a time when the Real Presence was taken for granted in every Catholic church and expected to continue there until the end of the world.

Fr. Mateo may not have been so sure. He wrote, “We are in fact on the brink of an abyss of social corruption; the home already undermined in its very foundations by this upheaval of immorality; a good part of the portion of society which by right is considered the best, the most Christian, seriously affected by the contagion of unbridled sensuality… What is sadder still, the enemy has now penetrated into our own ranks; the wolf is encountered with unheard of cruelty in a full sheepfold. More, he is tolerated there, even encouraged by the cowardice of friends. This Satan and the world have without pity struck and scourged their God and their Lord. His very bones might be counted through His wounds, for there is no soundness in Him.

Urging reparation to the Sacred Heart, his practical suggestions for domestic adoration are very instructive: “In large families the adoration may be arranged in such a way that each member of the family watches in turn before a picture of the Sacred Heart. If the Sacred Heart has been enthroned in the home, then the adoration should take place before the enthroned picture of the Sacred Heart, around which lighted candles and flowers have been placed, if this is possible and practical…

The adoration should be made as far as possible on one’s knees, in a spirit of salutary penance… It should be throughout a Eucharistic Adoration, in spirit and in truth. It makes His Passion ours: “The same love which made Me suffer such extreme pains and affliction for the salvation of men, makes Me also suffer now in your heart, immortal and impassible as I am, by the intimate compassion with which it is penetrated for the salvation of my elect, in consideration of my afflictions and bitterness. Therefore in return for the compassion which you have had for my sufferings, I give you the whole fruit of my Passion and death, to insure your eternal beatitude.”

Spoken to St. Gertrude, these words make plain what meditation on the Sacred Heart is meant to lead to. Fr. Mateo suggested prayers for the following intentions during hours of home adoration: “our Holy Father and Pope, peace, the clergy, the members of your family who may have gone astray, those in their agony this night, the Social Reign of the Sacred Heart, particularly through the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in the home. Oh, be true angels of Gethsemane in this nocturnal adoration, you who have an advantage over the angel from heaven, since you are able to suffer and to weep in union with the agonizing Heart of Jesus!”

Most significantly, Fr. Mateo urged adorers to begin their hour by uniting themselves in spirit with the priests who at that moment might be offering the Holy Sacrifice anywhere in the world. He wished them if possible to recite the Canon of the Mass in view of a spiritual Communion, all the while adoring, praising, petitioning and atoning “through Him, with Him and in Him.”

Aware of the importance of Fr. Mateo’s latter day apostolate, Popes Benedict XV, Pius XI and Pius XII each accorded the Apostolic Benediction to those engaging in it. In his enthusiasm Pope Pius XI dubbed it “the actualization of my Encyclical” Miserentissimus Redemptor, on the Sacred heart.

With such encouragement from the highest Authority, why not adore at home kneeling in spirit before our Lord’s true sacramental Presence in all Churches or places where It may still be found? Isn’t it this Real Presence that the image of the Sacred Heart is precisely meant to evoke in our homes? Wouldn’t our Lord intend to follow His Heart’s image personally into any place where it was lovingly exposed? If not, how could devotion to the Sacred Heart make any real sense?

Prayer to the Sacred Heart:

May all the words that  I speak be dipped in the Blood of Thy Sacred Heart, O Jesus, that they may be so many arrows to pierce the hearts of all who hear them with love for Thee. Amen. -The Precious Blood and Mother Prayerbook, Painting by Gregory Frank Harris

Praise God!

“It often struck me that if cleanliness is next to godliness, cheerfulness is a near relation. The cheerful are truly benefactors of the world in which we move…” – Fr. John Carr, C.SS.R.

In the words of this humble seventeenth-century lay Carmelite, “we must trust God once and for all and abandon ourselves to Him alone.” This difficult task necessarily requires perseverance and continual conversation with God in all activities great and small: “speaking humbly and talking lovingly with Him at all times, at every moment, without rule or system…” In reading these conversations, letters, and spiritual maxims, we learn the key to endless joy.

In short, this little spiritual classic — in its fresh, contemporary English translation — renders the simple wisdom of Brother Lawrence accessible to every Christian who yearns for the fullness of life….

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May ~ June 2022 Gallery!

Home should not be just a place. Rather, it must be the place. All else should be “outside.”

Home should be the center of activities and interests. It was built for births, courtship, marriage, and death. It is maintained so that children might grow, trained by precept and example – so that they will develop spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, just as they do physically.  -Fr. Lovasik

And a few notes…

Hubby got me a new air fryer and I have been enjoying it greatly. If you are interested here is a link. This is the one I would get if I started all over. Right now, I have a cheaper model and it works for me at the moment.

And here is a Youtube Channel where I learned a lot about it. I had hurt my back and was laid out so I had time to delve into it…

Here is the recipe for the Granola I make. It is lovely! I quadruple the batch and add different things (chia seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds). I really do add all those…it’s a wonder my kids don’t turn into chipmunks! Haha

Below is a gallery of our doing’s in the last two months. You can read the comments to get the narrative. And don’t forget to click on the first picture to view the gallery!

The Purpose of Education ~ “Humanity in Bloom”

Painting by Carl von Bergen, 1853

Educating a Child: The Art of Arts by Father Joseph Duhr


 Definition of Education

 An essential duty

Childhood is the future in promise and in hope, or, as Bishop Dupanloup so nicely put it, “humanity in bloom”. “The child or adolescent”, explains His Holiness Pius XII, “is a hope full of promise for the family, for the fatherland, and for all human society; he is also a hope for the Church, for Heaven, for God Himself, Whose son he is and must be”.

“What an one, think ye, shall this child be?” – Quis putas, puer iste erit? (Luke, I, 66) – they asked, as they gathered around the cradle of Saint John the Baptist. This same question spontaneously comes to mind each time a new child is born. And no matter how often this question is asked, the answer will be the same: “This child shall be whatever his parents help him to be”.  There is hardly a father or (especially) mother who, contemplating their newly born, does not feel the heavy responsibility of developing the treasure of life which has been confided to their care.

One such parent – the Frenchman Frédéric Ozanam, founder of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul – expressed this delicate and profound sentiment in the following moving terms: “…A new gift has come to reveal to me what is probably the greatest joy a man can experience on this earth: I am a father!

Sir, what a moment it was when I heard my child’s first cry, when I saw this little creature – an immortal creature, nonetheless – whom God placed in my hands, who brought me so much sweetness, but also so many obligations! We will start his education early, just as he will start our re-education – for I see that Heaven has sent him to teach us many things and to make us better.

I cannot look on this sweet being, full of innocence and purity, without seeing there the sacred mark of the Creator, less obscured than it is in us. I cannot think of this immortal soul for which I will have to render an account without feeling more imbued with the sense of my duties. How will I be able to teach him, unless I first put into practice what I want him to learn? Could God have chosen a more lovable means of instructing me, of correcting me and of placing me on the path to Heaven?”

“Children”, Foerster observes, “are like the bells of Easter – they are the signal of the resurrection for man’s most noble aspirations”. By his mere presence, the child reminds his parents of their right to raise him, as well as of their first and most important duty.

“The family”, teaches Pius XI in his encyclical on Christian education, “holds directly from the Creator the mission and hence the right to educate the offspring, a right inalienable because inseparably joined to the strict obligation, a right anterior to any right whatever of civil society and of the State, and therefore inviolable on the part of any power on earth”.

More concisely, but just as clearly, Canon Law requires parents to always remember that they have “the very grave obligation to do all in their power to attend to the education of their children”.

A sublime undertaking

Three words, equally rich in meaning, describe the goal which parents must pursue in their task of developing the life of their children. They must form them, educate them and raise them.


In everyday language, “to form someone” means to cultivate one of their aptitudes using the most appropriate and efficacious methods available. We call a “master” someone who initiates us to a particular area of expertise.

Every trade or profession, whether it be that of electrician or engineer, requires an apprenticeship. No man, no matter how exceptionally talented, can do without the experience of others if he wants to succeed in his chosen profession. Regardless of how much he applies himself to mastering a science or skill, the self-taught man or amateur will never be a “professional” instructed in all the secrets of his art.

To form a child is to teach him his first and most essential occupation: that of being a man. In Divini illius Magistri, Pius XI tells us that education consists essentially in the formation of man. Before being a builder, an artist, an architect, an engineer or a physiotherapist, a man must behave as a man. It is up to parents to teach their child how to do this. Left to himself, he will never master his most important trade.


This formation of children is an “education”. The word comes from the Latin “educere”, meaning to “draw out” or “elucidate”. It consists in freeing up and bringing to fruition the riches, beauty and potential which are hidden in the heart and soul of the child.

The acorn which is planted today is already the oak of tomorrow. To become the majestic tree whose curled-up branches are capable of resisting the onslaught of the mighty wind, all that is needed is for its life forces, enclosed in that tiny acorn, to be gradually developed through the action of the sap, the sun and the air.

The oak “rises out of”, “draws itself from” (educitur) the acorn. Similarly, the complete man is already present in the child in the form of a seed.

Another comparison, borrowed from the art of photography, illustrates the same idea. Individuals and landscapes captured by the photographer only appear on the film when they have been “developed”. In the same way, education must, little by little, “reveal” those invisible treasures yet hidden in the soul of the child.


“Formation” and “education” understood in the sense in which we have just outlined necessarily result in “growing” or “raising” the child. It is unfortunate that the English language allows us to improperly assimilate the “raising” of animals such as horses, dogs and cats with the entirely different “raising” of children. Even though such use of language is not altogether incorrect, neither is it exact, since, strictly-speaking, only human beings are “raised”.

To raise a child is to get him to attain his stature of man and son of God; it is to raise him above the level of the animal to the level of man – even more, to the level of Christ, to that of Heaven, and to that of God.

Despite the inspiring perspectives opened up by the word “raise”, the term nevertheless has a serious drawback in that it does not sufficiently emphasize the child’s collaborative role in the process. Even in the moral sphere, “raising” a child has nothing in common with the familiar, charming image of a father taking his son in his arms and lifting him up into the air – rather it means helping the child to raise itself. Education must be accomplished from the inside – exterior pressure and direction are not enough.

Let parents never forget: education is a two-way matter – it is at least as much the work of the child as it is that of the parents. The entire art of the educator consists in awakening in the child the desire and ambition to grow and perfect himself. Nothing is done so long as the child does not aspire to development of self.

In short, “forming”, “educating” and “raising” a child means helping him to become what he is (in potency), to acquire the fulness of his personality, to bring to fruition all his hidden qualities, and finally to secure for him the very possession of God, in Whom our happiness resides.

We can, therefore, define education as the science (set of theoretical principals) and the art (set of practical techniques) which grant the child not only the possibility, but the facility of “becoming himself”, by developing his entire being from its current embryonic state in such a way that, having reached adulthood, he may live his life to the full and in all its beauty in the splendid blossoming of his personality for the happiness of others and the glory of God, his Master and Creator. A great and noble task, indeed!

In fact, there is no more important or more essential one. “What can be greater”, exclaims Saint John Chrysostom, “than directing souls and forming children in virtue? Molding souls (fingere animos) is the art of arts, more excellent than that of the painter or the sculptor”.

Consequences and evaluation of this definition

The definition of education which we have just outlined gives us a mere glimpse of the scale and complexity of the undertaking at hand. It actually includes a double objective. For the sake of clarity, we must deal with these two aspects separately, but, in reality, they constantly intertwine and need to be accomplished simultaneously.

This double objective consists firstly in forming in the child the man, the whole man; secondly, it is a matter of forming in him this particular man.

It IS interesting, isn’t it, how, in the last decades, women are made to feel as if they are being “losers”, “nobodys” if they are dedicated to the home..They are not using their talents if they aren’t out working in the world.
Truly, I find that illogical. How many talents does it make to run a pleasant home, raise good children, have a healthy relationship with someone you rub shoulders with night and day? That, in itself, is a full-time job…not to mention if some are homeschooling, seeking out healthy alternatives, helping with their parish life, etc., etc.
No, it takes a brave, committed, responsible, hard-working adult to do what it takes to raise a Godly family in today’s society. -Finer Femininity, Painting by Alfred Rodriguez

“It would be nice if the ‘work is play’ stage lasted longer than it does. Children soon discover, however, that the wary in this world shy away from work, and now begins the real struggle…” An excerpt from Mary Reed Newland’s book ‘How to Raise Good Catholic Children”.

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With his facile pen and from the wealth of his nation-wide experience, the well-known author treats anything and everything that might be included under the heading of home education: the pre-marriage training of prospective parents, the problems of the pre-school days down through the years of adolescence. No topic is neglected. “What is most praiseworthy is Fr. Lord’s insistence throughout that no educational agency can supplant the work that must be done by parents.” – Felix M. Kirsch, O.F.M.

Necessary advice to Catholic parents building a Catholic home. Reliable advice that is almost completely lost today, from people who know how it’s done. How to make it. How to live it. How to keep it. This book covers every aspect of Catholicizing your home–from spiritual matters like prayer and catechism to nuts and bolts topics like Keeping the Family Budget, Games and Toys, Harmony between School and Home, Family Prayers, Good Reading in the Home, Necessity of Home Life and much more

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Rewards for Cleaning House/Celebrating Femininity/In Just Five Minutes

by Emilie Barnes, Keep It Simple for Busy Women

Rewards for Cleaning House

I’m a firm believer in rewards! And I reward myself often when it comes to some of the more mundane tasks of cleaning house.

Discover your idea of bliss, and use it to make those tasks a little less mundane. Let me explain.

Cleaning house is a very personal issue. Start by not worrying about other people’s standards. Decide what clean means to you, and make that your goal.

Establish simple, bite-size priorities. Identify those tasks that absolutely have to be done, ones that should be done, and ones that would be nice to get done.

Work on them in that order-and forget the rest. Set time limits. Do what you can now and be happy about it.

Relish what you have accomplished instead of focusing on what still remains to be done. Finish one task before you begin another.

When you’ve finished, reward yourself for a job well-done. For me that often means a time of quiet-with my Bible, my journal, and a cup of tea-and my feet propped up. Discover your idea of bliss!

Simple Pleasures

*Experience a “lights out” night and live by candlelight.

*Share your favorite book with a friend and then find a quiet book shop to discuss your thoughts over coffee or tea.

*Settle into your favorite chair and breathe a sigh of relief.

Celebrating Femininity

We may never look like models or movie stars, but we can honor God’s gift of femininity by taking care of the unique person He created you and me to be.

My daily walks help me keep my figure under control. I look forward to how wonderful I feel after this brisk morning exercise.

It always restores my energy, lifts my spirits, and gives me a sense of well-being that makes it easier for me to reach out to others.

Yet, as much as I believe in taking care of myself, that’s not enough. True beauty comes from within. If that beauty is lacking, no exercise program, eating plan, or wardrobe update can put it there. No interior decorating scheme can give it to me.

First Peter 3:4 defines it wonderfully by telling us that, “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit… is of great worth in God’s sight.”

Today, take a few moments to reflect on the grace and peace that God offers you every day. Today, seek the beauty that comes from within. Its as simple as that.

Simple Pleasures

*Write your notes with a feathered pen. It’s so elegant!

*Pin a silk flower on your lapel or add it to your hair.

*Create a parlor look with stacks of books and warm fabrics.

The Lost Art of Eating Together

Don’t let our modern culture take away some of the most precious times you can have as a family One of those is sharing a meal together sometime during the day.

Here are some ideas on how to keep it simple. Pick at least one meal of the day when your chances for getting everyone around the table are best. If one meal each day is too demanding, compromise. Set a goal of eating as a family four days a week instead of seven.

Involve your children in planning and cooking those special meals. Preparing foods in a different way can capture kids’ interest. Use pasta in unusual shapes. Draw a smiling face on top of a casserole with cheese or veggie strips. Make it a time of fun and fellowship.

Even teenagers should be involved in meal preparation. It can be an important time for conversation and interaction. Then, when it’s time to eat, don’t forget to offer a prayer of thanksgiving.

Model a heart of gratitude, peace, and warmth around your table. Now, relax and enjoy the meal.

Great memories can come from these daily times of sharing!

Simple Pleasures

*Find some roses today. Buy one for yourself and one for someone you love.

*A fragrance spray can enliven any room in your house. *Draw a picture and mail it to a child with your words of encouragement.

In Just Five Minutes

Are you overwhelmed today by all the projects you feel you must accomplish? Do you find yourself on a treadmill of one thing after another, until you feel you’ll never get off?

How can you have time for the important things you want to do, like prayer time, reading to your kids, or making a special batch of cookies for your family?

Well, you can do it all, but it will take some planning.

First, be ruthless-get rid of extra paper! Almost 90 percent of the paper in your home (or office) is never referred to again. Get rid of it!

And then apply this simple rule, which I call the “five-minute pickup” rule.

Pick up and dust each room for five minutes-time yourself self with a kitchen timer! Discipline yourself to stop when the bell goes off.

Sometimes all it takes to eliminate mess, clutter, and confusion are a few hooks here, a basket or two there, and a bit of reshuffling of items on a shelf. Give it a try and make your life a lot simpler!

Simple Pleasures

*Begin collecting lovely toiletries-powders, unguents, creams.

*Start an evening ritual of herbal tea and a candle. Nourish a sense of calm.

*Pretty new pillowcases add a special touch

🧹 A housekeeping schedule to give you some ideas and to tweak to suit your needs….(not to stress you out!) From Time-Warp Wife.

“As a family, try to lead a hidden life with Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Through holy Mass, offer yourselves through Mary’s hands as a sacrifice with Jesus; at Holy Communion, you will be changed into Jesus by divine grace so that you may live His life; by your visits to the tabernacle, you will enjoy His friendship in the midst of the many problems of life.” -Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik. The Catholic Family Handbook (Photo from our daughter’s wedding)

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Filled with inspiration, encouragement, and tried-and-true tips, this book is a must-have for every woman!

The good news is that a beautiful home doesn’t require too much money, too much energy, or too much time. Bestselling author and home-management expert Emilie Barnes shows readers how they can easily weave beauty and happiness into the fabric of their daily lives. With just a touch of inspiration, readers can

  • turn their homes into havens of welcome and blessing
  • build a lifestyle that beautifully reflects their unique personalities
  • enrich their spirits with growing things (even if their thumbs are several shades shy of green)
  • make mealtimes feasts of thanksgiving and kitchen duty fun
  • establish traditions of celebration that allow joy to filter through to everyday life

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Fathers…Husbands ~ A Time to Reflect


Yesterday was Father’s Day……the day that we acknowledge our fathers and our husbands.

These special men in our lives are imperfect people, but they hold a very important position in the family. They deserve the love and respect their position necessitates.

I know there are some husbands/fathers who are easier to love and respect than others. And there are wives who are more prone to seek out ways to make their husbands happy in the home.

There have been times in my life I have slipped into more negative attitudes towards my husband. The children pick up on it right away. It is damaging because the children see our example. If it is consistent, it affects the stability and the love in the home.

Remember that your children will follow your example in respecting and loving their father (and eventually their own husbands or superiors) in the home. They will also learn to disregard you, the mother, if they see you disrespecting your husband. It really does come back to bite us.

We need to take a hard look at our own attitudes towards our husbands and recognize an unhealthy outlook and battle against it.

Our first line of defense in getting our children to love and respect us is to first love and respect our husbands. In the Catholic home there should be no putting down of your husband. Our husband should be highly esteemed and revered. Marriage is a picture of Christ and His Church and we need to work on reflecting that in our actions towards our husbands.

Pamela Spurling from Welcome Home says:

“What *is* important is that you love him. What’s important is that you esteem and respect him. What’s important is that you demonstrate it to him. What’s important is that you show it around your children. What’s important is that you demonstrate that reverential love around others.

What’s important is that you learn to mean it with your whole heart. Even if he never gets that shed cleaned out. Even if he never gets the yard in order or mows that lawn diagonally so it looks better than neighbor Joe’s. Even if he never says things the way you think he should, or chews with his mouth closed, or keeps his shirt tucked in right, or gets you the right birthday presents or finishes household projects. Even if he never makes you all the wooden goodies Mr. John Doe makes for his wife, or never buys you surprise gifts. Even if he never learns anything more about automobiles than where to put the key to start them and where to put the gas to keep them running. So what.

What’s important is that you do what the LORD has designed you to do… and let the LORD work on your husband’s weak spots. I think we have much to work on without overly concerning ourselves with what they are or are not.

There is an amazing thing that wives can do and that is to love and support and build up husbands, and what a joyful thing it is to see the husband growing into the man God has designed him to be.

So, if you have been caught in the trap or habit of putting down your husband, mocking his leadership, disobeying known desires, disrespecting his words and views… rolling your eyes at his latest idea… sighing at his most recent business plan… you can turn. You can turn today. You can turn today and travel a different path. You can turn today and travel the path that God has designed for you.”

Yesterday way Father’s Day. The one day of the year that is chosen to honor Dad. I hope it was special. Let’s make a sincere effort to make him number one in our lives all year round.

One of our friends asked my husband if we were doing anything special for Father’s Day. He smiled at her and said, “Every day is Father’s Day!”  I was humbled and I admit, it is because he is a good man with a great attitude! 🙂

May wives everywhere strive to make every day Father’s Day!

Build your husband up in your children’s presence. It is up to you to assure he is a hero in their eyes. They should know why he works so hard….and that it is the reason for the roof over their heads and the food on the table. That time when Dad arrives home needs to be a highlight in their day! -Finer Femininity

You see, we don’t marry Prince Charming and live happily ever after. We are humans and we have faults….many faults….Both of us, husband and wife. It takes consistent effort to make a good marriage. Every day, every hour, every minute, we need to be thinking the right thoughts, praying the right prayers, listening to the right people and doing the right things…

❤️🌹Our first line of defense is the bond we must have with our husband. Besides our spiritual life, which gives us the grace to do so, we must put our relationship with our husband first. It is something we work on each day.

How do we do this? Many times it is just by a tweaking of the attitude, seeing things from a different perspective. It is by practicing the virtues….self-sacrifice, submission, thankfulness, kindness, graciousness, etc.

The articles in this maglet will help you with these things. They are written by authors that are solid Catholics, as well as authors with old-fashioned values….
Available here.
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I have prepared this Lenten journal to help you to keep on track. It is to assist you in keeping focused on making Lent a special time for your family. We do not have to do great things to influence those little people. No, we must do the small things in a great way…with love and consistency…

Timeless words from the pen of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen inspire the heart and imagination as readers embark on a Lenten journey toward a better understanding of their spiritual selves. Covering the traditional themes of Lent–sin and salvation, death and Resurrection, sorrow and hope, ashes and lilies–these 50 passages and accompanying mini-prayers offer readers a practical spiritual program as a retreat from the cares and concerns of a secular world view.
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Hope ~ Light and Peace, Quadrupani

Painting by Francis Day

From Light and Peace by Quadrupani

“Blessed is the man who hopes in the Lord,” says the Holy Spirit. The weakness of our souls is often attributable to lukewarmness in regard to the Christian virtue of hope.

Hold fast to this great truth: he who hopes for nothing will obtain nothing; he who hopes for little will obtain little; he who hopes for all things will obtain all things.

The mercy of God is infinitely greater than all the sins of the world. We should not, then, confine ourselves to a consideration of our own wretchedness, but rather turn our thoughts to the contemplation of this divine attribute of mercy.

“What do you fear?” says Saint Thomas of Villanova: “this Judge whose condemnation you dread is the same Jesus Christ who died upon the Cross in order not to condemn you.”

Sorrow, not fear, is the sentiment our sins should awaken in us. When Saint Peter said to his divine Master: “Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man,” what did our Saviour reply? “Noli timere,—fear not.” Saint Augustine remarks that in the Holy Scriptures we always find hope and love preferred to fear.

Our miseries form the throne of the divine mercy, we are told by Saint Francis de Sales, for if in the world there were neither sins to pardon, nor sorrows to soothe, nor maladies of the soul to heal, God would not have to exercise the most beautiful attribute of His divine essence. This was our Lord’s reason for saying that He came into the world not for the just but for sinners.

Assuredly our faults are displeasing to God, but He does not on their account cease to cherish our souls.

It is unnecessary to observe that this applies only to such faults as are due to the frailty inherent in our nature, and against which an upright will, sustained by divine grace, continually struggles. A perverse will, without which there can be no mortal sin, alienates us from God and renders us hateful in His eyes as long as we are subject to it.

At the feast spoken of in the Gospel, the King receives with love the poor, the blind, and the lame who are clothed with the nuptial garment,—that is to say, all those whom a desire to please God maintains in a state of grace notwithstanding their natural defects and frailty: but his rigorous justice displays itself against him who dares to appear there without this garment.

This distinction, found everywhere throughout the Gospels, is essential in order to inspire us with a tender confidence when we fall, without diminishing our horror for deliberate sins.

A good mother is afflicted at the natural defects and infirmities of her child, but she loves him none the less, nor does she refuse him her compassion or her aid. Far from it; for the more miserable and suffering and deformed he may be the greater is her tenderness and solicitude for him.

We have, says Saint Paul, a good and indulgent High-Priest who knows how to compassionate our weakness, Jesus Christ, who has been pleased to become at once our Brother and our Mediator.

Do not forfeit your peace of mind by wondering what destiny awaits you in eternity. Your future lot is in the hands of God, and it is much safer there than if in your own keeping.

The immoderate fear of hell, in the opinion of Saint Francis de Sales, can not be cured by arguments, but by submission and humility.

Hence it was that Saint Bernard, when tempted by the devil to a sin of despair, retorted: “I have not merited heaven, I know that as well as you do, Satan; but I also know that Jesus Christ, my Savior, has merited it for me. It was not for Himself that He purchased so many merits,—but for me: He cedes them to me, and it is by Him and in Him that I shall save my soul.”

Far from allowing yourself to be dejected by fear and doubt, raise your desires rather to great virtues and to the most sublime perfection. God loves courageous souls, Saint Theresa assures us, provided they mistrust their own strength and place all their reliance upon Him.

The devil tries to persuade you that it is pride to have exalted aspirations and to wish to imitate the virtues of the saints; but do not permit him to deceive you by this artifice. He will only laugh at you if he succeed in making you fall into weakness and irresolution.

To aspire to the noblest and highest ends gives firmness and perseverance to the soul.

You cannot teach what you do not know yourselves. Teach them to love God, to love Christ, to love our Mother the Church and the pastors of the Church who are your guides. Love the Catechism and teach your children to love it; it is the great handbook of the love and fear of God, of Christian wisdom and of eternal life. -Pope Pius XII

“May you wear the Queen’s uniform–the scapular–faithfully and thoughtfully. May it be a means of many graces, the means also of the greatest grace – everlasting life…” ~ Father Arthur Tonne

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Coloring pages for your children….

Do you need some good reading suggestions? Visit…

My Book List

Book List for Catholic Men

Book List for the Youth

Painting by Carl Larsson

“Heartlessness” ~ The Effect of a Wrong Education

Painting by Henry John Yeend King ~ (English: 1855-1924)

From True Womanhood by Fr. Bernard O’Reilly

There is no such thing as natural heartlessness. Cold as certain grown-up women, as well as men, seem to be by nature,—we may be certain that neither nature nor its Author is to blame for this lack of genial warmth and affection.

No child is born without the disposition to love and the power of loving warmly: this may be not so apparent at the surface in some children as in others, or exist in the same degree of energy; or, again, this coldness in some may be only such as contrasted with the passionate and impulsive fervor of others.

But let mothers rest assured that the heart is there, with its natural and essential powers of returning love for love, and of practicing, not only the virtue of supernatural charity so indispensable to the sanctity and salvation of the adult Christian, but all the other charities of private and public life, with the many virtues which never fail to adorn the soul in which true charity reigns.

Indeed were it possible (which is not so) that any human being could be born without natural affection, the Creator Spirit, coming into the soul in baptism, would most surely repair the defect.

But comparatively feeble (and we use this expression most reluctantly) as the power of loving maybe supposed to be, — it is there in the soul for the mother’s tender hand and fostering charity to nurse into fullness of life, into perfect bloom and fruitful maturity. And God’s abundant and unfailing help is secured to the mother in this training of her child’s heart.

But the real heartlessness which shows itself so offensively in the girl and in the woman is, you may be sure of it, the result of neglect in the parent, or of a training in every way vicious. For this heartlessness is but undisguised selfishness obtruding itself upon us in all its own repulsive deformity.

The mother’s eye had failed to detect this weed in her child’s soul, or allowed it to grow up during infancy and girlhood, under the delusive hope that the good qualities in her girl’s nature would choke out the bad when she grew up to womanhood. But it is the contrary which happens, unless God should interfere and perform a miracle in favor of the neglected or petted child.

Selfishness is pretty sure, when continually ministered to and nursed by all around it, to absorb and draw to itself all the vital energies of the soul.

In the tropical forests,—in the West Indies particularly, there is a formidable species of parasite creeper whose power becomes fatal to the mightiest trees in the forest. It first shows itself like a little green plant on a sturdy branch of the forest tree, or a hole in the trunk, whence it sends down thread-like feelers to the ground.

There they take root and reascend along the trunk, increasing in number and size, till not one feature of the parent-tree is visible. The whole is now enclosed in a network of serpentine forms so firm, so robust, and so vigorous, that the tiny plant has become a giant, strangling in its embrace the generous trunk which fed and supported it, and hanging high in mid-air, above the topmost branches of its dead benefactor, its brilliant clusters of flowers.

Thus does selfishness prosper and flourish!

The wise wife recognizes her need of God. Frequently she tells Him of her insufficiency. To inspire her husband, to be patient, to be unselfish and loyal, to be the dozen and one other wonderful things a desirable wife must be –all this postulates the presence of God always at her side. – The Wife Desired, Fr. Leo Kinsella

Where I discuss the dynamics of Catholic family life that helped them to form their children into God-fearing, joyful Catholics.

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A very valuable book for the guys plucked out of the past and reprinted. It was written in 1894 by Fr. Bernard O’Reilly and the words on the pages will stir the hearts of the men to rise to virtue and chivalry…. Beautifully and eloquently written!

A very beautiful book, worthy of our attention. In it, you will find many pearls of wisdom for a woman striving to be the heart of the home, an inspiration to all who cross her path. You will be inspired to reconsider the importance of your role of wife and mother! Written by Rev. Bernard O’Reilly in 1894, the treasures found within its pages ring true and remain timeless…

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Special Summer Saints – St. Flavius, St Anne, etc.

So many feasts to learn about and to celebrate with our children! These feasts are coming up and we take note and pray to them in our needs. If they have special significance in your life, then do something singular on that day…or, at the very least, teach the saint to your children!

From The Year and Our Children, Mary Reed Newland

St. Felicitas of Rome (July 10)

Since she was supposed to have been the mother of seven sons, and is invoked for the bearing of male children, it is a good thing for us that my birthday is July 11 instead of July 10, or no doubt we should not have even our one daughter. You can see the powerful influence of her octave, even so.

St. Christopher (July 25). Being such a big saint, he has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. He is the patron of archers,  market carriers, fruit dealers, motorists, and Christopher David Newland, and is invoked against sudden death, storms, hail, toothache, impenitence at death, and, last of all, he is the patron of fullers, who are weavers – and, as I said, our town is full of weavers.

 St. Anne (July 26)

My note: St. Anne is my patron saint and, besides Our Lady, she is the patron saint of Finer Femininity. I love her dearly. How could one not? The mother of Mary must have been so very special, with so many qualities that we women strive for in our vocations. Let’s turn to her in our needs. I know she is waiting to help!

St. Anne is very special with us because she found our present house and land when we were being evicted elsewhere.

She is the patroness of old-clothes dealers, seamstresses, laceworkers, housekeepers, carpenters, turners, cabinetmakers, stablemen, and broommakers, and she is invoked against poverty and to find lost objects.

Although the martyrology doesn’t say so, she must be the patroness of Grandmothers, and we love her for that because cause we could never get along without our grandmothers – and both have Ann in their names.

The children love to recall that if she was still there when the Christ Child learned to talk, He called her Grandmother. The nicest of her tradition that her name is Anne and her husband’s Joachim; and now and then a non-Catholic will challenge the source of the “St. Anne” who we say is the Virgin’s mother.

But our Lady had a mother and father, and they must have had names, and it is as suitable to call them the traditional names of Anne and Joachim as it is to call them anything else. It is only the name that is open to challenge. The role is not. Unless, of course, they wish to propose that the Blessed Virgin was miraculously produced without the conventional parents.

Even Catholics think that’s going too far. They stubbornly insist that she must have had parents; and they love her parents because they brought her into the world. We think the best way to celebrate in honor of St. Anne is to do something lovely for the grandmothers.

Little girls might dress their best dolls as the tiny Mary this day and lay them in flower-bedecked cradles. We borrow words in her praise from the Greek liturgy this day, to add to our night prayers:

Hail, spiritual bird, announcing the spring time of grace!

Hail, sheep, mother of the ewe lamb, who by a word, conceived the Word, the Lamb that taketh away the sins of the world!

Hail, blessed earth, whence sprang the branch that bore the divine Fruit!

O Anne, most blessed in God, grandmother of Christ our Lord, who didst give to the world a shining lamp, the mother of God; together with her intercede that great may be the mercy granted to our souls.

Let us cry to holy Anne with cymbals and psaltery. She brought forth the mountain of God and was borne up to the spiritual mountains, the tabernacles of Paradise.

St. Lawrence (August 10)

Now you remember him: he was roasted on a gridiron. Guess whom he is patron of? Cooks.

Let no one say that the Fathers who wrote the martyrology or assigned the patrons didn’t have a grand and grisly sense of humor.

He is also invoked against lumbago and fire (you’d better put his name on the fire extinguisher along with St. Florian’s) and for the protection of vineyards. He is also the patron of restaurateurs.

St. Raymond Nonnatus (August 31)

He is called “nonnatus”  because he was not “born,” but delivered by Caesarian section. Since so many of our friends have their babies this way, we feel it is important to have his friendship.

His mother died at his birth but he ended up a cardinal and a saint; so you see, God does take care of His little ones.

He is the patron of midwives and is invoked for women at childbirth, birth, and for little children.

 St. Giles, or Egidius (September 1)


He is invoked against cancer, sterility in women, the terrors of the night (anyone have nightmares at your house?), and madness, and is the patron of cripples and spur makers. (Incidentally, the Compline hymn is a beautiful going-to-bed song for children who have nightmares: “. . . far off let idle visions fly, no phantom of the night molest.”)

There is a famous legend of St. Giles and a doe that was his friend and lived in a cave with him by the banks of the Rhone in France. One day, while running through the woods, the doe was pursued by a pack of hounds and hunters.

She raced back to the cave and disappeared inside, and the hunter leading the pack shot an arrow after her.

A moment later, Giles appeared with the arrow in his knee and the blood flowing freely. The hunter was filled with remorse, introduced himself as the king, Flavius, and offered to bring the royal physicians to treat the poor knee.

“No,” said St. Giles, “it is quite all right with me if God has permitted me to be crippled like this. He probably has some reason.”

As indeed He had, for Giles, bearing his infirmity with sweet patience for the love of God, became the patron and friend of all who share such infirmities with him.

“Holy water is water blessed by a priest with solemn prayer, to beg God’s blessing on those who use it, and protection from the powers of darkness. Have some holy water in your home. A holy water font is part of the equipment of a complete Catholic home. Use this powerful sacramental to help you keep clear of sin, and strengthen your desire to serve God in the name of the holy sign of the cross. Amen.” – Fr. Arthur Tonne, 1950

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In the words of this humble seventeenth-century lay Carmelite, “we must trust God once and for all and abandon ourselves to Him alone.” This difficult task necessarily requires perseverance and continual conversation with God in all activities great and small: “speaking humbly and talking lovingly with Him at all times, at every moment, without rule or system…” In reading these conversations, letters, and spiritual maxims, we learn the key to endless joy.

In short, this little spiritual classic — in its fresh, contemporary English translation — renders the simple wisdom of Brother Lawrence accessible to every Christian who yearns for the fullness of life….

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Corpus Christi / Feast of the Sacred Heart – Maria Von Trapp

Two wonderful feasts…

Corpus Christi Procession at the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) International Seminary at Wigratzbad, Bavaria, Germany, 2019.


On the Thursday after the octave of Pentecost falls the feast of Corpus Christi–the feast of the Holy Eucharist. The actual anniversary of the institution of the Blessed Sacrament is celebrated on Holy Thursday, but on this day the Church cannot summon the proper festive mood, because of all the other happenings following the Last Supper, which she also has to commemorate.

For this reason she has instituted a special feast day for this event. In the old country this used to be the great feast day at summer’s beginning, with its distinctive feature the solemn procession, after the High Mass, in which the Blessed Sacrament was carried through the streets and over the fields and meadows. Such a Corpus Christi Day belongs among our most beautiful memories.

The day before, the big boys of the village cut young trees in the woods, usually birch, and plant them on either side of the road along which the priest will carry the Blessed Sacrament. From the village inn you hear the brass band having a last rehearsal, while mothers pin-curl the hair of their little girls. Everybody is preparing his finery for the great day.

The Association of Voluntary Firemen come in their best uniforms and brass helmets. The war veterans will also be in uniform with big plumed hats. The big girls are making garlands by the yards which will span the street. All windows will be decorated, houses and families vying with each other the best carpets, flanked by candles and flowers, are hung out the windows and statues and holy paintings are exhibited on them.

Early in the morning freshly cut grass is strewn thickly on the road. Four times the procession will come to a halt, the priest will sing solemnly the beginning of one of the four Gospels and each time there will be Solemn Benediction.

At those four spots altars are erected and decorated with trees and greenery and a profusion of flowers and candles. A great deal of love and care and time goes into these preparations.

Then comes the great day. The church choir gives its best at the Solemn High Mass and all the people attend from the mayor to the smallest child, for everybody wants to accompany Our Lord on His triumphal way. The procession is headed by an altar boy carrying a crucifix, followed by all the school children–the girls in white, their veils held in place by wreaths of flowers, looking for all the world like so many little brides; the boys wearing a wreath of flowers on their left upper arm over their Sunday-best, just like “best men.”

Then come the different confraternities with their banners and costumes. In the towns the convents would send every member they could spare. There would be the blue Vincentian Sisters with their coronets, looking like a group of doves, the white Dominican nuns, the brown Carmelites of the Third Order, the black Benedictines followed by the brown Franciscans, then the Mission Fathers and the bearded Capuchins followed by the secular clergy in their liturgical vestments.

They are all like the heralds of the great King Who is following now under the richly embroidered baldachin carried by the four most important men of the community. The pastor carries the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament. Two little girls are throwing flower petals out of baskets directly at the feet of Our Lord. Little altar boys alternate in ringing silver bells and swinging the censer from which rise billowing clouds, enveloping the Sanctissimum.

On the right and on the left are marching soldiers carrying guns as if on parade. Behind the Blessed Sacrament follows the church choir, then a detachment of firemen, the war veterans in uniforms, and the rest of the community.

At the very end of the procession comes the brass band playing hymns while everybody joins in the singing. The highlights for everybody, young and old, are the moments of benediction with the priest raising the monstrance for all to see and the soldiers lifting their guns and shooting their salute, while from the outskirts cannons resound with a thundering echo.

I cannot remember a single occasion when it rained on Corpus Christi Day. From a cloudless blue sky a hot June sun would shine. At the end of such a triumphal procession everyone from the oldest grandfather in a plumed hat to the smallest flower girl would be in a truly festive mood.

In the new world, we naturally found a different Corpus Christi celebration. In Philadelphia, where we stayed for the first two years, we took part once in a Corpus Christi procession which went around the church grounds.

In the second year we acted as church choir at the convent where our little girls went to school, walking around their big garden. It was all very solemn and moving and devout.

But as soon as we were up on our hill in Vermont, we obtained the bishop’s permission for an outdoor procession. Now we put up two altars, Hedwig cuts the grass early in the morning with a scythe, and all of us accompany Our Lord on His way over the fields and pastures and back home through our cemetery.


Eight days after Corpus Christi follows the feast of the Sacred Heart.

After Jesus had died for us on the Cross, He wanted to do even more–to give His last drop of blood. And so the Roman soldier pierced His heart with a lance. One would think this would have convinced all later generations of their Redeemer’s love.

But the “Prince of this world” saw to it that Christians in the course of time became forgetful of this love.

To remind us, Jesus in 1675 appeared to a humble little nun in France, St.Margaret Mary, all aglow and radiant, the Risen Christ of Easter Sunday. On His breast she saw His heart all afire.

Our Lord pointed to it, saying, “Behold, this heart which has loved men so much,” and He told her to spread the news: everyone who would venerate this symbol of the Divine Heart He would ward with divine generosity.

I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.

I will establish peace in their houses.

I will comfort them in all their afflictions.

I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all in death.

I will bestow a large blessing upon all their undertakings.

Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and the infinite ocean of mercy.

Tepid souls shall grow fervent.

Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.

I will bless every place where a picture of My Heart shall be set up and honored.

I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.

Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be blotted out.

I promise them in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the first Friday in nine consecutive months the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.

As our home is called “Cor Unum” and our motto for daily life that we want to be one heart and one soul, we chose the feast of the Sacred Heart as our family feast.

On that day, after a Solemn High Mass and the feast-day breakfast, we have our yearly family conference. We report on all the doings of the past year, we talk about the plans of the coming year.

This is the day for every one of us to say whether he or she wants to stay in the family choir known as the Trapp Family Singers for another season; whoever wants to get married or whoever wants to do something on his own–this is the day to say so. This custom comes from the old country.

Many families have their family day on the feast of the Holy Family in January, some on the feast of St. Joseph, who was a family man.

Every day you need to lift your husband up in prayer. Ask St. Joseph to help him to be a good husband and father. He needs you, who are his closest companion, to lift him up each day to our Heavenly Father. Ask Our Lord to protect him and to protect your marriage. What a wonderful gift a praying wife is! -Finer Femininity <3

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Here, Baroness Maria Augusta Trapp tells in her own beautiful, simple words the extraordinary story of her romance with the baron, their escape from Nazi-occupied Austria, and their life in America.

Now with photographs from the original edition.

Most people only know the young Maria from The Sound of Music; few realize that in subsequent years, as a pious wife and a seasoned Catholic mother, Maria gave herself unreservedly to keeping her family Catholic by observing in her home the many feasts of the Church’s liturgical year, with poems and prayers, food and fun, and so much more!

With the help of Maria Von Trapp, you, too, can provide Christian structure and vibrancy to your home. Soon your home will be a warm and loving place, an earthly reflection of our eternal home.This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.