The In-Laws ~ An Ernest Plea

by Fr. Robert Nash, S.J., Marriage Before and After, 1952

“A man’s enemies,” Our Lord tells us, ” are those of his own household.”

We have talked about some of them—bad temper, jealousy, suspicion. But over and above the causes of dissension from within, there are also foes from without whose business in life would seem to be to upset the peace and union which should reign in the family. They are commonly known as the ” in-laws ” and it is notorious that they are possessed of a villainous power to wreck married happiness and drive a wedge between a man and his wife.

Wrecking a Home

Now it is very clearly recognized that there are ” in-laws ” who do not for a moment come up for consideration when obstacles to married union are being discussed. They wish the married parties well and they show it. They are the soul of generosity and thoughtfulness. They would resent like a blow in the face any disparaging tale about man or wife and they would be the first to contradict it and prove, and with spirit, that it was a calumny. But with these we are not concerned except to commend them and pray that their number may increase and multiply.

There are other ” in-laws,” though, aren’t there?

There are “in-laws ” who seem incapable of allowing you to manage your own affairs in your own house and family—they resent it if you do not act on their suggestions, orders I had nearly said.

There are “in-laws” who try to give you the impression that in marrying their sister or brother or daughter or son, you have taken the entire family under your wing. The idea seems to be that you have entered upon an alliance with the whole of them, so you are expected to entertain them and house them without protest.

You are barely a month married when dear mother-in-law pilots herself into the horizon and proceeds to park herself with you, with a naivete that disarms you, for what threatens to be an indefinite period. When she does finally move off, sister-in-law’s turn comes, and when she decides to depart, she thinks well to bear away with her your partner who evidently needs a change. It looks as if the ” in-laws ” are taking over.

Unless you are strong there is certainly going to be trouble. They can brew a storm and it is matter of history that they have been known to sow the seeds of unhealthy and unwarranted suspicion in the heart of a guileless and hitherto unsuspecting partner.

A wife is wise who lets it be clearly seen from the start that now her husband has first claim. A husband is a good judge if he be not too ready to share confidences with his own family rather than with his wife. Both will contribute no small measure to their union and unanimity by trying to solve their own domestic problems and keeping within the circle of their own home the secrets and passing difficulties, which, as we saw, are inevitable where people are living together.

An Earnest Plea

And may I insert a parenthesis for the “in-laws” though these pages are not primarily concerned with them? May I implore you to leave the married couple alone and let them manage their own affairs? Your meddlesome interference is certainly going to add fuel to flame.

And may I say the same to all tale-bearers, busy-bodies, slanderers; to those who suspect only and speak as if they were sure; to those who weave the fabric of a detailed calumny out of the thinnest shreds of evidence? Your words may open a breach between man and wife which will take years to bridge over, if indeed the evil done does not prove to be irreparable.

Your thoughtless yarn or insinuating remark, like the stone flung into the lake, may send ripples of discord far and wide over a hitherto peaceful and blissfully happy surface. Beware! And don’t you forget either that you must answer to God for this sin and its consequences.

As an antidote to all these disrupting influences, whether they come from within or from without, one would like to recommend strongly the cultivation of little attentions between man and wife. These, for all their smallness, are great and lasting in their results:

The kiss when husband is going out to business in the morning and when he returns in the evening; the care on husband’s part to avoid throwing cigarette ashes on wife’s carpet or clean tablecloth; the felt slippers placed by wife near the fender for husband when he comes home tired, and the smile of appreciation or word of thanks from him as he puts them on.

The restraint carefully exercised to avoid any reference to a topic that is unpleasant or dangerous unless such reference be absolutely necessary; the smile of welcome with which wife awaits husband’s return, a smile which perhaps disguises some secret loneliness or disappointment – the little treat for the tea which he buys on the way home and which is sure to call forth a cheer front the youngsters.

The birthday present remembered, though the date was not mentioned beforehand, and deliberately so as to give the pleasanter surprise—these are a few of the thousand little devices which foster in the family that spirit of mutual affection pleaded for in this section of our notes.

The resulting union between all in the home will be a faithful reflex of the first quality found in the ` perfect family at Nazareth. The first link in the chain is being forged of purest gold.

“There is beauty all around when there’s love at home.”

Alice von Hildebrand – “St. Francis de Sales tells us that pious women should be well-dressed, but this doesn’t mean they must become slaves of fashion. There’s a way of dressing which is attractive, even elegant, but at the same time modest and simple. More importantly, attractiveness shouldn’t be reserved for guests and those you meet outside the home, while you ‘let yourself go’ when you’re at home. The moment a couple marries, they should begin to try always to be at their best for each other, physically (and above all) spiritually.”

Beautiful Brass Wire Wrapped Rosaries! Wire wrapping is one of the oldest techniques for making jewelry or rosaries by hand. Frequently, in this approach, a wire is bent into a loop or other decorative shape and then the wire is wrapped around itself to finish the wire component making that loop or decorative shape permanent. Not only is it quite beautiful but it makes the rosaries sturdy and durable.Available here.

A must-read for the married and those considering marriage! This guidebook to finding a happy marriage, keeping a happy marriage, and raising happy children has been out of print for over 50 years…until now! From the master of the spiritual life, Raoul Plus, S.J., it contains loads of practical and spiritual advice on family life. Have you been looking for a handbook on marriage and raising children that is based on truth? You’ve found it!

The saints assure us that simplicity is the virtue most likely to draw us closer to God and make us more like Him.

No wonder Jesus praised the little children and the pure of heart! In them, He recognized the goodness that arises from an untroubled simplicity of life, a simplicity which in the saints is completely focused on its true center, God.

That’s easy to know, simple to say, but hard to achieve.

For our lives are complicated and our personalities too. (We even make our prayers and devotions more complicated than they need be!)

In these pages, Fr. Raoul Plus provides a remedy for the even the most tangled lives.

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A School Activity ~ DIY Colorful Pennant Border for Your Children!

I am getting ready to teach some of my grandchildren this year and I always like to think of fun things we can do to decorate our “classroom” and to keep the children engaged while working with one of the other students. So I came up with this idea and thought I would share it with you…

These are pennant borders for the classroom that are simple and the kids can make themselves. What child doesn’t like to color? And when their coloring efforts are displayed in the classroom, how satisfying is that?

The Pennants

Supplies needed:

*My Pennant Series (links below)

This is the School Pennant Series

This is the Fall Pennant Series

This is the Religious Pennant Series


*Crayons or Pencil Crayons (We used pencil crayons)


*Hole Punch


I used light cardstock to print the pennants out.

The children color them….

After they are colored, they cut them out on the triangular outline….

Punch out the holes for the ribbon…

Insert the ribbon through the holes and tie it. I left about 1 – 2 inches between each pennant….

You can switch these pennants up according to the season or to your tastes.

Mix and match as you like to make an interesting, colorful and fun pennant. And now you have a lovely homemade border for your schoolroom! Enjoy!

The education of your children is the result of the combined efforts of both parents. But in his youngest years, the child is almost exclusively under the mother’s guidance.
Your efforts are to produce effects that will have their final reckoning in eternity. Although your educational influence is of a nature entirely different from that of the father, your vocation as mother is equal in importance to your husband’s. -The Catholic Family Handbook, Fr. Lovasik (afflink)
The ideal wife gives comfort and encouragement when needed. She is wise with a woman’s intuition…

A beautiful and colorful 30~Day Journal! This journal is for the single lady who is in the interim before finding her vocation in life. At this very important crossroad in life, this journal can help with discipline, inspiration and encouragement. All of the quotes deal with a young lady’s time in life….whether it is courtship, religious vocations, modesty and just a better spiritual life in general. A form of Morning and Night Prayers that I have used personally through the years is included at the beginning of the Journal. This 30~day journal is a tool that will help the young woman to be disciplined in the next 30 days to write down positive, thankful thoughts. It will help her focus on the true and lovely by thinking about good memories, special moments, things and people she is grateful for, etc., as she awaits the time her vocation is made manifest to her. NOW is the time to improve our lives! Available here.


This booklet contains practical advice on the subjects of dating and choosing a spouse from the Catholic theological viewpoint. Father Lovasik points out clearly what one’s moral obligations are in this area, providing an invaluable aid to youthful readers. Additionally, he demonstrates that Catholic marriage is different from secular marriage and why it is important to choose a partner who is of the Catholic Faith if one would insure his or her personal happiness in marriage. With the rampant dangers to impurity today, with the lax moral standards of a large segment of our society, with divorce at epidemic levels, Clean Love in Courtship will be a welcome source of light and guidance to Catholics serious about their faith.A Frank, Yet Reverent Instruction on the Intimate Matters of Personal Life for Young Men. To our dear and noble Catholic youths who have preserved, or want to recover, their purity of heart, and are minded to retain it throughout life. For various reasons many good fathers of themselves are not able to give their sons this enlightenment on the mysteries of life properly and sufficiently. They may find this book helpful in the discharge of their parental responsibilities in so delicate a matter.

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Feast of the Assumption!

Happy Feast Day!

I find this very inspiring and a good reminder to do SOMETHING special for this wonderful Feast Day of Our Lady….today, Monday, August 15th!

It is somewhat long but an easy read and will give you lots of encouragement to build some memories with your kids!

From the book The Year and Our Children by Mary Reed Newland:

“Now what,” I asked, “shall we do for the Assumption besides having a procession?”

“A tea!” That was Peter. He’s for teas. It was Peter who thought up having the Mad Tea Party that time.

And a tea seemed like a good idea this time, what with an afternoon procession and a blessing and flowers and mint and things.

We called the Hobsons.

“We’re inviting you to a tea,” we said, “in honor of Our Lady’s Assumption, with a procession and a Blessing of Herbs and Flowers.”

“Oh, fine,” said the Hobsons’ mother. “We’ll wear our organdies. We always wear our organdies to teas.”

This promised to be very interesting since there are only two Hobson girls (their mother and Ginny) and the rest are boys.

At least, at the time that was how matters stood. There are now three Hobson girls. Anne Marie has been added.

Then we decided that we should have something special for our procession during which we would give the Blessing of Herbs and Flowers (in the new ritual it is called simply the Blessing of Herbs).

The blessing is traditionally given on August 15, perhaps because of the legend that the Apostles found flowers in the tomb where they had laid Our Lady; or perhaps because the Church wanted to Christianize the pagan custom of gathering herbs for medicines at this time of year.

At any rate, the legend about the flowers in her tomb and St. Thomas doubting is sufficiently popular to merit a telling, just so that everyone will get it straight that it is a legend. It goes like this (with many variations).

Our Lady fell asleep at last after the years of living with St. John and waiting for Heaven, and all the Apostles were gathered about her bed. Except St. Thomas. He was off in India preaching the Gospel and couldn’t get back on time, although an angel is supposed to have told him to hurry.

The other apostles carried her body to the tomb and laid it there, and sometime afterward they discovered that it was gone. They naturally concluded that it had been taken to Heaven (as indeed it had).

Then St. Thomas came home; and when they went out to meet him and to explain, he would not believe. He would not believe, the legend says, until he had seen for himself. So they took him to see where they had laid our Lady’s body and in its place were flowers.

Looking up, St. Thomas saw her going up to Heaven; and to convince him at last, an angel brought the girdle she had fastened about her robe and dropped it to Thomas.

It is a pretty story and parts of it are true, but frankly we doubt that St. Thomas had doubts again. You don’t do that sort of thing twice, not after our very Lord said to you, “You are a doubting Thomas. Come here.”

What is true is that Our Lady fell asleep. The word death is not used for Our Lady, because death is the consequence of Original Sin and a punishment for sin, and Our Lady was without the slightest taint of sin.

She would not, need not, have died, but merely waited for her divine Son to will that it was her time for Heaven, and then yield up her soul. We would have accomplished it this way instead of through death if God’s original plan had been permitted to unfold.

But instead of God’s original plan, we had Adam’s Original Sin, and that is how death came in its stead.

Mary was assumed into Heaven. At the end of Masses and after Benediction, when we say the Divine Praises, we add in praise of our Lady: “Blessed be her glorious Assumption,” which is what we celebrate today.

Now back to our procession. With recollections of the magnificent banners and wall-hangings of our Grailville friends, a banner seemed in order – but one that we could design and execute in a reasonable time.

One day, for a special project, we shall work out a more elaborate hanging, with wools and velvets, sateens, yarns, chain stitch, feather stitch, bands and borders; but this day we had little or no time to spare.

So it was off to the linen trunk in the storeroom to see what treasures we could find. We found a small linen guest towel of bachelor’s-button blue, embroidered with cross-stitch roses, simple and nice. It made us think of the Mystical Rose.

And we found a white linen cloth, heavy as a butcher’s apron but fine as fine and bleached white with many washings and sunnings. Added to these were a length of white rickrack and a half-skein of white yarn, and our materials were complete.

We sewed a decorative M of the rickrack over the roses on the blue linen towel. We cut an oblong of the white linen large enough to double-hem the edges and leave a border of about one and a half inches of white around the blue.

We mounted the blue towel on the white linen, sewing it across the top only. We divided the white yarn into three hanks, braided it into a rope and tacked it across the top of the banner with equal lengths to hang loose down either side.

Next, John went up to the woods and cut a new shoot of oak about an inch in diameter and skinned the bark off. He sawed a two-foot length for our cross-piece, and we bound the banner to this, with white yarn at four places across the top.

Another length of oak about three feet long was the standard and we bound our cross-piece to it. There was our banner! It took about an hour, with children and Granny helping, before we had it finished and the threads and shreds swept up off the dining-room floor.

The next item was the Ritual, that slim black book the priest carries about when he gives the blessings, and a valuable addition to family life.

Then Stephen remembered something and ran into the study. Confetti! For over a year, we had saved a package of confetti, waiting for a feast of suitable magnitude before using it.

Feast days had come and gone, of magnificent magnitude, but we forever forgot the confetti. This was the day for it! Then we sat down, more or less, to await the arrival of our guests in their organdies.

As none of the Newland sprouts knows an organdy from a hole in the wall, there was wild anticipation.

At last they drove up, but in picture hats and blue espadrilles, in honor of Our Lady.

Also bearing with them a peach chiffon pie they had made to honor her and indulge all present, with a crown of sliced peaches decorating it.

We explained immediately that these were not organdies. Philip stood admiring them, nevertheless, as they dismounted from the station wagon. A three-year inventory of knowledge stored in his hard little head was clearly being examined for some clue to this apparel. Finally, he recognized the costumes. “`You look real nice in your cowboy hats and your bedroom slippers.”

The Hobsons thanked him graciously. After general clamor for a few minutes, customary as families assemble for any great event, we had a short discussion of Our Lady’s Dormition and Assumption with a clear explanation of the legend about the flowers at her tomb.

Then we started out in this order: Stephen with banner. Mrs. Hobson with pewter mug of holy water and aspergill. Mother with Ritual. Ginny with confetti. A quick shift of aspergill to Peter as Mrs. Hobson picks up John Archer, who is afraid of goose and goats. Various additional children.

Arranged at last, we started with the flowerbed by the house where there is tansy, thyme, marigold, and an unidentified herb that will be a mystery until our herb lady comes back and identifies it.

The blessing begins beautifully with Psalm 64 which has wonderful passages in it for children. As we had just recovered from the fringes of a hurricane which, in turn, had put an end to our drought, these lines had special and eloquent meaning.

They shout and sing for joy. Alas, our procession seems to be one part reading and blessing, and one part shouting and singing for joy.

No loss: their joy is in the Lord, and if they are too little to stand still very long, psalms or no, let them shout and sing for joy.

This is the making of many memories and impressions, a mixture of blessings and sun and sky and happiness and family and home and our Lady Mother Mary; this is one of the joys of being a Catholic.

After a Gloria, the blessing continues, the leader reading the versicles, the others responding:

Leader: The Lord will be gracious.

All: And our land bring forth its fruit.

Leader: Thou waterest the mountains from the clouds.

All: The earth is replenished from Thy rains.

Leader: Giving grass for cattle.

All: And plants for the service of man.

Leader: Thou bringest forth wheat from the earth.

All: And wine to cheer man’s heart.

Leader: He sends His command and heals their suffering.

All: And snatches them from distressing want.

Leader: 0 Lord, hear my prayer.

All: And let my cry come unto Thee.

Leader: The Lord be with you.

All: And with thy spirit.

Then follow three prayers of blessing, the first of which reads:

Let us pray. Almighty, everlasting God, by Thy word alone Thou hast made Heaven, earth, sea, all things visible and invisible, and hast adorned the earth with plants and trees for the use of men and animals.

Thou appointest each species to bring forth fruit in its kind, not only to serve as food for living creatures, but also as medicine to sick bodies.

With mind and word, we earnestly appeal to Thine ineffable goodness to bless these various herbs and fruits, and add to their natural powers the grace of Thy new blessing. May they ward off disease and adversity from men and beasts who use them in Thy name.

Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. Amen.LowerFarmHouse(3)

We proceeded down to the vegetable garden and sprinkled the dill, and thence off to the brook, where the wild mint flourishes, singing “Mary, We Greet Thee” all the way (that is the Salve Regina in English).

Down along the brook is a magic place, with mint thick and tangled and wild grape and small willows and a hidden bed of forget-me-not.

We sprinkled that, and the flame flower far inside a thicket by a private stream of its own. Then we went further down to the place for sitting on banks and dangling feet. And here, with a story while tasting mint and other wild leaves that were not quite so delicious, everyone took off shoes and went wading, and the smallest ones sat down in the water in their clothes.

Then at last we threw the confetti. It was a glorious sight floating on the brook, sun dappling the water, sounds of children, sounds of water, smell of mint, everyone laughing and splashing, all for the honor and glory of our Lady.

Then back home, to the pie with the Mary-crown on it and the spiced tea with orange and clove (because Holy Scripture says that Mary is like sweet spices and aromatic balm”‘):a lovely end to a day that had started with the whole family at Mass and Holy Communion.

The fathers had pie saved for them in the refrigerator. Processions like this are a particularly motherish kind of thing. These things that take fussing and patience and holding hands while walking with very little people with incredible slowness are things mothers were especially well made for.

Lucky for mothers who have sunny afternoons to teach such beautiful truths and to make such beautiful memories as these of “her glorious Assumption”!

But suppose you live in the city, and there is no brook and no pasture, no wild mint or forget-me-not, or goose or garden or herbs to be blessed – what then?

Still, I would not give in. Somehow I would find a way to make a family celebration and a happy memory of the Assumption.

For some people, a trip to the nearby botanical gardens would be a lovely event for the afternoon. There are many more herbs there than in backyard gardens, and often there are also true Mary-gardens.

You could take along the Ritual, or the words to the blessing copied out of it, and a little bottle of holy water; and when you were alone together for a while, read the blessing over some small patch of fragrance somewhere out of the way where you disturb no one.

Or if there were friends in the country or the suburbs, I would plan a visit with them, a sharing of foods for a picnic supper and a procession to bless their flowers and herbs.

Or if there were no way to go anywhere, I would make it a celebration around the evening meal in the city apartment.

I would buy a pot of flowers, or a few cut flowers from a pushcart, and go to the grocer’s for some herbs. Celery, chives, parsley, endive, lettuce, and chicory are some of the common salad herbs we use all the time, without thinking of them as herbs.

Mint for iced tea is another herb we use; so I’d find some of that. Then, when all the other dishes were ready, before mixing the salad or putting the mint in the tea, I’d have my family gather together around these lovely things and have the father or the oldest grown-up read the Blessing of Herbs, right in my own city apartment; or in my own room over my tray, if I lived all alone.

For dessert there would be spiced peaches or pears, and I would use cinnamon to spice them because Scripture says that our Lady is like the smell of sweet cinnamon.

The juice drained off any canned or stewed fruit, brought to a boil and then left to simmer a while with a little extra sugar and a stick of cinnamon, quickly prepares spiced fruit.

Do it the day before, then let it get nice and cold in the refrigerator. I would bring out a book from the library with reproductions in it of the early Christian masters – Italian, French, Flemish – and explain to my family the meanings of the fruits they used as symbols and have my children search for them in pictures. Libraries, encyclopedias, and bookshops will help you find information on symbols.

To decorate a city apartment for the feast, a banner such as described can be used without the standard; or a group of the fruits may be arranged in a bowl, or cut out in simple patterns from bright fabrics or old felts, sewed in a garland around a decorative M on heavy unbleached muslin or linen, or arranged in a group surmounted by an M and used as a center decoration on the table or a hanging on the wall behind it.

Children may make such a banner of colored construction paper and paste, cutting the fruits from paper, silhouette-fashion, and mounting them.

These symbolize only a few of the glorious virtues with which God adorned His Mother. Perhaps it is the most obvious thing in this feast that evades us most successfully.

We are so accustomed to understanding its meaning that we fail to understand it with impact: we will see her womanly, motherly, virginal, presence in Heaven.

This is the great triumph. A creature, child of Adam and Eve, flesh and blood like ourselves, not divine, has so dignified our race by her obedience that we are now adopted sons of God and heirs of Heaven.

And we will see her. Children always put it so well.

I asked them if they understood what Assumption – to be assumed into Heaven – meant. “Yes. Her whole self went to Heaven. Not one crumb was left.”

Only someone who lives with children and knows their language would understand.

They will say, “I love you so much I could eat you up.”

That is why “not one crumb was left” has such eloquent meaning.

Another said, “You mean our Lady is really in Heaven. And when we see her, it will be more than just her soul, but her real face, and her real hands, and her really real smile!” And it will be beautiful. There is a hint of it in her Mass: “The daughter of the King comes in, all beautiful: her robes are of golden cloth.”

The wife’s immediate responsibility however is toward her husband. She is his minister, his eye, his hand, his head and heart, in applying his wealth or the produce of his industry to the ends for which God wills it to be employed. -Fr. Bernard O’Reilly, True Womanhood 1894 (afflink)

Excellent! (and short) sermon! “St. Alphonsus Liguori is known as the Most Zealous Doctor of the Church. Let us listen to and reflect upon twelve of the Moral Doctor’s teachings that lead to sanctity. ‘O Mary, Mother of God, pray to Jesus for me and make me a saint.'”

This book gives us some lovely rhymes that can, and should, be committed to heart by your children. Not only will it provide all the benefits of reading and memorizing, but it will supply some simple reflections that will turn those little minds to what is most important in their life….their Catholic Faith…. Available here.

Set of all 20 Children\’s Saints Lives

For ages 10 and up. Great stories of the saints for youth that are easy to read; yet extremely edifying and instructing! We all need good examples how to live a good Catholic life — these books will not overwhelm or turn off those who need them most.

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The Assumption ~ History and Liturgy

One of the great feasts of the Church is the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 15th).   

In the following article, we read about the history and how those of the Faith in days gone by kept the day special.

Let’s try to do something special this coming Monday, August 15th, to show Our Lady we love her and to instill in our children the wonder and beauty of this great feast!

Our Procession on a couple different feasts of Our Lady….

On the road…

Our Lady, Queen of all Hearts, pray for us!

We pray the Litany of Our Lady

Article from The Holyday Book by Father Frank Weiser, 1952


The first annual feast day of Mary seems to have been celebrated in Palestine. In a eulogy on Saint Theodosius (529), Bishop Theodore of Petra wrote that the monks of Palestine held every year with great solemnity and devotion a memorial feast of the Blessed Virgin (Theotokou Aineme: the Memory of the Mother of God). Neither the occasion nor the date of this “memory” is mentioned, but there is little doubt that it was a celebration on the anniversary of her “falling asleep.”

According to ancient tradition the date was August 15. This annual commemoration of Mary soon spread throughout the whole Eastern Church. Emperor Mauritius in 602 confirmed the date and established the feast as a public holiday for his entire realm. Its official title was the “Falling Asleep of the Mother of God” (Koimesis Theotokou).

Almost immediately Rome accepted this festival and celebrated it in the seventh century under the same title (Dormitio Beatae Mariae Virginis).

With the memory of Mary’s “falling asleep,” however, there was everywhere connected the ancient traditional belief that her body did not decay, but soon after the burial was united again with her soul by the miraculous action of Divine Omnipotence, and was taken up to Heaven.

In the Latin Church this general belief brought about a change in the title of the feast. Very soon, in the seventh and eighth centuries, it started to be called Assumptio (Taking Up) .

The universal belief of Mary’s assumption has been framed in ancient legends and stories which, though not strictly historical in themselves, confirm the underlying tradition.

The most famous of these legends is quoted in an interpolated passage (added by an unknown author) in the sermons of Saint John Damascene (749). It tells how the East Roman Emperor Marcian ( 457 ) and his wife, Pulcheria, asked the Bishop of Jerusalem at the Council of Chalcedon, in 451, to have the relics of the Blessed Virgin brought to Constantinople.

The bishop is said to have answered, “Mary died in the presence of the Apostles; but her tomb, when opened later on the request of Saint Thomas, was found empty, and thus the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to Heaven.”

Although the above legend was not actually told by Saint John Damascene, in one of his sermons he clearly expressed the same general belief of all Christianity: Your sacred and happy soul, as nature will have it, was separated in death from your most blessed and immaculate body; and although the body was duly interred, it did not remain in the state of death, neither was it dissolved by decay. . . . Your most pure and sinless body was not left on earth but you were transferred to your heavenly throne, O Lady, Queen, and Mother of God in truth.6

It is this fact of Mary’s assumption into Heaven that has been formally celebrated from the beginning of the Middle Ages in countries up to the Reformation, and in the Catholic Church up to this day.

The other two events connected with it, her “falling asleep” and her coronation in Heaven, are included in the feast but not expressly commemorated.

When Pope Pius XII, on November 1, 1950, solemnly announced the Assumption of Mary to be a dogma of the faith, he did not establish a new doctrine, but merely confirmed the universal belief of early Christianity, declaring it to be revealed by God through the medium of apostolic tradition.

He also introduced a new Mass text which more clearly stresses the fact of the Assumption in its prayers and readings. The feast was given a vigil and liturgical octave by Pope Leo IV in 874. The octave, however, was abolished in 1955, together with the octaves of all feasts except Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost.

The Council of Mainz in 813 prescribed the celebration for the whole empire of the West as a public holyday. Soon after, the popes extended this obligation to the entire Latin Church, It has remained ever since.

In 1957, however, Pope Pius XII transferred the obligation of vigil fast from the Feast of the Assumption to that of the Immaculate Conception. The Armenians list the Feast of the Assumption among the five supreme festivals (Daghavdr) of the year.

As such it is preceded by a whole week of fasting and consists of a three-day celebration of which the second day is the actual feast of obligation. It is also followed by a solemn liturgical octave.


In the Byzantine Rite the official title of the feast is still the ancient one ( Falling Asleep) :Koimesis Theotokou in Greek, Uspenije Marii in Slavonic. Most European nations have adopted the Latin term of Assumptio, like Assumption in English, Assuncion in Spanish, Assomption in French. The German Maria Himmelfahrt means “Mary’s Going Up to Heaven,” as does the South Slavic Usnesenje and the North Slavic Nanebovzatie.

Among the Syrians and Chaldeans the feast is called ‘id alintiqal Mariam (The Being Transferred of Mary ).

Among the Hungarians the Assumption is kept with special solemnity as a great national holiday. According to legend their first king, Saint Stephen (1038), offered the sacred royal crown to Mary, thereby choosing her as the heavenly queen and patroness of the whole country.

Consequently, they call it the “Feast of Our Great Lady” (Nagyboldogasszonynap), and Mary is referred to as the “Great Lady of the Hungarians” (Magna Domina Hungarorum). They observe August 15 with unusual solemnities, pageants, parades, and universal rejoicing.

In France a traditional pageant used to be performed in many places on Assumption Day. Figures of angels descended within the church to a flowery “sepulchre” and reascended again with an image of the Blessed Virgin dazzlingly robed, while boys dressed as angels played, with wooden mallets on a musical keyboard, the tune of a popular Madonna hymn.


From early centuries the Feast of the Assumption was a day of great religious processions. This popular custom seems to have started with the ancient Roman practice, which Pope Sergius I (701) inaugurated, of having liturgical prayer processions (litaniae) on the major feasts of Mary. In many places of central Europe, also in Spain, France, Italy, and South America, such processions are held.

In Austria the faithful, led by the priest, walk through the fields and meadows imploring God’s blessing upon the harvest with prayer and hymns.

In France, where Mary, under the title of her Assumption is the primary patron of the country, her statue is carried in solemn procession through the cities and towns on August 15, with great splendor and pageantry, while church bells peal and the faithful sing hymns in Mary’s honor.

The Italian people, too, are fond of solemn processions on August 15, a custom also practiced among the Italian-Americans in the United States.

In the rural sections outside Rome the so-called “Bowing Procession” (L’Inchinata) is held, the statue of Mary being carried through the town (symbolizing her journey to Heaven). Under a gaily decorated arch of branches and flowers (representing the gate of Heaven) it is met by a statue of Christ.

Both images are inclined toward each other three times as though they were solemnly bowing. Then “Christ” conducts his “mother” back to the parish church (symbolizing her entrance into eternal glory), where the ceremony is concluded with a service of Solemn Benediction.

In Sardinia the procession is called Candelieri because they carry seven immense candlesticks, each supporting a torch of a hundred pounds of wax. The procession goes to the church of the Assumption, where the candles are placed beside Mary’s shrine.

The origin of the Candelieri dates back to the year 1580, when a deadly epidemic suddenly stopped on August 15 after the town had vowed to honor Mary by offering these candles every year.


The fact that herbs picked in August were considered of great power in healing occasioned the medieval practice of the “Blessing of Herbs” on Assumption Day.

The Church thus elevated a popular belief of pre-Christian times into an observance of religious import and gave it the character of a Christian rite of deep and appropriate meaning.

In central Europe the feast itself was called “Our Lady’s Herb Day” (Krautertag in German, Matka Boska Zielna in Polish). In the Alpine provinces the blessing of herbs is still bestowed before the solemn service of the Assumption.

The city of Wiirzburg in Bavaria used to be a favored center of these blessings, and from this fact it seems to have received its very name in the twelfth century (Wiirz: spice herb).

The Roman ritual still provides an official blessing of herbs on Assumption Day which, among other prayers, contains the petition that God may bless the medicinal powers of these herbs and make them mercifully efficient against diseases and poisons in humans and domestic animals.

The Eastern Rites have similar blessings. In fact, the Syrians celebrate a special feast of “Our Lady of Herbs” on May 15. Among the Armenians, the faithful bring the first grapes from their vineyards to church on Assumption Day to have them solemnly blessed by the priest. Before breakfast the father distributes them to his family. No one would dream of tasting the new harvest before consuming the first blessed grapes on Our Lady’s Day.

In Sicily people keep a partial or total abstinence from fruit during the first two weeks of August (La Quin dicina) in honor of the Blessed Virgin. On the feast day itself they have all kinds of fruit blessed in church and serve them at dinner. They also present each other with baskets of fruit on Assumption Day.


Finally, there is the old and inspiring custom on August 15 of blessing the elements of nature which are the scene of man’s labors and the source of human food.

In all Christian countries before the Reformation the clergy used to bless the countryside, its farms, orchards, fields, and gardens. In the western sections of Austria the priests still perform the “Blessing of the Alps,” including not only the mountains and meadows but also the farms.

In the Alpine sections of France the parish priests ride from pasture to pasture on Assumption Day or during the octave. Behind the priest on the horse sits an acolyte holding the holy water vessel. At every meadow the blessing is given to the animals, which are gathered around a large cross decorated with branches and flowers. In the Latin countries, especially in Portugal, the ocean and the fishermen’s boats are blessed on the afternoon of Assumption Day. This custom has also come to the United States, where fishing fleets and ocean are now solemnly blessed in various coastal towns on August 15.


In pre-Christian times the season from the middle of August to the middle of September was observed as a period of rejoicing and thanksgiving for the successful harvest of grains. Many symbolic rites were aimed toward assuring man of prosperous weather for the reaping of the fall fruits and for winter planting.

Some elements of these ancient cults are now connected with the feast and season of the Assumption. All through the Middle Ages the days from August 15 to September 15 were called “Our Lady’s Thirty Days” (Frauendreissiger) in the German-speaking sections of Europe.

Many Assumption shrines even today show Mary clothed in a robe covered with ears of grain. These images (Maria im Gerteidekleid, Our Lady of Grains) are favored goals of pilgrimages during August.

Popular legends ascribe a character of blessing and goodness to Our Lady’s Thirty Days. Both animals and plants are said to lose their harmful traits. Poisonous snakes do not strike; poison plants are harmless, wild animals refrain from attacking humans.

All food produced during this period is especially wholesome and good, and will remain fresh much longer than at other times of the year.”

An ancient custom in England, Ireland, and sections of the European continent is the traditional bathing in ocean, rivers, and lakes on August 15 (“Our Lady’s Health Bathing”) to obtain or preserve good health through her intercession on whose great feast all water in nature is considered especially blessed.


Almighty and eternal God, who hast taken up into the glory of Heaven, with body and soul, the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of Thy Son: grant us, we pray, that we may always strive after heavenly things and thus merit to share in her glory.

Truly happy people have a highly moral character. They are usually honest, dependable, giving, loving, kind, not easily angered, thoughtful, unselfish…, but unhappy individuals exhibit the opposite traits of dishonesty, disloyalty, selfishness, hatefulness, anger, etc. You can easily observe these types of traits for yourself. Following eternal laws leads to happiness; following sin leads to unhappiness. No one is saying this is an easy road, but realize you are on a road leading somewhere. You are always developing and working on traits of some sort. -Helen Andelin, Fascinating Womanhood, Painting by Gregory Frank Harris

Have you heard of the Purple Scapular? My mom and I did research on this sacramental in the early spring. It is a perfect fit for these times….

The Scapular was specially designed by Our Lord and Our Lady themselves, Our Lady said: “… for a long time my Son and I have had the desire to make known this scapular of benediction.”
 First, to remind the faithful about various details of the Passion and Our Lady’s Sorrows so that they may receive their due share of veneration, and second, to protect us during the coming chastisements, for the world is already being cleansed due to its manifold sins and corruption, and it is about to get worse.  Our Lady said: “This first apparition of this scapular will be a new protection for the times of the chastisements.”

This is quoted from this website that explains more about the scapular. I do not know much about this website so I am not endorsing it. But I am promoting the Purple Scapular.

Here is the link for the scapulars.

Do your own research. It is worth it.

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.

Christ Speaks to Us ~ Catholic Home Schooling

by Father John Hardon, S.J.

I would like to address the subject of Catholic home schooling in the tradition of the Catholic Church, and my plan is to cover three areas of a large subject.

What has the Catholic Church considered as home schooling in the Church’s history? Secondly, why is home schooling necessary? And thirdly, how should home schooling be done most effectively?

The focus I would like to take is of home schooling as authentically Catholic. I would like to begin first with a general definition of Catholic home schooling, and then distinguish various kinds of home schooling in the Church’s history.

Catholic home schooling is the planned and organized teaching and training of children at home, for their peaceful and effective life in this world, and for their eternal salvation in the world to come.

I distinguish teaching from training, for I say that teaching addresses itself mainly to the mind, and training to the will; indeed, the training of the mind is in order to motivate the will.

We get our principles for authentic Catholic home schooling from Christ’s closing directive to His apostles: “To teach all nations” — that’s the mind — “to observe all that I have commanded you” — that’s with the will. Home schooling, therefore, addresses itself to the mind in order that the will might be motivated to do God’s will. It is the teaching and training of children at home that distinguishes it from teaching and training in formal school situations.

Having said that, we must immediately distinguish among the different forms that Catholic home schooling has taken over the centuries, depending on the conditions of the Church at any given time in her history.

The conditions are as follows: first in missionary times before the Church had been established in any particular country or locality; second, home schooling once the Church had been firmly established third, home schooling where the Church is strongly opposed; and finally, where the Church has been disestablished, especially by civil authority.

I will identify the Church’s condition in our country: the Church under opposition and not yet formally disestablished.

Home schooling in the United States is the necessary concomitant of a culture in which the Church is being opposed on every level of her existence and, as a consequence, given the widespread secularization in our country, home schooling is not only valuable or useful but it is absolutely necessary for the survival of the Catholic church in our country.

Home schooling, in our country, is that form of teaching and training of children at home in order to preserve the Catholic faith in the family, and to preserve the Catholic faith in our country.

Our second reflection is why. There are four principal reasons why Catholic home schooling is necessary. . . . Home schooling has been necessary in the Catholic Church since her foundation.

The necessity, therefore, is not the necessity that is the result of an emergency. No, Catholic home schooling is necessary — period. And one reason is that it was so widely neglected before. So many parents practically abdicated their own obligation to teach their own children, and then found out, sadly, their children were not being given a Catholic education.

How do we know that home schooling is necessary? First, we know it from divine revelation. The early Church is normative, not only on what we should believe as Catholics but on how we ought to learn our faith . . . and live it.

There were not established Catholic schools in the Roman Empire back in the first 300 years of the Church’s history. Except for parents becoming, believing, and being heroic Catholics in the early Church, nothing would have happened. The Church would have died out before the end of the first century.


There is no single aspect of religious instruction that, over the centuries, the Church has not more frequently, or more insistently, taught the faithful, than of the parents on how to provide for the religious, and, therefore, also human, education and upbringing of their offspring.

So true is this that it is the second and co-equal purpose for Christ instituting the Sacrament of Matrimony, for the procreation and the education of children. By whom? By the parents! That is why Christ instituted the Sacrament of Matrimony. So how do we know that home schooling is necessary? Because the Church has always taught it.

Where has the Church survived? Only and wherever — and this is historically provable — home schooling over the centuries by the Catholic parents has been taken so seriously that they considered it their most sacred duty, after having brought the children into the world physically, to parent them spiritually.

The necessity for home schooling is not only a natural necessity, it is a supernatural necessity. Have parents over the centuries, in all nations, from the dawn of human history, in every culture, had the obligation to teach and train their children?

Yes, the same ones who brought the children physically into the world have a natural obligation, binding in the natural law, to provide for the mental, moral, and social upbringing of their offspring. Yet since God became man, the necessity, and therefore the corresponding obligation, becomes supernatural.

What do we mean when we say that Catholic home schooling is a supernatural necessity? We mean that in God’s mysterious but infallible providence, He channels His grace from human beings who already possess that grace. It is a platitude to say that we cannot give what we do not have. Nobody would ever learn the alphabet. We would not know how to read or write, or even know how to eat.

We have to be taught everything we know. The real necessity for Catholic home schooling is not because we naturally need someone else to bring us into the world, nor to teach us what we need to know and do as human beings. Since the coming of Christ we are no longer mere human beings.


At baptism, we receive the life which is the very life of God shared by Him with His creatures. And just as no one give himself natural life, so no one receives or nurtures or develops or grows in that supernatural life that we receive at baptism.

The main reason for home schooling is that only those who have God’s grace are used by Him as channels of grace to others.

Over the centuries, our principal Jesuit apostolate has been teaching. And we are told, in the most uncompromising language, “You will be able to teach others, you will share with them, only what you are yourselves.”

No one else can teach the faith…except the person who has it. But possessing divine grace, beginning with the virtue of faith, is not only a condition, it is also the measure for the communication of grace. Weak-believing parents will be weak conduits of the grace of faith to their children. Strong-believing parents will be strong conduits of the grace of faith. This is not good psychology and it is not good example. This is Divine Revelation.

In the mysterious providence of God, this is the law: Only those who possess the supernatural life and the measure of the possession of faith, hope and charity will God use as the channels of His grace to their children.


How are parents to provide for the Catholic home schooling for their children? First, the principal and most fundamental way is by living strong Catholic lives. All the academic verbiage and planned pedagogy are useless. Only persons who have God’s grace will He use as the channels of His grace to others, and no one, but no one, cheats here.

What then is the first way to be an effective home schooling parent while living a good Catholic life?

For Catholic parents to live good Catholic lives in our day requires heroic virtue. Only heroic parents will survive the massive, demonic secularization of materially super- developed countries like America.

And consequently, far from being surprised, parents should expect that home schooling will not be easy. Any home schooling in the U.S. which is easy today is not authentic Catholic home schooling. If it is easy, there is something wrong.

Today, Catholic parents must not only endure the cross, resign themselves to living the cross, but they are to choose the cross. In case no one has told you, when you chose home schooling, you chose a cross-ridden form of education.

This is the age of martyrs . . . and a martyr is one who suffers for the profession of his faith. There is red martyrdom and white martyrdom. There is bloody martyrdom and unbloody martyrdom.

You have to live a heroic Catholic life in America today. God will use you and provide you with the knowledge and the wisdom, providing you are living the authentically heroic Catholic life.


Secondly, if you want to teach and train your children, you must know your faith. You must grasp and understand the faith. Read the 14th chapter of St. Matthew where Our Lord tells the parable of the sower sowing seeds.

Seeds fell on four kinds of ground. The first three kinds were unfruitful. As Jesus said, birds came along and picked up the seed, and nothing grew. The disciples asked Jesus for the meaning. The Lord explained that the seeds falling on the wayside are those persons who have received the Word of God into their hearts and fail to understand it, and therefore the evil one comes along and steals it from their hearts.

That is why America now has millions of ex-Catholics. They have never understood their faith.

I have strong encouragement from the Holy See to train parents. You are all welcome to learn your faith so that you grasp and understand your faith. Then God will use you to teach your children as a channel of faith. Teach, not only by rote memory, but to grasp the faith.

Many Catholics, before they finish college, discard their faith as a remnant of childhood. They don’t understand. I myself had 16 years of Jesuit education, and 15 more years before I started teaching. There are oceanic depths to our faith, and you must learn as much as you can, so that God will use you as an effective channel of grace so you can communicate your faith to your offspring.


Next, Catholic home schooling must be schooling. There must be organization, administration, a pattern, a schedule, and a program. Somebody has to be in charge. Mother and father must cooperate in the home schooling.

Home schooling must be sacramental. In other words, the Church that Christ founded is the Church of the Seven Sacraments, especially the Sacraments of Eucharist and Confession.

You, yourselves, should receive the sacraments of Holy Communion and Confession. Train your children to live a sacramental life.

Finally, to be authentically Catholic, home schooling must be prayerful. The single most fundamental thing you can teach your children, bar none, is to know the necessity and method of prayer.

You must pray yourselves. Without prayer, all the schooling in the world will not produce the effect which God wants home schooling to give, because home schooling is a communication of divine grace, from Christ to the parents to the children. And the principle way parents communicate from Christ to their children, the grace upon which those children will be saved, is prayer.

“Never be ashamed of your home or family because it is humble. People who look down on those whose home is humble and who lack social prominence are not worthy of the friendship of decent families. The most important things in life are character, honest work, humility, loyalty, friendliness, and love.” -Fr. Lovasik, Catholic Family Handbook (afflink)

Gin’s Aprons….Feminine and Beautiful!

Fully lined, quality material, made with care and detail.

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To trust in God’s will is the “secret of happiness and content,” the one sure-fire way to attain serenity in this world and salvation in the next. Trustful Surrender simply and clearly answers questions that many Christians have regarding God’s will, the existence of evil, and the practice of trustful surrender, such as:

  • How can God will or allow evil? (pg. 11)
  • Why does God allow bad things to happen to innocent people? (pg. 23)
  • Why does God appear not to answer our prayers? (pg. 107)
  • What is Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence? (pg. 85) and many more…

This enriching classic will lay to rest many doubts and fears, and open the door to peace and acceptance of God’s will. TAN’s pocket-sized edition helps you to carry it wherever you go, to constantly remind yourself that God is guarding you, and He does not send you any joy too great to bear or any trial too difficult to overcome.

The Story of Sister Maria Teresa Quevedo. “For Him alone I have lived.” The Story of a Nun. Venerable Maria Teresa Quevedo 1930-1950. Maria Teresa Quevedo was a lively modern girl-a talented dancer, an expert swimmer, an outstanding tennis player, who devoted herself to generous works of sacrifice. Her life can be summed up by her own motto, “May all who look at me see you, O Mary.” This book is the first full-length biography of Maria Teresa Quevedo that has been written in English. Teresita, as she was called by her friends and family, was a Spanish girl who was born in 1930 and who died in 1950 at the age of twenty. Throughout her life, Teresita was an inspiration and a delight to everyone around her as she calmly strove to exemplify Christian virtue in her everyday life. Teresita tried to do everything perfectly. As a girl living with her parents, she was an obedient child. With her friends, she was not only respected but popular. As a sodalist, she gave evidence as being a born leader for Mary. As a tennis player, she was an expert. As captain of her basketball team, she consistently led the group to victory. At any young people’s gathering which she attended, she was the life of the party. When Teresita entered the Congregation of the Carmelite Sisters of Charity, she did so because she desired to become a saint and to devote all her life to Jesus and Mary. But, in her own words, she wished to become a “little saint, for I cannot do big things.” Teresita’s cause for canonization is now under examination in the Sacred Congregation of Rites. “You will find the story of this popular beautiful girl an inspiration. It is a happy biography . . . Don’t miss it.” -Herbert O’H Walker, S.J.

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



Mental Hygiene ~ The Catholic Teacher’s Companion

This book, The Catholic Teacher’s Companion, has been a real gem! It was written for teaching sisters and this excerpt touches on the mental state of a person and how it affects one’s physical health….

From The Catholic Teacher’s Companion, 1924

In his helpful book Health through Will Power, Dr. James J. Walsh has drawn attention to the surprising power of the will for preserving or recovering one’s health.

The author draws on his wide reading and long experience to prove that the simple exercise of natural will-power is all that is required to cure half the ills of life. All the “dreads” can be cured by scientifically strengthening the will, and recovery from such diseases as pneumonia and tuberculosis depends largely on the patient’s vigor of will.

He counsels the use of the saints’ ascesis, in hours of stress and strain, instead of the “good cry,” which, in his opinion, only weakens the character.

The teacher has a double duty to perform in this respect, one toward herself and another toward her pupils.

Professor La Rue therefore demands justly in his book Psychology for Teachers, that the teacher live a life of mental health in the presence of her pupils; she must daily show them a living example of a big, strong, purposeful, well-poised, good-humored, sympathetic soul.

To this end he gives the following rules of mental hygiene:

1. Look at life in the large. Take a big view of things.

2. Pursue a great purpose. Whoever seeks his own selfish will is traveling toward zero; but he who seeks to serve mankind and her God in the children, is facing toward infinity.

3. Practice mental hardening. Children should be taught to meet and conquer all their ordinary worries and troubles, and not to shun them.

4. Keep your poise. Many people fail because of over-anxiety lest they fail.

5. Form good mental habits:

I. Habits of the intellect:

(1) Planning: there should be an ideal for life, a plan for the year, a program for the day.

“The difficulty,” says Judd, speaking of over-worked teachers, in Genetic Psychology for Teachers, “is not so much in the fact that teachers have to think and plan, as that they come to their work in a state of mental confusion and excitement which renders any task difficult.”

(2) Concentration, unit-mindedness, the one-thing-at-a-time attitude, distinguishes the master mind. Work when you work and play when you play. One must concentrate on recreation as well as on work.

Don’t spoil your game or your walk by carrying all through it a load of anxious thought.

And on going to bed, learn to turn off consciousness as you do your electric light.

Observe that the child in school is prevented from planning the larger features of his work, and that school conditions often favor distraction rather than concentration.

It is sad to think how many children are probably contracting bad mental habits in school.

II. Emotional health requires that we kill off the feelings that are bad for us and practice those that are good for us.

There is reason to believe that a large proportion, if not the major portion, of those who lose their positions do not lack either intellect or skill, but emotional control.

Many are egocentric, paranoid, have too much self-feeling; others are emotionally unstable; and still others, emotionally weak.

One’s prevailing mental state should be that of happiness and humor. It is surprising to find how much can be accomplished by just setting the mind to be happy whatever the circumstances.

Humor is like an application of mental massage which flushes out fatigue poisons and limbers one up all through. It lets loose the tensity of mental currents. The mind seems to relax, straighten up from its work, and take a long, fresh breath.

III. Quiet but effective determination must keep the mental machine running smoothly, rousing us to kill off some thoughts and feelings and promote others.

God’s grace coupled with natural will-power can accomplish wonders with a frail body.

Almost every Religious Order has cases similar to that of the Master General of the Dominicans, Father Cormier, who being professed as a preparation for death, outlived all his fellow-novices, and having joined the Order to efface himself, was from the beginning put upon the candlestick to be a light for his brethren.

But even the confirmed invalid has a real mission to perform in the Religious Community.

Canon Sheehan contended that there should be an invalid and an incurable one in every Religious Community, if only to bring God nearer to the Brothers or Sisters in His great love.

“Every effort we make to forget self, to leave self behind us, and to devote ourselves to the labor of making every person with whom we are bound to live, happy, is rewarded by interior satisfaction and joy. The supreme effort of goodness is,—not alone to do good to others; that is its first and lower effect,—but to make others good.” Rev. Bernard O’Reilly The Mirror of True Womanhood, 1893 (afflink)

Lecture on protecting your family from the neo-pagan society that we live in today. How to do that? Music, books, stories, liturgy, etc. are answers…..

Beautiful Brass Wire Wrapped Rosaries! Wire wrapping is one of the oldest techniques for making jewelry or rosaries by hand. Frequently, in this approach, a wire is bent into a loop or other decorative shape and then the wire is wrapped around itself to finish the wire component making that loop or decorative shape permanent. Not only is it quite beautiful but it makes the rosaries sturdy and durable.Available here.

Women historically have been denigrated as lower than men or viewed as privileged. Dr. Alice von Hildebrand characterizes the difference between such views as based on whether man’s vision is secularistic or steeped in the supernatural. She shows that feminism’s attempts to gain equality with men by imitation of men is unnatural, foolish, destructive, and self-defeating. The Blessed Mother’s role in the Incarnation points to the true privilege of being a woman. Both virginity and maternity meet in Mary who exhibits the feminine gifts of purity, receptivity to God’s word, and life-giving nurturance at their highest.

You’ll learn how to grow in wisdom and in love as you encounter the unglamorous, everyday problems that threaten all marriages. As the author says: If someone were to give me many short bits of wool, most likely I would throw them away. A carpet weaver thinks differently. He knows the marvels we can achieve by using small things artfully and lovingly. Like the carpet weaver, the good wife must be an artist of love. She must remember her mission and never waste the little deeds that fill her day the precious bits of wool she s been given to weave the majestic tapestry of married love.

This remarkable book will show you how to start weaving love into the tapestry of your marriage today, as it leads you more deeply into the joys of love.

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




Celebrations & Traditions

We have one chance to live this life. Let’s not get distracted.

It is important to celebrate with your loved ones…regularly. And it is important to have traditions within the family circle.

Although this article is not talking about religious traditions necessarily, it IS talking about the beauty of lovely traditions we can pass on to our family in our every day life. Our children will naturally continue this legacy. And for we Catholics, rich in the traditions of the Faith, we can incorporate these religious traditions into our more “secular” traditions as well!

For instance, our tradition has been to have a day of celebration with the family once a week. We invite selective friends to celebrate with us. It usually lands on a Sunday which is a good day to celebrate, wouldn’t you say?

We start the evening off with the Family Rosary. Whether it is said outside among the delight of the flowers, or inside with our lovely home altar, there are a good swarm of us who together repeat the beloved prayers of Our Lady’s Rosary.

After the rosary and before we eat, I get my hand bell, and, with me chiming in the background, we say the Angelus, all genuflecting at “And the Word was made Flesh…”

After dinner, games are played, usually outdoors unless the weather doesn’t permit. Then everyone goes home and looks forward to….our next celebration! What a beautiful way to share with friends and family….fully Catholic, fully wholesome and with lots of laughter!

And now…two cents from Emilie Barnes…with pictures first of our last couple Sunday potlucks…

by Emilie Barnes, Simple Secrets to a Beautiful Home

Let’s party,” say the commercials. And I say “amen!” Not to loudness and drinking and carousing, of course, but to the kind of celebrations that brighten our every days and flavor our special times with joy.

The beauty of home is comprised of so many things – order, order, serenity, creativity, warmth, welcome. But surely the spirit of celebration also adds its special touch – the abiding joy and contagious laughter that say, “I’m glad I’m here. I’m glad you’re here. And I’m really glad we’re in this together.”

Christians, especially, have reason to make the spirit of celebration a trademark of our lives.

What a wonderful reason to infuse our homes and our lives with joyful sounds, happy gatherings, and heartfelt smiles… the God-given, life-enhancing enhancing secret of celebration

Celebrating Laughter

Laughter is a definite part of any time of celebration – a gift of God that brightens good days and lightens rough ones. Laughter even has a healing quality to it. People have recovered from serious diseases by learning to laugh each day. Even more people have regained the courage to go on in painful circumstances when they were able to laugh.

Proverbs 17:22 says that a cheerful heart is good medicine. Laughter can draw others to you and lighten your load in life. When you begin to laugh at life and at yourself, you gain new perspective on your struggles. You begin to see a speck of light at the end of the tunnel.

A life without laughter quickly becomes a breeding ground for depression, physical illness, and a critical spirit. But a laughter-filled life unleashes the benefits of celebration.

Celebrating Tradition

“Again!” The toddler giggled with delight as I hid my face once more behind my hands. I giggled too, enjoying the moment of discovery – the instance when my new little granddaughter daughter first began celebrating tradition.

At its simplest level, isn’t that why traditions are begun? We experience something good and joyful and meaningful, and we want to do it again. And why not? Repeating our good experiences is one way we begin to learn, to make sense of our lives.

Think how hard our lives would be if we had to invent them all over again every day. Think of all the energy we would waste, all the mistakes we would repeat, all the remembered joy we would lose, all the loneliness we would feel, if we were forced to start from scratch without the ability to say to ourselves, “I like this; this is meaningful – let’s do it again.”

Tradition is so much more, though, than the simple urge to repeat a pleasant experience. Tradition helps us keep our feet on the ground. It helps us feel the connection between where we have been and where we are going, between those who have gone before us and those who follow after.

There’s such a comfort, such a sense of relationship, in saying, “This is the way we’ve always done it.” But there’s more. Tradition also helps us understand – and celebrate – who we are and to be thankful for the gift of life and for the people God used to give it to us.

Many wonderful traditions combined to make me who I am, and as I grow older I celebrate more and more my unique heritage.

My father, a Viennese chef, imparted an Old World appreciation for gracious living – fine food, beautiful preparation, and professional excellence (plus some wonderful recipes!).

My mother, the daughter of a tailor and the proprietor of a dress shop, taught me to appreciate beautiful fabrics, skillful tailoring, effective organization, and hard work – as well as the importance of making a welcoming home for those I love.

Growing up as the American child of an immigrant parent, I inhaled both Old World ambience and New World freedom and opportunity. And I married into wonderful traditions as well – those of a three-generation farm family from Texas.

Traditions are one way that knowledge is passed from generation to generation. They have filled our lives with many “rare and beautiful treasures” over the years, and we have tried to pass those treasures on to our children. We share and celebrate our special ways of doing things, many of which come from the traditions that shaped us.

Mrs. V talks to your children about obedience and how important it is! ….”Children, do you want to have a happy life? Do you want to go to heaven to see Jesus and Mary after your life here on earth? Then practice the virtue of obedience!”

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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.


Resolutions ~ The Will to Win

Painting by Norman Rockwell

by Fr. E. Boyd Barrett, The Will to Win, 1917


“RESOLUTION” as you know is an act of the will whereby you set yourself to achieve something. You resolve, for instance, to go to early Mass every day for a week. You propose, promise yourself, and make up your mind to do so. You mean to do it, and you commit yourself to this course of action.

You make a contract with yourself to do it, and you feel in consequence under an obligation to do it. That course of action has now a certain claim upon you. If you neglect to fulfill your promise you are conscious of a certain unworthiness, or even of dishonor.

The course of action resolved on calls for fulfillment — you have promised, and you feel that you should make good your undertaking. The promise, or contract you make with yourself, about achieving something, is the first part of the Resolution – the making. The actual fulfilling of the promise is the second part of the Resolution – the keeping.

This too is an act or series of acts of the Will, wherein the Will, as master of mind and body, calls upon and commands the other faculties to perform the work stipulated.

This power of making and keeping Resolutions is one of the most important powers we have. Here the Will performs a great function; it directs and controls our conduct; it decides our future. It is responsible for that conduct which it decides on and brings into being, and so it is, in a sense, a creator.

If it produces what is good, we are virtuous. If it produces what is evil, we are bad. If it faithfully carries out the Resolutions it makes, it is strong. If it fails to carry out such resolutions, it is weak. Its ability to keep Resolutions is its supreme test, and hence the man who “keeps his word,” and is “faithful to” or “sticks to” his principles is the most honorable of men.

From these remarks you will see that a Resolution is a very serious matter. It concerns us vitally. It tests and tries us. It is of deep significance. It is the most “sacred” of our natural acts, in so far as natural acts can be “sacred.” It is not a thing to trifle with.

If we make and break Resolutions carelessly and lightly we injure our Will, we undermine its strength, we lessen, so to say, its dignity, and we degrade it. A Resolution should be made well, or not at all. It should only be made after careful thought, and with deep earnestness. It should be kept with rigorous exactitude.

We should not make Resolutions that may be perhaps beyond our strength. If we do, we run the risk of failure, and failure is injurious to the Will. We must secure a victory every time in every Resolution.

Let us now suppose, in order to study a little the art of making and keeping Resolutions, that we set ourselves to overcome a habit of unpunctuality. That is what the Will sets itself to achieve. Now, how are we to go about the work? How are we to make the necessary Resolution well, and to secure success?

First of all we must formulate the Resolution. To formulate the Resolution thus, “I will never be late for a duty,” would be to court failure. Such a resolution would be too vague, too great, and too difficult. We must render it definite, small, and well within our powers.

Perhaps this would do. “I will never be late for important duties.” Even that is too vague and too great. Divide et impera! Take the matter in parts and conquer the parts one by one.

So let us resolve about punctuality in one important duty. “I will get up at once when called in the morning.” That is now sufficiently precise and it will strike hard at one of our faults of unpunctuality. Still we can render it more definite by means of a time limit. And so we resolve thus, “Each day, for the next ten days, I will get up at once when called in the morning.”

So far we have merely formulated or drawn up the Resolution. It must now be made by the Will as earnestly as possible. It will not suffice merely to say it over a few times and to memorize it. The whole Will with all its force and energy must, so to speak, be hurled into the Resolution. I must make it as firmly and seriously as if my life depended on it.

Again and again, every day, I must make it in this manner. I must strive to secure that success will be absolutely certain, almost inevitable. I must make my Resolution part of myself, and identify myself wholly with it.

I must be able to say, “Yes, before God, I really mean to get up every morning, at once, when I am called for the next ten mornings. I will keep this Resolution. I know I can keep it and I will keep it. I will take every precaution to keep it, and I will make any sacrifice that reason demands in order to render its fulfillment certain.”

So far we have described the part of the Will in the Resolution, but the intellect too at the command of the Will plays its part. The intellect is the light that illuminates. It ponders over the uses and advantages of punctuality and proposes new motives to elicit a stronger determination in the Will. It throws new light on the object resolved on by the Will and renders it more attractive. It exposes the fallacies of hostile motives and maintains by its reasoning the sense of conviction.

Next, in the making as in the keeping of a Resolution, we must solicit help from heaven. Above all we need God’s grace. We must pray then for the grace to be faithful to the Resolution, remembering that the attainment of punctuality and the mastery over ourselves in this matter will count for God’s glory and our own salvation.

We even go so far as to offer little acts of self-denial, or undergo some trifling self-inflicted pain, in order to win the desired grace, and to intensify the seriousness of our Resolution.

Resolutions made in this thorough way are certain of success — provided always they be well within our strength and that we keep up our efforts to the end. The making of a Resolution thus passes imperceptibly into the keeping of a Resolution, for we go on making and reiterating it until it is fulfilled.

When at last it is fulfilled to the letter we experience a splendid sense of satisfaction, of duty well done, and of self-confidence. We realize, at such a moment, the meaning and the value of Will-power. We realize fully that we have within us a great power, and that there are things, even hard things, that we can do, if only we set ourselves to do them.

I suppose then that you have acquired the power of getting up at once when called in the morning. This is a first and important step towards acquiring the virtue of punctuality. Other similar steps should now be taken in due order — resolution should follow resolution, each directed towards a different part of the virtue, each well made and duly fulfilled — until at length the virtue as a whole is acquired. This, of course, will take time, and demand perseverance, but it will involve nothing beyond your strength.

These are now a few points, which I shall summarize briefly, and which it is well to bear in mind. Some of them are repetitions of points already noted.

(1) The Resolution should always be definite, limited in scope, and well within our power.

(2) Careful consideration should precede each Resolution. It must not be hastily formulated. It should be carefully chosen, and well directed towards an important point of the object to be achieved.

(3) The making and keeping of the Resolution depends wholly on yourself. In this matter the burden falls on your own shoulders, and no one can bear it for you. Some help may however be obtained from advice in the matter of formulating your Resolution.

(4) Resolutions demand a great output of effort. Effort is the price you must be prepared to pay for success. If the price is not paid, success will not be secured.

(5) If through weakness or passing carelessness or misadventure we fail in a Resolution, let us suppose on the third or fourth day, the Resolution must not be abandoned. It is still there and it calls still for fulfillment. We must at once remake and reiterate it with redoubled energy, and we must persevere in it until the stipulated time is up. If the first lapse or failure meant that ipso facto the Resolution ceased to exist, we should be working on the absurd assumption that our Resolution was only to be kept until it was broken!

(6) Some Resolutions, those for instance which aim at avoiding a moral fault, something bad in itself, must of course be kept absolutely. They are absolute and do not admit of exceptions or conditions. We must keep them even at the expense of displeasing those we love. Other Resolutions however are not absolute, and so, without harm, they may be conditioned. They admit of exceptions. An example will make this clear.

Suppose, for instance, a boy resolves to go to early Mass every day during vacation. Now it may happen that during vacation he catches a bad cold. However he resolves all the same to get up and go to Mass. When he is getting up, his mother comes in and says, “No! you must stay in bed today.” What is he to do? If his mother really insists, and he sees there is question of obedience, then evidently his duty is to obey. But does this break his Resolution? Surely not! His Resolution, if it was properly formulated, carried with it at least the implicit condition, “I will go to early Mass, etc., unless it is my duty not to do so. In all such matters we must obey right reason.

(7) Resolutions I said should be definite, limited, and well within our power. What then of big, heroic Resolutions? Are they never to be made? Well, some Resolutions though apparently very big are well within our power. They are shown to be quite possible by the example of other men who make them. Take, for instance, the Resolution to abstain from all intoxicating liquors during our whole lives. This Resolution we call the “Heroic Offering” or the “Pledge for Life.”

It is of course a gigantic Resolution, and it seems contrary to all our rules to attempt such a Resolution. Still strangely enough it is not so. It is well within our powers. It is definite, precise, and limited in many ways. Besides, it is shown to be quite possible by the example of others who make and keep it. Also it carries with it great graces, and a great inspiration — it means so much good for our Faith and our Fatherland and so we need not be at all afraid to make it.

(8) The good results achieved by Resolutions are very wonderful. Whole lives have been changed for the better by well-made and well-kept Resolutions. Often the good results seem to come very slowly, but they come very surely.

In the morning the mountain-top in the distance that you mean to reach, seems very far away, and each step that you take as you walk towards it is a very tiny advance. Yet by mid-day, or a little later, you find yourself on the summit and you are astonished when you think of the distance that stretched before you that morning.

So too, by fidelity to your Resolutions, you will achieve very remarkable results, results as remarkable, for instance, as that of learning thoroughly a difficult language by devoting to it five or ten minutes a day.


“I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament. There you will find romance, glory, honor, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves upon earth.” — John Ronald Reuel Tolkien

Photo: Solemn Mass of Exposition for the Forty Hours’ Devotion on March 12, 2013 at the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in London. Photo credit: Charles Cole

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The Green Meadow ~ Maria Von Trapp

From Around the Year With the Trapp Family by Maria von Trapp

With every passing year I realize more deeply how joyful our religion is. The more one penetrates into what it means to be Catholic, the fuller life becomes.

There is one great art that we are taught from our childhood and for which we cannot be grateful enough, and that is how to celebrate feasts.

The little ones grow up hearing again and again: “Today is the feast of St. Joseph.” “Next week is the feast of the Annunciation…the feast of St. John…the feast of the Holy Family…the feast of the Assumption.” And these are not words only.

Soon the children discover that these days have a truly festive character. Later, when they grow up and learn to use their own missals, they find that Holy Mother Church prepares a feast for us almost every day of the year. Naturally, these feast days are not equally important.

Two of them, the anniversaries of Our Lord’s Resurrection and of the Descent of the Holy Ghost, are of such magnitude and solemnity that the Church assigns a whole week to them. She wants to teach her children to take time for celebrating.

What a necessary lesson for us of the fast-living twentieth century, when time has become money and the most important event in people’s lives–their wedding–has been reduced from the ten-day celebration of old to a ten-minute formality at the Justice of the Peace!

For Easter and Pentecost the Church permits no other feast to interfere. This is called “a privileged octave of the first order.”

There are other great feast days, such as Epiphany and Corpus Christi, Christmas, the Ascension, the feast of the Sacred Heart, and the feasts of the Blessed Mother, which also have an octave, and at least a commemoration of the feast is made each day.

If the first place is given to the feasts of Our Lord, the second is given to those of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Then come the holy angels, and they are followed by the saints who had a share in the plan of the Incarnation, as St. Joseph, St. John the Baptist, Peter and Paul and the other Apostles, whose feasts are always celebrated with special solemnity.

Then we are told to celebrate as a feast the dedication of churches, the anniversaries of the martyrdom of the saints, the commemoration of holy popes, bishops, teachers of the Church, confessors, virgins and all holy women. According to their importance these feasts will be more or less solemnly celebrated; but even a simple feast day is a feast day.

Once in a while there is a day in the calendar when we do not celebrate a feast. This is called a “ferial day.” During most seasons these are few and far between, and it is all the more striking, therefore, to come to the six weeks of Lent and find that the Church has prepared a special Mass for every ferial day and wishes her children to refrain from celebrating feasts during these weeks of penance. That makes the great Alleluia, which introduces the feast of the Resurrection, all the more jubilant.

Living through this cycle of festive events every year, one cannot help but learn that one should not just live one’s life, or spend one’s life, or go through one’s life, but celebrate one’s life.

Whether the days are filled with bliss or mourning, we have learned to live almost each one as a special feast day. As the Introit of many a Mass bids us: “Gaudeamus omnes in Domino, diem festum celebrantes.” (“Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating this festival day.”)

If the time from the First Sunday in Advent until Pentecost seems like one long uninterrupted celebration of the greatest mysteries of our faith, the time from Pentecost to the end of the Church Year appears much more sober.

This second half of the Church Year is referred to in Austria as “The Green Meadow” because of the green color of the vestments on the Sundays after Pentecost, whereas, until then, they had been violet, red, or white.

If the festive character of the first part of the year is comparable to the mountain chains of the Alps or Andes, the single feasts in the months after Pentecost are like isolated peaks towering above the green meadow.

“I do not know any among the ordinary conditions of life as good and desirable as that of a life of service or of daily labor. A life of labor has always been considered, by spiritual persons, most favorable to the soul. To have nothing which we are obliged to do may seem very fine to our worldliness and love of ease, but it is most dangerous. You know the old saying: ‘The devil finds work enough for idle hands to do.’ It is most true. Idleness opens the door for the worst temptations.” –GUIDE for CATHOLIC YOUNG WOMEN by Rev. George Deshon, 1863

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

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Your Privilege of Parenthood ~ Rev. George Kelly

by Rev. George Kelly, The Catholic Marriage Manual

Your Privilege of Parenthood

If you constantly keep in mind the origin of the word “matrimony,” you will have a clear understanding of your vocation as married man or woman: your primary job is to perform the function of parenthood.

In the first chapter of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, it is recorded that God created man and woman for parenthood, The Bible states: “And God created man to His own image: To the image of God He created him: Male and female, He created them. And God blessed them saying: Increase and multiply and fill the earth.” (Genesis, 1:27-28)

Man takes too much for granted the magnificent power which God has given him to reproduce human life. Every parent receives a gift far surpassing any other that humans may possess. For example, when the great Michelangelo completed his magnificent statue of Moses, he was so impressed with its lifelike nature that he threw his hammer at it and commanded: “Speak!” Of course, this creation of one of the most gifted of all men remained mute.

As a parent, however, you are a creative artist who can produce an actual human being. Great as is the privilege of bearing children, it is only a small part of your total privilege of parenthood. You are your child’s first and most important teacher—the means through which he will learn how to live on earth and to prepare for his lifetime in eternity.

As Pope Pius XI taught us, “God wishes men to be born not only that they should live and fill the earth, but much more that they may be worshipers of God, that they may know Him and love Him and finally enjoy Him forever in heaven.”

It is obvious then that your work really begins only when your baby is born. Your home becomes a miniature church; your function is to teach, rule, and sanctify in Christ’s name.

Never underestimate your power. You are the most important influence your child will ever know.

The Pleasures of Parenthood

In our materialistic age, emphasis is often placed upon sacrifices which parents must make to care properly for their children. Persons with a “birth-control mentality” stress that the family with more than a token number of children often must live in an older home in a less exclusive section; must drive an old car that lacks up-to-date conveniences; must patch up and wear clothing that richer people might discard.

Obviously, having children involves sacrifices. But the proponents of contraception ignore the truth that the joys of bearing and caring for children far outweigh the disadvantages.

Parenthood is the normal state for a married man and woman. The child is the natural fruit of their love for each other. Moreover, the desire to procreate is inborn. Even in pagan countries, the man who dies without a son and heir is an object of pity; the woman who cannot produce a child is cast away.

In your children, you will find your own happiness. As we have seen, true love can blossom only in a spirit of self-sacrifice and in a willingness to forego selfish objectives for the sake of another human being.

In performing your duties of parenthood, you perfect yourself in self-sacrifice and therefore in love. But your sacrifices are like bread cast upon the waters; they return to enrich your life a hundredfold. For children are a pleasure in themselves, a source of comfort and consolation.

Consider the home filled with happy children at Christmas; compare it with one in which the sound of childish laughter is not heard.

Your children give you a worthy goal to work for in marriage. Like the gardener tending rare seedlings in his garden, you watch each stage in your child’s development with amazement. You see results today of your efforts of weeks or months ago, and you are encouraged to look ahead to a further blossoming a few months from now.

The process of growth continues in a pattern that never ceases to delight and inspire you. The infant who has just learned to gurgle and coo now becomes the toddler taking his first step into a strange new world; soon he asks his first innocent questions about God and life; then he sits by your side, his first reader in his hands.

You see him at the altar rail as a first communicant, then with his school diploma. He undertakes his first job; soon he is no longer your dependent son, but a bright-eyed, mature bridegroom.

In all of these many stages, you as a parent can feel an unparalleled joy in the part you have played in developing this greatest of all God’s creatures—a life more precious than the most exquisite flower ever grown, more beautiful in God’s sight than the greatest painting, more inspiring than the most complex machine.

“God has thus put into the hand of the parents at their own hearthstone, a power greater than that which kings and queens wield, and which must issue in either the weal or the woe of their children. It would surely seem to be worth while to make any sacrifice of personal comfort or pleasure—to transmit a legacy of holy memories which shall be through all the years, like a host of pure angels hovering over those we love, to guard and guide them.” J.R. Miller

Some prayers for you….

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The saints assure us that simplicity is the virtue most likely to draw us closer to God and make us more like Him.

No wonder Jesus praised the little children and the pure of heart! In them, He recognized the goodness that arises from an untroubled simplicity of life, a simplicity which in the saints is completely focused on its true center, God.

That’s easy to know, simple to say, but hard to achieve.

For our lives are complicated and our personalities too. (We even make our prayers and devotions more complicated than they need be!)

In these pages, Fr. Raoul Plus provides a remedy for the even the most tangled lives.

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