These are great and momentous days for the young people! It is up to us to instill in their hearts just how great they are!
First Confession is practiced and sins are talked about. And when the great day arrives, and the sins are washed from the soul of the little person, we celebrate by letting them choose any ice cream on the menu at our local restaurant….hot fudge sundae, banana split… it doesn’t matter. It is a great day!
First Communion should be approached as the best day of your children’s lives! Because it is! Much studying is done to know all the Catechism questions before being quizzed by Father. Much to-do is made getting the prettiest dress for the little girl and the crisp and dapper suit for the little boy.
And when the great day comes….Mom and Dad, brothers, sisters, Grandpa, Grandma, cousins and friends are present as Our Lord Jesus in the Holy Eucharist is consumed for the first time by our little loved one!
And then…we feast!
Zaelie is ready!
Last-minute photo with Mom!
Juliette is ready, too!
They are both very excited!
After the First Communion Mass, Father explains to the children about the Brown Scapular before they are enrolled.
They receive the Brown Scapular! What a grace-filled day!
Grandma congratulates Juliette. Annie gets in on it! 🙂
Gin and Juliette
Confirmation is made special by the studying and the feasting, too! The young men and women must know what it means to have the Holy Spirit come to them in this special way. They are now soldiers of Jesus Christ! It is no little thing!
Then there is first Confession. To turn such a day into a “holy day,” we parents should prepare ourselves for it by special study and much prayer in order to be able to give the child an even deeper understanding of what he is going to do when he kneels down and confesses—not to Father So-and-So, but to God Himself—all the wrongs that cloud his young conscience.
When he is going to hear for the first time the momentous words, “Your sins are forgiven!” we help him realize with chalk and blackboard what will happen to him. We write down a list of sins such as a child may commit, and then we take a wet cloth and erase them completely and ask the child, “Can you still read what was there? Just like this, God will erase your sins from His memory. He will forgive them completely.”
We cannot do enough to impress the young soul with the tremendous happening at the moment of the Ego to absolve (I absolve you). Of course, the child should remember the day of his First Confession and always later celebrate this anniversary as a private feast day just between himself and God.
FIRST HOLY COMMUNION
Then comes the great day when the young soul is for the first time invited to the heavenly banquet—the day of the first Holy Communion. It is a pity that this sacred day so often degenerates into a show, the child being showered with gifts and distracted with amusements, so that this solemn, holy feast turns into a day of much outward excitement.
Again, there is much that we Christian parents have to learn to do better. The preparation for this day, the first Holy Communion of our children, should be a holy rite and duty for every mother.
We can learn from the family of St. Therese of Lisieux how the older sisters saw to it that the younger ones were prepared sufficiently for their great day.
Of course, the whole family should join the child at the Communion Mass, everybody wearing his Sunday best. Not only the table, but the house or apartment should be decorated.
For the rest of his life, the child will remember this day. Instead of many worthless trinkets, one might buy a beautiful medal or a little cross for the child to wear, or a picture for his room, a reproduction of the old masters, or a beautiful statue.
These are formative years, and it is our privilege to school the taste of our children, directing them away from the sweetish, coy plaster art, toward genuine art.
Another great day is the day of Confirmation, the spiritual coming of age of the young Christian. Much could we learn here from the Orthodox Jewish families and their way of celebrating the Bar-Mitzvah on the boy’s thirteenth birthday, when he becomes of age before the law.
The coming of the Holy Spirit, the sacrament of Holy Ordination for us laypeople, cannot receive enough attention. It is a great joy to help the child prepare for this, his very own, Pentecost.
With him we study the gifts and the fruits of the Holy Spirit; we read together such books as Father Grandmaison’s We and the Holy Spirit or the chapters pertaining to the Holy Spirit in The Spiritual Life by Adolphe Tanquerey; unforgettable hours are thus spent, in which we accompany our sons and daughters on their road to spiritual maturity.
We have always tried to mark the day of Confirmation by a gift or an event that stresses the new status of the child as a person capable of independence and responsibility; for instance, by giving him a desk of his own, or, if possible, a room of his own. (It is a custom to give a watch on Confirmation Day, to remind the young Christian that from now on he is responsible for the use of his time.)
These are the commanding high points in the lives of the young, and I feel that one can never do enough to make them into memorable events, keeping them alive in the memory of our children by celebrating the anniversaries of these days.
Children who have experienced the joy of being feasted will want to reciprocate. All the love and attention that is showered on them they will try to return just as lovingly and gratefully as their young hearts prompt them to do.
“The objection that a child should wait until he can understand what he’s doing when he receives Holy Communion is no objection at all. He understands as well at seven as at seventy. The Holy Eucharist is a mystery as profound and unfathomable as the Trinity. One does not understand how Christ can assume the form of bread and wine. One believes.” -Mary Reed Newland, How to Raise Good Catholic Children
One of the powerful weapons in spiritual combat is the St. Benedict medal. Used for centuries, this medal has been associated with many miracles, as well as with powers of exorcism.
St. Benedict medals are used in many ways, but always as a protection against evil. Some people bury them in the foundations of new buildings to keep them free from evil influences, while others attach them to rosaries or hang them on the wall in their homes. But the most common way to use the St. Benedict medal is to wear it. The medal can be worn by itself or embedded in a crucifix.
Regardless of how it is used, the medal should always be blessed with the special St. Benedict blessing. While, in former times, only Benedictines could bless the medal, now any priest can.
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.
This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.
I think it may help to inspire those who are struggling to live a life of wholesomeness and faith in a world that tends to pull us down. I know I would have liked it as a young, struggling mom.
My husband and I always told ourselves that we wanted to work toward a home that the children loved to be a part of….A home that emanates joy, camaraderie, fun and, well, yes, hard work!
Beneath all of that is the foundation….daily Mass, if possible, and family prayer…the daily Rosary, especially. If you haven’t got the Faith, what do you have?
It’s never perfect. God understands our humanness.
But we continue to try to instill Catholic culture in our homes so our legacy will be just that…a steady, strong structure of Catholic Culture pulsing through the veins of our children and grandchildren.
A few quotes…
Never weary in cheering your family with your smile. It is not enough to avoid depressing them; you must brighten them up and let their spirits expand. Be especially vigilant when the little ones are around. Give them the alms of a smile, hard though it be at times. What a pity when children have to say, “I don’t like it at home.” – Christ in the Home, Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J.
“Welcome home! That’s what I want my life to say to everyone whose path crosses mine. I want to create an atmosphere of serenity and joy, of blessing and belonging, that embraces people (myself included) and draws them in – an atmosphere that makes them feel loved and special and cared for.” – Emilie Barnes, The Spirit of Loveliness
Even so, O Woman, within that world which is your home and kingdom, your face is to light up and brighten and beautify all things, and your heart is to be the source of that vital fire and strength without which the father can be no true father, the brother no true brother, the sister no true sister, since all have to learn from you how to love, how to labor lovingly, how to be forgetful of self, and mindful only of the welfare of others. -Fr. Bernard O’Reilly, 1894
And now….Gallery, Spring 2023.
Captions are below the pictures. Click on the first picture to begin the gallery….
Gin loves her succulents.
Many green things abound at her home right now.
She will plant after the last freeze.
She’s got a lot of work to do!
Her boys are working on their sunroom.
Annie and David try their hand at Tony’s wheelchair he bought and then motorized it…for fun!
Games at Gin’s. Vin and Gin often have the potlucks at their home.
Tony is working on making rosaries for Legion of Mary.
Esther’s first birthday. Ang is her Godfather and made her the wooden bunny.
Sean and the goat.
Rose has the biggest and brightest smile!
Mike and Nettie’s beautiful family.
Gemma and Esther.
Another KS snowman.
Jeanette’s beautiful sourdough bread.
Gin and David…
Magadalene has officially graduated to Grade 2!
Sean loves his books!
Toby “camps out” in the driveway with his “tent”!
Theresa and Sophia.
Gin deorated some of my nooks. Here’s above the coffee nook.
Infant of Prague
Piano decorations. Waiting for Easter.
Agnes’ 9th birthday
Esther and her big brothers.
Big brothers are soo tired.
Do you ever find that the rosary makes you sleepy? Ethan does!
Laundry time at Theresa’s.
Brendan and Sophia
Our good friend (and artist) Stephanie is teaching art lessons.
Grandpa and his chestnut mushrooms.
Grandpa gives Ben instructions on how to make mushroom tincture.
Sean is making sure his mom and dad are doing it right!
St. Anne gracing my table.
Gin’s sewing spot.
Brendan is having his treat for passing his Confirmation test!
Reality Check…Laundry at Jeanette’s
Reality Check #2 – Silliness at Jeanette’s…haha
Butterflies made by Nanny Rosie and Kids…
Hannah has been into crocheting hats lately.
Esther and Rose get to know one another!
David reads to Sean and Gimpy the Giraffe.
Sean and Gimpy
Young Adult Group….don’t ask. I’m not going to…Haha
Birthday party for Mom/Grandma
Lots of lovely gifts!
Hubby’s gift to me…
Sweet daughter-in-law, Z!
Margy and Zaelie
Jeanette and Zaelie
Devin, Theresa and Sophia
Sweet daughter-in-law, Sarah.
We are problably discussing herbs or something like that…
My table centerpiece during Lent
Huckleberry is not impressed.
THIS is true love.
And this may be another form of true love! haha
Father captivates his audience.
A sweet red-headed package!
Edward is ready for the Quiz Bowl. He bleongs to the team “The Band of the Bonny Prince”.
Vin and Gin are taking a trip to the Quiz Bowl at the seminary
Quiz Bowl ~ Catholic Trivia Contest
Beautiful Church Vin & Gin stopped at.
Colin makes breakfast for us.
Sean has his morning routine, which includes two eggies!
David and Margy bought a fixer-upper.
They have been working hard to get it insulated before the hot and cold weather again.
And keeps helping…
St. Patrrick’s Day ’tis a hit at Theresa’s home.
Methinks there is something special under those hats!
St. Patrick’s Day!
Angelo is the President of the Junior Legion of Mary.
He is prepping all of the rosaries the kids will make for the missions.
Rosie and Gemma follow a strict food plan right now. May I eat that way, too??
Esther can be rather rough on the sleep factor.
Z with her mom and kids.
Colin is busy getting things prepped for his mother-in-law to move close to them.
He is building an apartment on the front of their shop for her.
Building in process.
His workers need a break….
Esther in the hospital.
Esther received Confirmation at the hospital.
Very blessed, indeed!
It’s a new experience wearing oxygen while playing in the dirt.
Z’s home during Passion Week.
My 3 guys on their way to work at 6:30a.m.
Shopping with Mom (Theresa)
Got a couple of lovely spring dresses!
Resurrection Garden at Gin’s
Hubby’s Mushroom Grow Bags!
Kids help with the rosary kits for Legion of Mary.
Gemma and Esther
Grandma and Esther
Grandma Rosalie and Hannah
Angelo and Esther
Jeanette’s Resurrection Garden
Jeanette’s Way of the Cross (with a little help from artist friend, Stephanie)
Esther and Mom, Jeanette.
Fishing with the family is too fun!
Uncle Ang does school while the kids eat lunch.
Priests and seminarian visiting…
Gin came over with this basket of goodies to help decorate for Easter
Infant of Prague in his beautiful Spring Cloak
Gin made this cape for Our Lady. I made the little flower crown.
These Easter bunnies surprised Grandma and Grandpa with some Easter eggs!
Theresa’s Flat bread for Holy Thursday.
Soup and Flatbread has become a tradition. Ely has sunburn and airing it out! 🙂
Holy Thursday repast at Vin and Gin’s
The Easter Bunnies are working hard getting eggs ready for the hunt!
Gin’s table with some lovely lattes the kids make.
Emma’s Good Friday Latte for her Mom, Gin.
Sienna and Sophia show off their homemade bunnies from a dear lady friend.
Avila’s bunny…aren’t they cute?
Gin’s “Cabbage” floral centerpiece! Be still, my heart!
Hot Cross Buns! Be still my taste buds! haha
Shrink wrap Easter eggs always make a lovely splash of color!
Jeanette’s Resurrection Garden
Easter baskets ready!
More hot cross buns!
Painting egss with Dad, Devin
Theresa’s Way of the Cross
A hairdo for Easter!
More Easter baskets!
Juliette is ready for the Easter Vigil.
Gin and girls
David’s not sure he’s ready for the Easter Vigil.
Goodies at 3 in the morning after the Vigil.
Looking for baskets. I get up early and hide them.
A little rough hiding them and finding them.
Dad has to get everyone to look at mushrooms while hunting for their baskets!
Dev and Theresa stopped after Mass for a photo shoot!
Painting eggs at Gin’s
Jeanette’s Resurrection Scene.
Mike’s happy with his basket. He deserves it…it’s been a rough Lent!
Zeleie found her basket!
Charlotte…whoa! That’s one big basket!
Colin and Z’s girls…Grace, Zaelie and Charlotte.
Colin and Z
Colin and Z’s boys….Jacob, Isaac, Ethan.
Sean is greatly impressed with his Easter goodies!
Playing Epic duels with son, Sep’s, kids.
Sean and Lillian help Rosie.
Yum! Lillian and Sean, cousins.
Gin and Vin
Dear, comb your hair!
Theresa, the Easter Bunny, is ready for the Hunt!
And away they go!
Juliette is trying to get it!
Tony flies his drone just to annoy people…haha
Men watch and gab
Z and Zaelie
Avila, Rita and Lucy
Ely and Magdalene
Nettie and Mike’s family.
Peek a boo!
James reads to the kids.
Esther likes to touch the buttons of her oxygen machine!
David reading to his little ones.
Burning the fields. Always very pretty, sometimes stressful.
Way to go Brendan! It will make for a great supper!
Double rainbow after a stormy night!
Stormy beautiful sky.
Turkey Tail Mushroom found!
A great harvest!
Ready for a “Black Tie” wedding.
Angelo has to get his reading in before he can go!
Margy with Rose and friend’s baby.
Nothing like dancing with your son…
Friends from Minnesota…the Sirbas!
Having breakfast with the Sirbas.
Father reads to Sean on his favorite subject…chickens!
We had a last-minute order for Holy Face Chaplets.
Margy and I worked for hours on them!
Ready to be overnight shipped!
Margy and Sean… 🙂
Replacing windows at Dave and Margy’s
Please say a prayer for Fr. Terrence Gordon, FSSP, who died of a heart attack on Friday.
He was a good and holy priest.
His brother, Fr. James Gordon, gave him the Last Rites.
Fr. Dennis Gordon, Fr. James Gordon, Fr. Terrence Gordon
Femininity… Femininity and modesty…. what beautiful pictures these two words bring to mind! Pictures of gracefulness, poise, dignity, elegance, generosity, tenderness, softness, etc.
G.K. Chesterton say “The important thing for a country is that the men should be manly, the women womanly.” This comment of Chesterton’s represents a basic principle of social order that is so much needed at this time in our nation and in our world.
We are meant for a high calling in this world, to be an example of goodness, wholesomeness and faith in a world gone crazy. As women, we achieve this purpose with our special qualities of being a woman.
At the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, 1946, Janet Kaven had this to say:
“The deepest difference among human beings–far more fundamental than any difference of intelligence or ability, nation or race– is the difference of sex.
This basic difference is not merely physical but also psychological, coloring the total personality. In the whole range of her being – her mind, her senses, her emotions, her will, her interests and reactions – woman differs profoundly from man.”
These profound differences SHOULD be very visible to the eye…through the way the woman carries herself, the way she acts and talks and walks….and the way she dresses.
My girls and I like to approach the subject of modesty in a positive light. Although the reason for being modest can be negative (we don’t want to cause sin) we especially like to bring out what the amazing benefits are of being a modest, lovely woman.
The Catechism of the Council of Trent says “Charm of person is one of God’s gifts to women and girls. That charm is not lost, but enhanced, by modest dress.”
Pope Pius XII agreed with this, saying, “Your zeal, however, against immodest forms of dress and behavior must be not only destructive, but also constructive, by showing in practice how a young woman can, in her dress and deportment, harmonize the higher laws of virtue and the norms of health and elegance.”
He also says:
A young lady can be modest, cultured, sportive, gracious, natural and distinctive, without submitting to all the vulgarities of an unwholesome fashion.
Pope Pius XII on the youth and modesty….
“Independent of the use of dress to hide physical imperfections, youth asks from dress that it highlight the splendor that sings of the joyful springtime of life and favor – following the norms of modesty –that is, young ladies can wear modest dresses that attract young men in order to marry them.”
As we can see by these words of Pope Pius XII, the use of clothing is very influential and is a source of powerful communication. Let’s use it wisely!
Pope Pius XII declared: “It might be said that society speaks through the clothing it wears. Through its clothing it reveals its secret aspirations and uses it, at least in part, to build or destroy the future.”
What would you say that today’s clothing reveals about our country’s aspirations?
God has made the human body beautiful. Immodest attire neither contributes to the promotion of the human person nor to the establishing of the Kingdom. The modesty practiced by Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the Saints is obtainable in this day and age and is necessary for us.
I found these definitions of “modesty”:
1) Freedom from vanity
2) Decency of behavior, speech and dress
3) Simplicity and moderation
Three simple points that cover a lot of character building.
Let me tell you a bit about my own journey into femininity and modesty. My beginnings were rocky when it came to enhancing my femininity.
I grew up in a big city, Regina, the capital city of Saskatchewan in the middle of Canada. I lived in not a great neighborhood; it wasn’t horrible…but not great.
You see, we, my brothers and I pretty much had to fend for ourselves. My mom and dad worked full time. Mom was finally able to come home BUT I was already a teenager. So I was pretty much on my own all those years…I became a pretty tough girl. At least it seemed like it from the outside. I had to find my way in an atmosphere that definitely wasn’t conducive to femininity or modesty.
I went to Catholic schools all the way up through High School. It was right in the middle of a big city, girls and boys of all walks of life went to them….Protestant and Catholic. The Church was very liberal and was no help when trying to form young ladies into young women. Jeans, halter tops, shorts, tank tops, swimsuits were all the norm of the day.
I have five other siblings but it was mostly my three brothers (because my other two siblings were born much later) that I grew up with. We (boys, some quite big, and then the girls, too) played tackle football, Pom-Pom Pullaway (which was another tackle sport) and many other rather brutal games…at least for a girl. I was involved in Track and Field and won several awards. I wasn’t big, but I was fast.
When one of the classmates was asked who was the toughest girl in the class, he said it was a draw between Vivian (a big Italian girl) and well… lil’ old me. Now wasn’t THAT something to be proud of?! Yikes!
It’s true, I drew a certain amount of respect from the guys and gals around me…but it wasn’t a respect for my femininity, that is for sure! I had a tough exterior…because I was insecure on the inside, like a lot of young girls that age. We just manifest it in different ways.
As time went on and I was growing into young womanhood, I realized my physique was not perfect…perfect, you know, like those women on TV with the long flawless legs and the flat tummies, etc. I started to become very self-conscious. There is a lot of pressure to look that way, isn’t there, and vulnerable, young women, can easily fall into the trap.
This awakening to what I thought were huge physical imperfections was very hard on me. I loved swimming, I was involved in ballet, gymnastics, tap dancing and drama…but as time went on I found that each of these extra-curricular activities caused me to expose parts of my body that I did not want to advertise.
I remember the last few times I had a ballet or drama performance, I was increasingly uncomfortable to wear what the event called for. The last play that I was involved with (and I usually had one of the leading parts) I instead chose to be just in charge of the stage props and the stage curtain.
This change in me wasn’t necessarily for the right reasons…yet. I was just horribly self-conscious. This self-consciousness actually saved me from a lot of grief. In hindsight I was able to see the Hand of God in this gift.
Thus began my modesty journey. Isn’t it amazing how God uses these very crosses that can be so hard to eventually become a tool for our happiness…If we just see it through, look for answers in the right places and have an open heart to these answers.
Many of my best friends couldn’t withstand the pressures of the times and fell for the first man that turned their heads. Each of these relationships started off on the wrong foot. This could’ve easily happened to me, growing up without the guidance needed.
Someone was indeed praying for me.
I want to pause here to remind all of us that no matter how badly we may feel about ourselves for whatever reason, be it physical, emotional, spiritual, mistakes we have made, what the negative people in our lives have told us, Our Lord is there for us.
He wishes to show us the way and often it is these very hardships that help us to reach UP and become the person God wants us to be….
So let’s not think of our trials as something negative. God’s Hand is in our lives and is leading us through them…
It was at this time, when I was about 19 years old, that, after working very hard at a job for many summers, I found myself the head secretary at an office that had a warehouse in the back. I was the only woman who worked there, except during the busy summer months, and the warehouse had several young men working full time.
Most of the time, I wore jeans to work…the guys thought of me as… pretty much….one of the guys.
Every once in a while, I got some sort of bee in my bonnet, and I would put on a dress. I don’t know what got into me….I guess that femininity was trying to peek out. It was interesting to see the knee-jerk reactions of these same coworker guys who didn’t give me a second glance normally.
As I approached a door, if they were around, they’d make the effort to scramble towards the door in order to open it for me. Well, now, wasn’t that interesting? A skirt…that’s all it took. I was the same Leane that worked with them day in and day out. ….they didn’t even notice me when I came to work on other days….”Open your own door:” was very much understood.
I was surprised with their reaction.. They also treated me with more respect, in general. It was very noticeable. At the time, I just made a mental note of it.
I grew up in the Novus Ordo, which was very liberal at that time, went to a Catholic school all my life, rubbed shoulders with priests and nuns and yet, when I came out of High School I did not know about the True Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist.
When I was about 20 years old I was introduced to the Latin Mass. If there is one thing you notice when you go to the Old Mass the first few times….there is Someone special there. How do you know? By all the externals surrounding the Mass. The genuflections, the general silence and then the extreme silence during the Consecration. The reverence, kneeling while receiving, receiving on the tongue,etc. You don’t need a sermon to tell you that Our Lord is present. You see it through the externals.
You can bring little children to Mass and without saying a word, they know that something special is happening….Someone special is there.
I remember reading an article about the Latin Mass. It said that the liturgy will actually form who we are, if we give it enough time. The more we attend, the more It will change us on the inside..
Well, I feel the same way about our dress.
There is a saying….
“The body is the shell of the soul, and the dress the husk of that shell. But the husk often tells what the kernel is.”
What is that saying to us? Our externals matter. Our husk, our clothing, reveals who we are on the inside. And on the reverse, our mode of dressing, will work to change us intimately, too.
The virtuous person will manifest this virtue through the use of proper dress.
From Cardinal Siri:
“The clothes a person wears conditions, determines and modifies that person’s gestures, attitudes and behavior such that from merely being worn on the outside clothing comes to impose a particular frame of mind on the inside. So when a person changes their dress it will change how that person views her self-image. On the converse of that, if she has a distorted self-image, it will be manifested in her dress.”
“Women who go back to dressing like women find an inner change which occurs within them. They feel more feminine. Which is a good thing…femininity is a perfection proper to a woman. And those perfections are very admirable.
The virtue of modesty will attract a worthy man. A virtuous man turns away from what is immodest. So if a woman wants to attract a man it’s a matter of dressing like a woman.” -Fr. Chad Ripperger
After I committed to dressing modestly (and I took the bull by the horns and committed to dresses and skirts)…which I did before I met my husband and while I was working at a Catholic Shrine in North Dakota, I found myself slowly changing.
Automatically, without much notice on my part… I changed the way I sat, the way I held myself, the way I walked, the games I played, etc.
I thought it was quite amusing when, one day, as were sitting in the refectory, one of the respected elderly ladies, who was sitting across from me, said to her friend, and I don’t remember how it came about, that “Leane was the most mannerly and feminine woman that she knew!”
Who? Me? The toughest girl in class? The girl who dared to tackle even the biggest boy on the football field? It really was quite funny…but I was pleased. I liked this respect a lot more than what I got measuring up to “one of the guys” because women have an innate desire to femininity. They just don’t know it and are not taught how to embrace and enhance it.
I had the support of the community there at that time so it was relatively easy to be modest in that environment. But then my first big challenge came up. I had a two-week trip planned with my best friend, who was a Protestant, to go to my brother’s home several miles away to spend a couple weeks kicking up our heels.
We stopped and took pictures along the way….me in my dress, my friend in her jeans. We hiked on some of the mountains along the way. I did everything she did. She accepted me and the steps I was making…but I could tell she didn’t understand it…but she DID respect me for it.
There were questions when I got to my brothers and some uncomfortable moments…but I actually did it! I made it through that trip meeting all sorts of people, going to events and…dressing with dignity! And I never looked back. And I feel so blessed that I started my married life with modesty high on the list…what a blessing!
Let me also pause here to reiterate that our clothing is a very personal thing, along with the journey that goes with it. I am not telling you how to do it. I am not telling you how far to reach and to what extreme.
I also am not the last word on modesty and I don’t claim to have all the answers. But it is good to search our hearts and see what changes we CAN make in order to enhance the beauty, not of our bodies, but of our Catholic femininity. Not frumpy…but beautiful.
A couple of quotes…
“There is a difference between dressing attractively, and dressing to attract.”
“Your character is the picture and your appearance is the frame. The frame should complement the picture, not distract from it.”
It is a wonderful and beautiful challenge in this journey towards becoming more Mary-like in our day and age. And we will see many blessings come from it! Maybe some hardships, too, but all good things are wrought through struggle. It helps us grow in character.
Something for us to remember….No one gets the crown — without the conflict!
Pertaining to that, lest we recoil from the conflict….
From J.R. Miller written in the early 1900’s
“The daily temptations which make every true life such a painful conflict from beginning to end — bring us constant opportunities for growth of character. To struggle — is to grow strong. The soldier’s art can be learned, and the soldier’s honors can be won — only on the field of battle.
“If you would grow into the beauty of the Master, you must accept the conflicts, and fight the battles. You can live easy if you will, by declining every struggle — but you will then get little out of life which is truly noble and worthy. The best things all come after the battle — you must fight your way across the field to get them.. No one gets the crown — without the conflict!
Here is a quote from Brian Holdsworth, a Catholic husband and father, with a renowned Youtube channel “Women are by nature captivating and beautiful and there’s something in the essence of femininity that would be lost if they dressed like men.”
I started dressing modestly at the Catholic Shrine where modesty was the norm. I only brought along with me conforming attire. I didn’t have to agonize about my favorite articles of clothing going in the giveaway pile. That didn’t mean my struggle with that kind of thing was over. And I think my girls will attest to this. We have certain favorite pieces of clothing that are hard to move on from.
I will tell you this…each time I got rid of that certain piece of beloved clothing….and when I say get rid of…I mean to give it away, throw it away, get it out of reach so it doesn’t sit there to tempt me into finding excuses to dumb down my resolutions…. I was rewarded with a greater resolve and a deepening of the certainty that what I was doing was good.
I find that this part of my life, when looking on it in hindsight, has been one big reward. We’ve had our struggles, our bumps…but it has so much paid off. Each of my girls, and I have seven daughters, strive for modesty. They are firmly grounded on the road of Femininity.
And they are not a condemning, self-righteous, modest bunch. They love to dress lovely. It is a positive modesty. We dress for the seasons. We make accessories that look pretty. We invest in pretty scarves, in lacy overlays.
Truly, dressing modestly can be fun…if we are not focusing on the “cant’s” but on the “cans!” Imagine the legacy of that?? I have 41 grandchildren and counting…. And those little girls will grow up spreading the beauty of femininity throughout our broken world. God is good.
Not everyone will have this experience and have found the beauty of modesty later on in their journey. All I can say is…God supplies and goes more than halfway. My mom was much older when she began to dress modestly. And it still had its profound effect on me.
I thought she was crazy, sure! I was her biggest opposition…I’ll repeat that…I was her biggest opposition when it came to the modesty thing.
She preached at times. I disliked it and argued with her. But deep inside something was stirring….
And guess what?! God blessed her and helped her persevere and I grabbed on to the torch and am working on finishing her modesty journey.
We must never get discouraged. Our changes, no matter what season of life, affect everyone around us! They may berate us, but never mind. We are doing this for a beautiful and holy purpose and Our Lady will help us! And Our Lord will bless us! And maybe even bring those other people in our lives around….like my mom did with me.
“Boys and girls must be taught as tiny tots to love modesty. Even though they are too young to sin, they can and ought to be impressed with the beauty of modesty. Training in modesty is pre-eminently the function of the home, to be begun from earliest childhood.” -Archbishop Meyer of Milwaukee
Beautiful Trifold Surrender Novena Prayer Card and Wire Wrapped Chaplet!
This chaplet is designed to be prayed with the Surrender Novena, which was given to Servant of God, Fr. Don Dolindo Ruotolo. Read more about this lovely chaplet here. Each link is handmade and wrapped around itself to ensure quality.
REVIEW: Love! Love! Love! The Surrender Novena and chaplet. This came to my attention at the moment I need this prayer the most. Beautiful chaplet and so easy to keep with me as a reminder to surrender myself to Jesus especially when things are out of my control. So much of the world feels so out of control right now and this has brought the reminder to give it all to Christ to the forefront. Thank you so much.
Few realize that a person can pursue a truly supernatural vocation by consecrating himself or herself to perpetual celibacy while yet living in the world. Here Fr. Unger describes the main guidelines for such a religious vocation, showing the nature of this vocation and the manner of dedicating oneself to it. The author gives the history in the Church of consecrated celibate living, plus some basic helps in safeguarding purity in such a life. Based on the Pope Pius XII encyclical On Holy Virginity, this book shows that the consecrated life in the world is just one more example of the rich Tradition of the Church in providing for the needs of all her children. The Mystery of Love for the Single will bring much-needed encouragement and enlightenment to those generous souls who wish to pursue a supernatural vocation and yet remain single and celibate while living in the world.
In this ground-breaking book, Colleen Hammond challenges today’s fashions and provides you the information you need to protect yourself and your loved ones from the onslaught of tasteless, immodest clothing. Colleen Hammond shares real-life examples of how women can accentuate the grace and beauty of their femininity, and she shows that modest definitely does not mean frumpy !! DRESSING WITH DIGNITY covers it all . . . The history and forces behind the changes in fashion. How to talk to teenagers about the privilege of femininity so they will want to dress with dignity. How to awaken chivalry in men and be treated with respect. How to regain and teach the lost charm of interior and exterior femininity! How to dress in an attractive, dignified, classy manner! Specific documents about manners of dress from the Magisterium, the Popes and the Saints. Comprehensive guidelines for choosing tasteful attire. Resources on where to find beautiful, modest clothing. And much, much more!
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by Therese Mueller, Our Children’s Year of Grace, 1958
Daily Mass is the real “Lenten sacrifice,” and the studying of the daily Mass formula on the evening before is the best means to lead us the way the Church wants us to go. Work out together one or two thoughts that can be easily remembered the next morning and during the day.
Let us remember that the Church has two ideas woven into the Lenten liturgy: the preparation of the catechumens for baptism on Holy Saturday, and the reconciliation of sinners and their atonement. We prepare for the renewal of our baptism; we suffer with Christ for our sins; we are buried with him in penance so that we may rise with him to a new life in grace and glory.
The Sundays of Lent are meant by Mother Church as a pause on the hard way. They are a measure of relaxation and reward for our effort, in order to gather new strength for the coming week.
Especially the “Midfast,” the Sunday Laetare, is full of joyous anticipation of a victorious Easter day, since in nature by that time the sun has already conquered the darkness and the cold, and spring has driven out winter. Let us foretaste the coming Feast, and let us rejoice that we have reached and conquered half of our steep way.
The young and the old may not be bound by the fast, but they are bound by its spirit, each according to his capacity.
If we feel that it is unnatural to ask penances of children while they are still very young – penances within their reach – we forget that self-denial must be learned very young, that it is the forming of character, that the very grace of their Baptism flows from the Cross.
The end of the penitential seasons imposed by the Church is not mere performance. The Church is a wise mother, who knows that the cutting away of self-will frees our souls for a more radiant love affair with Christ.
If we think of the penance without pondering its effect, we misunderstand it.
It is not over and done with the doing but will bear fruit, if it is done with the right spirit; not alone by the piling up of “treasure in Heaven” but by an increase in our taste for God, a change in the habits of our souls.
Our Lord tells us how to behave during Lent when He speaks to us in the Ash Wednesday Gospel (Matt. 6:16-21): When you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad. For they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head and wash thy face, that thou appear not to men to fast, but to thy Father who is in secret; and thy Father, who seeth in secret, will repay thee.
Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth, where the rust and moth consume, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in Heaven, where. neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.
For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also.
So let us remember, when we choose something to give up: no moaning and groaning! Hypocrites (our Lord was talking about the Pharisees) make much of their performances because they want attention. That being their motive, He says, they already have their reward: attention.
There will be opportunities, before Lent is over, for us to attract attention; but so long as this is not our motive, we can accept and use whatever God permits to come to us.
A father will be asked by business associates why he, too, doesn’t order steak for lunch. One mother will be asked by fellow club-members why she doesn’t eat sandwiches and cake after their evening business meeting.
Some children will be asked why they say “No, thank you,” to proffered candies at school, to decline an invitation to a movie during Lent, or do not join with others to watch a television show.
These are the opportunities, with many more, to give reasons “for the faith that is in you.” It is as necessary to give an honest explanation if one is asked, as it is to keep quiet about it if one is not.
God chooses His own time and place to teach the lesson of good example; our part is merely the good example.
“Anoint thy head; wash thy face….” Be cheerful!
The Pharisees wore gloomy looks and long faces to indicate the great anguish their interior purifications cost them.
Not for us.
Our Lord suggests that we “anoint” our heads – that is, prepare ourselves as though we were going to a banquet.
Look cheery and bright even if it is Lent and we miss the between-meal snacks. Our Father in Heaven sees what it is costing us.
One of the Lenten resolves in our family was to omit from all conversation the familiar groan “I’m starving.”
Then He tells us to lay up our treasure in Heaven, because where your treasure is, there your heart is also.
Maybe you are doing the Lenten Journal and working on the Crown of Thorns? Here are pictures and thoughts from a few years back….
Here, Rosie is preparing the Crown of Thorns made from unleavened bread dough. It will harden and the toothpicks (thorns) will be waiting to have a pretty silk flower topping it as the children do their sacrifices….
By Easter it will look lovely and the sacrifices the children made will live on forever….
We have no place to put a “bread” Crown of Thorns so we put the idea to paper. This is a big poster board that is mounted to the fridge. If it is a big sacrifice, the sharpies come out and a flower is drawn on a thorn. Three little sacrifices suffice for a flower, too.
Filling up! Interesting species of flowers, wouldn’t you say? What artists I have!
Virginia’s family also has a jar of beans. Every time a sacrifice is made a bean is put in the jar. At Easter, the beans will be replaced with jelly beans and divvied out between the kids.
This year, our friend from Minnesota, Paul, drew the Crown of Thorns for us. We are late getting started…..
Hopefully by the end of Lent, each thorn will have a flower drawn on it. One has to do 3 sacrifices to draw one flower.
I feel blessed that hubby found this deal at an Estate Sale. I have wanted one all my life….the beautiful statue of the Infant of Prague with His many outfits that match the the colors of the Liturgical Year. Here He is, ready in his Purple Lenten robes…
Here will be His gown for Laetare Sunday…
He will wear red from Palm Sunday to Good Friday. If you look up the statue you will find it rich with history and with miracles. I remember well, in Powers Lake, ND, many years ago, the good sisters reverently and gingerly dressing the Infant in the chapel for the different seasons of the Church. Like I said, I feel blessed!!
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Make your kitchen a place of warmth! “Wherever I’ve lived, the kitchen has always seemed to be the place where warmth and love reign. Family and friends are drawn there like chickens to their roosts. Of all the rooms in our home, the kitchen is the place of comfort, the preferred gathering place for shared conversations and the teamwork of preparing good meals for and with each other.” – http://amzn.to/2ndp5bu Emilie Barnes (afflink)
Make a statement with this lovely and graceful “Madonna and Son ” handcrafted apron….fully lined….made with care. Aprons tell a beautiful story…..a story of love and sacrifice….of baking bread and mopping floors, of planting seeds and household chores. Sadly, many women have tossed the aprons aside and donned their business attire. Wear your apron with joy….it is a symbol of Femininity….”Finer” Femininity! 🌺 💗 Available here.
I have prepared this Lenten journal to help you to keep on track. It is to assist you in keeping focused on making Lent a special time for your family. We do not have to do great things to influence those little people. No, we must do the small things in a great way…with love and consistency…
Timeless words from the pen of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen inspire the heart and imagination as readers embark on a Lenten journey toward a better understanding of their spiritual selves. Covering the traditional themes of Lent–sin and salvation, death and Resurrection, sorrow and hope, ashes and lilies–these 50 passages and accompanying mini-prayers offer readers a practical spiritual program as a retreat from the cares and concerns of a secular world view. If you enjoyed learning about holiday traditions in The Christmas Book, you are sure to love its sequel, The Easter Book. Father Weiser has here applied his winning formula to an explanation of the fasts and feasts of the Lenten and Easter seasons with equally fascinating results.
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It is the simple things in life, the gratitude that comes from our hearts for the simple things which makes the “humdrum” of life…not humdrum!
We can work each day at making our homes and our lives more beautiful, more peaceful and more orderly. No matter if we have many children….we can find those little ways to make life special…for ourselves and for our families.
Here’s a beautiful quote from Charlotte Siems, mother of 12:
There’s no rewind button on parenthood.
So let’s change the way we think about the have to’s. In fact, let’s get practical. Every time you notice yourself thinking or saying “I have to….,” stop and change it to “I get to….” It causes a shift in perspective and a change in your energy.
“Get to” comes from a grateful heart. “Get to” implies honor and thankfulness and privilege and excitement.
“Have to” comes from a fearful heart. “Have to” creates overwhelm and victimhood and dread and anxiety.
Sometimes we change our insides by starting with the outside. Disciplining our words can help us discipline our thoughts. Yes, out of the heart the mouth speaks, but words have power and it can work the other way, too.
Yesterday was a lovely day. I couldn’t make it to Mass in the morning…the residuals of a stomach flu was hanging on. Nonetheless it was a great day and I thought I would chit-chat a bit with you.
Here is my table. The doily is the Christmas gift Rosie gave me 3 years ago. The bouquet was given to Hannah by her best friend, Madeline.
I usually keep a tea light lit on the table…at least in the winter. I plan to get a good amount of them and have them blessed at Candlemas so that I will always be burning a blessed candle!
Yes, that’s my List Book on the table, this wasn’t a “posed” picture…
It’s being used a lot lately. Like everyone, I go in an ebb and flow depending on what life is sending my way. For the last while, I have been quite solicitous in using my List Booklet to keep my life organized. It always makes such a difference!
I usually get up in the mornings before everyone else. I light my candle on the table and start my diffuser that Hannah gave me last year. I put the Holiday Blend Essential oil in it. I then turn the Christmas lights on throughout the house for a warm and cozy glow.
As you can see, we still have our decorations up for Christmas. They will be hanging around until close to The Purification of Our Lady, Candlemas, which is Feb. 2nd. It’s always nice to get the space back (our Nativity is big, as you know) but it is also sad to see them go.
It will look sparse for awhile here…which is perfect for Lent (fast approaching!)
Hannah and Gemma just got back from Topeka. They were dressed nicely (every day seems like a “dress-up day” when you wear skirts), but today was especially nice.
Here is Hannah’s outfit for your inspiration. All of it was bought at our favorite resale/coffee shop called God’s Storehouse. We very seldom buy new clothes.