Tea-Time With Finer Femininity ~ Modesty, Clothing, Single Life

I get questions from you now and again and I think the answers could be beneficial to others and so I have posted them here….I have changed some words to protect anonymity.

Disclaimer: If in doubt with anything I say, please check with your spiritual director. He knows you and your situation and has the grace of state to advise you.

Question:  Have you or your daughters got any tips for me on how to have to confidence to wear in college the dresses and skirts which I love to wear, without worrying about how others might look at me as though I have seven heads…. if you know what I mean?

Answer: I reached out to my girls and these are the answers they provided…

Jeanette: Sometimes people may feel judged by what others wear because they feel guilty. So kindness and charity are huge because if she works on that it will make her confident. People will actually respect her more and not think she is doing it to judge or because she is better but because it’s who she is as a beautiful person!

Theresa: I would just say hold your head up high, look beautiful and don’t care what other people think. You will probably end up being very respected. All our lives we can let other people opinions bother us, but it’s just not worth it. There is no reason for people to feel judged or affronted, if you hold yourself with dignity and treat everybody kind. Even those that are unkind to you.

Elizabeth: It’s a personal conviction. You have to just make up your mind to do it. Cheerfulness and kindness will win over her peers. And the haters just need a silent Hail Mary. They have often been raised in ugliness and don’t understand.

Gin: College is a very difficult scene these days. I think the best thing she could do is get on some modesty forums or some sort of group where they uphold and love dressing in skirts and dresses. That way she can have some sort of support group when she has to enter the college scene. It’s good to have back up and a place where she can get support if she doesn’t have it in the people around her….

Me: I started wearing dresses in my early twenties. I had support around me because I was working at a Catholic Shrine. That doesn’t mean it was easy. I still went home to visit and went on a trip with my best friend for a couple weeks soon after I made the commitment. She was very kind but probably thought I had grown seven heads!

Like the rosary in my life, it was a commitment. So, in spite of the naysayers, I didn’t back down. It was very important, though, to surround myself with like-minded people. You need the support. So…like Gin said, get on some modesty forums. If anyone has any suggestions, please leave a comment here.

Question: I just love when you post your family life galleries! Couple of questions…maybe they are for your daughters? Where do they find longer skirts and dresses for their daughters (your granddaughters)? Do they sew most of these items? Finding items like those for my 11 year old girl has been such a challenge! Also, all the females in your family always have the loveliest, feminine hairstyles. Are these from your own inspirations, or do any of you have any resources/tutorials you could direct me to?

Answer: We get most of our clothes from our lovely Coffee Shop/Thrift Store we have mentioned before ~ God’s Storehouse. We are fortunate to have it close by, they make the effort to continually bring in new items so there are always fresh clothing to pick from.

Gin and Margy sew and have made their own skirts and dresses. But most of them still come from the Thrift Store. Gin is also quite savvy at getting clothes off Ebay. So that could be an option, too.

Every once in a while they get a skirt they like, but is too short. So they add material on to the bottom. This is a pain but worth it if they have found something they really like. You can look up tutorials on this.

As far as the grandchildren go, simple skirts can be easy to make. Gin has done some of this for each of her nieces. She also makes them dresses here and there. I know she was sewing like crazy before the Festival to give some of her nieces the dresses she had made. But for the most part, the girls look out for dresses and skirts from the Thrift Shop.

As far as hairstyles….some of my girls are so good at this! I wish I had the ability but I have never been much of a “hair person”. “Wash and wear” is my motto! That being said, I know they have watched some Youtubes and looked on Pinterest. I just asked this question to Gin the other day and she said to look at “updos” on Pinterest.

And then just practice. I know that’s what it takes. I see them whip their hair up so fast and it looks just lovely. You should see when I try to do that…quite amusing…I would give Phyllis Diller a run for her money 😉 !

Each night, before the Shakespeare Festival (and there were 6 nights of it) we went through the routine. I asked Rosie if she could do my hair, went and got all my hair stuff, sat down, braids, curls, waves abounded and then got up looking like my hair should be in a magazine! One of those evenings, when I asked her AGAIN, Rosie said with a sigh…”Mom, you’re SO high maintenance”. I chuckled and replied with a shrug, “I know.”

Anyway, I digress. I will ask the girls for more info on this one and if they have some good suggestions, I will post them for you.

Question: I was hoping you might be able to offer some advice. I have struggled with some serious health problems when I was younger. Through prayer and Masses, I have improved. I entered a convent but, unfortunately, my health took a spiral downward. I still desire a chaste, single life. Any advice?

Answer: This is a question that is close to my heart. Let me tell you first, we feel your pain with dealing with health problems. We have struggled so much with Rosie. Although she can work now, she has headaches every day and is not sure what God has in mind for her.
So we have had this sort of conversation, many times.
When Rosie left the convent, her beautiful “Sister” mentor told her that if she still wished to live a single life in the world…it may be a good thing to wear some kind of a “habit” ~ simple and not outlandish, to help her own inward decision and to be a statement to those around her.
I would not do this without the advice of a good, balanced priest. The single life in the world is a hard vocation and needs much discernment. But I don’t think any “vow” needs to be made, at least certainly not at first, so the path can change later if God’s will is shown in another vocation. In other words, this “decision” doesn’t have to be permanent and can be tried out. Once again, through the advice of a spiritual director.
There is so much that can be done in this world as a single person. Prayer and sacrifice, helping at the parish, helping mothers of large families, starting a Catholic group for girls, etc.
It is what I tell any single person…those waiting for “Mr. Right” and those who just aren’t sure what their vocation is yet..Spend your time learning about the Faith and about those things that interest you, spend time doing good for others, working hard, praying hard and God will open the doors for you along the way.
Ask Our Lord to purify your intentions and keep growing…in grace and in love. It is what life is about…this continual growth each day.
This is a good book for those looking at this vocation…the single life. Although I have not read the whole book, I have liked what I have read. Please, though, if you have questions or doubts about anything in it, get advice. It is the best way to stay on track!

Let him know you appreciate all the little things he does. It is easy to just expect things from him, with nary a thanks or a smile. This is not the way to nurture a relationship. Go the extra mile….always be grateful…..and let him know that you are! ❤️

Doilies by Rosie!

These are beautiful, lacy, handmade doilies made with size 10 crochet cotton. They have been blocked and starched and are ready to decorate and accent your home decor.
 
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Autumn and Her Five Senses by Theresa

For Throwback Thursday….This is a sweet memory that Theresa wrote a few years back. Right now, she is suffering from morning sickness and not able to do much or enjoy the autumn in its loveliness. But before we know it, she will be up and making her soaps and sprinkling her enthusiasm for life to those around her…

“Enjoy the little things in life because one day you`ll look back and realize they were the big things.” ~Kurt Vonnegut

Autumn is on our doorstep! I hope you enjoy this season as much as we do! The following are some thoughts by our daughter, Theresa about this lovely time of the year!

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Musings and a Poem

Theresa Byrne

Autumn and Her Five Senses.

Sight- Those gold, beautiful colors! In my mind’s eye, I can see the changing of the leaves already! When I walk down Memory Lane, I am in Maine strolling along a winding road, bejeweled with huge maple syrup trees, changing to colors of orange, burgundy and yellow.

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Pictures from their trip to Maine

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The crisp air and lovely colors make this time of year my favorite to take walks.

Early in the fall season, my children and I spend a day sprinkling these autumn colors through our home. Garlands of leaves, wreaths and mums that I have gathered throughout the years bring some of the outside in.

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Pumpkins…such a splash of color! Every year I get each of the kids their own pumpkin and a few extras. We use them as part of our décor, until the All Saints Day Party rolls around, and then we spend a day carving for our annual ‘Pumpkin Carving Contest.’

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Out come sweaters, scarves and boots. I love the first time I don my rust, wine and oranges! Indeed, autumn has come!

Smell – Mmmm….. Smell that pumpkin pie baking. Fall, the time of year I tie on my apron, gather my spices and fire up the stove. Fresh apples are plentiful, and the oven warms the house and takes the chill from the air.

Mulled cider candles are lit and in our home they hang a touch of nutmeg, cinnamon and joy!

I have a fond memory, from my childhood…. I was lying on our couch, half snoozing, it was fall time and I could smell fresh bread baking in the oven. I knew my mom was close by, and being a “quality time child”, at this moment I was completely happy. It’s funny, that something so simple and every dayish, holds such a good memory for me.

Simmering on my stove is a little pot of water, mixed with any spices I have… cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger. Throughout the day, the scent wafts through the house, and what a tease of smell this is to any visitor that comes along.

Devin loves walking in at the end of the day to the colors, peace and smells of ‘Our Friend, Autumn.’

Hearing – There she is, you hear her music on the breeze, the rustling of the leaves, the wind in the willows.

Lilting notes from Devin’s tin whistle can be heard, as we sit around the bonfire or a steaming mug of coffee. Melodies of Ireland come together, with the music of the breeze.

We experience the hum of excitement and laughter at the Shakespeare Festival, and the strain of live music, coming up from ‘The Hollow.’

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The crunching leaves, when you are still and listen, or even the gentle floating of leaves, when they come off the trees, and make the ground their resting place is all part of this season!

Taste – Sitting here, with the breeze coming through the window, I am sipping on a steaming mug of coffee, loaded with fresh cream and a hint of stevia.

Coffee is one of our favorite things, but in the fall it tastes even better. Our basket of tea, which had been retired since the spring, comes out of hiding, on these crisp, cool days.

The kids love when I make a pot of tea, with milk and honey, for us to share.

I love to bake this time of year! My kids and I have already made plump blackberry pies, Swedish tea rings, juicy crisps and delicious blackberry, dark chocolate cheesecake.

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When it comes to baking I am a perfectionist, so to let the kids take part I have had to learn to let go. The fun and memories are worth it and I still take time to bake by myself.

Touch – I think of my fuzzy blanket, warm sweaters, a scarf to add a dash of color, and a child’s hug.

Bonfires are a big part of our fall. We snuggle up, (or hug up, as Brendan says) around the cozy flame, to chat, play music or say the rosary.

Brendan wanted me to tell his favorite bonfire story. Just the other day the kids had been begging to have a bonfire. So after dinner we headed outside, with the tin whistle and kids in tow.

Devin was playing away, and the kids had just started roasting their first “mellow”, when the sky blackened and the heavens opened! This wasn’t just a  little shower, it was pouring!

Brendan still thinks this was the greatest bonfire ever!

It’s many little things that make this time of year special…..Like for me, the smell of bread baking when I was a child.

Thinking of all these things, makes me excited to stop, savor and enjoy this season…. every day that we have with our delightful friend, Autumn!!!

My Friend, Autumn

by Theresa Byrne

If Autumn was a person, who would she be?

           Dressed in gowns of orange and yellow roaming around free.

Her hair would hang loose, sparkling with the morning dew,

Her voice whispering through the trees, telling secrets to me and you.

The birds and the squirrels, the dearest of her chums,

Prance around this Beauty Queen, crowned with a wreath of mums.

When you smell her scent, it’s quite a tease,

Apples, cinnamon and spices swirl around her on the breeze…

Her colors on a pallet are everything that’s bold,

I think of her when I see leaves change, to orange,yellow, wine and gold.

When she comes to visit at the change of the season…

Candles are lit, pies are made and she is our only reason!

The dancing leaves make shadows on the wall,

Sweaters, festivals, mulled cider; her season is called Fall.

I would like to thank this Lady for coming every year,

The memories she has made, to me are very dear.

If Autumn was a person who would she be?

Bold colors, friendship, bonfires, is who she is to me.

Recent picture of Devin and Theresa's family

Recent picture of Devin and Theresa’s family

Margy and Fall

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Nothing like a hot cup of tea on a brisk autumn day!

A Chai Tea recipe we have used from Taste of Home…

Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the first six ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in milk. Return to a boil; boil for 1 minute, then strain. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Pour into mugs. Top each with whipped cream, cinnamon and a cinnamon stick if desired.

OR…

Just buy some lovely Chai Tea Bags and top with homemade whipping cream and cinnamon!

fall finer fem quote for the day fall

“Boys need that self-assured belief that they can do anything to grow into men of action and achievement—but they’ll never build that confidence if Mom and Dad never give them real responsibility. We have to give important jobs to our kids, and then we have to trust them and not worry about them messing up. It would certainly be easier for us to just do the hard stuff ourselves and let our boys play, but our goal isn’t to do what’s easy. It’s to raise men.” – Chasity Akiki

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Father compares the past during the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 to today & our issues in the church…

Fall Coloring Pages for your children. Teach them to be thankful for lovely autumn days!

Lovely and graceful Christmas Necklace Sets…

Available here.

 

Drawn from Archbishop Sheen’s bestselling books, these 28 reflections will lead you day by day through the Advent season. Eloquent quotes are paired with beautiful Scriptures on the themes of the season―patience, waiting, gift, hope, humility, joy―and more. Spend a few quiet moments of each day with one of the 20th century’s greatest preachers, preparing your heart to receive the Savior of the world.

Prayers for use by the laity in waging spiritual warfare from the public domain and the Church’s treasury. The book has an imprimatur from the Archdiocese of Denver.

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

New Podcast ~ And a Gallery! October 2021

New Podcast!

Join me as I read to you this lovely article by Joseph Breig, husband and father, who wrote his thoughts about the great influence the rosary has had on his life and his family….”When I get to heaven – as I trust I shall – something very embarrassing is bound to happen. As sure as shooting; somebody who has known me rather too well for comfort on this earth is going to come up to me and say, in a loud voice enough for everybody to hear, ‘How in the world did you get in here?'”

And now, a gallery of our last two events and some tidbits in-between! Click on the first picture to see the gallery…

 

Two Saints for the Married – St. Elizabeth of Hungary (Nov. 17th) and St. Gomer (Oct. 11th)

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from The Year and Our Children, Mary Reed Newland

St. Elizabeth of Hungary (November 17)

We have always loved this saint because she was so lovable, so beautiful, young, holy, and so much in love with her husband.

It is refreshing to find a saint who made a fool of herself over her husband, and St. Elizabeth surely did (or so the court thought, at any rate).

The legend that the bread in her basket turned to roses is probably not authentic, but it could have happened; so we like to tell it each year.

Elizabeth is supposed to have been taking bread to the poor and met her husband, King Ludwig, on the way. He asked what was in her basket, lifted the napkin, and there underneath he found roses.

Elizabeth, full of humility, was not exposed as the great benefactress of the poor. This is not consistent with her reputation for openly giving away to the poor everything thing she could get her hands on, but it is a charming story and gives us the cue for our St. Elizabeth’s Day custom.

We bake bread that afternoon so that it will be done by nightfall. It is shaped into large buns – or small loaves (if you prefer), wrapped carefully in linen napkins, and put into baskets.

The children bundle up, get their flashlights, take notes explaining the day and the custom, and go off down the lane to the neighbors with hot bread for their suppers.

It is given away for the love of Christ. Then, when you return home, the bread for your own supper tastes that much sweeter.

St. Gomer (October 11)

He is the patron of the unhappily married, and since everyone who ever gets married thinks sooner or later that he is unhappily married, it is high time we stirred up devotion to this saint.

He is probably an expert at showing up for what they are all hurt feelings, self-pity, piggishness, and all the other things we suffer or perpetrate but don’t admit.

For those truly unhappily married, I am sure that he will show them that eternal happiness is bought with such sufferings as theirs.

Omer Engelbert writes of him: “Courageous soldier and relative of Pepin the Short, who thought to reward him by making him marry Gwin Marie; he suffered terribly from the frightful disposition of this incorrigible woman.

He ended by leaving her and withdrawing to a solitary place which became after his death a place of pilgrimage and the site of the town of Lierre (Belgium).”

So this saint knows what an unhappy marriage is all about.

He is also the patron of woodcutters, turners, glove-makers, and cowherds, and is invoked against hernia.

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“Show an interest in your child’s welfare. You can do this by devoting time to him, every day if possible. Try to discuss with him his experiences, problems, successes and failures. By giving yourself to him in this intimate way, you give him the feeling that he can always depend upon you to understand and help him in his difficulties.” – Rev. George A. Kelly, How to Be a Good Father, Catholic Family Handbook

Coloring pages….

A beautiful way to deepen your Advent experience…for yourself and your family. The Catholic Mother’s Traditional Advent Journal available here. Printable available here.

Advent Package Special! The Catholic Mother’s Traditional Advent Journal & Celine’s Advent

 Available here.

Christmas St. Andrew Novena Brass, Wire-Wrapped Chaplet with Laminated Prayer Card available here.

Save

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Drawn from Archbishop Sheen’s bestselling books, these 28 reflections will lead you day by day through the Advent season. Eloquent quotes are paired with beautiful Scriptures on the themes of the season―patience, waiting, gift, hope, humility, joy―and more. Spend a few quiet moments of each day with one of the 20th century’s greatest preachers, preparing your heart to receive the Savior of the world.

Prayers for use by the laity in waging spiritual warfare from the public domain and the Church’s treasury. The book has an imprimatur from the Archdiocese of Denver.

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

Train Your Children to See Christ in Others

by Mary Reed Newland, How to Raise Good Catholic Children

This detachment in respect to nature offers no very big problem. It’s in the complicated relations with humans that problems arise. And if we teach the way to detachment in relation to nature by helping children see all things against a background of God, we teach them detachment in relation to people by helping them see all men as other Christs.

It need not, indeed should not, be a matter of preaching a sermon every hour on the hour, but it’s good to remember that these problems have to be treated some way, and if not this way, some way that is less good.

The alternative is a far vaguer conception of goodness for the sake of being nice. And don’t tell me this formless niceness that people hold up to one another as the measure for behavior is more convincing than Christ.

At times it may be easier to live with, but the easier it is to live with, the less effect it usually has, and it’s apt to end up being mightily confusing and meaning nothing.

Some people think that birth control is nice. And some think euthanasia is nice.

We can start children off on the lifelong struggle to live reverently with their fellowman by teaching them how to see Christ in one another. This is not hard, because our Lord explained it so simply Himself: “Whatsoever you do to these, the least of my brethren, you do unto me.”

It is also very evident in the story of St. Paul thrown from his horse on the way to Damascus. Our Lord had ascended into Heaven. Paul had never known Him. And yet, when he lay there whimpering in the dust, blind and frightened, the voice he heard said to him: “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?”

What else can it mean than that we are to see Christ in all men? He wasn’t personally hiding in Damascus. Paul had no confusion in his mind about whom he was after.

We can explain this to our children, and they’re delighted to discover it. But the process of getting it straight in their heads leads into some strange and winding ways.

For instance, there was the time John was helping Peter get into his sneakers. As it happened, Peter was fresh from a long talk with his mother about seeing Christ in his brothers. What with the fat feet and the limp sneakers, the red hair and the bad temper, they were getting nowhere fast.

Finally John yelled, “Get your feet in!”

And Peter said, smiling smugly, “Remember, I’m Baby Jesus.”

Providentially his mother was within earshot, or I shudder to think of Peter growing up identifying himself so intimately with deity.

So we had to get it explained again; and after a deep breath and a good try, John helped Peter into his sneakers as though he were helping Baby Jesus, and Peter cooperated the way Baby Jesus would have cooperated.

But these things are really ironed out very easily, and children do get it straight. Although, like everything else, they need constant reminding, it’s a far more direct way to go after kind, patient, loving ministrations between brother and brother, brother and sister, our children and the neighbors’, than the old worn-out, “Now, be nice.”

Then there are hurt feelings, which can be much more effectively handled through Christ than with mere purring sympathy.

For instance, one day Monica was getting off the bus with a group of children, when one of them kicked her scuffed shoes and sneered, “Ugh! What shoes!” To be publicly scorned by the neighborhood fashion plate was a bitter blow. She came home close to tears and poured out her woe over the bread and butter.

So we got to talking about our Lord, and how He had walked many miles either barefoot or in dusty, and probably badly scuffed, sandals. One has that to share with Him when she has to wear beat-up shoes until it’s time for her to have new ones, and it will help her understand a bit how things were with Him — because, of course, people made fun of Him, too.

There was the time the soldiers scourged Him and then put the crown of thorns on His head and the purple robe over His shoulders, handed Him a reed for a scepter, and then mocked Him, bowing and scraping and saluting Him as king.

It was all a joke; they never realized that all the time He was their King, silent and loving them, and offering His suffering for them in the hope that one day grace would help them understand, and be sorry.

“Instead of hating someone who makes fun of you, you can remember what you learned: ‘Whatsoever you do to these, the least of my brethren, you do unto me.’ And then you see that they hurt our Lord even more than you by their unkindness.

And here’s a thought: perhaps God permitted it to happen because this child doesn’t know how to love, and it will remind you to pray for her and ask Him to teach her how to love Him, too.”

Sooner or later it occurs to them to ask, “But how can you see Christ in really bad people?” And this, it’s true, is very hard.

But we can see the price Christ puts on bad people right there on the crucifix hanging on the kitchen wall. So we cannot hate them, even when we fear them and hate the things they do.

Our Lord took particular pains to teach from the Cross how we are to feel about the “bad people”:

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Now and then, children will bring this up when they see some news broadcast or headline concerning people who have acted wickedly. Because they have no firsthand knowledge of these people, they accept quite easily the explanation that they must pray for them with love because they are precious to God and, as long as they are alive, might still one day be saints. It has happened to men just as bad.

But when it is someone real, someone who, perhaps, has humiliated them in front of the schoolroom, or has bullied them cruelly in neighborhood play, there is the challenge. With such a one, they cannot drum up any emotion of loving, any very real pity, or even much understanding, and the only wholesome way to go about healing a fear or a hurt of that sort is by remembering the price Christ paid for these “bad ones.”

He loves them, so He can help us to learn to love them too, and if we can help our children forgive them by even the driest act of the will, and pray for the grace to love, it will come — even though it will be long and hard and seem to be impossible.

The end of all this, one day, is that death to self which our Lord said must take place if we are to live in Him, and He in us. In the meantime, it’s the preparation of a soul that can look around itself at the world and the people in it and evaluate it all with God as the measure.

It’s the key to all the tense relationships within households where too many live in too small a space, where older people must bear the difficult noise and distraction of youngsters, and where youngsters must bear the carping and irritation of the much older.

It can be a lifeline for a child suffering at the hands of a sarcastic teacher, a persecuting neighbor, or a difficult bus driver.

A little boy we know learned to conquer his fear of teasing by each day accepting it silently as Christ did His tormentors’, praying for those who teased him. To help him endure, he marked each day’s victory over fear and self-pity with a counter in a jar.

One day he put no counter in the jar. When his mother asked him why, he said, somewhat surprised, “But they don’t tease me anymore.”

Working at his problem spiritually, he had leveled the valley of his fear and, ceasing to react to the teasing, he had removed the motive for it. When the others found they could no longer irritate him, it was no fun to try.

This is the most practical approach to all sorts of trying problems in human relations. It’s the beginning of the end of self-pity, frustration, pessimism, and all the things we must rid ourselves of if we’re going to try to be saints.

There are heavy burdens for children to bear if they are to take part in restoring the world to Christ, burdens that demand great faith and charity.

They will have to practice fortitude, patience, chastity, kindness, justice, mercy — all the virtues carried to a heroic degree. Only if they lose themselves in God will they ever be able to do it, and losing oneself in God is detachment.

The family should wield its influence and give a good example as a unit, particularly within its parish. This will be possible only if all the members have practiced the humbler virtues within the sanctuary of the home. – Fr. Lovasik, The Catholic Family Handbook http://amzn.to/2vDp3jp (afflink)

At the tender age of twenty, the Rosary and the Consecration to Our Lady (St. Louis de Montfort style) was what set my feet on solid ground in a world that spun around me with all sorts of “answers” to life’s problems. And I wanted answers….

Beautiful aprons at Meadows of Grace Shoppe! Fully lined, quality material, made with care!

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

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

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

Going to the Altar….Msgr. Ronald Knox

A very beautiful meditation about the Mass, the first part of the Mass, Going to the Altar. Father Knox apologizes because of the form in which it is written…to school age girls. I say, “Hurrah! Then I can understand it!” 😉

From The Mass in Slow Motion by Msgr. Ronald A. Knox, 1940’s

Glory to God in high heaven, and peace on earth to the men that are God’s friends. Luke ii.

We left the priest last Sunday at the foot of the altar; he has told us to get busy praying, and now he strides away from us; purposefully, like a man who knows what he is about; rather like our Lord going up to Judaea for his Passion, when the Gospels tell us that “ his face was set towards Jerusalem “.

I think you will find that most priests are walking rather fast, a. good deal faster than their usual pace, over those two or three steps. Indeed, if you could see inside the priest’s mind, you would almost say he was running up the steps.

It reminds me of some lines in a poem none of you know, a poem called “ David in Heaven.” It says thereHis feet trip without a slip, Going to the altar “.

Well, of course it wouldn’t really do to run; it isn’t a bit easy to run upstairs in a cassock, and then there is generally lace on the end of one’s alb, on purpose so that one shall put one’s foot through it if one isn’t careful. And besides, the motion of that dance is meant to be slow all through.

But the priest is mentally running, so to speak; all through that business with the server which we were talking about last Sunday he has been tantalizing himself, as it were, by not going up just yet; very much as some of you would tantalize yourselves, on receiving a really exciting parcel, by insisting on undoing the knots before you looked inside it.

The priest rushes up to the altar and kisses it; he can’t hold himself in any longer. He didn’t kiss it when he went up before, to arrange the things, because he wasn’t really beginning the Mass then. Now he goes up and kisses it. And the meaning of that movement in the dance is obvious, I hope, even to the stupidest of us.

It is meant to express the great desire we ought to have for God, the desire to get closer to Him, get in contact with Him, which is the real reason for our saying any prayers at all.

What he kisses, actually, is the corporal, the big white thing folded in nine squares which he takes out of the large green envelope on the top of the chalice.

Underneath the corporal is-what? Three thicknesses of altar-cloth. Underneath the altar-cloths is-what? A piece of stone all wrapped up in waxed cloth, so as to be waterproof.

That stone has been consecrated long ago, by a bishop; and the bishop in consecrating it fills up some holes in it with-what do you think? Tiny bits of relics of the saints.

People used to use relics of that kind rather freely in the Middle Ages; they used to put them into bridges, for instance, so as to be sure that the bridges held up.

I know a very old bridge on the upper Thames where you can still see, in the masonry at the side, a kind of socket where they obviously used to keep the relics of some saint long ago.

King Henry the Sixth (no, not King Henry the Eighth; King Henry the Sixth, Wars of the Roses) used to be regarded as a saint before the Reformation, and they kept a relic of his on the bridge between Caversham and Reading, and another relic of his, so I’ve been told, on the bridge at Bridgnorth.

Well, that’s all beside the point; nowadays it is only altars that have to have relics in them; but they’ve jolly well got to.

Even a military chaplain carries round with him an altar stone, with relics let into it, and he must never say Mass without having that stone on the soap-box or whatever it is he is using for an altar.

And if you ask why the Church should insist on that rather inconvenient regulation, the simplest answer is this; if he didn’t, he would start the Mass by telling a lie.

I hope you all remember that the Mass proper hasn’t started yet; all that preparation business we were talking about last Sunday was only preparation really.

Now, just as he is going to begin the Mass proper, the priest rushes up to the altar, kisses it, and says, “We beseech thee, O Lord, by the merits of those saints whose relics are here, and of all the saints, to be indulgent towards my sins”.

The saints whose relics are here – why is that so important? Why, because in the very early days, when the Christians at Rome were being persecuted, they used to meet for worship in the catacombs just outside the city.

The catacombs are miles and miles of underground passages, which you can still explore with a guide if you go out to Rome. There the Christians used to bury the poor mangled remains of their friends who had been killed in the persecution; and on the tombstones raised over these bodies of the martyrs the Roman bishop used to say Mass.

And when the priest, saying those words, kisses the tiny relics tucked away in the altar-stone, he reminds himself, if he has any sense of history, that by that action he is putting himself in touch, so to speak, with the Universal Church that is in Communion with Rome.

All altars, all over the world, are one altar really, the mother altar of Christendom; all altars must have relics in them, so as to remind us that we belong to the martyrs of the first century, and they to us.

St. John, in the Apocalypse, says “I saw beneath the altar the souls of all who had been slain for love of God’s Word”; some people think that is a reference to this habit of saying Mass over the martyrs’ tombs – it’s as old as that.

And when you see the priest kissing the altar just then, you may think of Christian history, all through these nineteen centuries, as linked up. The Mass is all one, in A.D. 48 or in A.D.1948; the Mass is all one, in the catacombs at Rome or in the tin chapel.

That altar-stone is a kind of keyhole through which you get a glimpse into the whole of our Christian past.

I would say this – that by far the easiest and least troublesome way of rearing a family of which you can be proud is to institute the family rosary in your home, and keep it up. It knits the family together with bonds 10,000 times stronger than any that can be forged by merely natural means. -Joseph Breig, 1950’s

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At the tender age of twenty, the Rosary and the Consecration to Our Lady (St. Louis de Montfort style) was what set my feet on solid ground in a world that spun around me with all sorts of “answers” to life’s problems. And I wanted answers…

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The Large Family – Rev. George A. Kelly

This is a good article. It is a balm to the souls of mothers and fathers who have many children, whose lives are in survival mode…training, teaching, feeding, clothing many little people.

It is NOT to say that those with a small family are not blessed…because they are. They have their own crosses…and their own advantages.

And God is pleased with each of us, in whatever circumstance we find ourselves, when we continue to seek His will in our lives, remembering…

“To the servant of God…every place is the right place, and every time is the right time.” ~Catherine of Siena

From The Catholic Family Handbook, Rev. George A. Kelly, 1950’s

Before marrying, many young couples decide how many children they will have–a decision which often reveals that they are more concerned with how few children they will have rather than how many.

Thus they begin their marriage with intentions of limiting the number of offspring. In this respect they reflect the birth-control frame of mind so prevalent today–a frame of mind which regards children as a liability rather than a blessing.

Although the first purpose of marriage is the procreation of children, Catholic couples will not necessarily have offspring. There may be many reasons why they cannot have babies or why they are limited to one or two.

Some wives have difficulty in carrying a fetus to full term and have many miscarriages. Sometimes the husband or wife may be sterile. There may be mental, eugenic, economic or social reasons which make it justifiable to practice the rhythm method. The fact that a Catholic couple has no children, therefore, is no reason for concluding that they are guilty of any moral lapse.

In most marriages, however, there probably are no physical hindrances to births or justifiable reasons to limit them beyond those limitations which nature herself and unchangeable circumstance impose. Hence the typical Catholic family will have many more children than are found in the average family of other beliefs.

The large family provides many distinct advantages for both parents and children. For instance, it brings the mother and father closer together, giving them a joint source of love, and they achieve a closer sense of unity in planning for their children’s welfare. Their love for each child extends their love for each other, and in each child they can see qualities which they love in their mates.

Children help parents to develop the virtues of self-sacrifice and consideration for others. The childless husband and wife must consciously cultivate these qualities.

In contrast, a father and mother who might have innate tendencies toward selfishness learn that they must subjugate their own interests for the good of their children, and they develop a spirit of self-denial and a higher degree of sanctity than might normally be possible.

The fact that children help to increase harmony in marriage has been proved in many ways. Other researchers have established that the percentage of divorces and broken homes decreases as the number of children in the family increases.

Large families also teach children to live harmoniously with others. They must adjust to the wishes of those older and younger than themselves, and of their own and the other sex.

In learning to work, play and, above all, share with others, the child in a large family discovers that he must often sacrifice his own interests and desires for the common good. For this reason, the “spoiled child” who always insists on having his own way is rare in the large family, if he can be found there at all. For the child who will not cooperate with others has a lesson forcibly taught to him when others refuse to co-operate with him.

In the typical large family, one often sees a sense of protectiveness in one child for another that is the embodiment of the Christian spirit.

Children learn to help each other–to hold each other’s hands when crossing the street, to sympathize with each other in times of sadness or hurt, and to give each other the acceptance which we all need to develop as mature human beings.

This willingness to help one another is often strikingly evident in schoolwork: the oldest child instructs his younger brother in algebra, while the latter helps a still younger one in history.

Another advantage of large families is that they teach each child to accept responsibility for his own actions. The mother of a large family usually lacks the time and energy to concern herself with every little problem of her children.

She must observe sensible precautions with her children, of course, but she is not guilty of supervising her child’s life to such an extent that he has no chance to develop his own resources.

Precisely because she cannot devote her full time to him, he must make decisions for himself. Moreover, he acquires a better understanding of the rules by which the family is run. He sees his brothers and sisters punished for various breaches of conduct and learns what he himself may and may not do.

And as he watches the progress of older children, he learns what privileges he may expect as he too advances in age. This knowledge gives him a greater sense of security.

Another reward for members of the large family, to which those who are now adults can testify, is that it gives the children close relatives upon whom they can depend all their lives. Occasionally, of course, brothers and sisters cannot agree as adults and break off relations completely.

More often, however, they retain a close bond of kinship with each other and the reunions and family get-togethers on occasions like Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter form one of the great joys of their lives.

In most cases, the child brought up in a large family never feels utterly alone, regardless of adversities which may strike in adulthood.

If he is troubled or bereaved, in desperate need of financial help or sympathetic advice, he usually can depend upon brothers and sisters to help. Forlorn indeed is the man or woman who, in time of stress, has no close and loving relatives to tell his problems to.

A final, but by no means least important, advantage is that they virtually insure the parents against loneliness, which has often been called the curse of the aged.

How often do the father and mother of a large family remain young at heart because of the love they give to, and draw from, their grandchildren?

In fact, many say that old age is their happiest time of life because they can enjoy to the fullest the love of the children and grandchildren without the accompanying responsibility.

One should not overlook the fact that there are some disadvantages to both parent and child in the large family. However, an objective review of these disadvantages would surely establish that they are outweighed by the advantages.

For example, the large family may require the parents to make great financial sacrifices. They may be unable to afford as comfortable a home, own as new an automobile, or dress as well as can the husband and wife with a small family.

But they have sources of lasting joy in the love, warmth and affection of their children–a joy that money cannot buy. The children of a large family may also be required to make sacrifices.

Their parents may be unable to pay their way in college. But this need not mean that they will be denied educational opportunities.

Thanks to scholarships, loan programs, and opportunities for student employment, the bright boy and girl who truly desires a college education can find the financial resources to obtain one.

And having to earn at least a part of their own way will make them better students. Researchers have established that students who drop out of college most frequently have had all their expenses paid for them and have never learned the true value of an education.

“If your large family brings ridicule from neighbors and even strangers, remember that you have a lasting treasure worth suffering for, and that the Lord called blessed those who suffer persecution for justice’s sake.” – Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik. The Catholic Family Handbook

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

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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.

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My Little Story About the Rosary….

What a beautiful feast day…..The Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary! I thought I would repost this today:

Here is my little story of the Rosary…..

I’m a slow learner.

Sometimes it just takes me a long time to “get” some things.

At the tender age of twenty, the Rosary and the Consecration to Our Lady (St. Louis de Montfort style) was what set my feet on solid ground in a world that spun around me with all sorts of “answers” to life’s problems. And I wanted answers.

My friends were leaving the Catholic Church that was rocked by liberalism and they were going to greener pastures. It was all beckoning to me. The Catholic Church I attended didn’t seem to hold out any answers. I had attended a Catholic School and went to Mass every Sunday all my growing up years. I was involved in youth groups and church choirs. And yet I didn’t know about the True Presence until I was almost 20 years old! There was an emptiness…. but I didn’t know what the problem was.

Then something happened. I went to a few classes on St. Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary. I didn’t like them but I stepped out in faith and began by saying a decade of the rosary each day (while my thoughts traveled to those naysayers saying  “repetition of words are useless…dumb”….they also said…”IDOLATRY…you can’t pray to Mary”) but I persevered…..And then I consecrated myself to Our Lady…(once again, the horrible doubts and misgivings…) I did it anyway. It was not very comfortable.

I met hubby. We began our courtship and our marriage with the rosary…daily. It was a commitment. It wasn’t wonderful…or beautiful…. It was a commitment.

We had children. Many children. We said the rosary. So often, it seemed fruitless. Life was so distracted, so wrought with the everyday little crosses and duties…but it was a commitment and we stuck to it.

I knew it was a good thing. I knew Our Lady asked for the Family Rosary at Fatima:“I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue to always pray the Rosary every day.” I believed. I was committed. Hubby was always committed. 🙂

I see now the fruits. I look around at a very crazy world and thank God through tears for what He has given to us…through no merit of our own.

I know that we could have really messed up. We were two people coming from very different backgrounds….both very strong-willed. We made our mistakes…..but we had the Rosary. And we stuck with it, day in and day out, year after year.

A family that prays together, stays together. I know that is not everything. If we have an open heart, the Rosary gives us the graces to make the necessary changes as we need them.Feb. 14, 2014 005-001The Daily Family Rosary. Steady, Constant. Amid the crosses of daily life with many children, the misunderstandings between husband and wife, the financial burdens…we had the rosary.

When the kids got hurt or sick, when I was very ill, when hubby was in the hospital and we had no money to pay, through tragedies, accidents and fires, when I didn’t understand why God was letting things happen to us…. we were saying the Rosary.

Steady and constant, we prayed it every day, amid slouching kids, tired husband, cranky, pregnant wife.

Thank God for that Rosary. I know my life is not done yet. We still have children at home, children who can….and will….make a lot of mistakes. But for the record, they all (married ones, too) put their Faith first, amid their own struggles. They say the daily Rosary and it will be what holds them together through thick and thin.

If you have troubles, say the Rosary. If, amid your noisy and boisterous family, you are suffering loneliness, say the Rosary. Do you have fears and worries? Say the Rosary. Are your rosaries dry and distracted?…Keep saying it.

Truly, who knows better than Our Lady, Our Mother, our humanness, our failings, how small we are, how distracted we are. She will help. Persevere. Don’t give up.

It is just now that I am beginning more to understand the beauty, the mystery, the  deep, interior, spiritual growth that can take place through the Rosary. Like I said, I am a slow learner.

I am glad that God is very, very patient.

He has given us a very special gift. Don’t take it for granted and don’t go a day without saying it!

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The Annunciation “Hail, Full of Grace”

Another day had begun in the little home of Nazareth – a quiet, cool March day. Mary would spend it as she had spent countless others, quietly working about the house.

An ordinary girl, Mary, as the world judges; ordinary like the rest of the villagers, like Joseph…

Suddenly an angel was by her side: “Hail, full of grace!“

An ordinary person would be rather disturbed by such a visitor, and by such a greeting. And Mary was! “She was troubled at his word.“

The angel had implied that Mary loved God with all her heart, soul, mind, strength; that she loved God enough to become His Mother.
Loving God wholeheartedly – like Mary, I was created to do just that – and being “ordinary“ puts no barriers in my way!

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“It is difficult for a child to be better than his home environment or for a nation to be superior to the level of its home life. In fulfilling its double purpose – the generation and formation of children – the home becomes a little world in itself, self-sufficient even in its youngest years. It is vital that you, as a mother or father, make of your home a training ground in character-building for your children, who will inherit the world’s problems. Home is a place in which the young grow in harmony with all that is good and noble, where hardship, happiness, and work are shared.” – Father Lawrence G. Lovasik
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Advent is such a special season! And you are about to make it more meaningful than you ever have!
This Advent journal is for busy moms who need a little help making this season special within the home. It will help you stay on track and be consistent with the customs you have decided to incorporate within your four walls.
I have broken it down into bite-sized tidbits that, when laid out for you, will be easy to accomplish. As you check each item off you will get a sense of fulfillment knowing you are getting done what is truly important in this expectant season! The other things will get done….but first things first!
At midnight, on Christmas Eve, when Baby Jesus arrives, you and your family will look back upon your Advent and sigh with satisfaction, knowing you truly have celebrated with the Church, that you have put your best foot forward in making this a spiritual, enchanting, holy time for all!
The first few pages of this book will have a run-down of the special Advent customs and activities that will be on your checklist each day. They are simple, they are doable.
I hope this Advent is more special than ever as we walk hand-in-hand making the Liturgy come alive in our homes!

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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.

Parish Life

It’s interesting to read this article from the 1940’s when it was easy to find and go to a local church that still practiced and preached the Catholic Religion of the Fathers. It’s not so simple, now. If we take our faith seriously, we must go to a parish where there is a reverent Mass and where the preaching is sound. The effort to get to one will not go unrewarded. And our parish life will then be a blessing…

by Emerson Hynes St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota

+J. H. Schlarman Bishop of Peoria President NCRLC

Sacramental Protection of the Family

(Notes from a talk by Emerson Hynes to the Rural Life Summer School, St. Bede College, June 25, 1945.)

Parish Life

Family life in Christ is a noble aim and one to which we cannot devote too much energy. Yet we know that the “true and indispensable” source of Christian life is Holy Mass, because obviously the family is not self-sufficient either economically or socially or spiritually.

We have not the time to explore all the possibilities, all the opportunities for leadership in helping families to work with other families in community life. Economic and social cooperation of families is a topic in itself. But a few words about the cooperation of families in religious life will be useful.

Holy Mother Church has built her structure wisely. The normal relationship of families is a part of that community called a parish. The parish is in many respects a “little Church,” a cell of the whole Church. Composed of families, usually in a geographic area, it is admirably suited to promote the spiritual growth of the members of those families.

The offering of the parish Mass is the central act of this community; and the priest, the father of the parish family, has the honor, right, and duty of offering that Mass, dispensing the sacraments, and instructing. Thus family life reaches its flowering in parish life.

How important that parish life is! How great the opportunity and how great the responsibility of the priest!

And it is a good thing for priests to know that the laity thank God for the great system of parishes that we have in the United States, where few families are so far removed that they cannot be active members of parishes; and that the laity appreciate their blessings in having priests, who serve them faithfully in this first and necessary function of the parish.

For a number of reasons, it is true that we Catholics do not make the best use of the means of worshipping and of growing spiritually. But can anyone in this whole nation complain that the means are not there at his disposal?

But no Catholic can ever be complacent. There is always the opportunity of intensifying the religious life of the families of the parish, of making them realize more fully the privilege of being a part of this cell of the Church.

We are all so human; and so the practices that have been traditional in the history of the Church are needed today as in the past. All of you undoubtedly have them. I need but mention a few.

There are, especially on Rogation days and Corpus Christi, processions in which the members of the parish join as a body to worship and petition.

There is the meaningful custom of visiting the cemetery, where the deceased members of the mystical body (but just as truly part of the living body) rest. There is the restoration of the true meaning and prayers of Halloween.

There is the beautiful practice of making each baptism of a new member of the Church and of the parish a real parish function. We lay people make a great fuss over baby showers and have all kinds of secular excitement over the birth of a baby. Could we not be helped to achieve even more enthusiasm for the birth (baptism) of a new member into the Church?

To make baptism a parish affair is to teach the unity of members of the mystical body. Not only the parents, but also the parish should rejoice.

The parish also has secondary purposes: to serve as a social and cultural center for the people who are united in this basic religious society. This, too, is a broad topic, and one from which we could all profit by exchanging ideas.

Complaints go to the two extremes: that the parish is “dead” and without any activities of this secondary nature; and the opposite, that there are so many societies and activities that the family which joined all they were exhorted to join would never have any time at home.

I suggest merely that on this point we keep one thing in mind. The parish should not simply be duplicating secular activities that are already well organized. Of course, that is the easiest procedure. The people like card parties, bowling, athletics, bingo, and what-not. I am not condemning them. But in most places secular agencies provide enough outlet for such recreational and social urges.

There is so little time, and the parish is so important that the busy pastor and his willing people should use the opportunity to higher ends. I mean that social, fraternal, and recreational devices should not be ends in themselves, nor should they be merely money making devices.

They should be used as a means to build a rural culture, a Christian rural culture. Thus they should lead to higher things. Endless playing of cards will not build any culture. Endless bowling is not going to develop the human personality. Cards may be used as a bait, but creative recreation (plays, recitations, music, folk dances, the ancient crafts and arts) should be our aim.

The secondary parish activities should be building personality and building culture, not merely providing parasitic and passive ways of spending time. Let Hollywood have the reputation for that.

I might add in passing that this is important, for unless a genuine rural culture is built in this country, rural America is doomed. Unless rural people have spiritual and cultural values, they will use their improved economic condition as a stepping stone to urban life. Unless rural children are trained to know and appreciate the special cultural values of the open country, they will not stay on the land.

I grant that most rural people think they must relax and be entertained. That is the job of leadership, to show them how more re-creating and more entertaining creative activity is. And incidentally it will build better parish unity and keep the parish numerically strong.

“Parents are often to blame for the rebellious spirit of their children, because they give little of themselves – of their time, interest, and practical love – and then complain that their children do not obey. Let your good example be a sufficient motive for your children’s obedience, even when you are obliged to ask them to do things that few other parents ask.” – Fr. Lovasik, The Catholic Family Handbook http://amzn.to/2opoz9Z (afflink)
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Re-Establishment of Traditions

by Emerson Hynes St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota

+J. H. Schlarman Bishop of Peoria President NCRLC

Sacramental Protection of the Family

(Notes from a talk by Emerson Hynes to the Rural Life Summer School, St. Bede College, June 25, 1945.)

We need instruction because we Americans came to this country in a violent way. Most of the home ties were broken. We came to a strange land where there were no traditions of Catholicity. We left home and village and nation where traditions may have been strong, but in this new land all was new.

Some of the nationalities, of course, settled as units and thus some of the traditions were transplanted. But often they died with the first or second generation. Thus we find our country in many ways barren of the solid religious spirit and practices that characterize the homes of our ancestors in Europe.

Those traditions have to be rebuilt. We are often simply ignorant of how to make our home a place worthy of a religious vocation. We know how to wash floors and operate vacuum cleaners and electric stoves, but we do not know how to sanctify our baking, our meals, our action.

We need confidence because the traditions have been lost. We Catholics without embarrassment walk into church, attend Mass, and abstain from meat on Friday. But in the intimacy of our own homes we are often self-conscious about the countless practices, symbols, and words which are needed to make our homes fitting places for a continuous sacrament.

You may know of many exceptions, but as a general rule, and increasingly as the rest of the nation becomes more secular and as the radio competes, religious life within the family itself becomes more foreign.

So we need much instruction and much bolstering. The instruction cannot be merely by sermon and handing out pamphlets. The priest must enter the very homes themselves and instruct.

The mothers, in their guilds or societies, must be instructed and encouraged to start a few of the practices. The children in school must come to accept it as ordinary practice of the Catholic family.

Blessings by the father before meals and thanksgiving afterwards, the family rosary, the crucifix on the wall and a picture of the Sacred Heart: these are starting points, but they are not enough. There is a wealth of possibilities over and beyond.

Then there are the blessings for the home: for the house, the barn, the parental bedroom, and others. The priest, for example, might perform these blessings as he is taking the census.

It is scarcely necessary to add what advantage the rural pastor has in building family life. For the rural family still has the unity and the privacy and the authority. The chief need is instruction.

The urban pastor has far greater obstacles. He is dealing with families where the whole family is rarely together, once the children start to school, and where the father is away from home much of the day. He is dealing with family life that goes on under ceaseless environmental difficulties and distractions, and where the competition of the secular attractions is almost insurmountable.

We can place his work in the power of the Holy Spirit and practice the supernatural virtue of hope.

“There is also the question of time. Where do we find the time to participate in the Church’s liturgical year with our children? Like these other questions, the answer is, we can find it if we plan for it. We can find it quite easily by looking to see where we waste it. Not wasting it is not easy, because the habits of time-wasting, although they are harmless, are hard to break – as I know from experience. Mothers have this struggle all to themselves. It involves such things as the radio (now internet) habit, coffee breaks, long telephone conversations, chatting with neighbors, a heavy involvement in outside activities. Somewhere most American women CAN “find time” to devote to the enriching of their families’ spiritual life. The joyous discovery is that once we have struggled and found the time, tasted and seen how sweet are these pursuits together, we begin to gauge all our doings so that there will be time – because we are convinced there must be.” -Mary Reed Newland

Around the corner….Lovely Advent Items! Available here.

 

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

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

Celebrate the Faith with your kids all year round!

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