Catholic Family Vignettes

A collage of literary snapshots from the life of a large traditional Catholic family


July 2007

Happy Birthday Clementine!

And now you are 18. May God bless you, my precious girl, you who are so very precious to me. You also know that your mother is such a sap…so here goes the poetry…yes, you know the one:

She Walks in Beauty

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair’d the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

Lord Byron

And so, my girl, may your day be spent in goodness and joy. May you know the same joy that you have brought to those who love you. Happy birthday, sweetheart!

What?! No Pictures?!!

It is 9:00 a.m. on a Monday morning and every single one of my children are asleep. Dead to the world. Why? This is the aftermath of my dear daughter’s graduation/birthday party.

What an evening! A breezy, moonlit night spent with fifty wonderful, traditional Catholics. The food was incredible: Hubby prepared his “signature” specialty, country style ribs with “secret sauce”. Smashed potato salad (my specialty), cole slaw and tomato salad (fresh from the garden), “cowboy” baked beans and a variety of delightful and tempting dishes provided by our generous friends.

And beer. Lots of beer.

Our dear seminarian, Mr. Michael Connaughton, led us all in the Latin Table Blessing and the festivities commenced. Conversation galore, entertaining stories and the occasional outburst of song from our dear priest, Fr. Kevin Lutz. The boys played football and blew up water bottles by quickly capping them after filling them with dry ice and water. The little ones played amongst the sunflowers and in the sandbox, while the young ladies engaged in earnest conversation as they observed the antics of the young “football stars.”

This is how Sunday evenings should be spent. During our “Catholic Commune” days (I’ll have to share that story, one day), this was the rule, not the exception. Evenings of good food, fine conversation, children running around in joyful play…a beautiful way of life.

So…thank you, my dear friends. You are a blessing to us all. Thank you for helping us celebrate this lovely young woman. May God bless each of you for the generous gift of your time…oh yeah…thanks for the beer!

The Demonic Abortion Industry

Blessings to Margaret at Minnesota Mom for the “heads up” on this one. The imagery associated with and comparison of abortion to ritualistic demonic blood sacrifice, is horrifying. Please pray the Prayer to St. Michael, before reading:

St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

The Demonic Abortion Industry
Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer – President
Human Life International

In what sense is abortion demonic?
The spiritual dimension of this grisly “business” is its systematizing of ritual blood sacrifice to the god of child murder, Moloch, who we know of from the severe condemnations of him in the Old Testament (Lev 18:21, 20:2-5, 1 Kings 11:5.33, 2 Kings 23:13 and Zephaniah 1:5). This demon of murder appears in many forms and cultures through history (Phoenician, Carthaginian, Canaanite, Celt, Indian, Aztec and others) but is always the same bloodthirsty beast that demands the killing of children as his form of worship. This demon is not content with a single act of murder here and there. His insatiable appetite for the death of innocents seeks public endorsement to justify his gruesome deeds, and he needs a systematic expression of it to increase his worship.

The modern abortion industry offers ritual blood sacrifice to the ancient abortion demon. It is in every way a demonic religion. It has its sacred dogma (“choice”), its ruling hierarchy (Planned Parenthood), its theologians (feminist ideologues), its sacrificing priesthood (abortionists), its temples (abortion mills), altars (surgical tables), ritual victims (primarily babies and secondarily women), acolytes and sacristans (clinic workers and death-scorts), congregations (all supporters of abortion) and its own unifying principle of sacramental “grace” (money). In short, the abortion industry is a perfect demonic system which offers a perverse form of worship to the devil.

The sacrificial victim in this demonic religion is not a brute animal as was offered to the Old Testament God of Israel in a legitimate system of religious sacrifices. In abortion, the victim is an innocent human being who is made in the “image and likeness of God” and who can never defend herself. This combination of innocence, parental participation and ritualized obliteration of the visage of God in human form is the devil’s way of blaspheming the Father with the misguided participation of God’s own children. The systematic destruction of the human body which St. Paul calls “the temple of the Holy Spirit” is a blasphemous insult to God. If the abortion business is not truly demonic, nothing is. (End of excerpt.)

The rest of Fr. Euteneuer’s article made be read here. Please consider participating in the St. Michael Pray Campaign to End Abortion. The campaign began on March 25th, but it is never to late to join!

Just around the corner…

18 years. I can’t believe it. My little girl, my Clementine, will be 18 in just a few days.

Yesterday, we spent the day in orientation and advising for college. She is so very excited…filled with the joy that comes with anticipating an adventure.

As we were strolling past the school supplies in a local store, she exclaimed: “School supplies! I get to buy my own school supplies for a real school! OH! Umm…sorry mom, you know what I mean don’t you?”

Sigh,(deep cleansing breath)…of course, I do. Independence, that’s what she means. Thank heavens she’s only commuting!

Independence…a few steps at a time.

Here’s a little slideshow (it might load a little slowly after clicking the “read more” link), a brief glimpse into 18 years of life with this wonderful girl…we love you sweetie!

Future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades!

I love the Pope!

Here’s to the future…”everything old, is new again!”

Shameful reality…

Leticia from Causa Nostrae Laetitiae provides the shocking details from The Hofstra Report: Sexual Abuse by Educators Is Scrutinized

Here are a few excerpts from the report:

A draft report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education concludes that far too little is known about the prevalence of sexual misconduct by teachers or other school employees, but estimates that millions of children are being affected by it during their school-age years.


That study found that from 1950 to 2002, 10,667 people made allegations that priests or deacons had sexually abused them as minors. (“Report Tallies Alleged Sexual Abuse by Priests,” this issue.) Extrapolating from data collected in a national survey for the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation in 2000, Ms. Shakeshaft estimated that roughly 290,000 students experienced some sort of physical sexual abuse by a public school employee from 1991 to 2000—a single decade, compared with the roughly five-decade period examined in the study of Catholic priests. Those figures suggest that “the physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests,”contended Ms. Shakeshaft, who is a professor of educational administration at Hofstra, in Hempstead, N.Y.

“Based on the assumption that the AAUW surveys accurately represent the experiences of all K-12 students, more than 4.5 million students are sexually harassed or abused by an employee of a school sometime between kindergarten and 12th grade,” the report says. “This is about the same number of people who live in all of Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming.”

Please read the rest of this startling report here.

Last evening, my husband met a lovely mother of five who had recently stopped homeschooling her children so that the older child could have the opportunity to participate in public school sports programs and other extra-curricular activities. He encouraged her to reconsider her actions, before school begins. She seemed disturbed by some of the information that he shared with her regarding our journey – having left homeschooling for public school, only to return, chastened by our experience. But here lies the seduction for most home educators…that even if we feel we are providing an excellent education, religious instruction and loving fellowship with our children – they are still “missing” something. Well, folks, here’s one more thing that you definitely WANT your children to miss.

May God bless and comfort all of the dear children and families who have been exposed to this abuse. May God strengthen the resolve of all families who are seeking to protect and educate their children in the best way they can.

The Path To The Woods

The Path to the Woods

Madison Cawein

Its friendship and its carelessness
Did lead me many a mile,
Through goat’s-rue, with its dim caress,
And pink and pearl-white smile;
Through crowfoot, with its golden lure,
And promise of far things,
And sorrel with its glance demure
And wide-eyed wonderings.

It led me with its innocence,
As childhood leads the wise,
With elbows here of tattered fence,
And blue of wildflower eyes;
With whispers low of leafy speech,
And brook-sweet utterance;
With bird-like words of oak and beech,
And whisperings clear as Pan’s.

It led me with its childlike charm,
As candor leads desire,
Now with a clasp of blossomy arm,
A butterfly kiss of fire;
Now with a toss of tousled gold,
A barefoot sound of green,
A breath of musk, of mossy mold,
With vague allurements keen.

It led me with remembered things
Into an old-time vale,
Peopled with faëry glimmerings,
And flower-like fancies pale;
Where fungous forms stood, gold and gray,
Each in its mushroom gown,
And, roofed with red, glimpsed far away,
A little toadstool town.

It led me with an idle ease,
A vagabond look and air,
A sense of ragged arms and knees
In weeds grown everywhere;
It led me, as a gypsy leads,
To dingles no one knows,
With beauty burred with thorny seeds,
And tangled wild with rose.

It led me as simplicity
Leads age and its demands,
With bee-beat of its ecstasy,
And berry-stained touch of hands;
With round revealments, puff-ball white,
Through rents of weedy brown,
And petaled movements of delight
In roseleaf limb and gown.

It led me on and on and on,
Beyond the Far Away,
Into a world long dead and gone, —
The world of Yesterday:
A faëry world of memory,
Old with its hills and streams,
Wherein the child I used to be
Still wanders with his dreams.

May God bless little boys…big ones, too! May they never lose their sense of wonder, curiosity and adventure.

I am daily reminded of the great privilege God has so graciously bestowed upon us, as we raise these wonderful children.

Picking flowers and vegetables, walking along the edge of the woods, playing badminton and horseshoes…a day of simple pleasures.

The Sunflower Grotto

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketWelcome to the Sunflower Grotto! What fun it has been, this summer, watching the sunflowers reach incredible heights. We’ve begun tying their “heads” together to form the roof, and the effect is quite charming…a nice little “grotto” or cave which the little girls like to sit in with their dolls.Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

If you’ve never made a sunflower house or grotto, it is really quite simple. In a sunny location, dig a crescent or horseshoe shaped trench. The size is entirely at your discretion. Scatter sunflower seeds (the mammoth variety) closely together (leave about two inches between each seed – you can also plant a smaller variety in between, if you wish). Water frequently…sunflowers require a lot of water. A few short weeks and your grotto or house will have reached sufficient height to begin forming the roof. The roof is formed by simply tying together adjacent “heads” or blooms. We don’t mow inside the grotto…the tall grass provides a lovely carpet for little ones to sit and kneel upon. Enjoy!

Preserving the past…

Have you ever wondered what happened to the lovely high altar in your old parish church? Or perhaps the statuary has been replaced by something a bit more modern and “up to date”…where are the old statues? Do you remember the old school and the convent beside it? After they were torn down, what became of all the furnishings and religious art?

It is quite possible, many of these items have found a home in the Jubilee Museum at Holy Family Church.

In an effort to preserve the rich heritage of tradition and beauty that is the Holy Roman Catholic Church, Fr. Kevin Lutz established the Jubilee Museum in Columbus, Ohio. Here is a brief statement taken from the above website:

“The Jubilee Museum at Holy Family was established in 1998 by Fr. Kevin Lutz, current pastor at Holy Family Church. Housed in the former Holy Family High School, its rooms contain many fine examples of Catholic religious artifacts, which include paintings, statues, vestments, altars, as well as items found in the home for personal devotion.
The inventory was acquired from churches and schools that have closed or from private individuals. For his efforts in preserving Catholic Church art and traditions, Fr. Lutz was recognized by Pope John Paul II, and appointed to the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Catholic Church in May of 2000.
Some of the money generated by the museum helps to support the works of charity in the parish. “

A seminarian from the Diocese of Columbus who has been working closely with Fr. Lutz, has produced a slideshow that provides an excellent example of just how much we have lost, in the destruction of historic churches, chapels, schools, orphanages and convents:

If you happen to be in Columbus, call Father and set up an appointment to tour the Jubilee Museum. It is a lovely reminder of what once was and what can yet be…thank you Father, for preserving the past!

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