Catholic Family Vignettes

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


May 2008

The Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Happy Feast of the Sacred Heart!! I regret that my day will be so very busy…a 4 1/2 hr. drive is looming before me…not a great distance, but I can’t leave until at least 4:00 p.m. This afternoon we will dine on strawberries (which remind me very much of the Sacred Heart!) and heart shaped PBJ’s (except for the peanut sensitive son…he’ll have grilled cheese). We’ll deck the mantle with flowers, and last year’s First Holy Communicant will process in with the image of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. We’ll then recite the enthronement prayers…we do this every year.

My prayers are with you all, on this most holy day. God bless the families that keep the Heart of Jesus in the heart of the home!

From EWTN:

Blessed be the Most Loving Heart and Sweet Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the most glorious Virgin Mary, His Mother, in eternity and forever. Amen.

….Only the Heart of Christ who knows the depths of his Father’s love could reveal to us the abyss of his mercy in so simple and beautiful a way —-From the Catechism. P:1439

From the depth of my nothingness, I prostrate myself before Thee, O Most Sacred, Divine and Adorable Heart of Jesus, to pay Thee all the homage of love, praise and adoration in my power.
– – St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

The prayer of the Church venerates and honors the Heart of Jesus just as it invokes his most holy name. It adores the incarnate Word and his Heart which, out of love for men, he allowed to be pierced by our sins. Christian prayer loves to follow the way of the cross in the Savior’s steps.– From the Catechism. P: 2669

My heart is broken…

When will it end?  How could they?  Dear God in heaven, have mercy on them!

The Holy Family Community Kitchen and Pantry has been shut down due to copper thieves…yes…copper thieves!  Our soup kitchen serves nearly 5000 families per week.  These thieves have robbed not only the Church, but the homeless and the poor. Two large refrigeration compressors, along with copper piping, were stolen over the Memorial Day weekend. The units were unbolted from concrete pads and hauled away. Food soon spoiled, and the kitchen had to close.  I’ve not heard whether the kitchen has been able to reopen.  Please pray!  The other community soup kitchens have been feeling the strain to help the families that Holy Family Community Kitchen has had to turn away.

The only good news:  the soup kitchen is attached to the Jubilee Museum.  Praise God, it seems the priceless artifacts, relics and vestments have not been disturbed.

All for copper tubing…how very, very sad.

You may read the entire article here.

Weekend shower…

I’ll be heading out of town for the next few days. Clementine, Emily, Charlotte and I will be attending a baby shower for Elizabeth. I’m sadly behind in my “Something About Mary” posts…please forgive me!

The past few days have been filled with laundry, knitting, sewing and cleaning. Preparing menus for the guys, making sure the cupboard is not bare, and packing for this weekend’s trip have taken up a lot of my time. I’m sure glad I finished these:

Now…I just need to finish that hat…

Have a blessed weekend!

Listen and read, then watch…

Are you in need of encouragement? Feeling pressure as the school year is approaching it’s end? Or perhaps you’re educating year round, and feel that this call is too much…

Listen to this…

Then re-read this essay…

Now for the shocker…should you fear that you’re still not up to the challenge, should you feel that perhaps a year or so in public school wouldn’t be too awful for your little ones…

WATCH THIS…make sure your children are not in the room. This is just one of the many horrors that our poor brothers and sisters who have their children in public schools will have to combat.

May God have mercy upon these educators…

Thanks to Hilaire for the links!

Laying it on the line…

The sky is a deep blue, no clouds in sight. Shirts, jeans, sheets and such perform a merry dance on the clothesline…what a pretty sight!

It has been a joy, for the first time in awhile, tackling the laundry. Standing barefoot, with the little girls handing pins and offering suggestions regarding the placement of a favorite skirt, is quite nice.

The past few days have been full of anxiety and stress. Everyone has been on edge. It was a struggle to get up this morning for the weekday Mass. I had a real “Martha moment” and nearly stayed home. Kneeling in prayer, wishing that Emily would stop squirming, stop asking questions and simply allow me to pray…I realized that sitting there with my children, well, that’s the only place I want to be. When Emily stops squirming and asking questions, then she no longer really needs me. She’ll be too big for my lap and I’ll have all the peace and quiet I can stand…and then some.

So Emily squirmed. And had the hiccups. And needed a tissue. And gave me many, many hugs. She loves Mass. She loves going to Church. God forbid should my desire for perfect peace ever make her feel unwelcome in a place she so dearly loves.

Returning home, breathing in the cool, spring air…I knew that most of the wash would be line-dried today. So I’ve washed. And washed.

I think I’ve been washing away a lot of the anxiety of the past few days, as well. In the meditative action of hanging the clothes to dry, I’ve felt at peace. I’ve been able to watch the little girls circle the driveway on their bikes, Charlotte reveling in the new found ability to ride without training wheels. I’ve listened to the domestic “squabbles” between a couple of robins. I’ve smelled the fresh, clean scent of my laundry, sun-warmed and ready for folding. I’ve had time to reflect and pray.

Perhaps this is why I’ve been so anxious. It’s really all about Martha and Mary.

Luke 10:38-42

Now it came to pass as they were on their journey, that He entered a certain village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him to her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also seated herself at the Lord’s feet, and listened to his word. But Martha was busy about much serving. And she came up and said,

“Lord, is it no concern of thine that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her therefore to help me.”

But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and troubled about many things; and yet only one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the best part and it will not be taken away from her.”

Martha was always “anxious about many things”. Mary “chose the best part.” Our Lord tells us that “only one thing is needful.” Need I say what that one thing is? To receive Him, to worship, love and adore Him…that is what is needful.

It truly is all about priorities. The Martha part is always easier to accomplish, when we spend a little more time being Mary.

Emily’s tea party

Emily hosted her very first tea party today. The party was a small one, five little girls (including Emily), pretty flowers, a Pinkalicious cake shaped like a castle, finger sandwiches, fruit and of course, Harney and Sons Chocolate Mint Tea.

Emily and Charlotte had fun this morning, gathering peonies and irises to decorate the table, while mommy frosted the cake. The girls were all so very well behaved, though we learned that one of mommy’s vintage tea cups is a bit top heavy, as it tipped over twice on the nice, clean tablecloth!

The girls had a delightful afternoon and are slowly recovering from the sugary, sweet, pink castle cake. Little Emily has been flitting around, sporting a brand new pair of fairy wings and a nifty, new wand looking quite a bit like this:

Worthwhile distractions…

What a busy weekend! Two birthdays, a garden planted, a host of kittens discovered in the garage, the sunflower grotto planted, yard mowed and edged…and a tea party in the works for today!

Alas, all is not done, not even close! The laundry is piled to the ceiling in the mudroom, the upstairs is a disaster and I’m beginning to feel the pressure to accomplish everything before my parents and grandmother arrive in 10 days. Then there’s the big BBQ that we host annually. My biggest concern is readying the house for my grandmother. She’ll be staying with us for several weeks and I want her to be as comfortable as possible. It will be such an honor to have her here, to spoil her a bit and just enjoy having her as part of the immediate family. Say a little prayer for me, would you? It will be a challenge, but, oh so worth it!

Here are few pictures from the weekend:

Gareth learns to till:

Kittens come to call:

Little girls love kittens!

Guess what Galahad got for his birthday:

Target practice:

Yesterday evening’s rainbow:

Buddy poppy…

My father-in-law (may God rest his most precious soul!) was a veteran. Proud to have served his country during WWII, he was a great supporter of our men in uniform, a true patriot and a member of the VFW. He served his time in India, was injured in a “friendly fire” incident, and took great pleasure in regaling us all with tales of his time in the United States Army.

He drove a large blue Ford van…an American made car and would never drive anything else. Suspended over the visor were a multitude of these:

The Buddy Poppy. From the VFW:

The poppy movement was inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields” written by Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian forces before the United States entered World War I. Distributing replicas of the original Flanders poppy originated in some of the allied countries immediately after the Armistice.

No definite organized distribution of poppies on a nationwide scale was conducted in America until 1921, when the Franco-American Children’s’ League distributed poppies ostensibly for the benefit of children in the devastated areas of France and Belgium.

Madam Guerin, who was recognized as the “Poppy Lady from France,” sought and received the cooperation of the veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. early in 1922, after the Franco-American Children’s’ League was dissolved. The VFW conducted a poppy campaign prior to Memorial Day, 1922, using only poppies that were made in France. In the 1923 poppy campaign, due to the difficulty and delay in getting poppies from France, the VFW made use of a surplus of French poppies that were on hand and the balance was provided by a firm in New York City manufacturing artificial flowers.

It was during the 1923 campaign that the VFW evolved the idea, which resulted in the VFW poppy fashioned by disabled and needy veterans who were paid for their work as a practical means of providing assistance for these comrades. This plan was formally presented for adoption to the 1923 encampment of the VFW at Norfolk, Virginia.

Some of the Buddy Poppies in my father-in-law’s van were very faded, some were slightly brighter, many were new. If this gentleman saw a member of the VFW selling the Buddy Poppy, he always made a donation to acquire a few, contributed generously and encouraged those around him to do the same.

This morning as I’m driving to Mass, I’ll be looking for the poppies. It’s a tradition in our family to purchase them on Memorial Day to honor our fallen heroes, but more importantly to us remember the service offered by this great man and all the other fathers, grandfathers, brothers and sons like him.

The Big 10

My Galahad…in double-digits. The big “10!” Happy Birthday, big guy!

What an amazing young man. So filled with compassion and good humor, generosity and creativity. A born inventor. This sweet boy has the most incredible connection with his guardian angel. He is convinced that St. Michael the Archangel is his personal guardian.

He wants to be a priest, God willing. Of all my children, he is without doubt, the most loving and physically demonstrative. He loves everyone…except during the daily battles which ensue in the backyard…all enemies must die!

I love boys…they certainly keep life interesting! Here’s a look at the past year with our dear boy:

Something About Mary, Day 25 – The Militia Immaculata

Have you consecrated yourself to Our Lady?   Would you like to explore ways in which you can aid Our Lady in bringing souls to Her dear Son?  Have you considered joining the Militia Immaculata?

From The Militia Of The Immaculata:

The Militia of the Immaculata (MI) is a worldwide evangelization movement founded by St. Maximilian Kolbe in 1917 that encourages total consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary as a means of spiritual renewal for individuals and society.

The MI movement is open to all Catholics. It employs prayer as the main weapon in the spiritual battle with evil. MIs also immerse themselves in apostolic initiatives throughout society, either individually or in groups, to deepen the knowledge of the Gospel and our Catholic Faith in themselves and in others.

Marian consecration is a formal act of self-giving that does not stop at Mary, but is Christ-directed. It is really consecration to Jesus. The MI’s mission is “To Lead Every Individual With Mary to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.”

By joining the MI, members become willing instruments of Our Lady, the woman foreshadowed in Genesis 3:15. She leads them to personal sanctification, the conversion of Church opponents and ultimately the universal reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

I joined the Militia Immaculata nearly a decade ago.  The MI has many resources for aiding members in living out their consecration to Our Lady.

Let’s do all we can to “win the world for the Immaculata, and as soon as possible!” –St. Maximilian Kolbe

Breakfast surprise

Twenty-four eggs. Two pounds of tater tots. Ten slices of toast. Forty-eight pieces of monkey bread. Twelve pieces of sausage.

Seven happy people!

Missing: Dad and Clementine. Poor Dad…busy season is killing him. He’s put in over 70 hrs. this week, and will not be here to celebrate Emily’s birthday. Clementine is in Kentucky for Memorial Day weekend, and will return Monday afternoon. We’ll celebrate both Emily’s and Galahad’s birthdays tomorrow, when Dad can join in the fun. In the meantime, a birthday breakfast feast seemed a nice way to start the day.

So did a gift for Emily from her siblings:

That fancy purse with all the fixings was Galahad’s idea…he knows Emily so well:

Check out that smile:

Something About Mary, Day 24 – Our Lady Help of Christians

Today is the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians.

From The Mary Page:

Saint Pius V gave Mary the title: “Help of Christians,” after the victory of the Christian fleet over the Turks at Lepanto on October 7, 1571, and he added this invocation to her litany. When Pius VII returned to Rome on May 24, 1814, after spending five years of exile and captivity, he established the Feast of Our Lady, Helper of the Papal States.

The invocation of Mary as Help of Christians is part of the oldest prayer addressed directly to Mary, the “Sub tuum praesidium,” which was found on a papyrus dating, at the latest, from the end of the third century. This prayer was composed at a time of great danger for Christians and for the Church. “Praesidium” is translated as “an assistance given in time of war by fresh troops in a strong manner.”

Yet, Mary help of all Christians is not only helpful to those engaged in new wars, as the Gospel shows quite clearly. She is the bearer of joy, readying all Christians of good will to receive God’s grace and the many gifts of life. Yes, ultimately, it is the caring woman of Cana who makes victory over dragon and serpent possible — in letting Christ act on his own terms and at his own hour.

Happy, happy birthday baby!

Today is my baby’s birthday. She’s five. A whole hand-full.

She is a handful, a great delight, and it seems, our last little one. What joy she brings to the entire family. Alternately serious and silly, a zany sense of fashion, possessing a deep and sometimes quite mystical grasp of faith.

She hugs me and I feel better. About everything. Her funny sayings, her still somewhat babyish ways…I’m trying so very hard to keep her in this state of innocence. She wants to grow up–“I’m a big gor now, mommy…I’m not a baby!”

She’s right, she is a big girl.

But she’s still my baby!

Here’s a whole year of Emily:

Something About Mary, Day 23 – Leading The Little Ones To Mary

Are you familiar with this little gem? Leading The Little Ones To Mary is a simplified version of the St. Louis de Montfort approach to genuine Marian devotion. This sweet book, written for all little “Marys and Marios,” provides kind and gentle instruction, doctrinally solid and yet full of childish charm.

The stories are touching, each with a moral and practical lesson for the little ones, providing a delightful guide with the ultimate goal of cultivating the virtues of our Dear Mother. I’ve used this book with several of my children and have been very pleased to see my little ones wanting to “be like little Mary…”

Prayers for the unemployed…

Please join Easter at Mostly Prayers in praying to dear St. Joseph for the unemployed.  Click the blog name for more information regarding this timely request!

Thanks, Easter!

Bread and wine

As we celebrated the traditional Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), it seemed  appropriate that we should mark the occasion with a special meal. Our dear friends, Hilaire and Daniel, joined us for dinner, with Hilaire contributing bread, wine and a most delicious dish: pheasant in a mushroom sauce.

The bread and wine were served to represent the Body and Blood of Our Lord. Yes, even the children had wine (we are Catholic, you know and it was sangria, actually…Hilaire refers to this as “children’s wine” due to the low alcohol content, the grownups drank Merlot). The bread was an amazing sour dough bread flown in directly from San Francisco and carted around from airport to airport by Hilaire…it was the perfect accompaniment to dinner! Wild rice, melon, strawberries and mangoes, asparagus, broccoli and cheese sauce…and pheasant. What a feast!

As none of us had ever had pheasant before, it was quite interesting getting the children past their reticence to try something new. They all enjoyed it (well…Charlotte says it was “yucky,” but she says that about all new foods). Hubby said it was one of the best dishes he’s ever had. And he’s a really happy man…Hilaire brings some of the most unusual things for dinner–things I would normally never, ever fix, but that hubby and the boys would love. So here’s a brief look at the foods we’ve learned to love over the last year, compliments of Hilaire:

Ostrich (in a wonderful lasagna, made with whole wheat pasta)
Buffalo (burgers and hot dogs)
Bison (burgers, sausage)
Antelope (sausage in the best marinara I’ve ever had in my life!)
Canadian Goose (stewed…delicious)
Venison (stewed, marinated loin, burgers, sausage…you name it)
Duck (bacon) (quite tasty, actually!)
Pheasant (amazing…last night’s dinner)
and…yuck…I’ll never, ever love it…Calamari, otherwise known as the best bait for catching flounder, something I would eat!

It was a lovely evening…the men and children enjoyed watching The Apple Dumpling Gang and were served Molten Lava Cake with ice cream. The entire family so much enjoys the company of these two wonderful men…may God bless them both.

The Traditional Feast of Corpus Christi

It has long been the tradition of the one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church to celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi on the Thursday following Trinity Sunday.  Thus, today we celebrate the traditional Feast of Corpus Christi.

In the past, Catholics would attend Holy Mass and the faithful would follow along in procession the Most Blessed Sacrament.  Many priests, altar boys and religious would lead the procession, garbed in their most beautiful vestments, with traditional hymns and incense as accompaniments.  I’ve been privileged to attend only one such procession…it was truly beautiful!

Here is a lovely video of a Corpus Christi procession which took place last June:

Reminder: Sacred Heart Novena starts today!

Have you considered an Enthronement Ceremony for the Sacred Heart of Jesus?

The Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus starts today and would be the perfect way to prepare for the enthronement.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

Something About Mary, Day 22 – Mary had a little house…

There have been so many blogging posts of late focused on housekeeping. It’s quite clear, that our womanly vocation as “keeper of the house” and “home-maker,” is not without challenges. What a comfort it is, during those times we feel overwhelmed, to remember that Our Lady, too, had to balance the responsibilities of housekeeping, mothering, and ministering to those around Her.

Our Lady had a house.

She prepared meals, swept the hearth, rocked the baby and nursed Him, she aided the poor, she is frequently shown in great works of art knitting, sewing, spinning and weaving. She washed dishes and laundry.

Later, after Her precious Son’s death and resurrection, She was given charge of humanity, Her motherly role thus expanded to include all of mankind. She continued to “keep house,” caring for St. John, with the same motherly tenderness She so wishes to lavish upon us all. Imagine…the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth, Queen of the Angels, Mother of God–no crown, no scepter, no royal robe…a broom, her “mantle,” and a hearth.

A life of service. Living life as Her own dear Son did, illustrating by Her very way of life, that “the last shall be first, and the first shall be last…”

The man of the house…

…is sometimes a boy, who, on the verge of manhood, willingly undertakes those tasks which his father lacks time to finish:

Tilling two very large garden plots…our primary garden and the “kitchen” garden.

Dad is in landscaping and this is “busy season” — actually, everyday is busy season…the man never works fewer than 50 to 60 hours per week, generally more. This means there are many “manly” tasks which are put on the back burner. Arthur has been stepping up to bat more and more frequently; he is delighted to help and his father is exceedingly proud of him.

So is his mom.  What an amazing young man!

Blog at

Up ↑