Friday, April 27, 2007

Feast of St. Louis Mary de Monfort

I have completed the Marian Consecration, and have a devotion to St. Louis. We have a Monfort Shrine of Our Lady of the Island ten minutes from my home, where we celebrate Marian feast days.

Louis's life is inseparable from his efforts to promote genuine devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus and mother of the Church.Totus tuus(completely yours) was Louis's personal motto; Karol Wojtyla chose it as his episcopal motto.
Born in the Breton village of Montfort, close to Rennes (France), as an adult Louis identified himself by the place of his Baptism instead of his family name, Grignion. After being educated by the Jesuits and the Sulpicians, he was ordained as a diocesan priest in 1700.
Soon he began preaching parish missions throughout western France. His years of ministering to the poor prompted him to travel and live very simply, sometimes getting him into trouble with Church authorities. In his preaching, which attracted thousands of people back to the faith, Father Louis recommended frequent, even daily, Holy Communion (not the custom then!) and imitation of the Virgin Mary's ongoing acceptance of God's will for her life.
Louis founded the Missionaries of the Company of Mary (for priests and brothers) and the Daughters of Wisdom, who cared especially for the sick. His book, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, has become a classic explanation of Marian devotion.
Louis died in Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre, where a basilica has been erected in his honor. He was canonized in 1947.
HT American
Here's Mary Fabyean Windeatt's book for children. Here's True Devotion to Mary

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I'm honored to be a Mount Carmel Blogger

Paul VI of Mount Carmel Bloggers has invited me to join the renowned authors at this blog. As soon as I can think of something intelligent to say, I'll be posting there as well as here and on Causa Nostrae Laetitiae. Go on over and pay them a visit

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

News Flash: Religion is Good for Kids!

Don't you just love whent the media trumpets ageold truths like the latest news?! Here's a new study from University of Mississippi Sociology Professor John Bartkowski who thinks religion can be good for kids for three reasons.
First, religious networks provide social support to parents, he said, and this can improve their parenting skills. Children who are brought into such networks and hear parental messages reinforced by other adults may also “take more to heart the messages that they get in the home,” he said.
Secondly, the types of values and norms that circulate in religious congregations tend to be self-sacrificing and pro-family, Bartkowski told LiveScience. These “could be very, very important in shaping how parents relate to their kids, and then how children develop in response,” he said.
Finally, religious organizations imbue parenting with sacred meaning and significance, he said.
Finally, a sociologist worth listening to!
Source: Fox News

Monday, April 23, 2007

Catholic Carnival 116: Pearls of Wisdom

Catholic intellectuals abound in the blogosphere in many divergent areas of thought. Catholic bloggers are engaging the culture of death; Tom O'Toole in Fighting Irish Tom comments on the historic Partial-birth Abortion ruling handed down by the Supreme Court this week. Elena at My Domestic Church questions the logic of those who see Partial Birth Abortion as necessary to preserve a woman's health. Nurse Ratched's Place discovers sanctity among the patients of the psych ward. Was Pope Pius XII a Friend of the Nazis? is a question often asked in our anti-Catholic culture, which is answered by at DeoOmnisGloria. In his blog, The Good News Fr. Ben Hawley, SJ, joins the debate over the feminization of the Church, in his post, The Church a Man Can Love.
Catholics exalt the virtues of motherhood, from Sarah at Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering reflects on her mother-in-law's special place in her daughter's heart in "Nanny's Halo", to Jen at Daughter of the King explains how reading Genevieve Kineke's book, The Authentic Catholic Woman helped her grow in appreciation of her vocation as a woman to be a spiritual mother, and has joined Catholic mothers online. Redneck Woman at Postscripts from the Catholic Spitfire Grill asks us if we have told our children how important the sacraments are to us. She offers a suggestion that we spend time before the Blessed Sacrament in prayer for vocations to the priesthood. At To Jesus Through Mary Edward marks April 20th as the day he received the most wonderful news about his future.

Where does all this spiritual insight originate? Catholic bloggers reveal the sources of their wisdom.Kicking Over My Traces is fascinated with the mystery of God as explained in the classic by Frank Sheed, Theology and Sanity. Melissa, a brand new blogger says, on a third way that she is learning to "be still and know that I am God" in front of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Esther at Mount Carmel Bloggers quotes from the saints about the importance of purity of soul before one receives Holy Communion. St Teresa of Avila's words of wisdom are the subject of a post from Jean at Catholic Fire . Thomas at Una Sancta reflects on how Catholics view the Communion of Saints.
Some faithful Catholic theologians are expounding on the great questions of faith in the blogosphere; Kevin E. Miller at Heart, Mind, and Strength, discusses the disciples reaction to seeing Our Lord after His resurrection, and what our reaction to our encounter of Him in the Sacred Liturgy should be. A Song Not Scored for Breathing has the sixth in a series of Resurrection meditations. Moneybags at A Catholic Life explains the new translation of the Mass and offers links to Fr. John Zuhlsdorf for further enlightenment. 50 Days After reflects on the Magnificat. Joe, the catechist at Ho Kai Paulos tackles the difference between Catholic and Protestant interpretation of the Second Commandment. Kevin E. Miller says it best in Heart, Mind and Strength "Through faith, worship, and evangelization, and acceptance of suffering for the Gospel, then, let us, too, respond to the risen Christ, in the liturgy and in the world, and come to share in his perfect and everlasting glory in heaven."

The Town Without Children

I once vacationed with my three girls in a town without children. It was a picture perfect Vermont town, that could have come from Norman Rockwell, but there were no children on the street. I first noticed something amiss as we first drove through, the many art galleries had signs saying "no children" and "dogs welcome". Strange I wondered, where are the children?

When we attended Mass, in the ancient stone church, where my daughter's footsteps echoed on the stone floor, we were promptly escorted to the church basement though the church was nearly empty, to watch the Mass on closed-circuit TV. There we saw families with children; they were tourists who had come to visit a local farm museum. They saw us and felt relieved; we recognized one another as homeschoolers, who have conspicuously large families and felt instantly accepted. We spent a lovely day at the farm, forgetting about the empty town.

Until the next morning, when we went to the convenience store, for breakfast, we discovered there were no baby items in the store, yet it had an entire aisle of dog food.I never did take that leisurely walk downtown that I had planned, I was afraid my girls would experience rejection. I had seen the future of an America which aborts it's children, and cherishes it's dogs, and I was terrified.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Old Bethpage Village Trip

On the first warm day of spring, our local homeschooling group visited a restoration of typical life in the 1850's, with historic buildings from all over Long Island.

At first, the 'residents' of the village didn't quite know how to address a group of such varied ages, and I wondered if many homeschool groups had come there before, however the adorable school marm knew how to handle a mixed-age group of children!

They settled into the schoolhouse readily, while she showed the children the slates, slate-pencils, lunch pails, and period maps. They exceeded her expectations with their correct answers to her US presidents quiz, and even the toddlers remained seated until she dismissed them with the bell. Her parting comment was, "I commend to you, the value of individualized education!" The mothers beamed; we had passed muster!

Carnival of Christian Writers

Here's the link to the Carnival of Christian Writers at Writer Interrupted. Do go over and see what Christian mothers and authors are writing when they get a chance between interruptions!

No place is Heaven on earth

Yet we still seek it.
We were passing these beautiful mountains around Blacksburg, Va the week before the massacre at Virginia Tech, singing the John Denver classic song, "Country Roads, Take Me Home", and I was thinking how nice it would be to live away from the fast pace and worldliness of Long Island. In a tranquil country setting, like the one pictured here.
THEN I could be at peace, I reasoned.
One week later. . .Lord, have mercy on us! Pray for Virginia Tech.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Time to Share Our Treasures

Barbara Curtis of Mommy Life has a great post about her plans to celebrate Mother's Day by posting a photo album of mothers of children with Down syndrome with their children.
Please participate, it's so edifying for new moms of Trisomy-21 babies to see the joys they have in store for them. She's doing the album to celebrate the publishing of Gifts: Mothers Reflect How Children With Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives which will be in the front of Barnes and Noble Bookstores next month. Here's a brand new blog by Jennifer rgg, one of the contributors of Gifts. Go over and pay her a visit!
HT Artful Thoughts

I'm getting my camera out!

Take the Narnia Quiz

The Baltimore Catechism and Hollywood: a match made in Heaven?!

Friday I was in Baltimore, for a meeting with Dr. John Seel Jr. Outreach Director for Walden Media, who was present at the National Catholic Educators Association Conference to present an award. We met to discuss how the blogosphere is transforming the culture, and how formerly isolated Catholic homeschoolers, are becoming a sought after constituency for movie studios. We bloggers have some idea of what it's like to find yourself show up in Google, but Hollywood, sin city, pursuing us?
I have an answer for that. Remember the months before the release of The Passion of the Christ? How many of you were, like myself, reading about the film's progress in the Catholic press, and then made certain you bought advance tickets at Fandango to boost opening day sales? I remember getting a thrill when Mel Gibson 'called' me to thank me for that. His recorded message was rudely interrupted by the dog and kids racing through the kitchen, and him shooing them out. I had to listen to it more than once to convince myself it wasn't a personal call. But it had an effect on me; the "Passion" was more than a film, it was a cause to support, a way to show Hollywood what we had been longing for since Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments, and The Robe in the great era of Biblical epics. We had never had such an opportunity to vote with our feet. And vote we did!

As soon as The Passion came out, local Catholics booked an entire theatre for the premiere, and spent hours after the movie in deep theological discussions with their Protestant bretheren. People came out of the theatre weeping and embracing one another. Many people changed their lives through repentance and confession. Criminals turned themselves in. Abortion-minded women chose life for their babies.There is a movie which chronicles this phenomenon.

I often went on the website to watch the Passion which we knew simply as The Movie, sweep through such unlikely countries as United Arab Emirates with unbelievable success. The fact that the movie which was predicted to bomb made over $600 million, putting it into the top ten movies of all time, is a testament to us, and those Christians like us who got behind a worthy film. Don't you think Hollywood was watching?

As I've posted before, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has been christened "The Children's Passion"because it was Hollywood's first attempt to recapture the audience who made the Passion so successful. It was produced jointly by Disney, and Walden Media, a new company formed by Philip Anschutz in 2000 to bring classic children's books to the screen. Walden has continued to bring some of our favorite stories to the screen, including: Because of Winn-Dixie, Around the World in 80 Days, I am David, Charlotte's Web, Amazing Grace, The Bridge to Terabithia, coming this Christmas, Prince Caspian, which is currently filming in Australia. Walden is now seeking to engage homeschoolers,with it's newsletter Ripples because, in the words of Michael Flaherty, CEO, "homeschool parents are educationally saavy, well-connected market leaders when it comes to entertainment which reflects their shared values"
Dr John Seel said that when Amazing Grace was in theatres, Walden interviewed moviegoers leaving the theatres about what had brought them there. Traditional marketing methods, such as trailers on TV, billboards, and newspaper ads, which absorb 25% of a film's budget brought in only 5% of those polled. Amazing Grace Sunday, a publicity event, where over 1500 churches signed on to participate by singing "Amazing Grace" the Sunday before the film's release in rememberance of the 200 year anniversary of William Wilberforce's successful battle to abolish the slave trade, brought in another 12%. But, by far, the greatest influence on moviegoers was what you are now reading. A whopping 55% of those who went to see Amazing Grace did because of blogs. Ladies and Gentlemen, behold, the power of the keyboard!!

Catholic bloggers are needed to get the word out when another one of our favorite books is coming to film, and, if possible to participate in the activites leading up to the release. These are designed to increase the educational value of the movie, as well as encourage the public to actually read the book beforehand. Remember Danielle Bean's post encouraging us to organize groups to read "Charlotte's Web"? That was Walden's idea. My nine year old Isabella read the book after the movie, but enjoyed one of my childhood favorites which was on our personal list of must reads.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I'm offically an author!

My first paid piece has appeared on page 42 of "Faith and Family" magazine!
I received three advance copies in the mail upon my return home, and I was thrilled not only to see "A Special Mother is Born" in print in my favorite magazine, but the story of my friend Lissette Yellico as well. A few months ago, the magazine's editor, Danielle Bean, requested stories for the article on Adverse Prenatal Diagnosis from her blog readers, and I posted it on my homeschool yahoo group on Long Island. Soon, dozens of stories flooded in, and I contacted Lissette for her story about her youngest child, Grace Marie. She was interviewed by Lori Hadacek Chapin, the author of the article, but had no idea that her story was selected for the magazine. Now, our stories are printed back to back in the article! How great is that!
This has led me to another idea, to write a book with all these inspiring stories of courageous Catholic mothers who had their babies despite hostile reactions from their doctors. Of how their faith in the Magesterium, their devotion to our Eucharistic Lord, and His Blessed Mother, their understanding of the redemptive value of suffering, and their dependence on the intercessory prayers of the Communion of Saints gave them extraordinary grace. If you have a story to be included in a book like this, please comment, and I will contact you. Coordinating with me in this worthy project is Monica from Be Not Afraid a mom of four children from Chicago, whose own experience of a difficult prenatal diagnosis has inspired her to form this much needed outreach.
In times like these, we need to exalt our pro-life heroines, who, like Gianna Beretta Molla, value their children's lives more than their own. If you aren't fortunate enough to have received this magazine in your mailbox today, click here for your free copy! And don't forget to enter their essay contest!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Our day in the Blue Ridge

During Holy Week, we spent an unforgettable day north of Asheville, North Carolina, enjoying the early spring mystery of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We rode horseback and enjoyed driving the Blue Ridge Parkway, watching the different phases of springtime pass by in reverse, as we climbed towards the summit of Mount Mitchell, the highest mountain east of the Mississippi.

Here I am making sure that my stirrups on ol' Whiskey are OK, as we were headed straight up the mountain for an awesome view.

Please pray for Johnette Benkovic's husband Anthony

He has just passed away. May the angels carry him into Paradise.
What a holy couple they were. Her ministry, The Abundant Life is outstanding. If you get a chance, see the show they did together about his death. It's unforgettable.

Happy Birthday, Holy Father!

Click here to send Pope Benedict a personal birthday message.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Catholic Mom in Hawaii: Happy Birthday Pope Benedict XVI

A Catholic Mom in Hawaii: Happy Birthday Pope Benedict XVI

A Catholic Life: Divine Mercy Sunday

I am so proud of my fellow Catholic bloggers who dominate the "Religion Blogs" section of the Bloggers Choice Awards! Catholic bloggers are a force to be reckoned with!The only problem selecting my favorite. Here's the short list:
Happy Catholic
Catholic Fire
Cottage Blessings
A Catholic Mom in Hawaii
Pro Ecclesia Pro Familia Pro Civitate
The Curt Jester
The Cafeteria is Closed
The Ironic Catholic
Rorarte Caeli
My Domestic Church

Not a very short list, is it? '
I have been nominated for Causa Nostrae Laetitiae as well.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Ahhh. . .Chocolate!!

Yes, you heard that sigh of relief coming from my home on Easter Wednesday, as the chocolate once again began flowing through our veins. . . without guilt thanks to Danielle Bean's research, which placed dark chocolate high on the top ten list of antioxidents. Above broccoli!! Yeah!

Isabella: Reaching for Mommy's dark chocolate bar after devouring her hand-made solid milk-chocolate bunny in less than 24 hours. . .

Me: "You won't like that, it's dark chocolate!"( in a vain attempt to save her chocolate bar)

Isabella: "What? You think I'd rather eat broccoli?!"

"Think of Me First as a Person"

Monica of Be Not Afraid has sent me this video about Dwight Core Jr, a man with Down Syndrome who spent much of his life in a cardboard box, until his sister brought him home to live with her. This home movie has earned a place of honor in the Library of Congress.

He is risen. He is risen indeed! Allelluia!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Have a Blessed Holy Week

I will be travelling to North Carolina and Georgia to visit family for Easter, so I will sign off for a week.
Since Palm Sunday is the second anniversary of Pope John Paul II's death, I leave you with some reflections of that incredible Catholic event, as well as new of his impending canonization. Santo subito!
Walk through the Passion this week with Our Lord and Our Lady, and enjoy a Blessed Easter.
Be not afraid!Holy Week and glorious Easter.