Showing posts from August, 2014

Sunday Snippets: A Catholic Carnival

Welcome to Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival! We are a group of Catholic bloggers who gather weekly to share our best posts with each other and answer a question. Be sure to visit RAnn at This, That and the Other Thing to check out the great posts from other bloggers participating in Sunday Snippets this week.

Question of the Week: This week's "question of the week" isn't really a question, it's a request:  Go back at least a year and link us to one or more old posts that you'd like to promote or encourage us to read again.  
My Oldie but Goodie Posts:

The Patron Saint of the Grouchy
Devout Catholic Couple die within hours of one another after 65 years of Marriage
Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity: Striving Toward Mysticism
Book Review: Why God Matters (by Karina Lumbert Fabian and Deacon Steve Lumbert)
Book Review: Mother Teresa's Secret Fire
"What is Consecration?"
Posts of the Past Week:


St. Jeanne Jugan: Founder of the Little Sisters of the Poor

The saint of the day is St. Jeanne Jugan (1792 – 1879) , also known as Sister Mary of the Cross. During the 19th century, she founded the Little Sisters of the Poor with the goal of imitating Christ's humility through service to elderly people in need.

Born on Oct. 25, 1792 in a port city of the French region of Brittany, Jeanne Jugan grew up during the political and religious upheavals of the French Revolution. Four years after she was born, her father was lost at sea. Her mother struggled to provide for Jeanne and her three siblings, while also providing them secretly with religious instruction amid the anti-Catholic persecutions of the day.

Jeanne worked as a shepherdess, and later as a domestic servant. At age 18, and again six years later, she declined two marriage proposals from the same man. She told her mother that God had other plans, and was calling her to "a work which is not yet founded."

At age 25, the young woman joined the Third Order of St. John Eudes, a…

Virtual Carmelite Choir celebrates the 500th anniversary of St. Teresa of Avila's birth

This choir is singing with a purpose! The order of the Discalced Carmelites are singing to honor 500 years since the birth of St. Teresa of Avila.

It's part of a so-called "virtual choir”composed of Carmelite friars and nuns from all over the world. They are accompanied by the Teresian Orchestra of the Cathedral of St. James in Seattle, Washington.

To bring these voices together in one choir, they all recorded themselves singing.

"Nada te turbe”, which translates to "Let nothing disturb you” is the choir's first song. It's based on a poem written by Saint Teresa of Avila.

The second song is a version of the Salve Regina. Sr. Claire Sokol composed both melodies for the occasion.

The videos have received thousands of hits on YouTube since it was first posted.

Related: “Let Nothing Disturb You”: A Virtual Choir of Carmelites

7 Quick Takes: Our Lady, Saints, Snowbirds, and Labor Day

This week has been a busy one for me - filled with appointments and new projects. It has also been a week in which I celebrated the historical feast of  Our Lady of Czestochowa: The Black Madonna, as well as the feasts of some of my favorite saints.

1.  We celebrated St. Augustine's feast day yesterday, August 28th. He has long been a saint after my own heart -- a theologian, great Doctor of the Church, and one of the most prolific writers of his time.  His conversion story is beautiful and one that I can relate to in my own life as a revert to the Catholic faith, but what is most amazing about his life is the fact that he remained faithful and grew in holiness and virtue, becoming a saint. I added some wonderful quotes to this post, which reveal the beauty of his love for the Lord.

2.  On Wednesday, I wrote about St. Monica: Model of Evangelization, who reminds me of my own mother in that like Monica, she, too, prayed with persistence, patience, and tenacity for her child to tur…

The Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist

On June 24, we celebrated the birthday of St. John the Baptist; today we honor the anniversary of his martyrdom.

Shortly after he had baptized Jesus, John the Baptist began to denounce Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee. Herod had divorced his own wife and taken Herodias, the wife of his half- brother Philip and also his own niece. John the Baptist declared, "It is not lawful for you to have her," so Herod threw him into prison.

Not only did Herod fear John and his disciples, he also knew him to be a righteous man, so he did not kill him. Herodias was determined to bring about John's death. From prison John followed Jesus's ministry, and sent messengers to question him (Luke 7:19-29). One day Herod gave an eloquent banquet to celebrate his birthday. His entire court was present as well as other powerful and influential Palestinians. Herodias's daughter Salome so pleased Herod when she danced to entertain the company that he promised her whatever she would as…

St. Augustine of Hippo

Philippe de Champaigne, Saint Augustine, c. 1645-1650
By Jean M. Heimann

Today, August 28th, is the feast of St. Augustine, a Western Father of the Church whose conversion to Christianity is well-known as one of the most important events in the history of the Church. He was an illustrious theologian, a bishop, and a great doctor of the Church.

Augustine was born in Tagaste, Africa in 354 to Patricius, a pagan Roman official, and to Monica, a devout Christian. Monica raised Augustine in the Christian faith, but when he went to study law in Carthage, he turned away from his Christian beliefs and led a life of immorality and hedonism.

At age 15, he took a took a mistress who bore him a son, Adeodatus, which means “the gift of God,” and at age 18, he and his friend, Honoratus became members of the Manichaean heretical sect, which accepted the dual principle of good and evil.

The late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen explained his attraction to the heresy: “The conflict between flesh and spirit i…

Fr. Robert Barron: Woody Allen's Bleak Vision

St. Monica: Model of Evangelization

Today, August 27, is the feast of St. Monica, patron saint of mothers and married women. She is a saint I admire so much for her tenacity, patience, and perseverance in prayer for the conversion of her son, St. Augustine. A persistent prayer warrior, Monica never gave up on her son, Augustine, a great sinner, who later became so strongly drawn to the faith that he was eventually canonized, as one of the Church's greatest teachers and philosophers, and was designated a doctor of the Church.

St. Monica is a wonderful model for us to follow today. How many of us have family members who have left the Church? I would guess that most of us have at least one or more relatives who are no longer practicing their faith. A Pew Research Study reports that 10% of all Americans are ex-Catholics. How can we encourage these fallen-away Catholics to return to the faith of their childhood?

The most effective ways to positively influence our family members to return to their faith are to pray for t…

Michelangelo, Renaissance man, 450 years after his death

Thousands of tourists walk past Rome's Capitoline Hill each day. Its design comes from famed Renaissance artist Michelangelo. Within the historic square, the Capitoline Museum hosts an exhibit dedicated to him, to mark 450 years since his death.

Rome Superintendence of Cultural Heritage
"It wasn't possible to show Michelangelo's greatest works, like the Sistine Chapel, the Piety or the David. But, we sought to bring his works that had never been seen together. The exhibit shows Michelangelo through works that are not well known, but hold lots of significance.”

Among the highlights are the "Madonna of the Steps.” Michelangelo completed he relief sculpture at the age of 15.

Rome Superintendence of Cultural Heritage
"Within a very confined space, a thin slab of marble, it already expresses some of the fundamental characteristics of the great Florentine artist. Perspective, the great attention to the delineation of the bodies, and …

St. Teresa of Jesus Jornet Ibars

Today, August 26, is the feast day of St. Teresa of Jesus Jornet Ibars (also known as Saint Teresa de Gesu, Jornet y Ibars), the Foundress of the Little Sisters of the Abandoned Poor.

Born in 1843 at Catalonia, Spain, she was raised on a farm and later became a teacher at Lérida. She had been preparing to take her final vows as a Poor Clare nun, when the government suppressed all convents and she was sent home. She struggled to understand why God would permit this to happen and for several years asked Him what she was to do with her life. Then, she met a priest/spiritual director who provided the answer. Along with Father Saturnino Lopez Novoa, she opened a shelter for the poor and the elderly. At the age 29, in Barbastro, Spain, Teresa founded the community known today as the Little Sisters of the Abandoned Poor. By the time of her death, at age 54, she had established more than 100 shelters in Spain and 58 congregation houses. Today the Little Sisters of the Abandoned Poor have mor…

Our Lady of Czestochowa: The Black Madonna

Today is the historical feast of Our Lady of Czestochowa (The Black Madonna).

The Black Madonna was painted by St. Luke the Evangelist; and it was while painting the picture, Mary told him about the life of Jesus, which he later incorporated into his gospel. The next time we hear of the painting is in 326 A.D. when St. Helen found it in Jerusalem and gave it to her son and had a shrine built for it in Constantinople. During a battle, the picture was placed on the walls of the city, and the enemy army fled. Our Lady saved the city from destruction. The picture was owned by many other people until 1382, when invading Tartars attacked a Prince Ladislaus' fortress, where the painting was located. A Tartar's arrow lodged into through the throat of the Madonna. The Prince transferred the painting to a church in Czestochowa, Poland.

In 1430, the church was invaded and a looter struck the painting two times with his sword, but before he could strike it another time, he fell to the gr…

Remembering Blessed Mother Teresa on her 104th Birthday

Today, August 26th, marks the 104th birthday of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. Happy Birthday, Mother Teresa!

Mother Teresa: Saint of the Gutters(Beautiful tribute in pictures)

Remembering 104th Birthday of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Official Novena to Blessed Teresa of Calcutta begins today

Best Pithy Quotes:

"When you look at the crucifix you understand how much Jesus loved you then. When you look at the sacred host, you understand how much Jesus loves you now."

"Like Jesus we belong to the world living not for ourselves but for others. The joy of the Lord is our strength."

"Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand. Anyone may gather it and no limit is set. Everyone can reach this love through meditation, spirit of prayer, and sacrifice, by an intense inner life."

"God still loves the world and He sends you and me to be His love and His compassion to the poor.”

"If we really want to love we must learn how to forgi…

St. Joseph Calasanz, patron of Catholic schools

Today we remember St. Joseph Calasanz, a diocesan priest who opened the first free public school in Rome, the patron of Catholic schools. Other men who joined Father Joseph in his work became members of a community he founded, the Piarist Order. Fr. James Kubicki shares more about this saint:

Five Favorite Quotes from St. Louis IX

Today, August 25, is the feast of St. Louis IX, King of France (1215-1270). A third order Franciscan, he was a just king, a devoted spouse, and the loving father of eleven children.

Here are five of my favorite quotes, excerpted from a letter he wrote to his son.

1. "Fix your whole heart upon God, and love Him with all your strength, for without this no one can be saved."

2.  "Have a tender pitiful heart for the poor, and for all those whom you believe to be in misery of heart or body, and, according to your ability, comfort and aid them with some alms."

3.  "Let no one be so bold as to say, in your presence, words which attract and lead to sin, and do not permit words of detraction to be spoken of another behind his back."

 3. "I advise you that you accustom yourself to frequent confession, and that you choose always, as your confessors, men who are upright and sufficiently learned, and who can teach you what you should do and what you should avoid…

Sunday Snippets: A Catholic Carnival

Dome of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis  Photo copyright Jean M. Heimann
Welcome to Sunday Snippets – A Catholic Carnival, where a group of Catholic bloggers meet up at RAnn's blog to share their posts for the week and answer a question.

This week's question: Introduce yourself.

Answer: I am a freelance writer and author of three books, a retired school psychologist (who has worked with both children and adults, ages 2 - 82 in schools, social service agencies, and private practice settings), and a retired educator (elementary through college age). I have a Master of Science degree in School Psychology and a Master of Arts degree in Theology. I am an oblate with the Community of St. John, a parish and diocesan presenter, and have served as a leader in adult education formation for twenty-three years. My areas of specialty include: saints, spirituality, sacraments, and moral theology. I am also a trained crisis pregnancy counselor, a trained sidewalk counselor, and a prayer int…

St. Rose of Lima

August 23 is the optional memorial of St. Rose of Lima, virgin.

Isabella Flores de Oliva was born April 20, 1586 to Spanish immigrants in Lima, Peru. At her confirmation, she took the name of Rose, because as an infant, her face had been seen transformed by a mystical rose.

She was pious from an early age. At age five, she built a small chapel for herself in the family garden. When she made her first Confession, she obtained permission from her confessor to make a vow of virginity.

Rose had a strong devotion for Jesus and His Holy Mother and spent long hours praying before the Blessed Sacrament. With St. Catherine of Siena as her model, Rose fasted three times a week, offered up severe penances, and when her vanity was attacked, she cut off her beautiful hair, and wore coarse clothing. She frequently deprived herself of food, water, and sleep. As a result of her exterior mortification, she had interior mystical experiences as well as long periods of darkness and desolation. For fifte…

The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today, we celebrate a beautiful Marian Feast -- the Queenship of Mary. This special Liturgical Feast was proclaimed by Pope Pius XII on October 11, 1954 through his Encyclical Letter Ad Caeli Reginam. The Catholic Church made this proclamation based upon the fact that whether in time of peace or in time of war, the faithful have incessantly offered prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven.

Following the tremendous destruction that occurred during World War II and considering the reality that the threat of a similar catastrophe filled the faithful with a great anguish, the Church turned its eyes towards Mary, the Heavenly Queen, in the hope of her protection. Mary has never failed those who have sought her intercession in prayer, placing their total trust in her.

Mary’s queenship has its roots in Scripture. At the Annunciation, Gabriel announced that Mary’s Son would receive the throne of David and rule forever. (Luke 1:32 -33) At the Visitation, E…

Pope St. Pius X, "Pope of the Eucharist"

Today, August 21st, is the memorial of Pope St. Pius X (1835-1914).

Giuseppe Sarto was born June 2, 1835, the second of ten children born to a poor family in the village of Riese, Province of Treviso, near Venice. His mother, Margherita Sanson, was a seamstress. His father, Giovanni Sarto, who was a cobbler by trade, as well as the caretaker of the city hall and the town's postmaster, passed away when Giuseppe was 16.

Giuseppe entered the seminary at the age of 15 and was ordained at the age of 23. For nine years, he served as chaplain at Tombolo, having to assume most of the functions of parish priest, as the pastor was old and in poor health. He sought to prefect his knowledge of theology by studying Saint Thomas and canon law. He established a night school for adults, and devoted himself to pastoral ministry for 17 years. He became the bishop of Mantua, cardinal patriarch of Venice, and Pope in 1903. As Pope, he took as the motto of his reign "to renew all things in Chris…

Novena to St. Augustine begins today

Begin this prayer today and recite for nine days.

Saint Augustine, great Bishop of Hippo and Doctor of the Church, may your life of conversion to the Catholic Faith be an example to both those who have never been apart of the Church, and to those who have fallen away from Christ's Church. Through your closeness with Our Lord in Heaven, intercede for us and bring to the One True Faith the following people (mention names).

May your conversion centuries ago continue to inspire those who are lost today and with the help of your prayers, may God bring them to a full understanding of the Faith. Most importantly, may your struggle to find Truth, through many sins and failings be an example of the Lord Jesus' forgiveness and eternal saving Grace. Amen.

Oh God, hear the prayer of your servant, St Augustine, and bring the message of salvation to all who seek you in sincerity. Amen.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux: A model of peace for these troubled times

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” – Matthew 5:9 How do we deal with the violence, war, and conflicts that we face in our world today?  How can we serve as true peacemakers in our 21st century culture?

St. Bernard of Clairvaux, a Cistercian abbot, a contemplative, theologian, and mystic of the twelfth century is an excellent example for us to follow. Due to the numerous schisms which had arisen in the Church during his age, he traveled throughout Europe, restoring peace and unity. Not only did he deal with divisions in the Church, but he also mediated in secular disputes and was sought out as an adviser and an arbitrator by the ruling powers of his era. What was his secret for restoring peace and unity to a troubled world? He was merely a modest monk with no worldly power or possessions. What made him so influential and valuable to others was the fact that he was a man of heroic virtue. Which virtues made him effective as a peacemaker in his environ…

Pope's relatives die in car crash. Pope calls for prayers

Three relatives of Pope Francis died on Tuesday in a car crash in Argentina. The accident happened in a highway that divides the cities of Cordoba and Rosario.

The Pope's nephew was involved in the accident. His wife died along with their two children: A two year old and 8month old baby. The Pope's 35 year old nephew survived, but is in serious condition.

Through a statement the Vatican' spokesperson, Fr. Federico Lombardi, said that the Pope is aware of the tragedy. He asked those who share his suffering to join him in prayer.

St. John Eudes: "Father, Doctor, and Apostle" of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary

August 18 is the optional memorial of St. John Eudes, a French priest who founded of the Society of Jesus and Mary (the Eudists) and the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity.  Pope Leo XIII proclaimed him to be the “father, doctor and apostle of the liturgical cult of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.”

John Eudes was born at Ri, Normandy, France, on November 14, 1601, the son of a farmer.  Prior to John's birth, his parents who had been praying for a child and when he was born, they offered him to God through Mary.

He attended the Jesuit college at Caen, joined the religious order of the Oratorians, and was ordained a priest at the age of 24. John worked as a volunteer, caring for the victims of the plagues that struck Normandy in 1625 and 1631. In order to avoid infecting his fellow religious, he lived in a huge cask in the middle of a field during the plague.

At age 32, John became a parish missionary, building a reputation as an extraordinary preacher and confessor. During h…

Best images of Pope Francis' trip to South Korea

From the moment he got off his popemobile to greet the families who lost a loved one in the ferry accident, to his silent prayer for the unity of Korea, the Pope's visit to South Korea was full of moving moments.

Saint Helena of Constantinople: Finder of the True Cross of Jesus Christ

Today, August 18, is the feast day of Saint Helena of Constantinople (246-330), mother of Constantine the Great, and finder of the True Cross of Jesus Christ.

St. Helena was the daughter of an innkeeper in Bithynia, Asia Minor. She was married to an ambitious Roman general and they had one son, Constantine.  When her husband was named Caesar, he promptly divorced Helena to marry another woman for political gain. Following the death of his father, Constantine became emperor of Rome, and one of his first acts as ruler was to declare his mother empress. Constantine had converted to Christianity, and with his encouragement, Helena also became a Christian.

 As empress, Helena spent her days in acts of charity, and built magnificent churches on the holy sites of the faith, frequently tearing down pagan temples that had been built on those sites. She worked tirelessly for the poor, released prisoners, and humbly mingled with ordinary worshipers in modest attire. Throughout her life, she spr…

Novena to St. Monica Begins Today

The novena to St. Monica starts today, August 18, and ends on August 26.

Monica is the patron of:

alcoholicsdifficult marriagesdisappointing childrenmarried womenmothersvictims of abusevictims of adulterywidowswives

Novena Prayers

Dear Saint Monica, you were once the mournful mother of a prodigal son. Your faithfulness to prayer brought you and your son so close to God that you are now with him in eternity. By your intercession and God’s grace, your son St. Augustine became a great and venerable Saint of the Church. Please take my request to God with the same fervor and persistence with which you prayed for your own son.

(Mention your intentions here)

With your needs, worries and anxieties, you threw yourself on the mercy and providence of God. Through sorrow and pain, you constantly devoted yourself to God. Pray for me that I might join you in such a deep faith in God’s goodness and mercy.

Above all, dear Saint Monica, pray for me that I may, like your son, turn from my sin and become…

Sunday Snippets: A Catholic Carnival

Welcome to Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival! We are a group of Catholic bloggers who gather weekly to share our best posts with each other and answer a question. Be sure to visit RAnn at This, That and the Other Thing to check out the great posts from other bloggers participating in Sunday Snippets this week.

Question of the week: What did you do during summer vacation?  Actually, I am hoping to have a vacation sometime in the future, as I spent my summer writing, blogging, and promoting my new book,Seven Saints for Seven Virtues, which will be released on October 24, 2014. In the meantime, you can pre-order it online at Amazon or at Barnes and Noble.

One fantastic activity that I participated in this summer was the annual Midwest Catholic Family Conference in Wichita, Kansas. I highly recommend this conference for everyone. It just gets better and better each year!

My best posts onCatholic Firethis week include:

Book Review and Giveaway: Trusting God with St. Therese 

St. Clare of…

St. Stephen of Hungary

Today's saint of the day is St. Stephen of Hungary, the first Christian king of Hungary.

Born a pagan, Stephen was baptized at age 10, along with his father, and was raised as a Christian. In 996, at age 20, he married Gisela, the daughter of Duke Henry II of Bavaria and devoted much of his reign to the promotion of the Christian faith. He gave his patronage to Church leaders, helped build churches, and was a proponent of the rights of the Holy See.

Stephen also crushed the pagan counter-reaction to Christianity, and converted the so-called Black Hungarians after their failed rebellion. In recognition of his efforts, Stephen was crowned king of Hungary in 1000, receiving the cross and the crown from Pope Sylvester II. His crown and regalia became beloved symbols of the Hungarian nation, and Stephen was venerated as the ideal Christian king.

The secret of St. Stephen's amazing success in leading his people to the Christian faith was his deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary…

Seven Quick Takes: A Giveaway, Saints, A Book, and Mother Mary

1.  Today, Friday, is the last day for my book giveaway Trusting God with St. Therese, the new book by popular spirituality writer Connie Rossini. Read my review and enter the drawing HERE before midnight tonight.

2. Speaking of books, this writer and author has a new fan page on FaceBook. Please "like" me HERE.

3.  The official release date for my new book, Seven Saints for Seven Virtues, is October 24, 2014. In the meantime, you can pre-order it online at Amazon or at Barnes and Noble.

4. This week I wrote about one of my favorite female Franciscan saints, St. Clare of Assisi: Contemplative, Lover of the Eucharist, Miracle Worker.

5. St. Maximilian Kolbe is on the list of my favorite saints and I wrote about why he is so special to me.

6.  St. Jane Frances de Chantal was a charming, animated, energetic member of the aristocracy. Why would she leave that luxurious lifestyle and agree to found an order that served the poor? Learn more HERE.

7. Happy Solemnity of the Assumpt…