Showing posts from January, 2016

7 QT: Spiritual and Corporal Conditioning

1.  2016 is off to a healthy start! I have been working out at the gym daily, have been eating healthier, and have already lost five pounds!

2. Here is one example of the healthier meals I have been eating: baked cod fish, baked sweet potato fries, and a tossed salad sans dessert. I have increased the amount of veggies and seafood in my diet and reduced the amount of sugar I consume.

3. Lent is less than two weeks away! I am already beginning a list of Lenten books and devotionals for that time. I need to re-read the Life of St. Teresa of Avila and am currently reading the Autobiography of Blessed Dina Belanger. I will be using my Lenten Magnificat as a devotional. I am still deciding on the activity I will be performing this Lent.

Image Source
4. I have been unbelievably busy as I work on self-publishing my new book, which I hope to release in March. This has been my main writing project. I will keep you informed on its progress. I think you may be a bit surprised by the genre.

5.  T…

St. Thomas Aquinas: The Angelic Doctor

January 28 is the feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas, a 13th century Dominican priest, philosopher, and theologian. As a Doctor of the Church, he has been given the title "Angelic Doctor" and is the patron saint of apologists, Catholic schools, chastity, learning, philosophers, publishers, students, theologians, and universities.  St. Thomas ranks among the greatest writers and theologians of all time. His most important work, the Summa Theologiae, a theological summary and explanation of all the teachings of the Catholic Church, has been standard for centuries, even to our own day. St. Thomas reflected the Dominican ideal. He was a true contemplative who shared the fruits of contemplation with others.

Born of a noble family in southern Italy, Thomas was educated by the Benedictines. He was a superior student and surpassed his classmates in learning as well as in the practice of virtue.

When he became old enough to choose his state of life, Thomas renounced the things of this wo…

St. Angela Merici: Emancipator of Women

Today is the feast of St. Angela Merici, the foundress of the Ursulines, the the first teaching congregation of women in the Church. It was a new, almost revolutionary foundation for its time, as it focused primarily on the education of women. Her foundation led to the emancipation of women not only in the Church, but in society as well. Women were educated so as to transform society by educating their own family in the faith and living out that faith in their lives.

 Angela was born to a family of minor nobility on March 21, 1474 at Desenzano, Lake Garda, Italy and died on January 27, 1540 in Brescia. She worked diligently on her father’s farm and was also taught by her family the habits of prayer and fasting — which she continued to practice her entire life. Her parents died when she was only ten years old. Together, with her older sister, she moved to the nearby town of Salo, to live with her uncle. When her sister died quite suddenly without receiving the last sacraments, Angela …

Saints Titus and Timothy: Enthusiastic Evangelizers for the Lord

Today, January 26, is the memorial of Sts. Timothy and Titus. Both men were close colleagues with St. Paul in his missionary journeys and perpetuated his work among the Gentiles.

Timothy and Titus were converted to Christianity by Paul, and became his companions and helpers. Paul made both men bishops and assigned Timothy to the Church in Ephesus, and Titus to the Church in Crete. He wrote them “pastoral” epistles, giving advice for both pastors and parishioners.

Timothy, “brother and co-worker for God in the gospel of Christ” (1 Thes 3:2) was young (Paul writes “Let no one have contempt for your youth” in 1 Timothy 4:12a), and somewhat shy, but had great zeal for spreading the faith. He has been viewed by some as the "angel of the church of Ephesus" (Rev 2:1-17). He joined Paul in the joy of the privilege of preaching the gospel, but also  suffered much because of it. St. Timothy was stoned to death thirty years after St. Paul's martyrdom for refusing to worship the go…

Novena to Our Lady of Good Success

The Novena to Our Lady of Good Success begins today and continues for the next eight days.

* Hail Mary Most Holy, Beloved Daughter of God the Father
Through the intercession of Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres,
grant thy good success to this request (name request)...
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be...
Saint Michael, pray for us.

* Hail Mary Most Holy, Admirable Mother of God the Son
Through the intercession of Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres,
grant thy good success to this request (name request) ...
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be...
Saint Gabriel, pray for us.

* Hail Mary Most Holy, Most Faithful Spouse of the Holy Ghost
Through the intercession of Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres,
grant thy good success to this request (name request) ...
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be...
Saint Raphael, pray for us.

* Hail Mary Most Holy, Temple and Sacrarium of the Most Holy Trinity.
St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, pray for us.

Our Lady of Good Success, thou who art the all-powerful intercessor …

The Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle

Happy Feast day of the Conversion of St. Paul!

The conversion of Saul, persecutor of the early church, was of pivotal importance for the worldwide development of Christianity. Paul means much for our faith and for the New Testament. Today we celebrate that significant event on the road to Damascus when Saul, fallen to amazement at a great light from heaven, spoke with the risen Savior and arose as Paul, to become the Apostle to the Gentiles.

Paul was born at Tarsus, the capital of Cilia around 4 A.D. A Jew, he spoke Greek and he held Roman citizenship. He belonged to the tribe of Benjamin and was given the name Saul at the time of his circumcision. As a Roman citizen from birth, he also had the Latin name Paul. He learned to be a tent maker from his father, or rather to make the material of which the tents were made (goat's wool or linen fibers).  At the age of 12 or 13, he left home and was sent to Jerusalem to be educated by Rabbi Gamaliel the Elder, where he acquired a great l…

Novena to St. Blaise Begins

The feast of St. Blaise is February 3. He is one of fourteen holy helpers and is invoked against throat diseases and against many other illnesses, including: angina, bladder diseases, blisters, coughs, dermatitis, dropsy, eczema, edema, fever, goiters, headaches, impetigo, respiratory diseases, skin diseases, snake bites, stomach pain, teething pain, toothaches, ulcers, and whooping cough.

Pray the following prayers, once a day, especially on January 25 and ending on February 2.

Almighty and Eternal God! With lively faith and reverently worshiping Thy Divine Majesty, I prostrate myself before Thee and invoke with filial trust Thy supreme bounty and mercy. Illumine the darkness of my intellect with a ray of Thy heavenly light and inflame my heart with the fire of Thy divine love, that I may contemplate the great virtues and merits of the saint in whose honor I make this novena, and following his example imitate, like him, the life of Thy divine Son.

Moreover, I bese…

Five Things You Can Do if You Are Unable to Attend the March for Life

I have previously participated in the March for Life in Washington D.C. and found it to be an amazing and unforgettable experience. However, like many other pro-lifers I am unable to attend this year. Here are some suggestions for those who are unable to attend, but still want to be pro-active.

1. Pray for those who are participating in the March for Life.  Here is one prayer you might say:

Father and maker of all, you adorn all creation with splendor and beauty, and fashion human lives in your image and likeness. Awaken in every heart reverence for the work of your hands, and renew among your people a readiness to nurture and sustain your precious gift of life. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

2. Attend Mass, pray the Rosary or the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, or go to Eucharistic Adoration and pray for an end to abortion.

3. Fast -- from food, electronic devices, your favorite…

St. Agnes of Rome: Model of Chastity

January 21 is the feast of St. Agnes, a virgin, who was martyred at the age of thirteen in 304.  She is invoked as the patron of young girls and serves as a excellent model of chastity.

Born to a Christian family of Roman nobility during the third century, St. Agnes matured into a beautiful, graceful young woman.  By the age of twelve, she was already receiving several suitors to ask for her hand in marriage; however, she had developed a deep spirituality which guided her to consecrate her virginity to God. Thus, she turned each suitor away, explaining that Christ was her only spouse. She was even willing to accept death rather than give up her consecrated virginity to marry. Living as a Christian during the politically charged time of the Diocletian persecution of Christians in Rome, she was under the constant threat of torture and death.

A Roman prefect desired that Agnes marry his son. Embittered by her second rejection to marry his son, the prefect turned her in to the political …

St. Fabian, the Farmer who became Pope

The saint of the day for January 20 is St. Fabian, pope (236-250) and martyr. Eusebius, a historian, recounted that Fabian was a layperson, most likely a farmer, who came to Rome, when the people were electing a successor to Pope Anterus.

As a layperson, he may have come for the same reason many still come to Rome today during a papal election: concern for the future of the faith, curiosity about the new pope, a desire to grieve for the pope who had passed. Seeing all the important people gathered to make this momentous decision must have been overwhelming. Which one would be the new pope? Someone known for power? Someone known for eloquence? Someone known for courage?

Suddenly during the discussion, a dove descended from the ceiling. But it didn't settle on "someone known" for anything at all. The dove, according to Eusebius, "settled on [Fabian's] head as clear imitation of the descent of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove upon the Savior." There must…

March for Life 2016: Winning Hearts and Minds

We are the most pro-life generation since Roe v. Wade. Hearts and minds are changing every day, recognizing the right to life of preborn children and the injustice of abortion. Here are some prayer resources for the March for Life 2016.

St. Canute, King of Denmark, Man of Virtue

By Jean M. Heimann

The saint of the day is St. Canute, the patron saint of Denmark. He was the illegitimate son of King Sweyn Estrithson of Denmark and the nephew of King Knud of England. He succeeded his older brother Harold to the throne of Denmark in the year 1080.

As the King of Denmark, he was known as Knud IV. He married Adela, sister of Count Roberts of Flanders. King Canute was gifted with wisdom, charity, and kindness; he was also an excellent athlete, an expert equestrian, and a great general.

At the onset of his reign, he led a war against the barbarians and his army defeated them. In the splendor of his success, kneeling at the foot of the altar, he surrendered himself and his kingdom to Jesus Christ, the King of kings. Through his kingdom, he spread the gospel message, constructed churches, and maintained missionaries. He became known as "Canute the Holy."

Turmoil arose in his kingdom due to the laws he had made championing the Church and he fled to the Island o…

Pope Francis writes new book for children

Pope Francis is set to release a new children’s book in February, entitled “Love Before the World”.

The book – published by Loyola Press (orig. Italian title “L’amore prima del mondo”) – contains the Holy Father’s responses to letters written by children from around the world.

What did God do before creating the world? “God loved.”

Why do my parents fight sometimes? “They are human.”

These are some of the questions put to Pope Francis by children between the ages of 6-13 from 26 countries, including Albania, China, Nigeria, and the Philippines.

Fr. Antonio Spadaro, SJ, director of ‘La Civiltà Cattolica’, met with the pope at the Casa Santa Marta several times during the last months, giving the Holy Father a chance to respond to the children’s letters spontaneously.

“These are hard questions,” Pope Francis said, smiling.

The drawings and questions of 31 children were chosen for the book, which will be presented to the Holy Father by several of the children who wrote the letters on 22 …

Novena to Blessed George Matulaitis

 This novena starts January 18 and ends January 26. 

Feast Day: January 28 

"Overcome evil with good."

Taken from St. Paul the Apostle, this was the personal motto of a Marian priest when he was chosen to be the Bishop of Vilnius, Lithuania, as he rescued the order when it was down to its last member.

Dubbed the "Marian Renovator," the Lithuanian-born Blessed George Matulaitis (1871-1927) was the priest who envisioned religious working together with the laity for the good of the Church. The principles he wrote about are defining points of the Association of Marian Helpers.

Prayer through the Intercession of 
Bl. George Matulaitis – Matulewicz

O God, Merciful Father, in the heart of Your Servant Blessed George, You aroused such a great zeal for accomplishing corporal and spiritual deeds of mercy; deign to grant to us through his intercession the grace for which we implore You …

(Here mention your special intentions.)

Prayer for the Canonization of the 
Bl. George Matulai…

7QT: Great Reads for the Jubilee Year of Mercy

1.My favorite book for this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy thus far is7 Secrets of Divine Mercyby Vinny Flynn. Flynn is the author of other 7 Secrets books, (7 Secrets of the Eucharist and 7 Secrets of Confession), but I agree with him when he admits that this is the book he should have written first. It is a remarkable book that will open up your heart and your mind to the mysteries of Divine Mercy.  If you think you know just about all there is about Divine Mercy, you will be astounded to learn that there is so much more to know. Vinny Flynn is the perfect person to tell you about it. He has contemplated the mystery of Divine Mercy for thirty-five years and has worked with Divine Mercy experts Fr. Seraphim Michalenko and Fr. George Kosciki, to train many of the current speakers on this timely topic. He edited the official English version of the Diary of St. Faustina, and for twenty years has been singing the Chaplet of Divine Mercy with his family on EWTN.

Flynn is a dynamic e…

St. Macrina the Elder: Patron of Widows

The saint of the day for January 14th is St. Macrina the Elder, a learned woman gifted with wisdom and counsel. Our knowledge of her life is limited and comes mainly from the testimony of the great Cappadocian fathers of the Church as well as from her  grandchildren and the panegyric of St. Gregory of Nazianzus and St. Basil. We do know that Macrina was widowed and is the patron of widows and an intercessor for poor people.

This lady was the grandmother of saints, the most notable being the brothers Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa. It was Macrina and her husband who founded the faith of the family and passed it on as a splendid treasure to her children and grandchildren. That faith was born of suffering and persecution.

St. Macrina the elder was a native of Cappadocia, in what is now eastern Turkey. It was here that the great apostle of Cappadocia, St. Gregory the Wonderworker, established the faith around the year 250. When he arrived in the territory, it was said, there were o…

St. Hilary of Poitiers, Doctor of the Church

St. Hilary confers Minor Orders upon St. Martin.

January 13 is the optional memorial of St. Hilary, bishop of Poitiers in the 4th century. Pope Pius IX declared him a "Doctor of the Church," because of his heroic defense of the the Faith against Arians and other heretics. He strongly defended the divinity of Christ, and despite the fact that he was a kind and gentle man, he was viewed as an agitator, a disturber of the peace.

Hilary was born in Poitiers in France in 315 and raised as a pagan. Reading the Bible led to his conversion. He also converted his wife and daughter who enthusiastically embraced the faith. Because celibacy was not a requirement at that time for the clergy, at the age of 35, Hilary was elected as the new Bishop of Poitier. He devoted his tongue and pen to fighting the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Jesus Christ, and was exiled for four years in the East for his fidelity to the faith. His writings drew many converts to the faith. Hillary died…

St. Marguerite Bourgeoys: Woman of Faith, Fortitude, and Fervor

Today is the feast of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, the founder of the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame, a teaching order. She is the patron saint of poor people and those rejected by religious orders.

St. Marguerite Bourgeoys was a woman of aspirations and action, despite her fragile health. She was a woman of grace and fortitude, known for her obedience to God and for her perseverance in carrying out His desires despite the many obstacles and hardships she faced.

Born in Troyes, France in 1620 to devout parents, Marguerite was the sixth of twelve children. Her mother died when Marguerite was just nineteen and she became the surrogate mother to her siblings. The following year, through the inspiration of the Blessed Virgin Mary, she consecrated her life to God and became a member of the Extern Congregation of Troy, a group of women who were dedicated to teaching the poor children of the town. It was during this time that she first sensed a call to missionary work.

In 1652, Mons…

Two Novenas to St. Agnes

St. Agnes was a consecrated virgin who was martyred at the age of thirteen during the Diocletian persecutions in 304. She is invoked as the patron of young girls and serves as a excellent model of chastity.

Both novenas begin on January 12th and end on January 20th.

The first novena is for an unmarried couple:

St. Agnes, although you were only a child, you believed that Jesus was always with you; help us to remember that he is also with us and to remain true to his presence.

St Agnes, you refused to give up your faith, help us to be proud of our faith to love it, to be strong in it, and to give witness to it daily.

St. Agnes, patron saint of unmarried couples, watch over ________ and _______ keep them strong in their faith, committed to chastity and virginity until marriage. Be with them and always pray for them.


The second novena is for anyone:

V. O God, (✠) come to my assistance.
R. O Lord, make haste to help me.
V. Glory be to the Father...
R. As it was in the beginning...
V. O…

7 Quick Takes: Food, Fun, and Faith

1. I love food, but need to consistently eat healthy food. Once in awhile, I sneak in some sweets, which puts weight on. Above are two dishes I made for supper tonight: my favorite tossed salad with Italian chicken vegetable soup. I used mostly organic or non-GMO ingredients in everything. My husband loved it! If you would like the recipes, just email me with "Recipes" in the subject line at and I will be happy to share them with you. 

2. With winter in full force, I have been drinking more tea lately: Roobois, Ginger, and Cinnamon.  Here are some ideas for healthy hot, delicious drinks to warm you up. 

3. What did you do for fun over the holidays? I celebrated with family at Christmas and several friends at a New Year's Eve Party. I also went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Who can resist a new episode of Star Wars? I don't understand all the fuss about Carrie Fisher's appearance. Of course she no longer looks like she did when she was …

Saint Raymond of Peñafort, patron of lawyers

January 7th is the optional memorial of Saint Raymond of  Peñafort, a Spanish Dominican friar from the 13th century who served as the third Superior-General of the Order. He is the patron saint of lawyers, particularly canon lawyers.

Raymond was born in Spain in 1175 and died there on January 6, 1275 at the age of 99. He was the gifted son of the count of Peñafort in Catalonia, Spain. Due to his status and wealth, he was well educated and at the age of 20, was already a professor of philosophy. He earned his doctorate in both cannon and civil law at the age 41. He taught cannon law in Bologna, Italy, and it was here that he first met the Dominicans. He was attracted to the Dominican Order by the preaching of Blessed Reginald of Bologna and received the Dominican habit at the age of 47. Raymond was deeply devoted to Our Blessed Mother, and it was this devotion that led him to forgo worldly fame and become a Dominican.

The Order made good use of his legal skills by assigning him the ta…

A Call to Battle - A Short Film on ‘Society’s Crisis in Masculinity’

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix released for the first time ever in its history a documentary-style short film that seeks to create awareness of a crisis in masculinity found in today’s society. This is an amazing, powerful, and uplifting short film!

This film, titled “A Call to Battle,” is available for viewing in English with Spanish subtitles at

Released only a few weeks after the promulgation of Bishop Olmsted’s apostolic exhortation “Into the Breach,” the new short film shows the urgency of the Diocese of Phoenix to confront head on today’s crisis in masculinity.

With regards to this crisis highlighted by the film, Michael Phelan, director of the Marriage and Respect Life Office said, “Historical circumstances have periodically devastated families, but we have never seen the disparagement of masculinity and fatherhood, or abandonment of men’s responsibilities that we are seeing now. It calls for an unprecedented response from the Church.”


St. André Bessette: Miracle Man of Montreal

By Jean M. Heimann

January 6th is the feast of St André Bessette, a religious brother and a humble doorkeeper who was deeply devoted to prayer.  He compassionately comforted the sick and afflicted. Through his intercessory prayers to St. Joseph, many were miraculously healed. One-half million cures have been attributed to his prayers.

Saint André was born on August 9, 1845, near Montreal, Canada as Alfred Bessette. The son of a woodcutter, her was the eighth of twelve children. His father died in a work-related accident and his mother died of tuberculosis. He was adopted at age 12 by a farmer who insisted that he work to pay for his keep. After working as a farmhand, he labored at various trades: shoemaker, baker, and blacksmith -- all failures. He was a factory worker during the Civil War. At age 25, he applied to join the Congregation of the Holy Cross, but was initially refused due to his poor health. He latter gained the support of Bishop Bourget, and was finally accepted.

Alfred …

The Spirituality of St. John Neumann

January 5th is the feast of St. John Neumann (1811-1860), a  native of Bohemia who immigrated to the United States, where he became a Redemptorist priest and the fourth Bishop of Philadelphia. He founded the first Catholic diocesan school system in the U.S. and  a new religious institute — the Third Order of Saint Francis of Glen Riddle.  He is the first American bishop to be canonized. Read his complete biography.


Devotion to the Eucharist

St. John Neumann had an immense love for the Eucharist and promoted The Forty Hours Devotion, which was initially treated nonchalantly by the priests in the diocese until huge crowds showed up.

"How much I love You, O my Jesus!  I wish to love You with my whole heart; yet I do not love You enough.  My lack of devotion and my negligence still haunt me.  I have one desire, that of being near You in the Blessed Sacrament.  You are the sweet bridegroom of my soul.  My Jesus, my love, my all, gladly would I endu…

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton: Woman of Charity, Courage, and Perseverance

January 4th is the feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, a single woman, a wife, a mother, a widow, a lay woman and a religious sister. She was the foundress of the first American Catholic parish school, the first American community of women religious (the Sisters of Charity), and the first American orphanage.

This first native-born American saint was born on August 28, 1774 in New York to a wealthy and illustrious Episcopalian family. Elizabeth Ann Seton was born Elizabeth Ann Bailey, the daughter of Dr. Richard Bayley, the first professor of anatomy at Columbia College, and Catherine Charlton, daughter of an Anglican minister. A daughter of the American Revolution, she was linked by birth and marriage to famous families in New York and enjoyed the luxuries of the upper class.

Early Sufferings

Sufferings which occurred early in her life made her realize that life on earth is only temporary. Elizabeth's biological mother died when Elizabeth was only three years old; her younger sister…

Emulating Mary, the Mother of God, in This Year of Mercy

Happy New Year, and a blessed Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God! What a beautiful feast day this is!

On this first day of the New Year, just eight days after the feast of the birth of Christ, we remember the Blessed Virgin Mary by celebrating her divine motherhood. As the Mother of God, her greatest title, Mary is known as Theotokus, which means the "God-Bearer". It is appropriate to honor Mary as Mother of Jesus, following the birth of Christ. When Catholics celebrate the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God Incarnate, we are not only honoring Mary, who was chosen among all women throughout history to bear God, but we are also honoring Jesus, who is fully God and fully human.

Everything begins with Mary. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta told us, "No Mary, no Jesus." St. Alphonsus Liguori stated:  "Such is the will of God that we should have everything through Mary." St. Louis de Montfort revealed: “We never give more honor to Jesus than when we honor his…