Showing posts from August, 2016

September is the Month Dedicated to the Seven Sorrows of Mary

The month of September is traditionally dedicated to the Seven Sorrows of Mary with the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows being commemorated on September 15. The feast of Our Lady of Sorrows commemorates the seven great sorrows which Mary lived in relation to her Son, as they are recorded in the Gospels or through tradition. The Seven Sorrows are: the prophecy of Simeon, the flight into Egypt, the loss of the Holy Child at Jerusalem for three days, meeting Jesus on his way to Calvary, standing at the foot of the Cross, Jesus being taken down from the Cross, and the burial of Christ.

Devotion to the sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary dates back to the twelfth century, when it was first established in monastic circles under the influence of St. Anselm and St. Bernard. The Cistercians and then the Servites started to spread it. It was widely embraced during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, especially in the Rhineland and Flanders, where Confraternities of the Sorrowful Mother sprang u…

Prayers of Surrender to God's Will


Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will. All that I am and all that I possess, Thou hast given me: I surrender it all to Thee to be disposed of according to Thy will. Give me only Thy love and Thy grace; with these I will be rich enough and will desire nothing more. Amen.

-- Suscipe (from the Latin word “receive”) is a short but powerful prayer attributed to St. Ignatius Loyola.

Prayer of Abandonment

I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures -
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.

~ Blessed Charles de Foucauld

Prayer of Surrender

Loving Father,

St. Raymond Nonnatus, Patron of Expectant Mothers, Midwives, and Newborn Babies

The saint of the day for August 31 is St. Raymond Nonnatus. He is the patron of expectant mothers, midwives, obstetricians, infertile couples, and newborn babies.

Raymond was born at Portella, Catalonia, Spain in 1204, the son of wealthy parents. He was delivered by cesarean section when his mother died in childbirth. Hence his name non natus (not born). In his childhood, he seemed to find pleasure only in his devotions and serious duties. His father, sensing that Raymond was drawn to religious life, ordered him to manage one of the family farms. Raymond readily obeyed but spent his time with the shepherds and workers, studying and praying until his father abandoned the idea of making his son a worldly success.

Raymond later joined the the Order of Our Lady of Mercy or the Mercederians, which was founded by St. Peter Nolasco, who devoted to ransoming Christians captured by the Moors. He succeeded Peter as chief ransomer and went to Algeria to ransom slaves. He remained as hostage for…

Feeding Your Family’s Soul: Dinner Table Spirituality

Feeding Your Family’s Soul: Dinner Table Spirituality
by Donna­-Marie Cooper O’Boyle

Stressed and exhausted, today’s parents struggle to meet their deadlines and check off their "to do" lists. This often results in well-meaning parents putting off their children’s faith formation for "another time" or relying on others to teach their children.  This book is uniquely suited to come to their rescue!

Feeding Your Family’s Soul: Dinner Table Spirituality is a vital tool to enable parents to transform a regular dinner time into a prayerful faith lesson for their elementary school to high school aged children.

With 52 fun and creative faith lessons (one for each week of the year), this book will encourage parents and caregivers to seize the opportunity in teaching the Catholic faith to the children (the captive audience waiting to eat!) while gathered at the dinner table, reminding them of the value of coming together as a family to break bread and share hearts.

Release dat…

St. Jeanne Jugan, Foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor

The saint of the day for August 30 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. …

The Passion of St. John the Baptist

On June 24, we celebrated the birthday of St. John the Baptist; on August 29, we honor the anniversary of his martyrdom, also known as the Passion of St. John the Baptist.

After he had baptized Jesus, John the Baptist began to condemn Herod Antipas, the governor of Galilee.  John had the courage to confront Herod and condemn him for the scandal of his illegal union with his sister-in-law Herodias, whose husband was still alive.  John the Baptist stated, "It is not lawful for you to have her."  With those words, Herod threw him into prison.

Not only did Herod fear John and his disciples, he also knew that he was a virtuous man, so he did not kill him. However, Herodias was determined to bring about John's death so she contrived a plot to do just that.  Herod gave an eloquent banquet to celebrate his birthday. His full court was present as well as many other powerful and influential Palestinians. Herodias's daughter Salome pleased Herod so much when she danced to ente…

Novena to St. Teresa of Calcutta Begins

Pope Francis will canonize the former "Mother Teresa" a saint on Sunday, September 4, 2016. Here is her novena, which starts today, August 28.

Discerning Hearts has a beautiful novena to Mother Teresa of Calcutta you can pray along with which includes an MP3 and daily text. I highly recommend it.

7QT: Surprises, Saints, Salads, and Catholic College Contributors Needed

1.  Hooray! I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my book, Learning to Love with the Saints: A Spiritual Memoirjust won the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval.  

2.  Another sweet surprise this week was this movie.  I went to it not knowing whether I would like it or not, as the original with Charlton Heston has a special place in my heart. Unexpectedly, I was moved by it and recommend it. It is a powerful film on redemption and forgiveness. Sure there is violence, but it is there for a reason. I would advise that only mature teens and adults see this due to the violence.


Are you a passionately Catholic college student who loves you faith?
Do you seek to evangelize through apologetics and personal witness?
Do you attend Christendom College, The University of Dallas, Ave Maria University, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Mount St. Mary’s University or a like minded Catholic institution of higher learning?
If you are, or you know someone…

St. Louis IX, King of France

August 25 is the feast of St. Louis IX (1215-1270), King of France.

Louis IX, son of Louis VIII and Blanche of Castile, was born at Poissy, April 25, 1215. Louis was twelve years old when his father's death made him king.At that time, his mother Queen Blanche of Castile, was declared regent and remained an important influence throughout his life.

Louis had tutors who made him a master of Latin, taught him to speak easily in public and write with dignity and grace. But Blanche's primary concern was to implant in him a deep regard and awe for everything related to religion. She used often to say to him as he was growing up, "I love you my dear son, as much as a mother can love her child; but I would rather see you dead at my feet than that you should commit a mortal sin."

At nineteen, he married Marguerite of Provence and the couple had eleven children. Louis was a model father and his children received careful instruction from him in the Christian life.

Louis brought…

Saint Bartholomew, Apostle and Martyr

Saint John with Saint Bartholomew (right)

August 24 is the feast of St. Bartholomew, one of the twelve apostles who is mentioned only a few times in the Synoptic Gospels. While Matthew, Mark, and Luke all include Bartholomew as an apostle, John's gospel does not mention him, but refers to a Nathaniel, whom ancient writers and Catholic tradition have identified as Bartholomew. The name (Bartholomaios) means "son of Talmai" which was an ancient Hebrew name.

He carried the Gospel through the most barbarous countries of the East (India and greater Armenia), baptizing neophytes and casting out demons. Saint Pantænus testified that Bartholomew brought a copy of the Gospel of Saint Matthew to this vast region in the third century. Saint John Chrysostom said that Bartholomew also preached in Asia Minor and, with Saint Philip, suffered there for the faith. Saint Bartholomew’s last mission was in Armenia, where he was martyred. The manner of his death is uncertain. Some report th…

Saint Rose of Lima

August 23 is the feast of St. Rose of Lima, virgin, who became known for both her piety and her care of the poor. She is the patron saint of embroiderers, florists, gardeners, people ridiculed for their piety, and those who suffer from family problems.
Isabella Flores de Oliva was born April 20, 1586 to a family of educated, but impoverished Spanish immigrants in Lima, Peru. At her confirmation, she took the name of Rose, because as an infant, her face had been seen as transformed into 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 …

The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

On August 22, we celebrate a beautiful Marian Feast -- the Queenship of Mary. This 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 ceaselessly offered prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven.
Following the dreadful damage and destruction of World War II, 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, Elizabeth calls Mary “Mother of my Lord.” (Luke 1:43) As in all the mysteries of Mary’s life, Mary is closely associated…

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 cope with the violence, chaos, and conflicts that we face in our world today?  How can we find peace and also serve as true peacemakers in our twenty-first century culture?

St. Bernard of Clairvaux, a Doctor of the Church, a contemplative, theologian, and mystic of the twelfth century is an excellent example for us to follow. He found peace in God through a devout prayer life as a contemplative. However, he also led a very active life, performing works of peace and love in the secular world.  He traveled throughout Europe, which was plagued by various schisms, restoring peace and unity. Not only did he resolve 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. W…

St. John Eudes: Apostle of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary

On August 19, we commemorate 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 consecrated 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 his lo…

Saint Helena of Constantinople

On August 18, we commemorate Saint Helena of Constantinople (246-330), mother of Constantine the Great, and finder of the True Cross of Jesus Christ. St. Helena is the patroness of archaeologists, converts, difficult marriages, and divorced people.

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 emperor, 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, …

St. Clare of Montefalco

August 17 is the feast of St. Clare of Montefalco (1268-1308), an Augustinian nun noted for her devotion to the Passion of Christ. For that reason, she is sometimes called St. Clare of the Cross.

In her community of sisters, she was a model of religious life according to the ideals of Augustine. As superior of her convent, she constantly urged her sisters to practice self-denial and to seek holiness. She was given the gift of knowledge, which she used to defend the Faith.

Clare was born in Montefalco, Italy, around 1268. While still young, she went to live with her sister Joan, who had established a community of cloistered nuns. Together they would spend long hours in prayer.

As a young woman she became a member of that community, professing religious vows under the Rule of Saint Augustine. Soon after, she experienced a great trial. Her heart was filled daily with spiritual turmoil. She lost any sense of pleasure in prayer. Temptations assaulted her. She wondered if God had abandoned…

St. Stephen of Hungary: The King who converted his country to Catholicism

On August 16, the Church commemorates the feast day of St. Stephen of Hungary (975 - 1038), the last Grand Prince of the Hungarians (997 -1000) and the first Christian king of Hungary, who led his country to embrace Christianity.

Prior to Stephen's birth, his mother, the duchess Sarolt had a vision in which St. Stephen, the martyr appeared to her and told her that her son would convert the people of Hungary to Catholicism.

Born a pagan, Stephen was baptized at age 10, along with his parents, and was raised as a Christian. At the age of 20, he married Gisela, the daughter of Duke Henry II of Bavaria.

Stephen 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 at the age of 25, 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 …

The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

On August 15 the universal Church celebrates the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in which we commemorate her being taken up body and soul into heaven when her earthly life was finished. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us: “The Most Blessed Virgin Mary, when the course of her earthly life was completed, was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven, where she already shares in the glory of her Son's Resurrection, anticipating the resurrection of all members of His Body” (974). Thus, the Assumption looks to eternity and gives us hope that we, too, will follow Our Lady when our life is ended.

The Assumption first began to be celebrated as a feast day in the Eastern Church after the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (431) proclaimed Mary the Mother of God. By the sixth century, the feast celebrated Mary’s Dormition, “her falling asleep.” The western church began to celebrate this feast around 650. St. John Damascene (675-749), an early Father and Doctor of the Chu…

7QT: Jen Fulwiler, Ben Hur, Back to School, Saints

1.  On Friday, I participated in Eucharistic Adoration at the Midwest Catholic Family Conference in Wichita, KS interceding for the speakers and participants. On Saturday, I received a real treat: I was able to hear the wonderful witness of Jennifer Fulwiller and meet her in person! What a lovely lady!

2. Amid three digit temperatures and high humidity, I am still attending to the garden with my fractured foot. Here is our first tomato. I had it in a salad with bacon and it was delicious!

3. I had a wonderful birthday on Monday, August 8, which I celebrated with my dear husband.

4. This was a beautiful week for celebrating the saints -- St. Dominic,St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), St. Lawrence, and St. Clare. 

5. The new Ben Hur is a movie I am looking forward to watching soon. It releases on the Silver Screen on August 19. Here is a preview:

BEN-HUR is the epic story of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston), a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala (Toby Ke…

Back to School Prayers for Parents, Students and Teachers

For High School and College Students

A Student's Prayer (by St. Thomas Aquinas)

Come, Holy Spirit, Divine Creator, true source of light and fountain of wisdom! Pour forth your brilliance upon my dense intellect, dissipate the darkness which covers me, that of sin and of ignorance. Grant me a penetrating mind to understand, a retentive memory, method and ease in learning, the lucidity to comprehend, and abundant grace in expressing myself. Guide the beginning of my work, direct its progress, and bring it to successful completion. This I ask through Jesus Christ, true God and true man, living and reigning with You and the Father, forever and ever.

Prayer to Our Lady (by St. Thomas Aquinas)

O Mary, Seat of Wisdom, so many persons of common intellect have made through thy intercession admirable progress in their studies. I hereby choose thee as guardian and patron of my studies. I humbly ask thee to obtain for me the grace of the Holy Spirit, so that from now on I could