The Spirit of Hospitality – Emilie Barnes

The following little story about the Gift of Hospitality struck a chord with me.

Like Emilie Barnes, our life was not an easy one, growing up in the big city of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Oftentimes we didn’t know how the food was going to be put on the table.

My mom went through a lot in those years, trying to work as a nurse’s aid, manage a household of an unusually large amount of children for those parts and that time (there were 6 of us kids).

Yet through it all, my mom had an openness and kindness to other people that was an example to all of us.

She never turned down anyone when it came to raiding the refrigerator or making them feel welcome. If someone walked in at mealtime they were invited to sit with us even though the fare may not have been ample.

It was an inspiration to me!

This little anecdote reiterates the value of an Open Heart, Open Home mentality and what an example we can be in this realm for our children.

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From Emilie Barnes:Simple Secrets to a Beautiful Home: Creating a Place You and Your Family Will Love

The “parlor” was tiny, just an extra room behind the store. But the tablecloth was spotless, the candles were glowing, the flowers were bright, the tea was fragrant. Most of all, the smile was genuine and welcoming whenever ever my mother invited people to “come on back for a cup of tea.”

How often I heard her say those words when I was growing up. And how little I realized the mark they would make on me.

Those were hard years after my father died, when Mama and I shared three rooms behind her little dress shop.

Mama waited on the customers, did alterations, and worked on the books until late at night. I kept house – planning and shopping for meals, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry – while going to school and learning the dress business as well.

Sometimes I felt like Cinderella – work, work, work. And the little girl in me longed for a Prince Charming to carry me away to his castle. There I would preside over a grand and immaculate household, waited on hand and foot by attentive servants. I would wear gorgeous dresses and entertain kings and queens who marveled at my beauty and my wisdom as they lavished me with gifts.

But in the meantime, of course, I had work to do.

And although I didn’t know it, I was already receiving a gift more precious than any dream castle could be. For unlike Cinderella, I lived with a loving mother who understood the true meaning of sharing and of joy – a mother who brightened people’s lives with her gift of hospitality.

Our customers quickly learned that Mama offered a sympathetic ear as well as elegant clothes and impeccable service. Often they ended up sharing their hurts and problems with her. And then, inevitably, would come the invitation: “Let me make you a cup of tea.”

She would usher our guests back to our main room, which served as a living room by day and a bedroom by night.

Quickly a fresh cloth was slipped on the table, a candle lit, fresh flowers set out if possible, and the teapot heated. If we had them, she would pull out cookies or a loaf of banana bread.

There was never anything fancy, but the gift of her caring warmed many a heart on a cold night.

And Mama didn’t limit her hospitality to just our guests. On rainy days I often came home from school to a hot baked potato, fresh from the oven. Even with her heavy workload, Mama would take the time to make this little Cinderella feel like a queen.

My mother’s willingness to open her life to others – to share her home, her food, and her love – was truly a royal gift.

She passed it along to me, and I have the privilege of passing it on to others. What a joy to be part of the warmth and beauty of hospitality!

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“Hospitality is so much more than entertaining-so much more than menus and decorating and putting on a show. To me, it means organizing my life in such a way that there’s always room for one more, always an extra place at the table or an extra pillow and blanket, always a welcome for those who need a listening ear. It means setting aside time for planned camaraderie and setting aside lesser priorities for impromptu gatherings.” -Emilie Barnes. Simple Secrets to a Beautiful Home

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My Heart is Full by Theresa (VanderPutten) Byrne

Our Daughter’s Story……   :)

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Once an old man remarked to a friend of mine who was shopping, with two little children in tow, “My you’ve got your hands full!”
Without skipping a beat my friend looked up, smiled and said, “Actually, I’ve got my heart full!”
I haven’t forgotten her words and I bet the old man hasn’t either.
How would you define, “to have your heart full?”
I think different people would have different answers.

I think back to my teenage years, the get-togethers, the fun, the go, go, go.
My parents monitored things closely and we had lots of good, joyful, wholesome fun in a home open to family and friends.
I worked by waiting tables at a small hometown restaurant, ran the Junior Legion of Mary, cooked and baked, and sang for our choir.

Rosary was a daily part of our lives, sprinkled with daily Mass and St. Theresa novenas.
People flocked to our home because it was stable, joyful and good. Dad and Mom sacrificed their home and time, to keep an eye on things while being a part of the games and activity.

We had Paintball Wars! The boys played and the girls cooked and took care of the wounded!
The Traditional Family Weekend originated through Mom and Dad about twelve years ago and twice a year, families from different states came together for music, dancing, talks, Mass and just a wholesome family time!

I traveled twice to France with good Catholic friends, for the Chartres Pilgrimage, then took a jaunt with the leprechauns to the homeland of the Irish. While we were there, we danced, we sang, we prayed, we lived with no regrets.

Being in such a good situation gave my siblings and I a chance to get to know many good men and women…..a golden opportunity for when the time was right to choose our spouse!
Many good marriages came from my parents being open to these get-togethers and having a home open for good people.

So, as you can see my youth was filled with faith, fun, stability and many good young men to choose a spouse from.

I was at peace and happy but my heart wasn’t full yet.

Then I met Devin, my future husband, at one of our Traditional Family Weekends….

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I am grateful, so grateful, to my parents for the sacrifices they made for their children. I entered marriage pure, with no regrets.
I am grateful for the nights they stayed up late and for the brother or sister who was always chaperoning when we courted.

Fast forward ten years….

We have three children now and time has flown. Each day is precious!
From holding our first little boy to watching him receive his First Holy Communion….All the happiness I have experienced in the past, could not come close to the joy I felt when my first-born received Jesus for the first time!

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From the time I married a wonderful man and have been given three children, I have been blessed.
We have had our ups and downs along the road. Mono put me in bed for a year and with it came a lot of anxiety.
When I got well, life was all the sweeter and I was more aware of my Faith.

My husband and I delight in our children. Together we watch the birds, check for eggs and view the sunsets. Our family is our joy!

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When something good happens, the kids always call Daddy at work. He is interested in what his children are excited about and this is how we share the good times, even when he is not home.
Each day is an adventure, sometimes you laugh, sometimes you cry!

 

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We were driving the other day when my son, Brendan, excitedly said from the back seat, “Mom, you won’t believe this! I know it is because I have received Communion so many times and Jesus is in my heart…..I think God came up through my boots because I put my long sock on my right foot and now it’s on my left! Wow, miracles are happening to me all the time!”

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He’s right! Every day is a miracle!
When I look at my children I feel a sense of urgency. They have been given to me for such a short time; I must take advantage of this moment.

When I can go to bed knowing I have read with my children, prayed with my children and laughed with my children, I am at peace.
In fact, I have never known such joy, as what daily living with my husband and children have given me.
The hard times make the good times better.
I wouldn’t change my life for anything!
I look around at the sad, lonely old people who thought kids and family weren’t worth the trouble. You know… the ones that are quick to say, “You sure have your hands full!”
Without skipping a beat, I can now say, “Yes, but my heart is overflowing!”

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Sacramentals and Their Efficacy

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Sacramentals are the hidden treasures of the Church. Looking back, going to a Catholic school all my life, rubbing shoulders with the nuns and priests, it was a very sad thing not be let in on these wonderful “secrets” of the Catholic Church, one being the sacramentals.

It is up to us to learn about these sacramentals, teach our children about them and finally, to use them!! It is up to us to spread this good news so Catholics, once again, can be the recipients of unused graces that are so available in these treasures!

Sacramentals and Their Efficacy by Father Arthur Tonne, 1950

“Waters are broken out in the desert, and streams in the wilderness. And that which was dry land shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water.” Isaias, 35:6.

Some years ago two women were touring a desert region of our southwest. They wandered off from their party and were lost. For two full days they tramped and tramped in search of a road or dwelling. They found none. Completely exhausted, aching with thirst and hunger, they could not walk another step. One of them, in true womanly fashion, took out her compact to repair the damage done by sun and dust. The sun flashed off the mirror.

She got an idea. Someone might see the reflected light. They flashed the mirror in all directions. Rescuers saw the flashes, hurried to the source, and saved the two ladies.

Who would have thought that such a simple thing as a mirror could save human lives? This essential piece of female equipment did not directly save their lives, but it was the means, the instrument for attracting attention and bringing help.

The sacramentals are something like that. Of themselves they do not save souls, but they are the means for securing heavenly help for those who use them properly.

A sacramental is a sacred object or religious action which the Catholic Church, in imitation of the sacraments, uses for the purpose of obtaining spiritual favors especially through her prayer.

A sacramental is anything set apart or blessed by the Church to excite good thoughts and to help devotion, and thus secure grace and take away venial sin or the temporal punishment due to sin.

Let us compare and contrast the sacraments and the sacramentals:

  1. The sacraments were instituted by Christ Himself; the sacramentals were founded by Christ’s Church.
  1. The sacraments are limited to the seven instituted by Christ, namely, Baptism, Confirmation, Confession, Holy Eucharist, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders and Matrimony; the sacramentals are numerous and varied, according to the directions of Mother Church.
  1. The sacraments produce grace directly in the soul, if there is no obstacle on the part of the recipient; the sacramentals do not produce grace directly and of themselves–they produce grace indirectly by disposing and preparing the soul for this divine gift.
  1. The words used in the sacraments, except in Extreme Unction, positively declare that God is producing certain effects in the soul; the prayers used in the sacramentals merely ask God to produce certain effects and to grant certain graces.
  1. The sacraments give or increase sanctifying grace; and the sacramentals are the means to actual graces.

We might divide the sacramentals into prayers, pious objects, sacred signs, and religious ceremonies. Some sacramentals are a combination–they fall into two or more classes. The Rosary, for example, is a pious object and a prayer. The sign of the cross is a prayer and a sign. The crucifix, pictures and statues are pious objects. The ceremonies performed in the various sacraments are also sacramentals, like the extending of the hands in Confirmation.

How can mere material things help us on the way to heaven? How can water, metal, or a piece of cloth help save our souls?

You must ever remember that these objects in themselves have no power to save or help us. It would be superstitious to say they had any such power. But things like a crucifix, a holy picture, a statue, a candle, do excite spiritual thoughts and feelings in those who use them correctly.

They excite the fear and love of God; they arouse trust and hope in His mercy; they awaken sorrow and joy in the Lord. Their value lies in the fact that they have been set aside by the Church for sacred purposes, by the power of the Church’s official prayer, and by the merits of Christ, preserved and distributed by His Church.

That Church not only sets things aside for a sacred use, she also attaches definite benefits and blessings to certain objects and good works. Many sacramentals have indulgences attached. An indulgence is the taking away, outside of confession, in whole or in part, of the temporal punishment due to sin which is already forgiven.

The sacramentals also try to express the supreme beauty and goodness of Almighty God. The words and language of the blessings are beautiful; the form and art of statues and pictures is of the best very often; the ceremonies of the sacraments are adapted to express the graces given.

Do we have to use sacramentals? Does a Catholic have to wear a scapular, or use holy water, or pray the Rosary? Strictly speaking, no. The sacraments are necessary for salvation; the sacramentals are not necessary. Nevertheless, the prayers, pious objects, sacred signs and ceremonies of Mother Church are means to salvation.

If you were lost in a desert, as were the two women of our story, you don’t have to have a mirror to be saved. But that lifeless, senseless object was the means of saving their lives.

In a similar way the sacramentals, lifeless, helpless in themselves, are helps to winning life-giving graces. They must never take the place of the sacraments. You will find Catholics who place more confidence and trust in these material objects than they do in the reality of the sacraments.

For example, you may see a Catholic enter Church and go directly to the vigil light stand without seeming to pay any attention to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. That Catholic does not appreciate the difference between a sacrament and a sacramental.

It is with a desire and holy ambition to make you appreciate these aids to spiritual life, the sacramentals, that we propose to explain some of them.

In the desert of daily life they are mirrors that will lead us to the fountains of spiritual help and spiritual life. Amen.

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“When rumors, curiosity, gossip, and the vanities of the world threaten to overwhelm us, let us quickly retire by a swift interior movement to the Heart of Jesus; there we shall always find recollection and peace.” – Divine Intimacy

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How About a Little Enthusiasm!?

 

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Enthusiasm is a wonderful thing when we are enthusiastic about the right things. How important it is for us to be enthusiastic about our lives as women, wives and mothers!

As pointed out in the “Purpose of Finer Femininity” we have the awesome power and responsibility to make or break our relationships! Hey! That means our attitudes affect everyone around us….the most important people in our lives…our families! What a great reason to be enthusiastic! We are not just numbers, our lives are not humdrum, we have an incredible impact on our own little worlds….which will impact society in a much bigger way!! It starts with US!!

The following are a few things that I am passionate about ….and very grateful for! Maybe you will recognize some of  them as your own reasons for enthusiasm!

I’m excited about being a homemaker! I am not the greatest at it but I love to see the end result of keeping my home generally picked up and looking friendly and warm. I don’t obsess (look in my cupboards and you’ll agree…ahem, I probably should obsess a little more) but my home truly is my castle and I love being its queen!!

I am so thankful for the opportunity to stay at home, be my own boss, look after my own children!! I’ve been out in the work world….I don’t like it! When I got home from my job I was so exhausted I couldn’t hardly do anything else. And that was when I was single. I don’t know how mothers do it when they are working!

Running my own home means I am “self-employed” and I am enthusiastic about that!! I need to use my skills, talents and smarts to accomplish all the things a mother and wife need to accomplish in a day! That’s no small task…as you well know!

In a lot of ways I can call the shots in my own home. Of course, I have a General Manager and I need to listen to him, but in many ways I am my own woman! I am very grateful to my husband for this!

I am enthusiastic about my Catholic Faith! Not so much about gathering “head” knowledge (though I know that is important), but more about gathering “heart”-knowledge! I am excited about learning to lean more on Our Lord and His Mother, rather than on my own petty nothingness. I am keen on  learning to give more to Him, knowing He will take care of my needs!

Don’t we all experience the ups and downs of life? Why is it that some people have more enthusiasm than others? Is it a matter of being born with a good dose of it??

“Most people acknowledge the possibility of personality change in connection with hate, fear and other common forms of conflict, but seem to doubt that they can be made over into enthusiastic persons. They argue, ‘Sure I would like to have enthusiasm, but what if you just haven’t got it? You cannot make yourself enthusiastic can you?’ This is always said in anticipation of an of-course-you-can’t agreement. But I do not agree at all. For you can make yourself an optimist. You can develop enthusiasm, and of a type that is continuous and joyous in nature.

The important fact is that you can deliberately make yourself enthusiastic. Actually you can go further and develop a quality of enthusiasm so meaningful and in such depth that it will not decline or run dry no matter what strain it is put to.” Dr. Norman Peale

One thing that can help in regaining and maintaining enthusiasm is reading. We need to read about improving….. becoming a better woman, especially in our vocations! It is great to set goals for ourselves…to read encouraging, uplifting things that keep the attitude up.

Make our list each morning. Let’s not make the list unreasonable but include our spiritual goals for the day, the priorities as far as our duties go and maybe one or two things we’d like to see done that day that is over the norm. We will then enthusiastically check off those items as we accomplish them.

We need to remind ourselves that God loves us and cares about every detail of our life and that Our Lady has us under Her mantle. Pray, Trust. Isn’t that what St. Therese did in her little way? She had such a confidence in God, in spite of knowing what a sinner she was or what was going on in the world around her.

We must do the same, We need to perk up our attitudes regularly for the sake of those around us…each and every day!

(As a side note, I think we need to be careful about the negativity we voluntarily submit ourselves to. Constantly bombarding ourselves with the latest news and how it is playing out can really put a damper on our enthusiasm. We don’t need to hide our heads in the sand, but we have got to protect ourselves from the constant onslaught of evil in the world. In the old days, people did not know about everything that happened in every city, state and country of the world on an ongoing basis. They did not have to carry this load upon their shoulders…..their own daily crosses were attended to and it was enough. Although I am not advocating not knowing what is going on, there comes a point where we need to recognize if this is bringing us down. Instead, we should add some extra daily prayers for those who are suffering. That will do a whole lot more good than reading and watching YouTubes and becoming depressed about the state of the world!)

Know that you have a very important job…the most important job of raising godly men and women. What could be more important than that?! You need to keep on your toes, learn the skills necessary and roll up your sleeves each day and dig in!

“It has been said that every tomorrow has two handles. You can take hold of either the handle of anxiety or the handle of enthusiasm. The continued choice of handle determines the character of your multiplying days. Choose enthusiasm daily and you are likely to have it permanently.”*

“Every man is enthusiastic at times. One man has enthusiasm for thirty minutes, another has it for thirty days–but it is the man that has it for thirty years who makes a success in life.”–Unknown (The Catholic Layman)

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“This art of housekeeping is not learned in a day; those of us who have been engaged in it for years are constantly finding out how little we know, and how far we are, after all, from perfection. It requires a clever woman to keep house; and as I said before there is ample scope, even within the four walls of a house (a sphere which some affect to despise), for the exercise of originality, organizing power, administrative ability. And to the majority of women I would fain believe it is the most interesting and satisfactory of all feminine occupations.” -Annie S. Swan Courtship and Marriage And the Gentle Art of Home-Making

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Blind Dates, Waiting for a Proposal – Fr. Donald Miller, C.SS.R.

8b367fad3964b4452e776c2b4de00f6cOn Blind Dates

 Problem:

What is your opinion of blind dates? My parents refuse to let me go out with anybody unless I know something about him beforehand. Some of my girl friends can go out with anybody, whether they know the person or not. And often they call me up and tell me they have a date for me, but I’m never allowed to go out on such parties. How is a girl ever going to meet someone she might have a chance to marry, if she can never get acquainted with new people?

 Solution:

Experience proves that there is a great deal of danger in blind dates, and that there is much wisdom in the policy pursued by your parents.

In these times it is difficult enough for a girl to avoid dangerous and sometimes morally fatal entanglements even when she does not take chances on dating with unknown and possibly designing characters.

You should be aware of some of the dangers that have always been found to be connected with accepting blind dates.

The utter freedom that is permitted to your girl friends by their parents makes it very possible that the source of their contacts with strangers may be suspect. They probably meet such men hanging around taverns, or public dance halls, or cocktail bars.

This does not infallibly mean that the men they meet are bad, but the chances are high enough to render it foolhardy for a girl to rush out to spend an evening with one of them.

Oftentimes such men are already married, are in town for a few days, and are looking for girl companions with whom they can have what they call “a good time”.

And it is not uncommon for such to lie about their marital status when looking for girls to take out in a strange city. Often, too, they are divorced men, or men who have made their own home life unhappy, who frequent the taverns in quest of consolation or excitement through chance contacts with girls who don’t care much what they do.

There are some blind dates that are not especially dangerous, and I am sure that your parents would recognize such. If a reputable friend, from a good family, has out-of-town relatives to entertain, about whose background she knows something, it would not be too imprudent to accept a date with one of them and to make one of a party for the evening.

The one thing that is important is that a girl have some positive knowledge that she is not going out with a married man, a divorced man, or an unprincipled man. She cannot know that if she accepts stone-blind dates with strangers.

On Exclusive Dates

 Problem:

I am 17 years old, just graduated from high school., and in my first year at college. I don’t want to get married until I am at least 20, if then.

I would like to go out with different boys now and then, but I don’t want to be tied down to steady company-keeping. This seems to be all but impossible today.

If I am seen at a party with a certain young man, no one else will ask me for a date unless it becomes publicly known that I have broken up with that particular boy.

In other words, if you go out once or twice with a certain boy, everybody else seems to think you are already bound to that person for good. Do I have to either give up dating boys entirely, or else stick to one during my whole college career?

 Solution:

We have heard complaints about this unfortunate social condition repeatedly. It is not a healthy thing at all. It is even responsible for some unhappy marriages because the young people involved had little chance to become acquainted with anybody but the first partner they happened to take out.

The responsibility for this situation may be traced to the fact that there is so much exclusive dating and regular company-keeping among the very young, even in the early years of high school.

Some school authorities and even parents seem to think nothing of permitting freshmen and sophomore high school students to have their “steady dates.”

Since that is so common, it is natural that many young people should feel that by the time a person reaches college, he or she must have a “steady”, or must want to make a “steady” of the first partner that comes along.

If you really are serious about not wanting to get married for several years, and about making the most of your chance at education, the best thing by all odds would be to do very little dating.

If you go out often, even with different persons, you may find yourself in love before you know it, no matter what different plans you have laid.

Giving up dates, which should not be too difficult for a 17 year old freshman, would obviate all your worries about people taking it for granted that you are all but engaged when you go out with a boy.

 

Should Engaged Girls Accept Dates?

 Problem:

I am engaged to be married to a good Catholic girl and she has accepted my ring. However I am signed up for three years in the Navy and will be away from home most of the time. Now my fiancee has asked my permission to accept dates with other men for special parties, dances, etc., while I am gone. I don’t like the idea at all, but would like to know what you think of it, and whether I should grant the permission.

 Solution:

There is something in your girl’s favor in the fact that she asks you for the permission at all.The world is full of scatterbrained, disloyal, unprincipled girls who would not even think of asking their fiance about such a matter at all.

They just go ahead accepting dates, in the absence of their fiance, with anybody who comes along.

You may thank God you are not engaged to one of these.There is something against your girl’s character, however, in the fact that she should want such a permission.

Good Catholic girls, of whom there are many in the world, simply would not think of doing any dating with others once they have been definitely engaged. They realize that dating is for those who are free to marry; that it is always a danger, even in the best of circumstances; that it can lead to many complications for a girl who has already promised her hand and heart to a certain man.

To the girl of high character, therefore, it is no problem and not too great sacrifice to accept no dates while her fiance is absent. Only the most extraordinary circumstances, such as would readily be understood by her partner, should make for an exception to this rule.

Of course, the expectation of a boy that his fiancee will not accept dates must be accompanied by the promise that he will do no dating either. If the boy intends to date while he is away from home, or if he finds the opportunities to do so irresistible, he should be consistent and not merely give the girl permission to date other boys, but actually call the whole engagement off.

Strictly speaking, we can say that engagement means that two people say to each other: “We are all through dating-except with each other.”

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 Problem:

I am 27 years old and have been going with the same man for four years. He has never done any serious talking about our getting married, and yet he resents it very much if I even think of going out with anybody but himself.

He leaves me with the impression that some day he will talk about marriage but at the same time that that day will not be for a long time.

I do not see any serious obstacles to his settling down, but am at a loss to know whether I should wait for him to get good and ready to speak about marriage or give him up. Can you advise me?

 Solution:

This is far too common a problem in the world today, even among Catholics. Let me tell you frankly a hidden factor that is often present in the problem, though it would be very wrong to assume that this factor is present in yours.

Very often experience proves that dilly-dallying with the idea of marriage on the part of a man is due to the fact that he has managed to induce a girl-friend into a more or less continuous habit of sin, with the effect that he is sinfully living as if he were married and yet retaining his independence and freedom from lasting responsibility.

As time goes on, he becomes more and more enamored with his state, entirely content to indulge in forbidden privileges and to put off any serious idea of marriage.

This, of course, represents the acme of selfishness and evil, but all sin is selfishness, and selfishness grows incredibly with frequently repeated sins.

Apart from this angle, which always demands as a first and elementary condition of solving the problem the complete renunciation of sin on the part of the girl, there may be obstacles to marriage in the mind of the man that must be overcome.

He may think he has not enough money, or that he has not a good enough job, or that he owes it to his parents not to leave them for a long time to come.

A girl has a right, after going with a man for even less than four years, to draw such objections out into the open and to insist on their being discussed freely.

She is in a good position if she finds her friend jealous of her companionship, and should use any expression of this as an occasion for discussing the future.

If he refuses to be definite about plans for the future, the odds are that he won’t ever want to get married. In that case it would be good to drop him.

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“Enjoy the man he is.
Don’t compare him to anyone else. There is little more destructive than hoping he’ll become like someone he isn’t – whether said aloud or thought silently in your heart. Instead, make the most of his own unique qualities.” – Lisa Jacobson

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Dominic and Sarah’s Wedding

The happiness in a mother’s heart when she knows her son has married a good and religious girl is beyond words! That young lady will be the one raising her grandchildren and doing her best in trying to make a happy home for her son. It is something we, as mothers who await the day our children get married, should be praying about each day!

I thought you would enjoy these photos of Dom & Sarah’s wedding. The photographers were Teresa Taylor and Larry Katsbulas….a fantastic camera duo!!

Last Blessing in the Nuptial Liturgy on the Newly Married Couple:

“May the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob be with you, and may He fulfill His blessing in you: that you may see your children’s children even to the third and fourth generation, and afterwards may you have life everlasting, by the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ: who with the Father and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth forever.”

The Sweet Mistress of Home

HOW THE POOR MAN’S HOME CAN BE MADE RICH AND BRIGHT AND DELIGHTFUL BY A TRUE WOMAN’S INDUSTRY.

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From True Womanhood, Rev. Bernard O’Reilly, 1893

Lest persons who are not of princely station or noble birth should fancy that the lessons of St. Margaret’s life (see post on St. Margaret, True and Noble Woman) do not concern them, we shall devote this section to showing how easy and necessary it is for the mistress of a poor and lowly home to imitate the sainted Scottish queen.

As it was to a poor and lowly home that the Son of God came, when he began the work of our redemption, as it was in the home of a poor mother that he lived so contentedly during thirty years, so, ever since, his followers have looked upon the dwellings of the poor with inexpressible love and tenderness.

Ah! he is no true lover of Christ who is not drawn to the home of poverty and labor; and the spirit of Christ dwells not in the heart whose sympathies do not go forth to the trials and distresses of those who are, above all others, the friends of Jesus Christ.

But our concern is now with the wife, the daughter, the sister of the laboring man and the poor man; we wish them to understand what royalty of spirit can and ought to be theirs, in order to be the true imitators and true children of that great Mother, who knew how to make the poor home of Joseph so rich, so bright, so blissful, so lovely in the eyes of men and angels.

She, too, was of right royal blood who was the mistress of that little home where Joseph toiled and the Divine Child grew up in all grace and sweetness, like the lily of the valley on its humble stem beneath the shadow of the sheltering oak.

It was the lessons of Mary’s life at Nazareth that Margaret had learned from her royal kinsfolk at the court of Buda, and had practiced so industriously through girlhood and early womanhood, till she became mistress of a court and a kingdom.

One lesson above all others she was trained to practice from childhood— to be forgetful of self, and mindful only of making everyone around her happy.

Woman’s entire existence, in order to be a source of happiness to others as well as to herself, must be one of self-sacrifice.

The first step in this royal pathway to all goodness and greatness is to forget self. Self with its miserable little cares and affections is the root of all the wretchedness we cause to others, and all the misery we endure ourselves.

Every effort we make to forget self, to leave self behind us, and to devote ourselves to the labor of making every person with whom we are bound to live, happy, is rewarded by interior satisfaction and joy.

The supreme effort of goodness is,—not alone to do good to others; that is its first and lower effect,—but to make others good. So with unselfishness: the first step is to forget one’s own comfort in order to seek that of others; the next is to forget one’s own pains and suffering, in order to alleviate those of others, or even to discharge toward others the duties of sisterly or neighborly kindness.

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“If you accept a man at face value, is there any hope he will change? He may not, and you need to accept this fact. But in a miraculous way, when you accept him at face value, he is more likely to change. The only hope that a man will change is for you to not try to change him. Others may try to teach him and offer suggestions, but the woman he loves must accept him for the man he is, and look to his better side.” – Helen Andelin
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Inspire and delight your children with these lighthearted and faith-filled poems. Take a peek at Amazon here.

Don't forget to sign up for the Giveaway for my book and the bracelet! I will pull the name from the hat Tuesday, May 10th!

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Is She Truthful? – Beautiful Girlhood

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Were I looking for a girl to fill a responsible position, almost my first question would be, “Is she truthful?” Though she might have the knowledge and ability, might make a good appearance and be ever so pleasing in manner, I would not consider her if her word could not be relied upon.

A girl who will not always speak the truth places herself in a position to be continually mistrusted. Nothing will break confidence so quickly as an untruth, and it is hard to get back that which is lost when confidence is gone.

The best advice for any girl is always to speak the truth from the heart; to love and to keep it as her chief possession. So long as she knows in her own heart that she has been true, that she has not borne false witness nor spoken deceitfully she can face the world courageously.

A bulwark of truth is absolutely necessary to solid worth. A character that lacks the foundation is weak, and in time be broken down, no matter how high may be the aspirations and ideals of the girl.

Practical, everyday truthfulness in little things and great things is the only safe course for a girl to pursue. Hold truth fast. Do not let it go. Be honest, be true, and let your words be spoken from the depth of a heart that is not filled with deception.

The really truthful person cannot carelessly break a promise. Her word is sacred, and when she has said that she will or will not do anything, she can be depended upon.

I have heard mothers say of a daughter, “She promised me before she left that she would not go there, and I know she will keep her promise.” Always I have thought, “Oh, happy mother! Your confidence speaks much for your daughter.”

It is so easy to let a promise slip. First, it is given with little consideration. It may be that the girl is pressed to do something which she does not want to do, or is not sure would be right for her to do, and, lacking the courage to say no, she promises lightly, never intending to keep her word. It is the easiest way out of her present perplexity, and she makes her fickle promise never thinking that she is laying a weak plank in her character.

Again, a girl in her thought makes a difference between people. There are certain persons with whom she would be very careful to keep her word, and would be troubled indeed to be compelled to break a promise made to them, while with others she esteems her word lightly.

Keeping faith should be held just as sacred with one as another. A promise to mother or little sister should be kept as strictly as if it were made to the most noted person of the city.

Promises whose breaking would inconvenience others should be strictly kept. If a girl has promised to meet someone at nine o’clock at a certain place, she should, if it is possible at all, be there exactly at nine. If she allows herself to think that quarter- or half-past nine will do just as well, she is actually stealing that much of the other person’s time. That is both dishonest and untruthful.

Another kind of untruth often indulged in is the telling of falsehoods to little children to frighten them into obedience. This is very wrong because of the effect it has upon the character of the one who does it, and upon the child who is thus fooled.

There is no angle of life in which truth is not preferable to prevarication. Too high an estimate cannot be set upon it, nor can it be loved with too great a love.

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From How to Raise Good Catholic Children: “Many times God allows it to be hard to pray, simply to school us in applying our wills, to teach us that the value of prayer does not depend on the amount of emotion we can whip up. So when ‘Time for prayers’ is greeted with moans and groans, it’s time to explain that saying prayers when you least want to, simply because you love God and have a kind of dry respect and a sense of obedience, is to gain the greatest merit for them. Many times the saints had trouble getting excited about prayers, but they said them, because prayers were due and their value had nothing to do with how eagerly they went about saying them.” -Mary Reed Newland

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Courageous Adventurers……Fathers of Families – Christ in the Home

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CHARLES PEGUY called fathers of families, “these great adventurers of the modern world.” How correct he was!

What courage is needed to step out before life, with a companion on one’s arm, aspiring to have children and hoping that Mother Earth will be able to support and nourish their own little world!

Certainly the joy that attends the birth of a babe is sweet.

Here is how a father describes it: When one sees a little one so weak yet so well formed one loves the Creator still more and how much more one thanks Him for giving us life!

What a beautiful mystery maternity is!

To see a young mother feeding her babe suffices to incite one to adore God.

There is nothing more touching than to see this dear little treasure resting in the arms of its mother. It was baptized on March 28.

What a majestic ceremony it was and how proud one feels to be able to say his son is a Christian!

But what anguish is suffered if the children are sick; if the mother’s strength fails beneath her work.

How anxious one grows when the little ones cough and gasp for breath.

And even if all goes well as far as health is concerned, there is no end to buying clothes, having shoes resoled, and providing food for the ever hungry mouths.

When the children grow up, one must be concerned about their education.

One must start thinking about school for the boys and the girls. Which school is best? Which teachers are best qualified?

Will they take the same interest in our children that we the parents do? Will they give them what they really need to face life?

Then come the sudden worries–auto accidents, accidents in sports, war in which the worst bodily dangers threaten!

But worse still and more serious by far are the soul dangers–the boy who keeps bad hours, who has an evil tongue and a shifty glance, who evades questions and begins to lie.

Yes, indeed, what magnificent and courageous adventurers are fathers of families!

A reporter recounted the enthusiastic acclaim the people of Paris gave the intrepid sailor Alain Gerbault who had succeeded in sailing around the world in a very frail skiff.

“For my part,” said the reporter, “I gave to Alain Gerbault the recognition that was his due.”

But in the crowd that had gathered about the famous sailor, the newspaper man found himself next to a family of rather humble means to judge by their appearance, although they did not lack dignity.

There were five children with the father and mother, all modestly and neatly dressed.

The father was explaining to his sons, “Oh, what an admirable type is this Gerbault! What a hero!“

“I shared that idea,” commented the reporter, “but I thought that father was also a hero to pilot a skiff loaded down with children on the parisian ocean as he was doing . . . . I even wondered if it were not more admirable than to guide a boat on the high sea with only oneself to think of.”

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“The Holy Family lived in a plain cottage among other working people, in a village perched on a hillside. Although they did not enjoy modern conveniences, the three persons who lived there made it the happiest home that ever was. You cannot imagine any of them at any time thinking first of himself. This is the kind of home a husband likes to return to and to remain in. Mary saw to it that such was their home. She took it as her career to be a successful homemaker and mother.”
-Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik. The Catholic Family Handbook

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Education and Catholic Schools – Rev. George A. Kelly

417383_550474671651008_1244703559_nby Rev. Fr. George A. Kelly, The Catholic Family Handbook, 1950’s

The Church always has recognized that schools in which moral teaching holds first place are essential to nourish and protect the faith of young people.

For example, in 1884, Pope Leo XIII wrote to the French archbishops and bishops: “It is of the highest importance that the offspring of Christian marriages should be thoroughly instructed in the precepts of religion; and that the various studies by which youth is fitted for the world should be joined with that of religion. To divorce these is to wish that youth should be neutral as regards his duties to God: a system of education in itself fallacious and particularly fatal in tender years, for it opens the door to atheism, and closes it on religion.

Christian parents must therefore be careful that their children receive religious instruction as soon as they are capable of understanding it; and that nothing may, in the schools they attend, blemish their faith or their morals. Both the natural and the divine law impose this duty on them, nor can parents on any ground whatever be freed from this obligation.”

Because centuries of experience have taught that the child exposed to schooling which ignores religious training is in grave danger of losing his faith, the Church has made it a universal rule that Catholics must send their children to religious schools when such institutions are available.

Canon law states:

“All the faithful are to be so reared from childhood that not only shall nothing be offered them opposed to the Catholic faith or moral propriety, but also that religious and moral training shall be given the most important place.

Catholic children shall not attend non-Catholic schools, neutral schools, or mixed schools, that is, schools that are also open to non-Catholics.

Only the local ordinary (the bishop) is competent to determine, in concordance with the norm of the instructions of the Holy See, in what circumstances and with what safeguards to overcome the danger of perversion, attendance at such schools may be tolerated.”

Theologians interpret this law as meaning that Catholics who deliberately send their children to non-Catholic schools, when Catholic schooling is available to them and in the absence of some compelling reason, may be guilty of sin.

Success in academic subjects should not be the sole basis upon which a school is judged. Even were the Catholic school in a particular community to hold a place below the tax-supported schools in scholastic achievement, it would nevertheless be superior. For it teaches the child the most important subject in his life–his position in relationship to his Creator, his fellow man and nature.

“My child can learn about religion at home and at Sunday School.” This is actually a basic teaching of the secularists–the false notion that religion can be made a thing apart. The child who is led to believe that religion is a subject reserved for Sundays is likely to grow up as a “Sunday Catholic” if, indeed, he keeps his faith at all.

Religion cannot be recognized only one day in the week and ignored the rest.

Truths learned in religion class are more important than truths in other subjects, because religious truths must influence every thought, word and deed of every waking hour.

Moreover, a child cannot obtain in a weekly class the understanding he requires to meet the challenges of his adult life as a Catholic. In

Catholic schools, the study of religion is a regular part of the curriculum and is taught just as thoroughly as reading, writing, arithmetic and other subjects.

The child gains a deep and reverent understanding of the principles of his faith, and practicing his religion becomes second nature to him.

Parents who believe that Sunday School instruction is adequate for a religious education would protest vigorously if their child were instructed only one hour each week in geography, history or some other subject of considerably less importance in the long view.

Father Joseph Fichter, S.J., who in 1958 completed a fine sociological study of one school system, confirms this judgment: “Here is ultimately the key to the difference between the public school child and the parochial school child.

The latter gets more and better reasons for his attitudes and behavior. By systematic observation in the classrooms, and by the testimony of police and fire departments, as well as of pupils and teachers who have had experience in both types of schools, there is demonstrable proof that the parochial school children are more orderly and self-controlled than the public school children. They have a better attendance record on school days and fewer of them get in trouble with juvenile court authorities.”

“I want my child to learn to live with all kinds of people.” Persons making this statement are obviously aware that there are basic differences between Catholics and non-Catholics–but they fail to realize that their child may adopt the beliefs of those with whom he comes in contact.

Parochial school pupils actually do meet children of various racial origins. The Church is universal and its membership is made up of all races and classes. There is a diversity in conformity.

In a typical Catholic school, your child will meet youngsters of Irish, Italian, German, Polish, English, French and other extractions.

“I went to public schools, and they did not hurt me.”

If so, the solid experience of the Church proves that you are an exception. In any event, one example does not prove a case. It is even true that some graduates of Catholic schools fall away from the faith while some graduates of public institutions are model Catholics. On the whole, however, a child’s chances of remaining a practicing Catholic are much greater if he has had a thorough grounding in the teachings of his religion.

If parents’ testimonials are the best advertisement for a school system, there is ample reason to believe that Catholic institutions would score higher than public ones. Almost invariably, parents who attended Catholic elementary schools, high schools and colleges are most insistent that their own children also be educated in Catholic institutions.

An interesting observation on this point was made by Amleto Giovanni Cardinal Cicognani, for twenty-five years Apostolic Delegate to the United States.

“Fifty years ago American bishops had to insist that a parish build a school and had to exert all their influence to see that there was a good attendance,” the Cardinal remarked. “Now it is just the opposite; it is from the lay people that the pressure comes. If a parish does not have a school, they come to the priest and insist that he must build one.”

The Catholic school system in the United States is virtually unique in that its support depends entirely upon the people. Unlike Catholic schools in many other countries, there are no State subsidies.

Yet American Catholics support thousands of elementary schools, high schools and colleges even while they also pay taxes to operate public institutions. They carry a burden of double taxation because they realize the inestimable benefits that their children can derive when religious and moral training are made an integral part of education. Parents who have been educated in non-Catholic schools often are simply not aware of the values they have missed.

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