The Four Bonds of Conjugal Union – Christ in the Home

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A very beautiful article from Christ in the Home by Father Raoul Plus, S.J., 1951

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THE four bonds of conjugal union are the bond of consciences, the bond of intellects, the bond of souls, and the bond of hearts.

The bond of consciences:

This means that husband and wife must have the same norms for judging between right and wrong. Is it not only too clear that if they do not have an identical point of view in their appreciation of God’s law, a fundamental disunity will be introduced into the very foundation of their unity?

If one, for example, holds to the principle of free love while the other advocates the principle of unity in marriage, can there be complete communion? Or if one is determined to abide by the demands of the moral law in the difficult duty of procreation while the other has no intention of abstaining from the latest practices of birth control or from onanism, will there not be constant struggle in their home, and that in regard to their most intimate relations? If both are not in agreement on the question of their children’s education, one will insist on secular education, the other on Catholic education, and again conflict will ensue.

The bond of intellect:

This bond is not so essential as the first–it is in the realm not of strict requirement, but of the desirable. There is much to be gained from shared reading experiences, from a mutual exchange of artistic impressions and psychological observations.

For this, it is not necessary that the wife share her husband’s work. It is enough if she is able to be interested in his profession. Nor is it necessary that they have the same tastes, the same outlook; a certain diversity in mentality, on the contrary, is desirable on condition that there are possibilities for mutual exchange of ideas which will lead to mutual enrichment.

That evidently supposes great simplicity in both husband and wife, a loving liberty in their communication of ideas, a very humble recognition of any superior quality in each other, an entire good faith which makes each one willing to yield to the ideas of the other when they are better.

The bond of souls:

It is not sufficient to enjoy an exchange of ideas in profane matters only. It is very desirable that there be harmony of action in the domain of the spiritual, the supernatural. . .prayer together. . .meditation in common . . . reception of Holy Communion together.

Father Doncoeur and several others go so far as to advise making the examination of conscience together with mutual admonition and mutual resolves. This would surely call for extreme delicacy and could not be so generally recommended as the suggestions given previously. But how beautiful it is when husband and wife are as an open book to each other!

Is it good to tell each other the graces received from God, the aspirations of the soul to become holy, to become a saint?

Yes, certainly, on condition that all be done with simplicity, with mutual spontaneity, with nothing of constraint, exaggeration or artificiality. Why should one hide perpetually from one’s life companion the best of oneself? Some individuals remain much too reticent and it is a hindrance to great depths of intimacy.

The bond of hearts:

How many in marriage love each other selfishly, show themselves demanding, moody, eager to receive, but never generous in giving. There is so much selfishness in certain families even when they are very closely united.

The remedy is to supernaturalize the affections; to pass as quickly as possible from passionate love to virtuous love and to make conjugal love a permanent exercise of the theological virtue of charity.

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“If your large family brings ridicule from neighbors and even strangers, remember that you have a lasting treasure worth suffering for, and that the Lord called blessed those who suffer persecution for justice’s sake.” – Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik. The Catholic Family Handbook

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Single….Unpicked

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Do you feel like you have been forgotten, that your life isn’t what it should be, that, somehow, you are not good enough because you are still single?

Another friend is getting married. You are happy to be picked as bridesmaid, but really…..all you want is to be the one walking up the aisle in that beautiful white gown! In your heart you feel….unpicked.

Remember the story in the Bible where another Apostle had to be chosen because Judas was gone from the Little Band? Do you know the method they used to pick between the two men, Barsabbas and Matthias? A prayer was said and straws were drawn and whoever had the longest straw was the disciple!

Wow! That’s amazing. Such an important job….and a straw is drawn!

“And they gave them lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.” -Dhouay Rheims

I’m sure Matthias was very happy! But what about Barsabbas? Did God forget about him? Did God not have big plans for him?

Just because Barsabbas was not “picked” in this particular instance did not mean that God loved him less or that he had been overlooked or that He didn’t have wonderful plans laid out for him.

How about you? Do you find it very difficult when the ladies around you are getting “picked” and you are not. Does it make you sad that you have not found that “one and only” yet?

Of course! It is hard to wait on Our Lord when it seems like life is passing quickly!

I remember those single days, in the interim, before I was married. I lived in Canada, really in a spiritual desert. I had quit my “important” job and went to live back with my mom and dad who had moved to a small town and bought a gas station. I pumped gas.

I was reading some very good books at the time and I knew in my heart I wanted the noble and wonderful vocation as wife and mother.

But wife and mother to who? Ah, there lay the rub! The town I lived in had about 400 people. And believe me, serious Catholics were hard to find, even in the big cities!

I remembered what my dear mentor and older friend had said to me. “If you want to be a wife and mother, Leane, start now by learning everything you can about that important vocation. Roll up your sleeves and practice cooking, cleaning, sewing, music, art. Read good books on the subject….on parenting, gardening, ‘good wife’ books, etc.”

This is one reason I had left my job in the big city. To me, it was not helping me get to my final goal. No, it was hindering it. No one could understand why I left and went to pump gas. But I had a goal. And part of that goal was being back home helping Mom and Dad.

Now, life did not go all that smoothly from this point on. But circumstances led me to write a dear priest in the U.S. and I asked him what I should do. He told me to come to his Apostolate, help him by working in the office, and he would help me, mentor me, on my journey.

I did this. I was there for eleven months, serving this dear priest’s apostolate, going to Mass and Benediction each day. It was a time of spiritual growth. I learned so much about my Faith! And I met my husband, who had also come to serve at this Catholic Shrine…..

The point being, if you are downcast about being “unpicked”, don’t be! You have much to learn and it can be very fulfilling! It can also be fun! It really can be!

Get some cookbooks and start planning the meals!

Learn to sew, crochet, arrange flowers, paint, etc.

Join the Legion of Mary, serve others…at home and elsewhere.

Serve the busy mothers with many children….babysit for them, help with their homeschooling.

Be with the children. Read to them, teach them Catechism. There is nothing so beautiful as a young woman who spends herself for the little ones….

Work hard wherever you are at!

But the most important thing is growing spiritually! If you can go to daily Mass, do it! Pray for your future spouse.

Read good spiritual Catholic books. I have two lists you can look at:

My Book List

Book List for the Youth

Learn to be happy, even in trying circumstances. This is the very thing that will carry you through when your vocation is in place and the crosses come.

Life is an adventure! Give, give, give to God and He will more than meet you half way! But be on the lookout for what He is trying to teach you. Have an open heart to His Voice. We do this by grace.

We often don’t recognize His Voice but if you are doing what it takes, He will lead you to what His Will is for you. And ultimately, that is what will make you happy!

In my little fairy tale story above, I have one sentence that is very important and I didn’t expound on: After I moved back home, life did not go all that smoothly from this point on. 

My family life was not great. I met discouragement, I was in tears many times, things could look black. It wasn’t roses. But I kept seeking and praying…and trying to have peace with it all.

God didn’t turn a deaf ear to me. I had to be patient. Patience is one of the hardest things to learn…and it is something that will have to be practiced all through our lives.

God is not turning a deaf ear to you! Are you kidding? He loves you and has something wonderful in mind for you!

You must get through the lonely times, those times when you feel “unpicked” and remember….God sees the bigger picture, you don’t. Keep that in mind and seek for inner happiness, through the grace of God, in the interim. Work towards getting “better” not “bitter”!

You will be blessed! Believe it!

You may also like this post, In Praise of Unmarried Women.

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“When our emotions are cold in our love of God, and we ‘feel’ nothing, there is no reason for us to be disturbed. We will find less satisfaction in our love – for it is much more pleasant for us to feel that we are loving – but our act of love will be equally true and perfect. Even more, lacking the impetus and pleasure which come from our feelings, we will be obliged to apply ourself more resolutely to the act of the will and this, far from harming it, will make it more voluntary, and therefore, more meritorious. ” – Divine Intimacy, Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen

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Intelligent Conversation – The Wife Desired

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 It is an art to know when to listen and when to speak. And when we do speak, that it is worth listening to…. 6a013480267ca9970c0168e793afc3970c

The Wife Desired by Father Leo J. Kinsella, 1950’s

As most of us grow older and become less active physically, one of our greatest sources of entertainment is intelligent conversation. We derive satisfaction from the discussion of current events, of problems affecting our daily lives, and of sundry subjects of mutual interest.

Too little stress is given today in educational circles to the art of conversation. I believe that there are a number of reasons for this lack of interest on the part of educators. A group of high school girls at recess time usually presents the same picture. All are talking; none are listening. Promote talking? Teachers naturally lift an eyebrow if one suggests more conversation at their school. Yet ninety-nine per cent of all this talk is just chitchat….

Real conversation is an art. Like any other art it must be cultivated and practiced. The voice is an important phase of personality. Often the voice alone gives the cue to personality and character of a girl.

A petulant, or frivolous, or frigid, or nagging young lady frequently rings a bell of warning in her voice to interested young men who have ears to hear as well as to catch dirt.

Likewise, a warmhearted and generous woman refined and cultured with a well developed personality can tell others of her accomplishments simply by speaking a few sentences. “The flute and the psaltery make a sweet melody, but a pleasant tongue is above them both.” Ecclesiaticus 40, 21.

Perhaps by this time some find their thoughts wandering from the work at hand–namely, self-appraisal and consideration of how to advance toward the goal of the ideal and desired wife. Maybe some are asking by now why they should strive to become this paragon of a girl.

Too many young men are too stupid anyway to see and appreciate in a girl all the qualities of the ideal wife. Isn’t a girl lucky for that! A girl can thank God that these imbeciles are not attracted to her. One of these cigarette sucking simpletons might rush her off her feet, and then see with what she would be stuck the rest of her life.

It does seem that neurotics attract each other for marriage. I suppose it is one more bit of evidence of the old proverb, “Birds of a feather flock together.” So the girls who develop their personalities and acquire the other features of the ideal wife have a much better chance of attracting their counterpart, the ideal husband. Again, let that all-interesting ideal husband take care of himself for a while. Let us get back to our “netting.”

Conversation is not a one way street. It connotes the ability to listen as well as to talk. Some people make a good audience. They stimulate conversation purely by the manner of their attention. They are alive, and thus they register. Because they are interested they are interesting. They bring out the best in others.

A clever girl can do wonders by the way she listens with animation to her boyfriend. The boyfriend or the husband is only human. There will be times when he is going to want to tell “all about it.” He is loquacious for a change. Then for heaven’s sake, let the wife give him the stage. Or, perhaps, he is taciturn and yearns for quiet. The wise wife senses these various moods of her husband.

I remember a case in which the wife hauled her husband down to the Chancery. Her major complaint was that her husband would not talk things over with her, would not confide in her. “He just never talks with me.” This poor woman talked “like a blue streak” for an hour and a half. A number of times I tried to break in. At each failure I got a knowing look from the husband as much as if to say, “Know how you feel. For years I’ve been trying to get a word in edgewise.”

There is a theory of counseling based on letting the estranged husband and wife talk themselves into their own solution of the problems vexing their marital happiness. There are enthusiasts of this school of thought who maintain that they can solve any case by just letting them talk.

I wish they had been in on the case just mentioned. I finally had to run from her one day later on, when she came down alone to see me. I could not take any more than two hours of it. I imagine that she is still talking, whether at her husband or not I do not know. How he could stand it, I do not know either.

While at school a girl should “make hay while the sun shines.” It is then that she can acquire and develop ability at conversation. As she learns to swim, to play tennis, to figure skate, and to sing, she can talk with interest and intelligence about these things.

If she knows nothing about music, a girl will have to be pretty clever to be able to “get away with” talking about music. On the other hand, as she develops her personality by learning to do various things, she should acquire facility in conversing about these things.

If she reads good literature, she opens another tremendous potential for conversation. True, she must practice, and school affords that opportunity not only in the classroom, but even during moments of recreation. Practice on your girl friends? Why not? They do on you!

Friends have been defined as those between whom there need not be conversation. Husband and wife can spend a quiet evening at home with a minimum of conversation and be happy and content.

They are aware of each other’s presence, and that is enough. Yet intelligent conversation will add immeasurably to their lives. A dumb Dora may have her moments; but, if she cannot formulate two consecutive and coherent sentences, let us all pray for strength for that husband of hers.

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You and I have the wonderful opportunity to leave behind a legacy – one of care and concern, one that reaches out to others, one of loveliness and holiness. Be a woman who cares about the kind of legacy you leave when you are called home. Follow God’s will in your life. Pattern your life after Our Lady and simply pass it on to those you come in contact with each day.

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Take a peek at the gorgeous Spanish Mantillas, beautifully made in Spain, that I am now selling on my site here!!

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And This Peace Nobody Can Take From Us

 

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This is from the small, but excellent book Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart by Father Jacques Phillipe.

Let us then seek to put into practice all that has been said, with patience and perseverance, and, above all, without becoming discouraged if we don’t arrive at perfection! Permit me to formulate an axiom that is a little paradoxical: above all we must never lose our peace because we can never find or be as much at peace as we would like! Our reeducation is long and it is necessary to have a lot of patience with ourselves.

This, then, is the fundamental principle: “I will never become discouraged!” This is another phrase taken from the little Therese, who is the consummate model of the spirit that we have attempted to describe in these pages. And let us also repeat the words of the great Saint Teresa of Avila, “patience obtains everything.”

Another very useful, practical principle is the following: If I am not capable of great things, I will not become discouraged, but I will do the small things! Sometimes, because we are unable to do great things, heroic acts, we neglect the small things that are available to us and which are, moreover, so fruitful for our spiritual progress and are such a source of joy: well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful over a few things, I will now trust you with greater. Come and share your master’s joy. (Matthew 25:21)

If the Lord finds us faithful and persevering in small things in terms of what he expects of us, it is He Himself who will intervene and establish us in a higher grace.

The application: If I am still not able to remain at peace when faced with difficult situations, then it is better that I should begin to strive to keep this peace in the easier situations of everyday life: to quietly and without irritability do my daily chores, to commit myself to doing each thing well in the present moment without preoccupying myself with what follows, to speak peacefully and with gentleness to those around me, to avoid excessive hurry in my gestures and in the way I climb the stairs! The first steps on the ladder of sanctity could very well be those of my own apartment!

The soul often is re-educated by the body! Small things done with love and to please God are extremely beneficial in making us grow; it’s one of the secrets of holiness of Saint Therese of Lisieux.

And if we persevere in such a way, in prayer and with the small acts of collaboration with grace, we will be able to live the words of Saint Paul: Don’t be anxious; instead, give thanks in all your prayers and petitions and make your requests known to God, and God’s peace which is beyond all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6–7)

And this peace nobody can take from us.

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“The facts are that Church teaching is supported upon a bedrock of logic and that many of the foremost thinkers throughout history have found her doctrines unassailable. Therefore if you yourself cannot cope with your adolescent’s arguments, you can refer him to Catholic books, literature, and other sources of information.
Do not expect your child to accept a religious teaching simply and solely because the Church says it is so. As an individual with a growing intellectual capacity of his own, he has a legitimate right to know why the Church maintains a certain position.
When helped in a friendly way to understand that position, he will become a stronger Catholic as a result.” – Rev. George A. Kelly, The Catholic Family Handbook, 1950’s
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Creative Sharing/A Legacy of Joy- Emilie Barnes

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Emilie Barnes has helped me through the years to keep in mind that it is important to try and create a special, homey environment with just some small added touches wherever we are.

We lived in a one-bedroom (later we tacked on 2 tiny bedrooms off of our bedroom), very small home with seven children for ten years before we built this home on the same property. My kids have only good memories there though it was cramped and hard to keep clean (I love the resilience of kids….they only remember the good times).

It wasn’t easy to keep a place that was so cramped homey but we must have done something right because their memories are good. We did have a special place for our “altar” where Our Lady’s statue resided in the living room where we prayed. And we tried to keep things picked up as best we could.

It has been easier in a more spacey environment to add special touches that don’t cost much. I pick up tea pots whenever I can (usually to replace the ones that broke in the interim) in order to have a couple of places where we can display them. And because I get them at thrift shops, etc. (except for the ones that are gifts) I don’t freak out when a grandchild happens to break one. I remind myself that people are more important than things!🙂

It is the simple and small things of life that can give a lift to a tired spirit. I have found that music, flowers, and candles mean a lot. These small things may seem insignificant but they add a special “something” to daily life.

Anyway, I do love Emilie Barnes books and this book in particular. Here is an excerpt:

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

Sharing Creativity is not just for self-fulfillment. Much of the joy of creativity comes in sharing it with others. We learned that truth first as children as we crayoned masterpieces for people we loved.

And we still experience the joy of creating and sharing when we cross-stitch a Scripture for a friend, write up a recipe for a new acquaintance, or hand-letter a special card for a coworker who has been promoted.

Once when I was recovering from surgery, a dear friend, Ginny, shared her creativity with me in a very special way. She showed up in my hospital room with a “recovery kit” for the twelve days after my operation. In a pretty basket nestled twelve separately wrapped gifts labeled “Day 1,” “Day 2,” “Day 3,” and so on.

Among the items that I so appreciated during those painful days were a sweet card, a refrigerator magnet, a puzzle to keep me very busy, a bag of potpourri, a can of chicken soup, a jar of “bubble-stuff” to blow away my misery, an apple to help keep the doctor away, an audiotape to keep me singing and happy, some Chapstick to keep my lips well moistened as I played “show and tell” about my surgery, funny cards and cartoons to make me laugh (very carefully, so I wouldn’t pop a stitch!), “thank you” stickers to brighten up my letters, a cookie cutter, and some candy.

What fun and friendship Ginny and I shared along with the gift of her creativity-which, of course, was really the gift of herself.

A Legacy of Joy

One of the most valuable ways we can share the secret of creativity is by modeling it for our children.

We give them a legacy of joy when we teach them to use their own God-given creativity to instill beauty into their own lives and homes.

When we moved into our Barnes Barn, our daughter, Jenny, and her husband bought our two-story home. The house was dark and very country-not at all their look. At that time funds were quite tight for this young couple, and yet they felt it was important to set aside a small redecorating budget.

Together they stripped wallpaper and painted all the rooms white. What a transformation took place! The house looked larger, brighter, and happier. Sheets in solids and florals became valances in all the rooms. The dark living room shutters, also painted white, took on an open, airy look. Jenny took birch tree branches and formed them into wreaths.

She added dried and silk flowers, twisted ribbon about, and had beautiful, feminine pieces of art to embellish the fireplace and hang over the bed. Bright bedspreads from a sale catalog transformed the children’s rooms into cheerful places to play and dream.

As I watched Jenny work to transform that little house, I rejoiced to see her God-given creativity translated into a warm, happy environment for the people I love.

Today Jenny and her family live in another house which her special creative touch has transformed into a home. And she is passing along the gift of creativity, just as she learned it from Bob and me.

These days I love to see our granddaughter, Christine, use her creativity to decorate her own room, using resources she has at hand to make her environment into a welcoming, original place.

Women over the ages have used their creativity to fill their homes and lives with beauty. But creativity in the home is by no means limited to women.

Our son, Brad, two years out of college, found a real dump of a duplex in Manhattan Beach, California. He went into partnership with a college friend and bought the property. They planned to live in half of the duplex and rent out the back unit.

From our point of view, those boys had paid far too much money for such dilapidated property, even if it was two blocks from the beach. It was hard for us even to think creatively about this project.

We wanted to tell our son what a mistake he had made, but we held our tongues and pitched in to help him make the duplex livable. I remember the weekend we spent helping Brad and Jay strip, clean, and paint. But what a change took place over the following week!

Bookcases were filled and furniture was arranged; working together, those two young men created a place that was perfectly suited to their needs. But Brad and Jay had even more creative plans for that property.

Within the next two years they were offered twice what they had paid for it-but no sale. Instead, they tore down the building and built two separate three-story units, complete with ocean views, to bring their brides home to. What creative foresight!

From our little family came children who learned creativity at home and then used that creativity to establish their own very different look. They have created their own special retreats to come home to after busy, hardworking days.

And one day their children will use their God-given creativity to impart warmth and beauty to their own homes.

Exercising our creativity is one way to be responsible stewards of the gifts and talents God has given us-and to rejoice in our identity as God’s children, made in his image.

As images of the Creator, we have the opportunity to fashion our lives and our homes into works of art. We can choose to be creative today and every day!

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FF Quote for the Day

Take the time today to pick a bouquet and light a candle to grace your table. If you don’t have flowers of your own, take your kids and go and pick some wildflowers. You will be surprised how it will lift the minds and hearts of yourself and your loved ones. It brings a little sunshine into daily living. 

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Lovely reviews from Amazon on my book, Cheerful Chats for Catholic Children:  Thank you, Dear Ladies!

“Love it! Love it! Love it! A grace filled book that gives young children a faith perspective, more of a God’s eye view if you will, of daily events.All the ups and downs of life are considered in relation to Christ and His Blessed Mother. My own grandchildren love hearing these tales every night. The stories give them hope, security and understanding.”

“I’ve long been wanting a book on various virtues to help my children become better Catholics. But most books focused on the virtues make being bad seem funny or attractive in order to teach the child a lesson. I’ve always found them to be detrimental to the younger ones who’s logic hasn’t formed. This book does an awesome job in showing a GOOD example in each of the children with all the various struggles children commonly struggle with (lying, hiding things, being grumpy, you name it.) But this book isn’t JUST virtue training… it’s also just sweet little chats about our love for God, God’s greatness, etc…

And the best thing of all? They are SHORT! I have lots of books that are wonderful, but to be honest I rarely pick them up because I just don’t have the time to read a huge, long story. These are super short, just one page, and very to the point. The second page has a poem, picture, a short prayer and a few questions for the kids to get them thinking. It works really, really well right before our bedtime prayers and only takes a few minutes at most.

If you like “Leading the Little ones to Mary” then you will like these… they are a little more focused on ALL age groups, not just little ones… so are perfect for a family activity even through the teenage years, down to your toddler”

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The City Mouse and the Country Mouse

Something fun for Throwback Thursday!

I wrote this article awhile ago. It is power-packed with good information…like what kind of plants to grow (if you like greenery in the house), how to get the most out of your honeymoon and feeding guests on a Sunday morning. It is also filled with deep and inspiring thoughts about the differences between men and women. Hubby informed me it is also filled with exaggeration….!😀

Even though I had been raised in a large city in the middle of Canada, where the most6 prolific crop is icicles, I always wanted to marry a farmer boy.  I thought living in the country would be quite romantic.  Not only that, I really did like the simplicity and the wholesomeness of the country life.  Then when he said, “Will you marry me?” I felt my dreams had come true!

Shortly after we climbed down the church steps we found out we had differences!  BIG differences!  Men are from Mars?  You wanna believe it!

It didn’t take me long to discover a few things about a country guy.  Priorities in HIS life are…(ahem)different to a city girl.

For instance, when I am driving, my priority is to get from point A to point B in good time and in relative safety. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

For him, it’s not the speed limit that counts nor is it if you are veering from one ditch to the next!!😯 The most important thing is how much the soybeans have grown or whether that *flash* that went across the road is a coyote or a fox!

Safety isn’t part of the picture. Have you ever known any farmer that wore a seat belt in a tractor??  In the field, you didn’t have to keep your eye on the road, there was none!Speeding_car

Let me tell you about our honeymoon. We were tearing through the mountains at break-neck speed, going around curves on what felt like 2 wheels!! Hanging on for dear life, I looked at my husband in amazement. Why in the heck was he not watching the road??!!

He proceeded to ask me excitedly if I saw how many points that elk had on it!!  As I squinted my eyes to see if he was talking about that 4-legged dot in the distance, I thought to myself, “Can this guy be for real”?

At that moment, The words we said at the altar, “Till death do us part” became very vivid to me..  Either he was going to kill me while looking at his jackalopes… …or there may be a murder at the next Rest Stop!2

When I got married, I dreamed of a nice, orderly garden, a white picket fence and a wrap-around porch that all the family would gather round in the evening to chew the fat.  You know…relaxed…normal….Isn’t that what country life was?

I was in for some big surprises!  I remember the time that we had company over for brunch.  Everyone was enjoying themselves as I made breakfast.Scared_Shocked_Woman_Cartoon-2  I needed something from the freezer.  I went to open it and I saw 2 beady eyes staring at me!  I stifled my scream so as not to alarm the guests!!  There was a raccoon in my freezer!  Whole and entire…fur and all!! I couldn’t believe it!  Couldn’t he keep the road kill on the road where it belonged!? What would he do if I had died of a heart attack on the spot?

Then it would’ve been just him and the raccoon and all he’d get from IT is the cold shoulder.  Why do guys never think of these things???  😦

To be just, I have to admit it goes both ways.

HE should’ve suspected the day he came home and wondered why his newly purchased bedding plants were… dead!  “Honey, we just bought those bedding plants and they weren’t cheap.  Look at them!”

Everyone knows women are supposed to be able to multi-task, but I try to explain to him what number “multi” means! He gets REALLY perturbed when all I have to say is, “ooops” (again)!! …At least I say it apologetically.index

I try to lighten it up. “Maybe we could invest in venus fly traps.  Aren’t they the ones that feed on flesh?  I’ll at least know they need something, when I hear them licking their chops!”  He didn’t like my lame attempt at humor!

I have reminded him that he was imprudent and impetuous for asking me to marry him on our 2nd date.  Really, it’s his fault for not checking out the credentials!  He should’ve married that cute, stalky farm girl he made googley-eyes with when he was 16!  Sheesh!

I DO have good intentions, though.  Last week I made homemade elderberry syrup.  OK, so it was rather runny…more like purple soup, actually!😦 Come to think of it I didn’t have much luck with my homemade cheese either. I snuck it out the back for the dogs to eat.  They just walked away.  Maybe I was just imagining it but it seemed they had their noses in the air!  Ungrateful creatures!image-001

I told hubby that tomorrow I am going to try my hand at grinding my own wheat and making bread out of it.  He didn’t say anything….I knew what he was thinking though and he’s lucky he didn’t say it.

It’s too late for my nature boy!  He already said I do.  He’s just going to have to tough it out and resign himself to his city-slicker wannabe country girl.

As for me, I usually take the wheel when we go out together.  That way, he can look at how fast the corn is growing or if that *flash* across the road was a gopher or a hyena or whatever!

I started thinking about our dilemma.  You know, the one between the Martians and the Venetians. Do you know how far Mars is from Venus? 1,990 million miles!  That’s a long way to walk to meet in the middle!

Somehow in this whole picture we have to agree that God has a sense of humor.  He must have – he put man and woman together.country-city-mouse

In our case he put the City Mouse and the Country Mouse together on top of it.

As this City Mouse tries to learn the ways of the country, I begin to think that picket fences and wrap-around porches are pretty boring.  When I start veering off the road to see the armadillos in the distance, I’ll know I’m doomed. new_smiley_surprised

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Vanity, Vanity, All is Vanity….. True Womanhood, 1894

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This article is a good reminder that, although we may not have the wealth that is talked about, we still must protect our hearts from the vanity of the world, and anything else that wants to eke its way into our hearts and be a stumbling block to being a gracious, loving and lovely Catholic woman! Put down the romance novels, the secular magazines and turn a deaf ear to the vain and worldly television shows. The devil uses these things to get a foothold into our lives and cause havoc wherever he can. We must fight for what is pure and good and holy….and it starts with our minds and what we are putting into it!

It is also a reminder that we must pray and ask God for guidance when choosing a spouse, as this unfortunate man must not have been taught!

How the selfishness and folly of a fashionable woman can make the most magnificent home intolerable.

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

We wish the reader to understand the term ” fashionable woman” in the odious or objectionable sense in which it is taken by the sound judgment of people of the world.

With “fashions” in so far as they are unobjectionable and mark the changes in dress to which even the best and least worldly persons in society—men as well as women—have to conform, we do not mean to find fault; this would be foreign to our present purpose and serve only to distract the reader unprofitably.

It will be seen by a glance at what we have to say, that our censure addresses itself to an exceptional class of wealthy women, whose number, unhappily, is increasing daily. The home of the wealthiest, we take it, no matter how splendid outwardly or how magnificent and luxurious within, can be at best but splendid misery, where unselfish and devoted love does not preside over the household, provide for the comfort of every person there, and minister to their happiness by the bright cheerfulness without which the most gorgeous furniture has no luster, and the electric warmth of affection, without which courtly manners are but a lifeless show.

Here is a man who has fought a hard battle with fortune, but has won it at last. Like true soldiers on every field, he has not cared during his long struggle for many comforts, —luxury was beyond his reach. But now that fortune lavishes her favors on him, he wishes to enjoy life in a home that shall be, he hopes, a paradise.

Would that many of our most thrifty and fortunate men, though never so upright and honorable, would remember the old pagan superstition about exposing one’s bliss to the eyes of the gods or flaunting one’s prosperity in the sunlight! The “loudest” wealth is never likely to yield unmixed or lasting felicity; this is better secured by quiet tastes, and the repose enjoyed in the shade and with the select few.

But our fortunate man has built and furnished a home so comfortable that only a companion who can be devoted to him is wanting to complete it. He has been attracted by a handsome face and a name without reproach.

Perhaps, on his part, there has been none of that romantic feeling to which the superficial world gives the name of love; but there is in his choice the hearty purpose of finding one who will love him truly, and to whose happiness he wishes to devote his fortune and himself.

She is a woman, young, indeed, and stainless, but selfish and vain; fond of dress, of admiration, of display, and who is anxious to wed a fortune large enough to permit her to gratify all her frivolous tastes.

Her husband had the ambition to succeed in business,—that ambition is now gratified; but he had other and nobler aims which he had to forego in the hard striving after wealth, and which now possess his soul.

He would fain cultivate his mind; he would indulge his taste for such of the fine arts as make home beautiful and home enjoyments more delightful.

In the wife’s family were several persons noted for their culture and scientific attainments; indeed, an accidental acquaintance with one of these had led to a first introduction to the woman whom he had made his bride, and in whom he hoped to find a perfect sympathy for the intellectual aspirations which served to brighten the future before him.

But the literary tastes and scientific pursuits of her relatives had been this woman’s aversion from girlhood; and her husband was not slow in discovering that there was not one particle of intellectualism in her composition.

Her honeymoon, instead of being spent in traveling, was taken up with an unbroken round of receptions and parties. Her powers of endurance, when the ball-room or the theater were concerned, seemed to be unlimited; but, once in her privacy, she seemed never to think that her husband wished to enjoy her companionship, or that she was expected to converse with him, to play or sing for him, or to make a single effort at being his companion for a single hour.

The afternoons were spent in the park, when her equipage had to outshine the richest, and her toilet was made to eclipse the most fashionable. The evenings, for the most part, were consumed in interminable sittings with her French maid, who decked her mistress out with incomparable art for the ball or the theater.

The bridegroom had hoped that this thirst for display and dissipation would be quenched by the unlimited indulgence of the first year of married life, and that after this necessary infliction he should have the quiet of his home and the sweet company of his young wife. Besides, his health could not stand the serious disturbance caused in his regular habits by late hours and this unnatural changing of day into night and night into day.

The second and third years of his matrimonial life found him disappointed, dispirited, and utterly miserable, with the certainty, moreover, of having bound himself for life to a woman who never could be a companion to him, who had neither head nor heart, nothing, in fine, to recommend her but a pretty face, like a painted mask covering an empty skull.

His beautiful home became intolerable to him; and there is no knowing what desperate or downward course the heart-broken man might have pursued, if he had not been asked by one of his wife’s relatives to accompany him on a scientific expedition to our Western territories.

This offer kindled once more his purest ambition; and, after limiting to a very generous amount the monthly expenditure of his young wife, he was glad to escape from his home and to seek knowledge and fame in the field of science.

She, meanwhile, had but one purpose in life, to dress. At the death of a distinguished fellow-citizen she literally spent three whole days and nights visiting the most fashionable warehouses and closeted with the most reputed milliners, to find out what style of hat and what dress she might wear at the funeral, so as to throw the whole of “Vanity Fair” into the shade.

When the springtide of that heartless beauty had passed away, it was already autumn for her. The complexion which was her only charm had been early ruined by the reckless and needless use of cosmetics, much more even than by her feverish life of enjoyment.

No splendor of dress could conceal the fatal decay, and no depth of paint could mask it. And with the consciousness of this premature decline, her fretfulness and peevishness made her intercourse intolerable, unrelieved as its dullness was by a single mental accomplishment, or a solitary conversational grace.

There are showy trees in our American forests whose brilliant flowers attract the eye in spring; but the flowers themselves are of an offensive odor, and they bear no wholesome fruit, while the wood itself is unfit for any useful purpose.

The husband, on his return from the West, sought relief from the dreariness of his home-life in the speculations of the stock-exchange, heeding little, if at all, the remonstrances of a wife he heartily despised.

When last heard of, his name was mentioned as one of many ruined by some sudden fall in railroad stocks. His house and furniture passed out of his possession, and he was left alone with poverty, obscurity, and a wife without head or heart or even beauty.

“I have seen on earth angelic and heavenly manners, admirable beauties in this world, insomuch that the remembrance charms and afflicts me; for all that I now behold seem but dreams, shadows, and smoke. Love, wisdom, merit, sensibility, and grief, formed, in weeping, a sweeter concert than any other ever heard on earth, and the hearers were so attentive to this harmony, that not a leaf trembled on the branches, such was the sweetness which pervaded all the air around.— Henelm Digby, 1848

“It is strange and amazing that those very women who are so delicate that the mere humming of a bee is sufficient to chase them from the most delightful garden of the world, should have the courage to introduce discord into their houses.”— La Moin, La Devotion Aisee.

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“The first duty of the wife is to study to be in every way she can the companion, the help, and the friend of her husband. Indeed on her capacity to be all this, and her earnest fulfillment of this threefold function depends all the happiness of both their lives, as well as the well-being of the whole family.” -Fr. Bernard O’Reilly, The Mirror of True Womanhood, 1893
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A Festival, A Day to Remember

by Theresa (VanderPutten) Byrne

Have you ever been so excited that when bedtime comes, you feel like you couldn’t possibly sleep a wink? When you finally fall asleep, it is a restless tossing and turning while your subconscious is still wide awake….

That was me, age 10, Friday night before the Farmers Market.

I lived and dreamed of the Saturdays that my dad and I would be up, before the rooster crowed, packing the trailer with baked goods, veggies and whatever else we planned to sell.

My sister, Virginia, and I had to take turns on Saturdays but she tended to like her rest more than the thrill of the open market, so many times I could convince her to stay home and let me take her place.

I could feel the excitement down to my fingertips, as we pulled into our selling spot among the other venders.

I was a born saleswoman and I loved people, so this was just ‘my cup of tea!’

I couldn’t understand my sister happily sleeping at home while all this was taking place, but I was glad to have taken her spot!

We would set up our tables and get ready; sales stared at 7:00 am sharp!

As the years passed I established quite a clientele for my baked goods. I hand-painted a sign that said,”Tweety’s Sweeties,” and many an old fellow would dream of Saturday and the fresh apple pies it brought!

I loved being in charge of our stand and my dad had time to wander and build relationships with other vendors, while I wheeled and dealed.

A couple of times we went and picked up trailer loads of watermelons, from the Ozarks, to add to our Saturday sales.

My younger brother got into hand-squeezed lemonade and we would put a big sign on him that said, “Follow me for fresh lemonade.” Then he would wander through the crowds of people and drum up business.

The Farmers Market manager ended up shutting down our superb advertising. I think other vendors were jealous at the amount of business this brown eyed lad brought in! haha

Good, good times! Good, good memories!

A few weeks ago when my Brendan excitedly told me about how Angelo, my youngest brother, was going to have booths and do a sale, all I could see was little me, just waiting for Farmers Market Day!

The day was set; the sale would take place at Grandma’s house. All the cousins were excited and we had two weeks to make our wares.

Devin, my husband, and Brendan decided on sling shots. (Devin makes a wicked sling shot!) They got to work, felling dead and overgrown branches, finding any limbs with a V shape. After trimming off extra leaves they had enough to make thirteen slingshots.

They let the wood dry and about a week later you could find us in our shop, the sander on and camo duct tape ready to go.

Devin cut to size, while Brendan and I sanded and then we all put them together.

This was a bigger task than it sounds but some great family memories were made.

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As the day of the sale approached, the kids’ excitement mounted. Just like Christmas, half the fun is preparing for it!

The day before the sale we picked blackberries and Sienna and I made honey blackberry muffins. We wrapped them and priced them at 25 cents apiece.

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Yay! The day of the sale had arrived!

At 5:45pm, on Sunday, the fun began. All the parents went traipsing down through the weeds, through some of Grandpa’s junk, down to the far side of my parent’s property. The boys had mowed a spot, set up little booths and a couple small tables for tired buyers….

(Ernie, looking frustrated because he’s last in line and going to miss the great deals! You snooze, you lose, Ernie!  :D  )

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My younger sister ran a concession stand with your choice of drinks, snacks and fruit.

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There was a booth of hand blacksmithed knives which were unique and priced to sell.

Then we had a couple booths with small toys and trinkets.

The ice cream lady was down the way and you could get a finger lickin’ cone for 50 cents!

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My Brendan’s slingshots sold like hot cakes and he brought in a whopping $6.00!

Sienna’s blackberry muffins spoke to the more health conscious buyers, with Grandpa being her best customer! She sold out and was shopping within ten minutes of opening!

A true girl, she spent every penny she had on her, while Brendan saved back the majority of his earnings.

My nephew, Toni, had set up a game with a bunch of empty shotgun shells on different levels. There was a starting time and by it a bucket of gravel. For 10 cents you got a minute of time to try and knock down all the shells.

You should have heard the laughter as the young (and old) guys tried to outdo each other!

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There was even a spot the boys had set up that, if you wanted to chat and chomp on your wares (or smoke a cigar) you could do it at their little outdoor coffee spot!

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When our coins ran low, hot and a little bug-bitten, we headed back up to the house.

No amusement park, fair, circus or the like, could have held a candle to the fun the kids and the parents had that day!

Without a doubt, this was a day to remember!

“To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today.”

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“Life is messy, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Busy children trump an immaculate house any day of the week. Does it really matter that my carpet has a juice stain on it, or that my cupboard drawer no longer works because my son thought it was a stepping stool? Things can be replaced, but nothing can replace the feeling of ‘home’ that one gets when a house is bustling with children.” -Darlene Schacht
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In Praise of UnMarried Women – Fr. Daniel A. Lord

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By DANIEL A. LORD, S.J.

Australian Catholic Truth Society 1950

Whatever literature may say about spinsters, and however much history may ignore them – except for outstanding spinsters like Elizabeth of England – the Church’s attitude toward unmarried women has been, from the first, one of reverence.

This I came to know when my faith emerged from mere youthful practice to intelligent study and appreciation. Among the Jews a spinster was merely an unfortunate girl not lucky enough to have won a husband for herself. Among the pagans she was usually the slave or bondmaiden, the grudgingly tolerated hanger-on in the house of her parents or her luckier married sisters.

With St. Paul all that was changed. He loved virginity, and he turned to the ministrations and loyalty – as many a parish has done since – of the splendid young and older unmarried women of his time. The legends of St. Paul and St. Tecla – whose name was the Greek word for pearl – are many and beautiful. Phoebe, to whom Paul sends affectionate messages, seems to have been one of the first consecrated Catholic virgins.

ST. PAUL SPEAKS

It was left for the great St. Paul, who could find for marriage no more appropriate comparison than that of the love which Christ bears for His Church (see Ephesians 5: 21-32), to speak almost the first words in praise of those who deliberately did not marry or who, for any good reasons, remained unmarried.

“But,” he wrote to the Corinthians, “I say to the unmarried and to widows, it is good for them if they so remain, even as I.” (1 Cor 7: 8)

Then he directs to men who remain unmarried and cherish their virginity strong praise that quite clearly he means for both men and women. For he continues: “I would have you free from care. He who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please God.

Whereas he who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife; and he is divided. And the unmarried woman, and the virgin, thinks about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy in body and in spirit. Whereas she who is married thinks about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.” (1 Cor 7: 32-34)

UNMARRIED SAINTS

This was an astonishing teaching to people who had regarded virginity as rather a futile thing and the unmarried girl as the object of a none too gentle pity. Yet instantly the early Church, which loved the virgin Christ and the Virgin Mary and the beloved virgin John, took to heart the good advice. It is noteworthy that the virgin martyrs of those early days were not nuns in any modern sense. They had in some cases taken the veil of virginity at the hands of Peter or of Paul, but they lived at home, served the poor in the big cities, and, save for their intense concentration on the love of God and their neighbors, lived, as we would say, in the world.

Such was the young Agnes, the older Agatha, Cecilia, and half a dozen others forced into marriage against their will and carrying to God through martyrdom the glory of their virginity. They had detached themselves from the love of any man to give their whole love to the greatest of the sons of men.

They cared for their houses and were devoted to their parents. They ministered to the poor and at dawn or at dusk went to the catacombs for Mass and prayer. They were saintly spinsters, if you wish, or spinster saints. True, the pagan world regarded them as abnormal and queer and fit only for death. The Christians loved them unforgettably.

GREAT CONTRIBUTION

Their contribution to the early Church is beyond computation. They lived the purity that was supposed to characterize the religion of the Savior. They did the good works that He had listed as sign and proof of His followers.

They were personally the great correctives for the abuses of marriage and for the corruption of morals. They demonstrated with shining and spectacular force that it was possible for married couples to remain faithful since normal girls with all the normal desires and impulses could remain pure while unmarried.

They led along paths of maidenly modesty other girls who could not accept a lifetime of virginity, until premarital purity made them worthy to be mothers of the little sons and daughters of our God and Father.

The Church has never forgotten those first unmarried saints, the models of the millions who were to be the most distinctive and unique contribution of Christianity to world morality. Christian marriage would never have been possible without them. Christian virginity got its pattern from their unforgettable acceptance of Christ’s new purity.

It is not at all an exaggeration to say that the unmarried Catholic woman of the present can look upon herself as the legitimate successor to these virgins and martyrs of earliest Christian times. She may be proud of that association and conscious of the possibility within her to repeat in our generation their great contribution to life, love, and the decencies.

REWARD

No doubt about it, the unmarried woman has the chance to win a reward exceeding great.

She is able daily to offer to God the beautiful perfume that is her virginal innocence. God loves her for that and honors her with the same kind of reverence that is due Mary. So do those of His followers who see life and measure values with a Christ-like eye.

If the cup of cold water given in Christ’s name wins eternal reward, what of the food and drink and clothes and housing that are provided by these generous women again and again and again?

May this saintly woman come very close to God. For there is no interfering love in her life. Those she loves, she loves unselfishly, almost without human reward but in the calm certainly that God is pleased by her life. “Whatsoever you do for the least of these my little ones, you do for me.”

The words of the Savior, tremendously reassuring, never fitted anyone more perfectly than they do Catholic teachers, Catholic nurses, Catholic businesswomen, and those sisters, daughters, and aunts who do and do and do – endlessly and without probability of repayment – for the sons and daughters of others – and of God.

The fine Catholic example of this kind of women has far more influence than she herself dreams.

Her laborious unselfishness is a constant rebuke to the greed and self-indulgence of the world. She is one of those unrecognized heroines whose work is never properly praised but is always effective to a degree that will be measured by celestial weights and measures.

She is a not unworthy successor of the holy women of the primitive Church who, with the Apostles and the doctors of the Church, taught a new way of life to humanity.

 VISION

Nor can we forget the bright and inspiring vision of St. John. There upon the mount that is Sion he saw the Lamb of God surrounded by the specially honored one hundred and forty-four thousand, a mystical number embracing the vast host of those who will be nearest the Savior in eternity. Their closeness to the Savior, Saint John explains by one simple statement: “For they are virgins.” (See Rev 14:4)

Lift up your eyes, you heroines called spinsters! The Savior of the world loves you most especially and has a place for you in eternity in His own immediate company. It is a glorious certainty.

And if a certain group of spinsters will permit me to bring them back from those sublime heights to a more immediately grateful person . . . I thank you . . . and you . . . and you . . . and you . . . and all you others with whom it has been my happy privilege to be associated in a common enterprise during these many years. I know your holiness. I have felt your unselfishness. I know your shining beauty.

Surely my life has been made rich and full by the fact that I have counted you among my friends and partners in a work for the unmarried Christ and the Virgin Mary.

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FF Quote for the Day
“Keep yourself at peace and in complete repose, never become upset and never trouble yourself about anything, forget the past, live as though the future does not exist, live for Jesus in every moment that you are living, or, better, live as though you have no life in yourself, but allow Jesus to live in you at His leisure; to walk thus, in all circumstances and in all encounters, without fear or worry as is becoming the children of Jesus and Mary; never think of yourself voluntarily; abandon the care of your soul to Jesus alone. Your soul belongs to Him. It is therefore up to Him to take care of it because it is His property. Generally speaking, banish all fear and replace this feeling with love; in all of this, act gently, sweetly, steadily, without haste, without anger. Walk in this fashion in all graciousness, abandonment and complete confidence.”-Fr. Jacques Philippe, Searching For and Maintaining Peace of Heart

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This graceful Vintaj necklace can be worn every day as a reminder of your devotion to this wonderful and saintly couple, Saints Louis and Zelie Martin (St. Therese, the Little Flower’s parents). Get it blessed and you can use it also as a sacramental. What better way to honor this couple who we can pray to for our marriage and for our family! Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin, Pray for us! Order here.
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This ‘n’ That, How ‘Bout a Chat?

This last weekend was memorable for my family. My husband, Vincent, and most of the children at home went on a chartered bus from Kansas to Oklahoma City with a bus load of 58 people from our parish to peacefully protest the black mass that was being held at the Civic Center in Oklahoma City.

Let me backtrack. Our parish started a Knights of Columbus Council committed to the Traditional Mass about two years ago. Many men of the parish are involved. I could go on with a list of what these men have done for our parish in helping the needy, boosting morale, being there to raise money and serve food at funerals, cooking, cleaning……It is truly amazing!

Our Council is named after Father Kenneth Walker who was murdered just over two years ago. He himself was a Fourth Degree Knight and his father, Tom Walker, is also a Fourth Degree Knight and belongs to our Council.

Back to the Protest…..The Knights of Columbus raised $2800.00 to charter the bus (that’s a lot of money for a small parish with lots of big families!) and, with singing and praying, the band of 58 Catholics made their way to do what they could to make reparation for this terrible outrage that was taking place on Our Lady’s Feast of the Assumption.

Below are some pictures of our group at the Protest. My husband is Grand Knight of our Council and had the special privilege of leading the Procession.

On the Bus:

My husband, Vincent:

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Grandsons, Edward and Antonio:

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Rosie and Margy with their dad.

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Gabe Bogowith, Tom Walker, Vince VanderPutten, John Doucette, John Dorsey:

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Hubby, Vincent, on the left, Mr. Tom Walker (Fr. Kenneth Walker’s dad) on the right:

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Processing with Our Lady:

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Yes, we CAN make a difference! “Adam Daniels, who led the Black Mass, said attendance at this annual black mass is usually low because people may be scared to attend. He said the Christian events held in response to his also keep attendance down.

‘When you have the whole Roman legion out there, how likely are they to come and buy tickets?’ he said.” -Fox News

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On another note here is a beautiful video of nuns taking the Veil in 1963:

 

And I think you will enjoy this one. *Note: Definition of a Millennial – a person reaching young adulthood around the year 2000….

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Take a peek at the gorgeous Spanish Mantillas, beautifully made in Spain, that I am now selling on my site here!!

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