Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

Adriaen Isenbrant – Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows
wikicommons.org

It is most appropriate that this feast follows the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross. We need to be reminded that no matter what sadness, trial or pain we are enduring, we are triumphant through Christ’s cross and resurrection.

But, today we remember our sorrows and give them the Mary for she is strong enough to carry them when we are not. From today’s Magnificat:

“Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, let us pray:

R: Have pity, Lord, have pity.

For all parents who bear and raise children in poverty and exile: R

For all parents who grieve the loss of a child before birth: R

For all parents who suffer over their children’s life choices: R

For all parents who mourn the death of a child: R

Our Father….

God, our Father, the Blessed Virgin Mary took part in her Son’s redemptive suffering for love of you and for the sake of the world. Through her intercession, may all your Church’s suffering bear saving fruit in Christ our Lord. Amen.

I do not know which of those sufferings listed above apply to you but some apply to me. How consoling it is knowing Mary and her Son, Jesus know of our broken hearts and are providing the grace to endure as we await the completion of God’s perfect plan.

Memorare Army from Benedictine College. A new campaign starts today!

Twice in one day!?! I know, you don’t hear from me in months and now 2x!

But, what I have to share is timely and important. As many of you know, our dear friend Joan Stromberg’s family are long time Ravens from Benedictine College. In honor of the Blessed Mother’s birthday, I wanted to share this important encouragement to join with the campus of Benedictine’s Memorae Army. “On Sept. 8, Benedictine College announces its new Transforming Culture in America strategic plan,” said President Stephen D. Minnis.”

They have been doing this campaign for many years and have been covered by the Nat’l Catholic Register and are even keeping track of Mary’s miracles.

https://www.benedictine.edu/press-room/news/2021/benedictine-launches-prayer-campaign

You can follow the link for more information and even print out a tracker for your use. (I think committing to this would make a lovely birthday present for our Lady Mother Mary, don’t you?)

Happy Birthday, Momma Mary!

How are you going to celebrate your Mother Mary’s birthday? Are you planning on having dessert after dinner tonight? Are you going to say a Rosary as a family?

This year’s celebration is more poignant for me as I lost my earthly mother, Anne Louise Blum VanDurme, on 12/18/2020. While thinking of both of my mothers watching over me fills me with joy, knowing my Mom is no longer on earth makes me sad.

My relationship with my mother was never easy (is anyone’s?). We had some things in common such as both having large families. I was one of 10; beating her with my own eleven. Her advice on cooking for a large crowd was spot on as was her advice on Christmas (3 gifts per child just like Jesus). But, we had a real distance between us. She was never really enthusiastic about our homeschooling and we didn’t always see eye to eye in some matters of faith.

As a result, I often turned to my Mother Mary when I felt let-down by my earthly Mom. I knew Mary would always listen, understood my feelings and never discounted my worries. Mary consoled me when my own mom could not.

Perhaps the same is true for you. Was/Is your own mother like my own? Trying her best but missing the mark? Or perhaps your mother wasn’t even trying. No matter what ‘type’ of mother you have/had, your Blessed Mother Mary is waiting for you.

This year, if you have real sadness about the relationship with your earthly mother, take it to Mother Mary. Let her know of your pain, disappointments and grief. If you have/had a great Mom, then celebrate that with Momma Mary. Rejoice with her that you have your own Anne as she did.

And, in the end, celebrate that we have the Queen of Heaven and Earth at our side. She is always ready to listen and always has the best advice (‘Do whatever He tells you.”). She is standing at her Son’s throne interceding on your behalf and ready to help you be the best mother you can be.

And that good news deserves a brownie for dessert (even if it has to be gluten-free).

Happy Summer! How have you been?

Happiness is secured by virtue, it is a good attained by man’s own will.

St. Thomas More

Happy Feast Day to this saintly husband, father, eloquent lawyer and defender of the Faith.

I know it’s been weeks since we’ve talked and it’s likely you haven’t even noticed I’ve been gone, but I want to let you all know that typing this right now is bringing me some real joy and a much needed sense of normalcy.

If 2020 wasn’t hard enough, 2021 was also a rough start here in the wonderful, world of Watkins’. I have faced some additional health issues, we suffered the loss of my dh Matt’s beloved Mom (Grammie) and have run over a few other bumps on our road of life, all of which have brought in some sadness in my home.

But things are changing, aren’t they? And, now, with the closing of the school year and the opening of the pool at my home, I am finally feeling uplifted and hopeful. How are you?

And did you know??? We have a LITTLE FLOWERS CAMP planned! Check out the link below and look into coming to ours or consider hosting your own.

http://www.beholdpublications.com/SummerCamps/

I hope this start of summer brings some joy and light to your home.

Happy Feast of St. Joseph – which St. Joseph do you need?

Terror of Demons, www.shopmercy.org

Free gift 🙂 included……

In finishing up the novena to St. Joseph, my family will be praying his litany tonight as a part of our family prayer such as you can find over at

https://www.ewtn.com/search

Just put in St. Joseph’s Litany and you’ll get right to the link.

As you read this litany you can’t help but be struck by his powerful titles – Diligent Protector of Christ, Hope of the Sick, and Glory of Home Life. My family’s current favorite? Terror of Demons

Where are you, how is your family? Which of St. Joseph’s titles speaks to what you need? Just as God, the Father sent St. Joseph to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and then as foster father to Jesus, St. Joseph patiently waits to watch over, protect and help you and your family travel safely through your struggles.

And that free gift? Check out this article:

https://www.ncregister.com/blog/growing-in-devotion-to-saint-joseph

Within the article, Fr. Roger Landry speaks of a great little book written in 1956 by Fr. Henri Rodent:

“Father Henri Rondet’s 1956 classic Saint Joseph, a translation of his 1953 French original Saint Joseph: Textes Anciens Avec Une Introduction. It’s the most helpful book on St. Joseph I have ever found.”

The best news? It can be found free on-line!

http://strobertbellarmine.net/books/Rondet–StJoseph.pdf

Maybe it can become a part of your efforts to better celebrate the Year of St. Joseph.

St. Joseph Novena

Looking for ways to increase devotion to St. Joseph during 2021? The Holy Father, Pope Francis, has assigned 2021 the “Year of St. Joseph.” This is the perfect opportunity to start the ancient form of prayer, the novena…nine consecutive days of prayer ending on a specific feast day…to St. Joseph. St. Joseph has two feasts days designated for him. The first is March 19. If you begin your novena today (March 10) you will finish the novena on the eve of the saint’s feast day. You may also begin tomorrow and end on the feast day itself.

St. Joseph’s other feast day is celebrated May 1st, the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. The novena for that feast day would begin April 22nd. You can use novena prayers from this website: praymorenovenas.com or use your own prayers to St. Joseph.

My favorite St. Joseph novena prayer comes from a little blue prayer book affectionately called “The Pieta Prayerbook” because it has an image of Michaelangelo’s Pieta on the cover. You can pick it up at Amazon, or any Catholic book seller very inexpensively.

This particular St. Joseph prayer is over 1900 years old. Our family has prayed this novena prayer to St. Joseph many times during difficult family times and decisions through the years. It has always brought comfort and peace. Please consider praying it with us during this special time.

over 1900 years old

Oh St. Joseph whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires. Oh St. Joseph do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your divine son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, our Lord; so that having engaged here below your heavenly power I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of fathers. Oh St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach while he reposes near your heart. Press him in my name and kiss his fine head for me, and ask him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for us.
Amen.

Looking for more ways to increase devotion to St. Joseph in your families or your Catholic Clubs? Earn our new Year of St. Joseph badge now!

Also: special for the month of March: all badges and awards are 25% OFF! Discount automatically applied at check-out. ORDER TODAY!

Happy Feast of St. Katharine Drexel – what is your purpose in life?

Being as close to Philadelphia as I am, St. Katharine’s feast day is obligatory. She, along with her parents, are remembered for their philanthropy and kindness to everyone who came to their front door.

It should come as no surprise that we Little Flowers remember her attached to the virtue of generosity.

Today, I am meditating on the conversation she had with Pope Leo XIII. On a tour of Europe with her sisters, she had an audience with him asking him to please send missionaries to the Native Americans. He listened carefully and then asked, ‘why don’t you go yourself?’

This question comes at the same time I just read, “Do you really believe God has a plan for your life?” by Jennifer Roback Morse over at the Nat’l Catholic Register.

https://www.ncregister.com/commentaries/do-you-really-believe-god-has-a-plan-for-your-life

It is consoling to remember that this plan can be discovered (or renewed) at any age. Saint Katharine found her vocation to be a missionary around the age of 28, while there are other saints who discovered God’s plan much later than that. St. Louise de Marillac or Servant of God Dorothy Day come to mind here.

It is never too late to discover His plan and once you do remember to pray about that plan daily. It can come from our morning offering or just a mumbled, ‘so, what should I do today, Lord?’ as we awaken.

From planning dinner or when to take a vacation, good planning makes for an easier day and a more fulfilling experience. Granted, God is not micromanaging your meals as chicken is just as good as fish. He thinks a trip to the beach is a great idea as is camping in the mountains. He just asks you be prudent in all your planning, taking into consideration your spouse’s ideas, family circumstances and making sure you remember to keep Him close by, where ever you are.

Mrs. Morse’s article is not about dinner or vacations but the big stuff. She asks, “Do you really believe that God has a plan for the world and for your life? Then trust that plan. Do you really believe God has a plan for your life? Then discover and work that plan. Everything else is a waste of time. Heaven knows, we have no time to waste in the defense of the truths of the faith, and the building of a better world.”

We all know our plans can change due to circumstances out of our hands: illness, unemployment, weather. But keeping on our focus on what God’s plan is for us gives us direction and stability when the world is turned upside down.

(If St. Katharine Drexel’s story is of interest, consider getting a copy of our “The People’s Princess” by Joan Stromberg – https://www.beholdpublications.com/wordpress1/product/the-peoples-princess-a-st-katharine-drexel-story/?v=2320522a6676 )

We are deep into Lent but it’s never too late to start!

One of the best parts of being a Catholic Christian is that God welcomes us at whatever moment we say ‘yes’. We are assured of this welcome from the promise of the parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matt 20) and Jesus’ own words earlier in Matt 11:28ff:

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

Take note – there is no timeframe given, no due date just a “come to me”, and we all qualify for this invitation as all of us are under one burden or another.

So, if you haven’t really jumped into Lent for yourself or your kids might I recommend:


**We are praying for all of you but are offering extra prayers and sacrifices for all the LF/BK families struggling in Texas. May Christ give you strength.**

On the radio today….

Happy Lent! Life has been busy around here, including a wedding of my eldest, Maggie – more on that later, perhaps.

Lent has arrived and we are all making our first steps towards Easter.

With that in mind, today on More2Life, Dr. Greg and Lisa Popcak will be talking about carrying your cross. I’ll be offering my 2 cents and 5 minutes as well.

https://www.ewtn.com/radio/shows/more2life

Up top you’ll see a Listen Live tab; give it a click and join the conversation with a call or just listen to their perspective.

Are you discouraged?

So am I. More discouraging news arrived at my home today, and I found myself truly sad – again. Not wanting to continue down that rabbit hole, I went looking for relief and found this:

https://www.ncregister.com/blog/10-ways-to-lift-up-your-heart

From uplifting painting of John and Peter that illustrated the article written by Patti Maguire Armstrong to her concrete advice, I was reminded of a few helps I had forgotten.

Are you familiar with the Novena of Holy Surrender by Servant of God Fr. Ruotolo? I even got to laugh out loud when she referenced MY Scripture verse for 2021: ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand’” (John 13:7)’.

I’m bookmarking this article so I can reread it throughout the upcoming year as I know that struggles are a part of life. I just do not want to ever echo the disbelief of the people in today’s Gospel (Mk. 6:1-6). I know who Jesus is, regardless of what the world may think or what I may ‘see’.