Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Catholic Giving

A friend sent me this article out of the bulletin from St. John Cantius this weekend. The Brothers of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius are very orthodox and are doing all they can to bring reverence back to the Mass. I know that people travel far distances to attend Mass here, especially the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. Unfortunately, we have yet to make it there, but I hear that the church itself is quite beautiful.

Anyhow, here is an interesting article and some food for thought:

A few months back there was an article in the Chicago Tribune which spoke about a seminar conducted at Loyola University under the title “Satan Seminar”. This was a three day workshop which basically praised Satan and all his works. Students attending the seminar found the theories more helpful than heretical. One therapist went away from the seminar with the attitude “I think it will help one to see Satan as God’s advocate,” “it will help them [her patients] understand that some truth can come through this dark and frightening experience. An agent of God can be an agent of healing.”

We know and hear of other “Catholic” institutions condoning all sorts of anti-Catholic seminars, classes, attitudes. Most “Catholic” institutions are catholic in name only for they have given up teaching of the Faith years ago. Today we hear of the flurry, outrage etc. of Notre Dame inviting the President to speak at the graduation and receive some type of award. With thousands of protests from alumni and concerned individuals the program pushes forward with the attitude from the administration, “we expected this reaction.” Yes the Guard has changed and changed dramatically.

Could someone answer this question? Why do so many people continue to support these so called institutions by sending their children to them for studies; continuing to support programs run by these institutions; by leaving them enormous sums of money in their wills?

In the past a number of our parishioners have remembered the parish or the Canons in their wills, which assisted us greatly. However, I know of a number of individuals who plan to leave large portions of their estates to so called Catholic institutions, ignoring the fact that they no longer adhere to Catholic teaching. If you have a will and plan to support your “old alma mater” check to see what they are presently doing as regards teaching the Faith. YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR WILLS AND BEGIN TO SUPPORT COLLEGES, PARISHES, RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES THAT ARE FAITHFUL TO THE MAGISTERIUM.

IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A WILL PLAN TO MAKE ONE. If more people would take this advice, maybe, just maybe the tables could be turned. In the meantime, by leaving funds, bequests, estates to Institutions that are truly obedient and faithful to the Church you would be helping these institutions, most of which have developed over the last twenty years or so, continue their good work.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Performing and Homeschooling

After our performance Saturday evening, I was talking to a friend of one of our relatives and we were discussing how much work goes into a production of this sort. He commented that we must not be able to get much homeschooling done during this time. I tried to explain to him that this was our homeschooling. Yes, the bookwork gets cut down a bit while we're performing, but the things the kids (and myself) learn while doing something like this certainly qualifies as education.

Yesterday I gave more thought to the myriad of things we've learned since being involved in these productions. They include, but are not limited to:

- Dance
- Theatre - including the art of costuming, makeup and "staying in your role"
- Sewing - we've got tunic making down to a science
- Timing
- Music - learning to listen for key parts of the music and being exposed to a wide variety of music
- Listening to and taking direction from someone other than Mom
- Practicing the virtues of patience, perseverance, charity and obedience
- Learning to act with a wide variety of ages - from age 6 up to 50 + year olds
- Deepening our prayer life by praying for the performances and praying about the roles to be played
- Learning to budget our time so that we can do all that needs to be done
- Learning how to plan easy-to-pack-and-eat-on-the-run-yet-nutritious meals (can you say...pizza!)
- Learning to how to graciously accept compliments
- Learning how to function on less than optimal sleep

If this doesn't qualify for some real-life training and education, I don't know what does! I know that this type of learning is not limited to just homeschoolers, but since, as homeschooling parents, we are directly responsible for our children's education as well as extra things like this, it helps to take a step back and look at all the good things they are learning so that we don't feel "guilty" if we fall behind in the books.

We are very thankful for the opportunity to be involved in something as rewarding as these performances. Since I never was a part of anything like this in my youth, I'm glad I get the chance to live it through my children! Isn't God good?


Friday, March 27, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday Vol 17

7 Pictures from the 7 Last Words rehearsal last night for 7 Quick Takes Friday!

1.


2.

3.


4.

5.
6.

7.



Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pray for The Conversion of this Man and His Family

Here is a thought-provoking article that was sent to me today. Please pray that this man allows this horrible tragedy to change his heart.

Family of Irving 'Bud' Feldkamp, Owner of the Nation's Largest Privately Owned Abortion Chain, Dies in Montana Plane Crash

Contact: Gingi Edmonds, www.gingiedmonds.com, 559-772-7911


MEDIA ADVISORY, Mar. 24 /Christian Newswire/ -- Some of you may have seen the major news story of the private plane that crashed into a Montana cemetery, killing 7 children and 7 adults.

But what the news sources fail to mention is that the Catholic Holy Cross Cemetery owned by Resurrection Cemetery Association in Butte - contains a memorial for local residents to pray the rosary, at the 'Tomb of the Unborn'. This memorial, located a short distance west of the church, was erected as a dedication to all babies who have died because of abortion.

What else is the mainstream news not telling you? The family who died in the crash near the location of the abortion victim's memorial, is the family of Irving 'Bud' Feldkamp, owner of the largest for-profit abortion chain in the nation.

Family Planning Associates was purchased four years ago by Irving Moore "Bud" Feldkamp III, owner of Allcare and Hospitality Dental Associates and CEO of Glen Helen Raceway Park in San Bernardino. The 17 California Family Planning clinics perform more abortions in the state than any other abortion provider - Planned Parenthood included - and they perform abortions through the first five months of pregnancy.

Although Feldkamp is not an abortionist, he reaps profits of blood money from the tens of thousands of babies that are killed through abortions performed every year at the clinics he owns. His business in the abortion industry was what enabled him to afford the private plane that was carrying his family to their week-long vacation at The Yellowstone Club, a millionaires-only ski resort.

The plane went down on Sunday, killing two of Feldkamp's daughters, two sons-in-law and five grandchildren along with the pilot and four family friends. The plane, a single-engine turboprop flown by Bud Summerfield of Highland, crashed into the Catholic cemetery and burst into flames, only 500 ft. from its landing destination. All aboard were killed.

The cause of the crash is a mystery. The pilot, who was a former military flier who logged over 2,000 miles, gave no indication to air traffic controllers that the aircraft was experiencing difficulty when he asked to divert to an airport in Butte. Witnesses report that the plane suddenly nosedived toward the ground with no apparent signs of a struggle. There was neither a cockpit voice recorder nor a flight data recorder onboard, and no radar clues into the planes final moments because the Butte airport is not equipped with a radar facility. Some speculate that the crash was due to ice on the wings, but this particular plane model has been tested for icy weather and experts have stated that ice being the cause is unlikely.

In my time working for Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, I helped organize and conduct a weekly campaign where youth activists stood outside of Feldkamp's mini-mansion in Redlands holding fetal development signs and raising community awareness regarding Feldkamp's dealings in child murder for profit. Every Thursday afternoon we called upon Bud and his wife Pam to repent, seek God's blessing and separate themselves from the practice of child killing.

We warned him, for his children's sake, to wash his hands of the innocent blood he assisted in spilling because, as Scripture warns, if "you did not hate bloodshed, bloodshed will pursue you". (Ezekiel 35:6)

A news source states that Bud Feldkamp visited the site of the crash with his wife and their two surviving children on Monday. As they stood near the twisted and charred debris talking with investigators, light snow fell on the tarps that covered the remains of their children.

I don't want to turn this tragic event into some creepy spiritual 'I told you so' moment, but I think of the time spent outside of Feldkamp's - Pam Feldkamp laughing at the fetal development signs, Bud Feldkamp trying not to make eye contact as he got into his car with a small child in tow - and I think of the haunting words, 'Think of your children.' I wonder if those words were haunting Feldkamp as well as he stood in the snow among the remains of loved ones, just feet from the 'Tomb of the Unborn'?

I only hope and pray that in the face of this tragedy, Feldkamp recognizes his need for repentance and reformation. I pray that God will use this unfortunate catastrophe to soften the hearts of Bud and Pam and that they will draw close to the Lord and wash their hands of the blood of thousands of innocent children, each as precious and irreplaceable as their own.

"I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then." (Deut. 30:19)

Gingi Edmonds is a freelance pro-life activist, writer and photographer based out of Hanford, California. Gingi writes a bi-monthly ProLife Opinion Column and is available for pro-life presentations and speaking engagements. Visit www.gingiedmonds.com for more information.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mary and Joseph




Happy Feast of the Annunciation! Another day in the middle of Lent to celebrate! In honor of Mary's "yes" let us take a moment to pray the Magnificat with her:
My soul doth magnify the Lord.
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name.
And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him.
He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble.
He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy:
As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever. Amen.
And, since it is still the month of March, the month of St. Joseph, I would like to include a poem that was sent to me about St. Joseph in Limbo. I had never read it before, and I have to admit that since I'm not much of a poetry fanatic, it took me a few days to get around to it, but now that I have read it, I really like it. Hope you do, too:

Limbo

The ancient greyness shifted
Suddenly and thinned
Like mist upon the moors
Before a wind.
An old, old prophet lifted
A shining face and said:
"He will be coming soon.
The Son of God is dead;
He died this afternoon."

A murmurous excitement stirred all souls.
they wondered if they dreamed-
Save one old man who seemed
Not even to have heard.

And Moses standing,
Hushed them all to ask
If any had a welcome song prepared.
If not, would David take the task?
And if they cared
Could not the three young children sing
The Benedicite, the canticle of praise
They made when God kept them from perishing
In the fiery blaze?

A breath of spring surprised them,
Stilling Moses' words.
No one could speak, remembering
The first fresh flowers,
The little singing birds.
Still others thought of fields new ploughed

Or apple trees
All blossom-boughed.
Or some, the way a dried bed fills
With water
Laughing down green hills.
The fisherfolk dreamed of the foam
On bright blue seas.
The one old man who had not stirred
Remembered home.
And there He was
Splendid as the morning sun and fair
As only God is fair.
And they, confused with joy,
Knelt to adore
Seeing that He wore
Five crimson stars
He never had before.

No canticle at all was sung.
None toned a psalm, or raising a greeting song,
A silent man alone
Of all that throng
Found tongue-
Not any other.
Close to His heart
When embrace was done,
Old Joseph said,
"How is your Mother,
How is your Mother, Son?"

Sister Mary Ada, C.S.J.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Memorable Quotes

I was looking over posts from when I began my blog (hoping for some kind of inspiration, I guess) when I happened upon these two quotes:

"If you wish to go to extremes, let it be in sweetness, patience, humility and charity."
St Philip Neri

"The highest degree of meekness consists in seeking, serving, honoring, and treating amiably, on occasion, those who are not to our taste, and who show themselves unfriendly, ungrateful, and troublesome to us."
St Frances de Sales


Very timely quotes, seeing as it is Lent, and, as I said before, the devil is working overtime to bring unrest and dissension into as many situations as he can right now! Today, let's all try to be extremists - in sweetness, patience, humility and charity! If I can pull it off, I'm sure my family will wonder what I'm up to!

Wait, one final quote that I just saw in an email:

"Faithfully do what God expects of you each moment, and leave the rest to Him. I assure you that living in this manner will bring you great peace." ~St. Jane Frances de Chantal



Monday, March 23, 2009

Words from the New Mount Carmel

We got a newsletter the other day from the Carmelite Monastery in Wyoming (you know, the monks over on the right of my blog who roast their own coffee) and I finally got a chance to read it yesterday. What a very basic life they lead. I like looking at the pictures they have in their newsletters: pictures of the monks kneeling on the hardwood floor for prayers and for Mass - without any cushions or kneelers!

Towards the end of the letter, Father was talking about the Blessed Sacrament. He said that in Wyoming they are working to purchase a ranch so that they could offer retreats and so that there would be another place in this world where "Our Lord would be praised and the Blessed Sacrament reserved" (in the words of St. Teresa of Avila). He continues,

"As our world starves in anguish to be fed with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, we need the Holy Eucharist to be reposed in many places...As a priest, I know that one of the most powerful spiritual realities and sources of conversion is adoration of the Blessed Sacrament."

If you've frequented Adoration, you know what this priest is talking about. Adoration is like a drug. The more you go, the more you realize how much you need it! What fruit comes from frequent Adoration! If you haven't been in awhile, make some time this week to go visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

Father ends his letter with some great advice. He knows that sometimes we can't always stop in at a church that we pass along the way (mainly because they are usually locked!) but he reminds us of this very good habit,

"If we cannot visit, let us always acknowledge his Real Prsence by making the sign of the cross when we pass a Catholic Church. The Lord is waiting for us in the Eucharist and waiting for us to place our needs before him. If we are faithful to our Lenten practices, attend Benediction when possible and spend additional time before the august Sacrament of the Altar, we should be confident that God will work miracles of conversion and healing for us this Lent."

Going back to the part about making the sign of the cross, this takes awhile to get into the habit of doing, but once you remember, you can start to have some fun with it. It's fun to see who in the car is the first to notice a Catholic Church, especially one you haven't driven by before. Every time we pass one, at least one person will yell out "church" at which point everyone knows to make the sign of the cross. There have been times when we've yelled out things like, "truck" or "bank" when passing a truck or bank, just to see who is paying attention. Inevitably, someone makes the sign of the cross (and who says Catholics don't have fun :)

We travel down one road in particular quite often where there is a bridge over a small river and then there is a Monastery at which point we always say "church" and make the sign of the cross. One time when we were somewhere else, we crossed over on a similar looking bridge, at which point Mr. 3 yo yelled out "church". Of course, there wasn't one to be found anywhere, but it was nice to know that he had been paying attention to his surroundings!

Oh well, back to the Carmelites. What beautiful words Father had for us all. If you would like to help them be able to purchase their ranch and establish a retreat house, then feel free to click on the big banner on the right hand side and buy some of their really delicious coffee!


Friday, March 20, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday Vol 16

I'm short on time this week, so these might be rather disjointed Quick Takes. Check out Conversion Diary for more!

1.

Did you hear that the Holy Father has declared June 19, 2009-June 19, 2010 as the Year of the Priest to help inspire "spiritual perfection" in priests. This is very timely!

2.

A big Happy 17th Birthday to my eldest daughter today. For security reasons, I've included a picture of her in one of her favorite disguises. (Which way is she facing?)


3.

I found this quote in our diocesan newspaper this week. The article was talking about "Sully" the pilot who landed the airplane in the Hudson River. He said he felt as if his entire life was set up to prepare him for this day. The author then goes on to talk about a book about the Blessed Mother written by Fulton Sheen who states that, "God always prepares extensively before He acts." This is good news to keep in mind when thinking about the future. Another reason not to worry about what might happen.

4.

I forgot to put this in my post yesterday about St. Joseph. Here is a great prayer to St. Joseph that has been around for a long time. Pray it every day or as a novena.

Prayer to St. Joseph over 1900 years old
O 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. O 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 Loving of Fathers. O 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 to 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.

5.

If you have a minute, would you mind praying a Memorare for our Seven Last Words of Christ performance? We had practice last night and many things went wrong. The devil appears to be working overtime and we have faced many obstacles. Based on that, I think it is going to be a FABULOUS performance! Thanks for the prayers!

6.

Oh yeah, Happy 1st Day of Spring. Once Lent is over, I'll be sure to put up a nice springy looking header! Until then, you will have to be content gazing upon the cross.

7.
I'm dead tired and I've racked my brain and I can't think of anything else to write, which for me, is unusual! So, on that note, have a nice day and a peaceful weekend!





Thursday, March 19, 2009

Happy Feast of St. Joseph!


In honor of St. Joseph, the most chaste spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I thought I would share another profound entry that I read from the book "Jesus Our Eucharistic Love".

And St. Philip Neri, a priest thoroughly knowledgeable in the ways of young people remarked: "Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and devotion to the Blessed Virgin are not simply the best way, but in fact are the only way to conserve purity. At the age of twenty, nothing but Communion can keep one's heart pure...Chastity is not possible without the Eucharist."


Two things that this world needs in great abundance, a devotion to the Blessed Mother and a devotion to the Eucharist! Let us ask St. Joseph to intercede for us so that we might receive them both.

St. Joseph, Pray for Us!


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Preserve Your Faith

I try really hard not to be an alarmist. I like to think that as time goes on, I'm learning to trust more and more in the fact that God is in control of everything - even in the minutest details of my life.

However, once in a while I read something that really smacks me upside the head. I've gone back to this post three times now and I can't seem to get this one part out of my mind, so I'm going to share it with all of you. Do with it what you will.

This is from Mark Mallett's most recent blog post entitled, "Revolution". You really have to read the entire post to get a feel for what he is talking about, but he is referring to a priest who receives visits from souls in purgatory, as well as others in Heaven. Recently this is what the priest heard:

And then recently, in January 2009, Fr. audibly heard St. Therese repeat her message with more urgency:

In a short time, what took place in my native country, will take place in yours. The persecution of the Church is imminent. Prepare yourself.

"It will happen so fast," he told me, "that no one will really be prepared. People think this can’t happen in America. But it will, and soon."

Right before this section, Mark includes this quote:

Be careful to preserve your faith, because in the future the Church in the U.S.A will be separated from Rome. —St. Leopold Mandic (1866-1942 A.D.), Antichrist and the End Times, Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi, p.27

What jumps out at me in both of these is the "prepare" message. Prepare your hearts, receive the sacraments as often as you can, "preserve your faith". What better way to help you to "preserve your faith" than frequent reception of the sacraments? Even if nothing happens for years, I figure I'll still be better off for it. I guess I look at it as a win-win situation. Sure it's a hardship sometimes to get to Mass during the week, but what if next year I can't even get to Sunday Mass?

Again, I'm not trying to promote fear here in anyway. I read somewhere else this past week that God gives us these "warnings" so that we have time to prepare. I just wanted to put this out there as some food for thought. Maybe you've also been feeling like it's time to work harder at spiritually preparing yourself?


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Get A Plan!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

(Note: This has nothing to do with St. Patrick!) We received a newsletter in the mail the other day from the nuns in Hanceville, AL. (Sweet Home Alabama - my heart has been yearning to go there again.....) Anyhow, in their newsletter they gave their daily schedule and, after analyzing it, I was in awe of how balanced it was. Here is their day:

5:20 Rise
6:05 Prayers
7:00 Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
8:00 Thanksgiving
8:20 Holy Rosary
8:50 Breakfast
9:00 - 11:30 Work
11:30 Prayers
12:00 Dinner
12:30 - 2:00 Free time
2:00 - 4:00 Work
4:00 Lesson
4:30 Spiritual Reading
5:00 Prayer time
5:30 Supper
6:30 Recreation
8:00 Grand Silence

I like how they have about 4 1/2 hours of prayer a day balanced by about 4 hours of work and 3 hours of free/recreation time. (By the way, this is an order of contemplative nuns). In the newsletter they comment, "The daily monastic schedule is the sturdy anchor of the religious house. Each hour of the day is determined, enabling us to embrace the present moment with certainty and freedom, always knowing when and where we are supposed to be." (italics added)

Isn't that beautiful. You better believe this schedule and that quote is going to find its way into my "A Plan For Joy in the Home" workshop. It sums everything up so wonderfully. When our day has a plan, we can focus on the moment, not worrying or thinking about what else needs to be done or what we would rather be doing, knowing that everything will be allotted its proper time during the day.

If you have been thinking about being more organized in your day or have gotten away from a schedule, maybe this will give you some food for thought about getting one in place!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Odds and Ends

I know I'm supposed to save all these little things for my "quick takes" on Friday, but that's too far away and I'll probably forget them by then. So...

I've been thinking about doing a post about the Rosary of Our Lady of Sorrows for a few weeks now. Our Lady of Kibeho, when she appeared in Rwanda, urged people to learn this rosary and to pray it. The priests of Miles Christi also advocate praying this rosary. Fortunately for me, my daughter did all the work. If you're interested in learning more about this rosary, along with directions on how to pray it, just check it out here!

How easy it is to be full of gratitude when the sun is shining brightly and the air is warming up. I think I like Spring best of all because it feels like being reborn after a long winter of being cooped up in the house! So today I thank you Lord for:

~ a beautiful day yesterday

~ a MIL who can cook a mean corned beef and make an awesome Irish soda bread! Something we all look forward to every year.

~ my daughter's prayers being answered so quickly - she took it upon herself to pray for her Godmother to get a good job, quickly, and we just found out that she had started her new, better paying job this past Friday. I love when God answers prayers so obviously!

Like I said, it's easy to be grateful on a beautiful day. Now I just have to remember to be grateful on days when it is cloudy and cold and everything seems to be going wrong!


Friday, March 13, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday Vol 15

1.

I think this week I'll go back to random thoughts. I was kind of liking that theme thing, but this week I couldn't think of a theme. Any suggestions? Besides, when Jen at Conversion Diary came up with the idea for the Quick Takes, she mentioned that it would be a forum for 7 random, unrelated thoughts. Oh well (and I'm usually the type that follows directions!)

2.

A friend of mine asked me if I would be interested in her son's blog (since she said we seemed like the blogging type :) who is a senior at Franciscan University studying archeology. I checked out his blog, Catholicism Rediscovered, and it looks great (although it might be too deep for me sometimes!). I thought I would introduce you all to him and let you check it out for yourselves.

3.

Why is it that very rarely are any toys we get in this house used the way they were intended. We might get a toy with a bunch of different parts, let's say a bunch of Lincoln Logs, and they use them for pig food. Or right now, Mr. 3 yo and Ms. 5 yo are using tanagram pieces to bake cookies and make sandwhiches. I guess it shows good imagination, right?

4.

End Of The Present WorldHas anyone read the book just out that inspired St. Therese to ask her father if she could enter the convent? It looks like a great book. I suppose it will be one I will have to get and read, I just hope it doesn't take me too long. With all of the "interesting" things going on in the world today, it could be a very timely book!







5.


Have I mentioned our upcoming performances of the "Seven Last Words of Christ"? Have you bought your tickets yet?

6.

Last night at dinner, my husband and I got to talking about the old Carol Burnett show. Just thinking about some of the skits made us laugh. To introduce our kids to her, we found the parody she did of "Gone with the Wind". If you ever watched her show, you remember this as one of her best. Here is part I and part II of the skit "Went with the Wind". Go ahead, have a good laugh!

7.

Well, Illinois is up to it again! If you live in this state, it is time to call your State Representative and urge them to vote NO on HB 2354 which is the Illinois version of FOCA. Bad news for all of us!
If you do not know your state representative, visit the Illinois General Assembly's web site at www.ilga.gov <http://www.ilga.gov> find the Legislator Lookup link at the bottom-right of the web page and when prompted enter your address and zip code. The name of your state representative and his or her contact in! formation should come up.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Our Lady of Kibeho

Our Lady of Kibeho: Messages from the Mother of God in the Heart of Africa
This is the third book by Immaculee Ilibagiza. This book is about Our Lady when she appeared in the small village of Kibeho in Rwanda beginning in 1981, thirteen years before the Rwandan genocide.

In this book, Immaculee tells us about the visionaries themselves and what their visions were like. There are many fascinating details in this book. Many miracles took place in Kibeho, but until now they have been relatively unknown.

Kibeho became an approved apparition site in 2001, just like Fatima and Lourdes. On top of that, it is the only approved Marian apparition on the entire continent of Africa. As of now, only the first three of the eight total visionaries have been approved by the Church.

The theme of forgiveness is carried throughout this book, too. When Mary appeared, she begged people to turn toward God and away from the hatred they had in their hearts. She warned that if they did not do this, horrible things would happen in their country. Some of the visionaries even had visions of the violence that would eventually strike their country.

I think the most amazing thing about this is that the Mother of God could appear in this country - Immaculee describes how people were converting and being nicer than ever - and yet 13 years later one of the most horrible acts of violence could be committed in the same place. Apparently people did not let go of enough of the hatred they had in their hearts and the devil was able to sweep them away.

Here are just a few of my favorite parts. When Immaculee's father comes home to explain that a miracle was occurring in Rwanda, he says, "Miracles can happen, but we make them happen through faith, prayer and hard work." What a great statement!

Later in the book, Immaculee tells what Mary said to the visionary Valentine about how to pray. The quote itself is rather long, so I'll highlight the steps she laid out:

1. Ask for the strength and knowledge to understand what is expected of you.
2. Offer to God all you conceal in your soul - you must confess all of your transgressions of body, mind and spirit.
3. Ask for God's forgiveness from the bottom of your heart
4. Forgive all those who have hurt or offended you and then ask God to bless them.
5. Pray for the spiritual and physical welfare of your relatives, that God may bless them.
6. Give thanks to God for receiving and answering your prayers.
7. Ask God for the strength to do His will.
8. Pray for the strength to be humble.

There you go, straight from Heaven, a lesson in how to pray. Once you know this, you can look back on Immaculee's other two books and see that she did all of this whenever she prayed. It's a lot to remember, but I think it is worth the effort.

I believe that Our Lady's message at Kibeho is just as crucial for us today in this country as it was back in 1981: "Love God, love and be kind to each other, read the Bible, follow God's commandments, accept the love of Christ, repent for sins, be humble, seek and offer forgiveness and live the gift of your life how God wants you to - with a clean and open heart and a clear conscience."


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Father, into Your Hands

A friend of mine reminded me about a book that she gave me last Lent entitled, "The Pain of Christ and the Sorrow of God" by Gerald Vann, OP. I remembered that it was a very good book to read during Lent so when I got home I pulled it off the shelf.

Just for kicks, I opened it up to see what I would find and this is what I read. It was such a good reminder (worthy of being posted in my kitchen) that I wanted to share it with you all.

"There is one simple way in which we can try to make sure that our activity is indeed Christ acting through us. You remember the last words of all: Father into your hands I commend my spirit. If, before starting any work for men, any speaking or writing or activity that will directly affect men, any puzzling over a problem that concerns others as well as yourself, you make a habit of invoking the Holy Spirit, the Bringer of Wisdom, and then say with Christ the words of Christ, Into your hands...then you are doing your best to put the thing into God's hands, to make it part of His will and His wisdom, and so you can cease to worry about the result because you can leave the result to Him."

On second thought, maybe this should be posted right next to the computer so that before I sit down to blog or email, I remember to place it all in His hands. I've been struggling with finding time to get my website done. It seems I have all these ideas that keep popping into my head, but never any time to get them onto the site. I think I'll try this method and see how it goes.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Led By Faith

This is the second book in Immaculee's "trilogy". I thought I would give a quick review of this book since we have to take it back to the library tomorrow.
Led by Faith: Learning to Trust God in All Things
In this book, Immaculee goes into much more detail about the spiritual side of her 91 day entrapment in the bathroom and the events that took place after the Rwandan genocide. It was quite fascinating to get a more in depth look into what she was thinking while these events were taking place.

I noticed that whenever she would encounter something that was bad, such as when she went into one of the prisons that held many of the Hutu criminals, she would say a quick prayer to God to ask Him to pour out His blessings on the person or place that she found distressing. The first few times she talked about doing that it took me by surprise. It was a good lesson for me, because saying a quick prayer to God in situations like that might not be the first thing that I would think of doing.

I think that the main message of this book is to teach people how to forgive others for the hurt that they have caused them and to not hold on to anger or bad feelings towards others. At one point, Immaculee talks about meeting Dr. Wayne Dyer. Wayne was asking her how she could go through something so horrible yet still be laughing and smiling.

Immaculee responds, "Oh, it's no secret: God taught me how to forgive. It's hard not to have love in your heart when God takes away all the hatred."

This book is a must for anyone who is holding on to hurt and hatred. There are some very powerful lessons in here about how to forgive and to love again. It is also a must read if you've read the first book "Left to Tell". All in all I would highly recommend this next book by Immaculee Ilibagiza.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Signs of Spring

Well, not quite yet, but we have had two days in the low 60s. Yippee! Of course it will be getting colder again, but we'll take what we can get.


Here are the girls outside in the nice sunshine practicing for their upcoming "Seven Last Words of Christ" performance. If you haven't gotten tickets yet, check it out here.

And the first green stuff to pop its head up above ground!

Have a great weekend!


Friday, March 6, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday Vol 14

1.

In honor of Jen at Conversion Diary, our hostess, having a baby this week, I thought I would center my Quick Takes around my children. It always amazes how fast the time goes by and how quickly they grow up. It might be hard to have your children close in age when they are little, but once they get a bit older, I find that the closeness is very nice.

2.

My baby is officially growing up. Mr. 3 yo had quite a bad cold this week. He woke up one night with that croupy sounding cough that I just hate. After I got him settled down again and tucked back into bed, I stood next to his bed for a few minutes to make sure he was okay. It was at that moment that he opened his eyes and said, "You can leave now." "Are you sure," I said. "Yes" was his reply. Oh well...

3.

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
Ms. 5 yo had a big day this week, too. We've been doing some phonics/reading lessons with the book "Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons" and this week she read her first three words. I think it actually made sense to her, too! The first time I saw this book I thought it was a pretty dumb way to teach your kids to read. I ended up needing to use it with my second child and I have used it with everyone ever since. It really is easy and it works, too!

4.

Speaking of kids growing up, you would think that Mr 8 yo would be past the age of wanting to cut his own hair but we found out last weekend that he is not. The kicker is that I had just taken him to get a really nice, short haircut on Thursday. Apparently he wanted to see what he looked like with the front of his hair cut down to his scalp. Unfortunately it doesn't go well with the rest of his hair that isn't cut down to his scalp. And I thought this only happened with girls!

5.

I happened to see Ms. 10 yo reading my blog the other day. I asked her if she read it often to which she replied, "I usually read it, except for your Quick Takes Friday." "Why is that?" I asked. "Well," she replied, "they're usually too long." So much for being quick. I'll try to do better.

6.

As I said earlier this week, Ms 15 yo celebrated her birthday. I always marvel at the different personalities that exist in this household. Some of the kids need trumpets blown and fanfare all day long when it is their birthday. Ms 15 yo was content to pass the day quite unobtrusively. When I asked her why she had been so quiet on her big day she told me that it was just her personality. Thank God for differences!

7.

One of the joys of having your children close in age is that, when they get older, you can all fight over the same books. We currently have all three of Immaculee's books in our house - Left To Tell, "Led By Faith" and "Our Lady of Kibeho" - and myself and my oldest three children have spent the past week or so stealing them from each other so that we can be the first to finish them. Ms 16 yo is, of course, the first one to finish all three of them. I think she finished the last book in under three hours so I must not be giving her enough to do! True to form, Ms 15 yo has been quietly waiting for someone to put a book down so that she can pick it up, while Ms 13 yo and I are usually the ones who end up physically fighting over a book :) Since I usually win, she doesn't just patiently wait for me to be done, she stares at me, taps her fingers and continually asks me when I am going to be finished. Ah the joys of many children. You better believe that I wouldn't want it any other way! Thank you Jesus!



Thursday, March 5, 2009

Left to Tell Part II

When I was growing up, my mother had serious back problems and at least once a year would end up spending 6 - 8 weeks lying on her back in a hospital bed with her legs up in traction. I remember her telling me one time that in order to survive lying there for that long without being able to really move, she had found a way to not be able to think of anything. Somehow she would retreat into a "blank spot", if you will, in her mind so as not to be aware of the time passing. This was before my mother was a spiritual person. Had she been spiritual at the time, I think she would have described what she did as something like what follows.

Left To Tell In the book "Left to Tell", Immaculee describes how she hid in a 4 ft. by 3 ft. bathroom with five other women for 91 days. She said that the room was so cramped that they all had to move at the same time in order for one person to stretch their legs. She described how her legs were constantly cramping and her tailbone burned from sitting in a crouched position for endless hours. They were never allowed to even whisper for fear someone in the house might hear them and turn them over to the killers.

I tried to imagine being stuck in the same uncomfortable spot for that long and I just couldn't do it. It seems beyond my ability to stay that still for so long without screaming; add to that the stress of knowing that one sound or bump against the wall could mean the end of my life.

What I found solace in was when Immaculee described that she had a place in her heart that she would retreat to for 15 to 20 hours at a time to talk with God. She described it as "like a little slice of heaven, where my heart spoke to His holy spirit, and His spirit spoke to my heart. He assured me that while I lived in His spirit, I'd never be abandoned, never be alone, and never be harmed."

This part of the book brought me tremendous comfort. It kind of goes along with my thoughts from yesterday: God will not abandon those of His children that remain close to Him, therefore, spend your time now developing a strong relationship with Him. Because Immaculee turned to God in her troubles, which was something she was used to doing, He gave her a supernatural way to deal with the situation she was in. Only through His help would it be possible to endure what she endured. I found great comfort in knowing that God cared so much for her that He took her away from her horrible surroundings and held her close to Him.

This book is full of little lessons like this. If you're looking for a book to help you advance in your spiritual life, as well as keep you riveted to your seat, this is a good one to get!


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Left To Tell Part I

Today I'd like to start a series of posts about an incredible book, actually a series of books, that I just read. Last week on Quick Takes I listed six books that were on my list of "Books That Impacted My Life". Well, make room for number seven.

Left To Tell
Last week my daughter had checked out "Left To Tell" by Immaculee Ilibagiza. A friend of mine had gone to hear her speak a few weeks ago and was very moved by the event. My daughter read the book in about four hours and so I took the opportunity to snatch it up myself. Let's just say I was blown away.

This book is the story of how Immaculee survived the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Words cannot describe how incredibly moving this book was. I will warn you that she is very graphic in her descriptions, but it serves a very good purpose. I don't think the full impact of exactly what happened in that country would have hit me as hard if she hadn't told exactly what kind of atrocities were committed against her people.

There are so many good lessons in this very humble and well written book. I think I might take a few days to bring out some of the ones that struck me the most. For today, however, I just want to say something about being prepared. There has been a lot of talk that I've heard and read about preparing for things that might be coming. In our house we've gone around about what that means. Is that spiritual preparation, physical preparation or both?

I can say that after I was done reading this book, I was even more convinced that any time that we spend preparing our hearts and minds spiritually will put us farther ahead than time we spend preparing physically. Immaculee had nothing to fall back on for 91 days except her relationship with God. Even if she knew what was coming and had prepared physically (meaning stored up food, water, etc), in this case it wouldn't have done her any good. What did benefit her was her faith in God which was something that had been nurtured and developed throughout her 24 years of life.

I truly believe that if we've been homeschooling our children in preparation for some earthly event (and not just Heaven), then the time that we have spent preparing them spiritually will be the greatest asset they will take with them as we move forward in time.

I can't say enough about this book. I think it is a must read for anyone who is concerned about what lies ahead for our country in the near future. You won't walk away from this book depressed. Instead, you'll be energized to take your faith even more seriously.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Intermission

I'm waiting on some information about a post that I really can't wait to put together, but since I haven't gotten it yet, I will post this joke. Consider it an intermission! (I'm pretty sure it's okay to laugh during Lent!)

At Saint Mary's Catholic Church they have a weekly husband's marriage
seminar. At the session last week, the Priest asked Giuseppe, who was
approaching his 50th wedding anniversary, to take a few minutes and
share some insight into how he had managed to stay married to the same
woman all these years.

Giuseppe replied to the assembled husbands, 'Wella, I've a-tried to
treat-a her nicea, spenda da money on her, but besta of alla is, I
tooka her to Italy for the 25th anniversary!'

The Priest responded, 'Giuseppe, you are an amazing inspiration to all
the husbands here! Please tell us what you are planning for your wife
for your 50th anniversary?'

Giuseppe proudly replied, 'I'm agonna go get her.'

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Little Details of Life

Today we celebrate a promotion among our ranks. Ms 14 yo gets promoted to Ms 15 yo. As I often do on birthdays, I marveled last night at how God has made my children so orderly. Well, not that they themselves are orderly, but that the things surrounding their births are orderly. For example:

- It wasn't until a few months after my seventh was born that a friend pointed out the pattern in their first initials, something we didn't plan and didn't even know had happened. From oldest to youngest they are A M T R T M A. Pretty cool, huh?

- My husband I were both born on the 7th of the month, we got engaged on the 7th of the month and were married on the 7th of the month (okay, so the last two were planned :) so it is only appropriate that our 7th child was born on the 7th of the month!

- 8 out of the 9 of us (my husband isn't sure) were born between quarter after the hour and half past the hour.

- One day as I sat looking at all of their pictures I realized that their birthdays are in order from youngest to oldest. #7 April, #6 June, #5 August, #4 November, #3 January, #2 beginning of March, #1 end of March. How cool is that.

Now I know that none of this is really very important, but it always makes me feel good to know that, even in the small, seemingly unimportant details of life, God is there and in charge. I think He does things like this hoping that we will discover them and enjoy them as much as He does. So today, take a moment to look around and try to see God's hand in even the smallest details. When I do, I'm always amazed at what I find.