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Monday, November 10, 2014

Christians Are Born For Combat

Today is the feast of Pope St. Leo the Great who turned back Attila the Hun from the gates of Rome...yes...but I am thinking of another Leo.  

Another LEO....another evil at the gate.....
“To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth, is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe.” The only ones who win when Christians stay quiet, he says, are the enemies of truth. The silence of Catholics is particularly disturbing because frequently a few bold words would have vanquished the false ideas.

Christians are,” Leo continues, “born for combat.” It is part of their nature to follow Christ by espousing unpopular ideas and by defending the truth at great cost to themselves. One of their main duties is “professing openly and unflinchingly the Catholic doctrine”; a second is “propagating it to the utmost of their power.” As many today insist, they should preach the Catholic faith through personal example; at the same time, though, they should also preach the faith “by open and constant profession of the obligations it imposes.” A negative reaction from the public, far from being a sign of mistaken ideas, can serve as evidence of exactly the opposite fact. “Jesus Christ,” the pope points out, “has clearly intimated that the hatred and hostility of men, which he first and foremost experienced, would be shown in like degree toward the work founded by him.” Source

Pope Leo XIII, I will pray the prayer you wrote to St. Michael the defend us in battle... and pray as well for the words and the actions that would serve our faith in a world of hostility towards it. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Catholic Gifts for Christmas - Lots of LINKS

Giving a gift that supports religious Monasteries, Convents, Abbeys and Hermitages is giving a gift that gives TWICE!

"Gentle" reminders keep coming to me that there are only a few weeks until Christmas.  While I didn't want to get ahead of myself, I did count...gulped...and decided I did want to be proactive. I asked a Facebook group of Catholics...
Besides the Mystic Monk coffees what other monasteries or nunneries can we support by shopping their gift catalogs this Christmas?
I had purchased the Monks wonderful coffees last year and I am hoping to expand my Catholic repertoire of gift-giving this holiday season.  

Here below are the links of those Catholic Religious Catalogs that came recommended.

Holy Spirit Monastery Gifts  -  At the Monastery of the Holy Spirit we produce our own fudge, fruitcake and biscotti with the highest quality ingredients. From our moist, Southern-style fruitcake to our light and flaky biscotti, there is a treat for everyone! Also, rosaries, books, mugs, soup, grits, nuts and seasonal gifts are available from this Abbey in Georgia.

The Nun Gift Shop benefits Mother Angelica's nuns of EWTN. There you can buy many items like Mother Angelica Tea, art, CDs, veils, calendars, apparel, jewelry and more!
Then there's MONK ROCK for the cool and hip gifts...something different.  These buttons caught my eye. 
In Catholicism, the pint, the pipe and the cross can all fit together. - G.K. Chesterton
(1" Button)

And there are many more buttons, manly t-shirts - necklaces - scapulars for the Catholic gentlemen in your life and MONK is the New Black blend!

Besides having an extensive collection of CDs and MP3s to download from vespers and more, there are also soaps, scrubs and lotions at  Monastery Creations
 "We Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration are a contemporary monastic community living according to the Rule of Benedict. We serve the Church through a ministry of prayer and a dedication to the Eucharist. We strive to witness to God's presence in our world through our community life and by offering a welcoming space for silence, prayer, and spiritual hospitality in a shared environment of monastic peace." - Mission Statement

Chocolates from a peanut free Factory...that'sTrappistine !
Enduring the test of time.  Pure.  Wholesome.  Unadulterated.  Infused with Love and Prayer. These words symbolize not only the lives lived by those in our order, but also, our candy. This fruit of our labor, work of our hands, financially sustains our life of prayer, spirituality, and simplicity, and it, too is infused with our love and prayer.  It is part of the Trappistine tradition – one that has endured and thrived since 1098.

Who doesn't want cookies at Christmas?  SimplyDivine Cookies are beautiful and varied and can come in assortment boxes.
At the monastery, baking cookies is a hands-on process with a personal touch and a divine dimension. Sister Barbara Jean Luebbehusen considers working with the dough “a sacred experience. I feel closer to God when I’m preparing the cookies,” she says. Our bakers are artisans of the monastery, who are living out the words of St. Benedict: “Then are they truly monastics when they live by the labor of their hands.”

Brigittine Monks - Founded in 1370 and dedicated to a life of prayer and work, the Brigittine Monks are completely self-supporting. In our Monastery located in the lush Willamette Valley in Oregon, the monks quietly go about producing some of the most delicious candy in the world.

Our Gourmet Confections have received hundreds of accolades from candy experts and customers alike. Numerous television programs, including the ABC Nightly News and CNN, have featured segments about our candy. We have also been featured on the game show Jeopardy.
Perhaps you read about our delicious products in Town and Country Magazine, Bon Appetit, People magazine, US News and World Report, Chocolatier, or The New York Times. 

Thinking feast of St. Nick, December 6th
Room sprays, art-carved soaps, lotions, lip balms, pens, statues and candles are some of the truly lovely offerings I noted in the Cloister Shoppe
About Our Monastery
The Cloister Shoppe is the online shop of the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary, Summit, New Jersey. 
All our soaps contain glycerin to soften combined with shea butter or goat’s milk to moisturize and nourish skin. Best of all, because the soaps are made and packaged by our nuns each bar is wrapped with prayer! The Story Behind the Soap’s Name Translated from the French as the “Sign of God”, the “Seignadou” (pronounced “Seh-nya-doo”) was seen by our founder, St. Dominic de Guzman on July 22, 1206, as he kept vigil on a hilltop in Southern France. In answer to his prayers for guidance, a large fireball descended from the heavens and hovered over the the Church of Saint Mary of Prouilhe. His prayers were answered. He would establish the the first shoot of the “Holy Preaching” at this sacred site marked out by God, the first community of Nuns of the Order of Preachers. We chose this name, so beloved to Dominicans, for our soap in honor of the 800th Anniversary of the founding of the Nuns.

Monastery Greetings has the goods of many religious orders, monasteries, convents, abbeys under one roof.  ONE STOP SHOPPING. Baked goods, seasonings and sauces, mixes, popcorn, jams-honey-syrup, chimes, pet items, cards, water from Holy Sites and more, more, MORE! They even sell many beers and ales!

I've got LOTS of ideas now....hope you do, too.  PLEASE share any other links you recommend in comments.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Prose, The Poetry of Autumn

Many see it as a time of death, the death of summer and leaves. I can only see it as glorious, a beautiful blazing.... 

Autumn is deserving of Poetry and Prose...

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
~ Shakespeare, Sonnet 73 

 And yellow is the woodland bough; And every leaf of bush and weed Is tipt with autumn’s pencil now. 
 And I do love the varied hue,
And I do love the browning plain;
And I do love each scene to view,
That’s mark’d with beauties of her reign.
 ~ John Clare, Autumn

Come autumn’s scathe — come winter’s cold — Come change — and human fate! Whatever prospect Heaven doth bound, Can ne’er be desolate. 
- The Autumn by Elizabeth Barrett Browing

O hushed October morning mild, Begin the hours of this day slow. Make the day seem to us less brief. Hearts not averse to being beguiled, Beguile us in the way you know. Release one leaf at break of day; At noon release another leaf; One from our trees, one far away. Retard the sun with gentle mist; Enchant the land with amethyst. Slow, slow!
- Robert Frost, October

Saturday, October 18, 2014

To Give Light To Them That Sit in Darkness

Franciscan University ~ Latin Mass ~ Fr. Dan Pattee - Feast of St. Luke

To give light to them that sit in darkness 
and in the shadow of death, 
to guide our feet into the way of peace. 
(St. Luke, 1. 79)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Another Son to Franciscan University!

My 2nd homeschooler received his acceptance letter to college today. So proud of his hard work!

He'll be joining his brother at Franciscan University.  Deo Gratias! 
"There’s no place quite like Franciscan University of Steubenville, and its students’ enthusiasm for serving God both during and after their college years is most refreshing and exciting.
"Few institutions share Franciscan University’s reputation for strong Catholic identity… a thoroughly Catholic environment that prepares servants of God for every walk of life, while offering a solid education and vibrant campus life."
—From The Cardinal Newman Society write-up of us in their 2015 Guide to Choosing a Catholic College

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Photo Walk of Delaware City - What a Quaint, Waterfront Town!

Sometimes you can find enchantment in your own backyard....

There's a paved trail along the canal in Delaware City that will eventually grow to 16 miles long. "The 6.1-mile paved shared-use recreational trail provides visitors with a spectacular view of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal."

On my 2nd photo walk with my local "Clickin" group we visited Delaware City. What a charming and quaint town, with buildings from the early 1800s.  Being by the water is its crowning feature.

It looks out upon Pea Patch Island and Fort Delaware and sidles up beside The C&D Canal.

At the center of it is the historic Central Hotel, which now holds offices for the American Birding Association.

Our guide on this sun-drenched day was Christine, the owner of Cordelia's Cafe.  Besides the wonderful lunch she walked with us and shared much about the history of the area and its resurgence.

This is a spot to return to...great tea sandwiches and dessert delights!

But I would also like to sample the offerings at the local gastro pub, too.  It's touted as gourmet pub fare and a tour inside highlighted the recovered tin ceilings and walls. Adorning the walls are old photos of the town's history. Prepare yourself for the name...I kid you not...Lewinsky's on Clinton.  Reminder to NOT go there on Thursday nights wearing a blue dress.

 I hope to walk these streets again soon and check out some of the other shops. This is a spot that encompasses charm, exercise, history and good food!

Images on FLICKR.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Recipe: Pumpkin Pancakes - An October Tradition

On the first weekend of October, I continue a tradition my mother started....Pumpkin Pancakes with Hot Apple Cider Sauce! 

And I'm teaching my daughter how to carry on this delight.

Here's how I make them. 

I make it easy by using regular pancake mix.  I follow the box directions except where it calls for milk.  I do half milk and half apple cider.  Also, I add in a large dollop of the canned pumpkin till the batter turns orange.

The batter can be thick and you may want to add more liquid to thin it..or kind of paint it and shake it out in the skillet to spread it out. Also, cook it on the medium heat and perhaps longer than you're used to in order to cook the insides.

For the Apple Cider Sauce....which really makes the dish, I first slice apples and cook them in a saute pan with some butter.

I sprinkle some pumpkin pie seasoning on them, too.  (I add some of the spice to the batter, too.)

When they smell divine and are cooked soft I add apple cider and maple syrup and the sauce is heated for use over the pancakes.  It's a looser and more liquid-y sauce than syrup and the pancakes soak it up quickly.  You'll pour some on the pancakes and then it seems to disappear, so make more than you think is necessary.

Your kitchen is going to smell like fall!

Ladle this sauce...with plenty of apples over your hot pancakes and fork up a bite that includes an apple and your eyes will roll!

It's the taste of fall to we look forward to! (Leftovers warm up great in the microwave, next day...if you have any.)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

St. Francis Quotes - More Than Just An Animal Lover

I often feel people reduce St. Francis to just an animal lover.  He was more than that. Chesterton said of him - 
To most people ... there is a fascinating inconsistency in the position of Saint Francis. He expressed in loftier and bolder language than any earthly thinker the conception that laughter is as divine as tears. He called his monks the mountebanks of God. He never forgot to take pleasure in a bird as it flashed past him, or a drop of water as it fell from his finger: he was, perhaps, the happiest of the sons of men. Yet this man undoubtedly founded his whole polity on the negation of what we think the most imperious necessities; in his three vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, he denied to himself and those he loved most, property, love, and liberty. Why was it that the most large-hearted and poetic spirits in that age found their most congenial atmosphere in these awful renunciations? Why did he who loved where all men were blind, seek to blind himself where all men loved? Why was he a monk and not a troubadour? These questions are far too large to be answered fully here, but in any life of Francis they ought at least to have been asked; we have a suspicion that if they were answered we should suddenly find that much of the enigma of this sullen time of ours was answered also.
St. Francis did have tremendous compassion
If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.” 
But it exceeded beyond animals ... there is more to learn and take from his example.

He was also about walking the talk
The deeds you do may be the only sermon some persons will hear today” 

He was about heaven
 Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that have received--only what you have given.” 

He was about the wisdom of submitting and trusting in God
 Lord, grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, he courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” 

He spoke about transforming ourselves
Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self.” 
About striving for Sainthood
 Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.” 
He recognized sin and rather than diminish it with some live-and-let-live mentality he advised we own up to it and it's harm
Nor did demons crucify Him; it is you who have crucified Him and crucify Him still, when you delight in your vices and sins. ” 
St. Francis was the first Stigmatic and taught the value in suffering
 And St. Francis said: 'My dear son, be patient, because the weaknesses of the body are given to us in this world by God for the salvation of the soul. So they are of great merit when they are borne patiently.” 
And finally -   
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
when there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;

and where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying [to ourselves] that we are born to eternal life.” 
*UPDATE - The origin of the Peace prayer

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Catholic Catechism I Trust

A Manual of Religion My Catholic Faith: A Catechism in Pictures is a beautiful, hardcover book I believe every Catholic family should have in their library. In fact, I am thinking I will make it my go-to-gift for Sacraments. No fluff or confusing theology here, this is detailed yet concise!

At the Amazon link above you can see inside the book for the table of content/chapters, the lovely illustrations, the format of presented material and an extensive indices. Check it out.  Consider purchasing it for Christmas. I am truly sharing a good thing...always my intent when I take the time to blog....

While I believe every family would benefit from having it in hand, you can access it online, for FREE. I have the resource linked on my 8th grade Pinterest board

Recently we used it as a guide in understanding the Catholic Church's teaching on Infallibility.  So clear and detailed...a comprehensive apologetics! It was a joy to read aloud with my son and I too felt better prepared to defend my faith going forward. 
Actually, every time I open the book I am enlightened! 

I hear people complaining about religious ed materials and I agree that many are lacking. This has become the resource I trust. Explanations are logically laid out, where sadly other catechisms and religious ed materials can be confusing and ambiguous. So I share....God bless!