Friday, October 02, 2015

Feast of the Guardian Angels

Cathedral angel

We found out this week that we have a new Guardian Angel living at our house. This Blessed Creature may only live with us a few more days, a couple of more months or perhaps 18 years, but we welcome this Guardian Dear sent to us by God to watch over and protect our new blessing.


I wrote that on this blog back in 2004 when I discovered that I was pregnant again two years after a devastating stillbirth. That Guardian Angel is still here with my family protecting and guiding our little daughter Rosie!

calvin's wedding 060 rosie

and now we also have another little guardian angel who visits our house  20 hours a week or so!

calvin's wedding 060 charlotte

Today is the day to remind our children and ourselves to think of these noble creatures of God and thank them for all of their prayers and guidance over our lifetimes. So many times I can look back at pivotal moments in my life where I sensed a beckoning? a feeling? a thought that I didn't think originated from within my own mind. Perhaps those were the times my guardian angel was speaking to me.

There was one time in my life when I think I heard my guardian angel's audible voice, but it was only for an instant.  I was pregnant with Raphael but I had an uneasy feeling and I wondered to myself why it was that I had never had any misarriages or problems in pregnancy. I wondered if my baby was going to make it. (Which was really an odd thing to think since I had never had any problems with any of my pregnancies.) And as I wondered if that baby would live or not I heard "this one won't, but the next one will."
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One of Mr. Pete's friends had such an experience once too, when he was at a clear intersection and for a brief second he just knew that he should not cross. This turned out to be a life saving decision for in the next second a huge truck rolled through the stop sign and would have hit our friend and Mr. Pete. And oh how different life would have been for many people if that had happened.

My sister hears her angel quite often.  She used to pray for the souls of two of our classmates who died in a traffic accident.  She did that for years, and years until one day at mass when they got to the part where you pray for the dearly departed , she heard something like, "You can stop now." She felt at peace about it - as if that was heaven? her angel? their angels? letting her know that they were in heaven now.

I often wonder about what happens to our Guardian Angels when we die. Do they stay with us? do they get reassigned? I know when Raphael was buried the deacon commended an angel to guard his grave site. I often think about that when I go to the cemetery. I think about all of the angels who are commended to watch over all of those baby graves and I get the sensation that I am in a very holy place, surrounded by angels and saints.

Padre Pio once wrote about the guardian angels:
Oh! For goodness’ sake, don’t forget this invisible companion, ever present, ever disposed to listen to us and even more ready to console us. Oh, wonderful intimacy! Oh, blessed companionship!  If only we could understand it! Keep him always before your mind’s eye. Remember this angel’s presence often, thank him, pray to him, always keep up a good relationship. Open yourself up to him and confide your suffering to him.Be always afraid of offending the purity of his gaze. Know this, and keep it well present in your mind. He is easily offended, very sensitive. Turn to him in moments of supreme anguish and you will experience his beneficent help.

I wonder too about the Guardian Angels who have guarded their person for a long time.   Did my mother meet her Guardian Angel face-to-face  after 81 years on earth?  Did my great uncle who passed away this year at 100 years of age receive a fond greeting from his angel?

After a somewhat secularized Catholic education in the post Vatican II era, I did not have any sense of the mystical parts of my Catholic Faith. But now as an older adult I am fascinated with them and relish them. Angels of course are a big part of that. So today I will try to keep that sense of miracle of our guardian angels alive for my children. 

Follow Elena LaVictoire's board Angels on Pinterest.

The Divine office today has a few biblical examples of angels. For example Acts 12:7

Suddenly an angel of the Lord stood nearby and light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him. “Hurry, get up!” he said. With that, the chains dropped from Peter’s wrists.

And Revelation 8:3-4

An angel came in holding a censer of gold. He took his place at the altar of incense and was given large amounts of incense to deposit on the altar of gold in front of the throne, together with the prayers of all God’s holy ones. From the angel’s hand the smoke of the incense went up before God, and with it the prayers of God’s people.
More on the Season of Angels and angelic feasts - here!

Angel links on delicious.

Angels around my home:

Peg saints, the angels Raphael, Michael, and Gabrielseptember 2014 610

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september 2014 611

Thursday, October 01, 2015

St. Therese

Some thoughtful remarks from the Little Flower herself. 

In times of aridity when I am incapable of praying, of practicing virtue, I seek little opportunities, mere trifles, to give pleasure to Jesus; for instance a smile, a pleasant word when inclined to be silent and to show weariness. If I find no opportunities, I at least tell Him again and again that I love Him; that is not difficult and it keeps alive the fire in my heart. Even though this fire of love might seem extinct I would still throw little straws upon the embers and I am certain it would rekindle.

Really, I am far from being a saint, and what I have just said is proof of this; instead of rejoicing, for example, at my aridity, I should attribute it to my little fervor and lack of fidelity; I should be desolate for having slept (for seven years) during my hours of prayer and my thanksgivings after Holy Communion; well, I am not desolate. I remember that little children are as pleasing to their parents when they are asleep as well as when they are wide awake; I remember, too, that when they perform operations, doctors put their patients to sleep. Finally, I remember that: "The Lord knows our weakness, that he is mindful that we are but dust and ashes."

I could not bear to think I had grieved my beloved parents, and I acknowledged my faults instantly, as this little anecdote, related by my Mother, will show: “One morning before going downstairs I wanted to kiss Thérèse; she seemed to be fast asleep, and I did not like to wake her, but Marie said: ‘Mamma, I am sure she is only pretending.’ So I bent down to kiss her forehead, and immediately she hid herself under the clothes, saying in the tone of a spoilt child: ‘I don’t want anyone to look at me.’ I was not pleased with her, and told her so. A minute or two afterwards I heard her crying, and was surprised to see her by my side. She had got out of her cot by herself, and had come downstairs with bare feet, stumbling over her long nightdress. Her little face was wet with tears: ‘Mamma,’ she said, throwing herself on my knee, ‘I am sorry for being naughty—forgive me!’ Pardon was quickly granted; I took the little angel in my arms and pressed her to my heart, smothering her with kisses.”

How quickly those sunny years of my childhood passed away, and what tender memories they have imprinted on my mind! I remember the Sunday walks when my dear Mother always accompanied us; and I can still feel the impression made on my childish heart at the sight of the fields bright with cornflowers, poppies, and marguerites. Even at that age I loved far-stretching views, sunlit spaces and stately trees; in a word, all nature charmed me and lifted up my soul to Heaven.

The Story of a Soul is available for free at

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

IMGP2370 noah

St. Jerome

Today is a special feast day  for

  • students and archivists and translators - anyone really with a big time consuming task ahead of them.
  • Curmudgeons
  • Parents with wayward older children

St. Jerome - who received the finest education his parents could give them and then as a young man chucked it all to fall in with a bad crowd and live a sinful life.  According to Catholic Online:

 He acquired many worldly ideas, made little effort to check his pleasure-loving instincts, and lost much of the piety that had been instilled in him at home. Yet in spite of the pagan and hedonistic influences around him  Jerome was baptized by Pope Liberius in 360. He tells us that "it was my custom on Sundays to visit, with friends of my own age and tastes, the tombs of the martyrs and Apostles, going down into those subterranean galleries whose walls on both sides preserve the relics of the dead." Here he enjoyed deciphering the inscriptions. 

He was then able to pull it together, study hard and then translated the entire bible into Latin!

So a few things stick out for me in this -

  • Piety was instilled in him at home - and eventually he found his way back.
  • He was surrounded by pagan and hedonistic influences - much like our sons are today and...
  • It was something that interested in - deciphering inscriptions, that at least kept him connected to his faith and brought him back. 

St. Jerome, pray for us!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

When Devout Catholics - aren't? Signing a morality clause.

rose, bible and rosary

Facebook is supposed to be fun right?

Oh, I know there are controversies, and I have made a special point of putting my more controversial friends into their own special group so that I don't have to read most of there stuff unless I'm ready for it.

Likewise, I send my more controversial finds over to my blog page,  to spare my casual FB friends from reading the less fluffy stuff.

Yesterday however, several times I came across a story about a mom in my area who had to choose between her job in a Catholic school and her son. I couldn't imagine how that could be.

It turned out it was a story about a lady who was invited to the position of religious education director at a Catholic School, but had to turn it down because she couldn't sign The Document! which is basically a morality clause for all of its elementary school employees.

Here's the exact language  - emphasis mine:

Role as Minister and Role Model of the Faith. The Teacher-Minister, in signing this Agreement, represents that he/she has read and understands the Statement on the purpose of Catholic Schools and the Role of Teachers and Administrators in Catholic Schools by the Bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland, which is attached to this Agreement as Exhibit A and incorporated into this Agreement by this reference. The Teacher-Minister understands and acknowledges that the Roman Catholic Church views the primary purpose of a Catholic school as a means of building up the Kingdom of God through the holistic and authentically Catholic formation of each student and that such development can only truly be fostered in a wholly Catholic environment. The Teacher-Minister further understands and acknowledges that it is the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church that teachers in a Catholic school are truly and in a very real sense engaged in a special ministry, or apostolate, of the Roman Catholic Church and that such teachers should bear witness to Christ in their lives as much as in their classroom instruction. For this reason, Canon 803 of the Code of Canon Law requires that teachers of a Catholic school must be “outstanding in true doctrine and uprightness of life.” As such, the Teacher-Minister agrees to act, speak, and live at all times in a manner consistent with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church as expressed by the Magisterium of the 45 46 ers.pdf The Cardinal Newman Society Faith and Morals Language in Catholic School Teacher Employment Documents (Compilation) 24 Church including, without limitation, as found in the Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church, which is available online at and which is incorporated into this Agreement by this reference. 

The Teacher-Minister understands that actions and speech that are contrary to Catholic teaching shall be grounds for disciplinary action up to and including termination. The following, although in no way an exclusive list, represents by way of example certain speech or actions that are considered to be contrary to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church: 

a. Public support of positions contrary to Roman Catholic Church teaching (including, but not limited to, publically supporting abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, embryonic stem cell research, in vitro fertilization, artificial insemination, surrogate parenthood, direct sterilization, or so-called homosexual or same-sex marriage or unions). 

b. Procuring or assisting another in procuring an abortion. 

c. Making use of or participating in artificial insemination, in-vitro fertilization, or surrogate parenthood. 

d. Preparing for or engaging in a same-sex marriage or union. 

e. Engaging in or publicly supporting sexual relations outside or marriage (which shall be understood for purposes of the Agreement as being the marriage between one man and one woman). 

f. Living with another as husband or wife without the benefit of a marriage recognized as valid by the Roman Catholic Church or cohabitating outside of marriage. 

g. Engaging in or supporting transvestitism, transgenderism, or sex reassignment. 

h. Membership in any organization that is anti-Catholic or whose philosophy is in any way contrary to the ethical or moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. 

i. Indecent or lewd behavior (including, but not limited to, the unlawful use of drugs, substance abuse, or use of pornography). 

j. Serious dishonesty. 

k. Entering into a marriage with a person when one of the parties to the marriage is validly married to another person in the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church (e.g., entering into a marriage if one of the parties has entered into marriage previously and has not received an annulment from the Roman Catholic Church). 

l. Use of social media or electronic means of communication (e.g., email and texting) in an improper, immoral, or scandalous manner (including, but not limited to, use of social media or electronic means to communicate, post, share, or send material that is lewd, indecent, sexually suggestive, or pornographic).

Because this candidate's son is gay, and because he may one day wish to enter into a same sex union, she declined her dream job, because she would never not attend the wedding of her child. So of course, the Diocese of Cleveland must change it's guidelines?

I think it's possible to love your child and still support Church teaching.  In fact, I've done just that.
I have three older sons who all chose to live with their girlfriends before marriage. One even had a child outside of marriage. I love my sons. I love my granddaughter. I continue to love and support my church. I tell my sons that I love them, but I do not support cohabitation before marriage, and I support the church's teaching on these matters. The few times one of my sons has been challenged on their mother's strong Catholic views he said, "She is entitled to her religious beliefs and her views." He defended ME even though he disagreed with me. I have never felt that I had to choose between the two, rather I have always felt that my job as a parent was to hold the line and shine a light on the truth of the church's teaching, while still reassuring my children that I loved them. Not always an easy line to walk, but I think we've managed to keep our family together and respectful, even if we disagree on this. The choice between church and child is a false dilemma.

As I read her commentary, I was reminded of a similar article a few years back by Sean Savage, co-author of Inconceivable.  I've blogged about that several times before.  More publicly he took his bishop to task on the CNN site.

Both articles did something very similar - they offered a litany of all the things that the writers had done FOR the Catholic Church - from attending Catholic Schools, to various ministries, to monetary support.  And both articles seem to say that because of all of that - they are disappointed that the church won't simply give them a pass on their particular issue.

After reading that list of "works" no wonder our Protestant Christian friends still they we believe in salvation via works instead of grace!

After last week's of support for the traditional family by Pope Francis,  I very much doubt the doctrines on faith and moral issues as they relate to the family are changing any time soon, even if Pope Francis had the executive order ability to change them on his own.

I hope the Diocese of Cleveland stands strong in requiring this signed document. Why would anyone want to work at a Catholic School, especially as the director of religious education, if they couldn't fully embrace Catholic teaching? Anyone who says that they could teach the doctrine while not believing or living it is kidding themselves.  Students aren't stupid.  They'll pick up on the gestures and tones that tell them their teacher isn't buying into what they're being taught.

Why should a Catholic School hire a teacher or an administrator who doesn't accept Catholic church teaching and even wants the choice without consequence to give examples or publicly speak out AGAINST Catholic Church teaching.

Maybe more importantly, why would hard working Catholic parents, waste their money and support on a school that isn't even trying to be authentically Catholic?  I went to one of those schools - lost my faith and also my soul because of it. So I support the Cleveland Diocese in at least trying to keep their schools authentic and true to their bigger mission.

Feast of the Archangels

The Feast of the Archangels is one of those feast days that my family makes a special point of remembering during the liturgical year.  We celebrate it in my family because one of my sons is named Gabriel, and our baby in heaven is named Raphael.

When the kids were little we celebrated every year with another family. We would go to their house one year, and they would come to mine another year.  It was a lot of fun and it was good for the children. As time went on though, their kids ended up going to Catholic school and with fall activities and dances and other commitments it was harder to get together and eventually we stopped celebrating with that particular family.

But I didn't want to lose the specialness of this feast day, so we started asking other families and friends to visit with us. So over the years the faces around the table have changed, but we have always made more of a big deal over celebrating this feast day.

This year, with the feast on a Tuesday, and knowing that tonight was going to be extra-busy, we decided to go ahead and have our special dinner on the eve.  It was just the immediate family, but it was still a nice celebration.
CYO Cross country 2015 721

Who are the archangels?

The Sacred Scriptures have revealed the proper names of only three Angels, all of whom belong to the Choir of the Archangels. The names are well known to all, namely: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael. 

History of the Feast day

September 29 was traditionally Michaelmas - the feast of St. Michael.  We now recognize all three archangels on this day.
From fairly early on, Michaelmas was an important holiday, the religious or Christian equivalent of the autumn equinox. In England, it was considered the start of a new quarter. It marked the start of a new business year, a time for electing officials, making contracts, paying rent, hiring servants, holding court and starting school.

Obviously we still see the remnants of this in the timing of our elections and school year. This is also a time when the weather is known to change. In Italy, they say "For St. Michael, heat goes into the heavens." In Ireland, people expect a marked decrease in sickness or disease. The Irish also consider this a lucky day for fishing:

Today is also one of the 4 English "Quarter Days," days which fall around the Equinoxes or Solstices and mark the beginnings of new natural seasons (i.e., Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall) and which were used in medieval times to mark "quarters" for legal purposes, such as settling debts. The other days like this are: Lady Day (the Feast of the Annunciation) on March 25, the Feast of St. John on June 24, and Christmas on December 25.

From Catholic 

St. Michael
 From Revelation we learn of the battle in heaven, with St. Michael and his angels combatting Lucifer and the other fallen angels (or devils). We invoke St. Michael to help us in our fight against Satan; to rescue souls from Satan, especially at the hour of death; to be the champion of the Jews in the Old Testament and now Christians; and to bring souls to judgment.

St. Gabriel
St. Gabriel's name means "God is my strength". Biblically he appears three times as a messenger. He had been sent to Daniel to explain a vision concerning the Messiah. He appeared to Zachary when he was offering incense in the Temple, to foretell the birth of his son, St. John the Baptist. St. Gabriel is most known as the angel chosen by God to be the messenger of the Annunciation, to announce to mankind the mystery of the Incarnation.

St. Raphael
Our knowledge of the Archangel Raphael comes to us from the book of Tobit. His mission as wonderful healer and fellow traveller with the youthful Tobias has caused him to be invoked for journeys and at critical moments in life. Tradition also holds that Raphael is the angel that stirred the waters at the healing sheep pool in Bethesda. His name means "God has healed".

How we celebrate.

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It has took me some time to get statues of all three archangels.  When I had the money, I bought them.  Last year Rosie is going to make the peg saint versions of them as well.

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Here is what our table looked like two years ago for dinner on the feast day. We have a traditional Angel Hair pasta chicken dish, deviled eggs, angel food cake and some other goodies.


Archangels on Diigo

Monday, September 28, 2015

Simple Woman

Outside my window...
Mums in the back
As the millennials would say, "I did a thing".  For older adults that means I planted mums.  My marigolds were just about done, so this gives it a pop of color.

I am thinking...
about the Feast of the Arch Angels tomorrow.  Because tomorrow night is sooooo busy, we decided to have our special feast celebration on the eve of the feast!

I am thankful...
that I had everyone there except for Calvin and Sarah.  Even little Miss C. seemed to enjoy this celebration this year.

I have...
a dog with a tail problem.  Apparently it's like a sprain and will take a few days to a few weeks to heal. We have no idea how she managed to hurt it! But it is very painful for her and she has a hard time getting comfortable when she sits down.

Other than that, she's fine - still sneaking food off of the dinner plates and off of the stove when she thinks no one is looking!

In the kitchen...

Angel hair Pasta for the Feast Day!

I am wearing...
Black capris and one of Mr.Pete's big T-shirts.

I am reading...

I am pondering...
Millennial women. In my day, if you were in an awkward social situation, you stuck it out, at least for a while, made the best of it and then if things didn't work out, you politely excused yourself and then left.  I have had a handful of experiences now with a number of different millennial ladies, where if they didn't like the event I invited them to (programs, parties, dances etc.) they just left. A few times even complaining loudly about why they were leaving.

What's up with that?  Did the generation that grew up getting a prize for just participating in T-ball decide that if they don't like something there's no use even putting any effort into it?   If so, I think that's sad.  I can think of a few times when my mother suggested I try something, against my will, and I ended up really learning or appreciating it later.

I am going...
  • to walk or work out every day with Pfilates.  Trying to get back some weight work out as well. 
  • add the last few subjects we haven't started yet - mainly social studies. 
From the Learning Rooms...
20 Years of Homeschooling!

Noah- Senior

Rosie 5th grade

  • Saxon 65
  • Bravewriter
  • Prairie Primer
  • Spelling 
  • Geography
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Choir- co-op
  • Art Class
One of my favorite things...

Watching Rosie Run!!
Rosie at Tallmadge Meet

A quote to share...

“We all know the perfect family does not exist. The perfect husband does not exist and the perfect wife does not exist,” he said. Then, after pausing as if for comic effect, he added: “Let’s not even talk about perfect mothers-in-law.”  Pope Francis

I had a perfect mother-in-law.  I'm trying to be a good mother-in-law.  That said, my grandmother was a monster-in-law!   So I kind of get what he's saying, but let's pray for all the ladies who are trying to follow Naomi's example!  even if it is imperfectly.

A picture to share...
The high school varsity runners practicing last week.

I am so going to miss cross country practice, especially with the high schoolers.  Next year ... what will that look like?

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