Thursday, February 28, 2008

'Vatican Splendors' Coming This Fall to St. Paul

The Papal tiara of Pius VII, the Mandylion of Edessa, and Giotto's Bust of an Angel are a few of the pieces coming to the Minnesota History Center this fall as part of this traveling exhibit! Tickets will go on sale sometime this summer and you can sign up here to receive an email notification when ticket sale dates are set. For more information about the exhibit, visit You can currently see the exhibit in St. Petersburg or it will be in Cleveland in the summer.

In a little church lady reunion/field trip, we drove to Milwaukee to see a similar exhibit a couple of years ago, and it was well worth the 350 mile trip.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Redefining Lent

In an interesting article from today's local paper, several people from a variety of denominations talk about the discovery or rediscovery of the devotions associated with Lent.

From a Methodist pastor whose parishioners are attempting to go through Lent without buying anything new: "We're trying to use Nothing New Lent as a chance for reflection — reflection on the choices we make, the things that are of value to us and ways to live more responsibly. So the idea is not to go on a big shopping spree right after Easter but, after Lent, to think about, 'What did I learn about myself' and incorporate that into how we live life in general.' "

From a Presbyterian church organist:
"I try to do active, out-of-the-way kindnesses during Lent," Handford said. "Like when one of my students came into my office, I noticed he was wearing a pair of jeans with one of the knees ripped out. I told him I thought that he looked cold, and he admitted he was really, really cold, but that he couldn't afford to buy a new pair of pants. So I sent him a Gap gift card anonymously."

From a Baptist who has been inspired by his sister:
After she began attending more liturgical churches while in graduate school on the East Coast, she came home for spring break and Boyett noticed the coffee drinker now made herself green tea in the mornings. When I asked her about it, she said, 'I'm observing Lent and coffee is what I gave up this year,'" Boyett says. "I was intrigued and thought, 'I'm going to try it, too.' "

Fortunately, Catholics are represented in the article also:

-- Listen to a series of free Lenten Radio Retreats by U.S. Catholic bishops online (or download them onto your iPod or MP3 player) at

-- Buy a daily Lent devotional, such as "Living the Days of Lent 2008" by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth (Paulist Press).

-- Log onto the Web site of St. John's Abbey to read a daily devotional:

-- Take a walk in silence around the lakes and use the time to pray, suggests the Rev. Peter Laird, vice rector at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity of the University of St. Thomas.

Hmmm ... prayer, fasting and almsgiving - it might just catch on!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Found via a comment on a thread over at Danielle Bean's blog: Saintly Soaps. There are soaps, candles, and lotion, each named after a saint, but I think the most amusing thing I've found so far is the Pope Saint Pius X Tea. Sounds like the perfect companion for a Church Lady's quiet afternoon at home reading her favorite encyclical. Of course, for the young ladies out there, there's always the Pier Giorgio Tea...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ruling the Roost

"I will not have you wearing the cassock in this house!"

For further Church Lady formation, check out the fine example of Mrs Pring in "Bless Me Father."

Saturday, February 9, 2008

You know you're a Church Lady...

... when you have a go-to outfit for the occasion of meeting a bishop.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Survey says

What would you bring to the monthly parish coffee social during Lent?

This church lady votes mini bagels (for ease of serving) and cream cheese. What about you?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Life with the Church Ladies

You know it's Lent in a house full of Church Ladies when you open the freezer to find it is full of Super Pretzels.

A most dolorous and pretzel-filled Lent you all!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Instruction & Penance

The restoration of the season of Lent was begun in the year when the Holy Father gave back to us the Easter Night. As we now know that in this holiest of all nights we shall be permitted to be reborn in Christ, renewing solemnly, with a lighted candle in our hands, our baptismal vows, we understand more and more clearly the two great thoughts which the Church is developing throughout the whole of Lent: the instruction of the catechumens and the deepening of the contrition of the penitents. Instruction and penance shall become our motto also for these holy weeks.

Instruction — this brings us to the Lenten reading program. The time saved through abstention from movies — and it is astonishing to find how much it is! — will be devoted to a carefully chosen reading program. Every year we should divide our reading into three parts: something for the mind, something for the heart, something for the soul.

Something for the mind: This should mean doing serious research. One year we might work on the history of the Church; another year on the sacraments; or we might carefully study a scholarly life of Our Lord Jesus Christ; or a book on Christian ethics; or the Encyclicals of the Pope; or a book on dogma.

For the soul: This should be spiritual reading of a high order, from the works of the saints or saintly writers. For example, The Ascent of Mt. Carmel, by St. John of the Cross; The Introduction to a Devout Life, by St. Francis de Sales; The Story of a Soul, by St. Thérèse of Lisieux; The Spiritual Castle, by St. Teresa of Avila; The Soul of the Apostolate, by Abbot Chautard; the books of Abbot Marmion, and similar works.

For the heart: According to the old proverb, “Exempla trahunt,” it is most encouraging to read the biographies of people who started out as we did but had their minds set on following the word of Our Lord, “Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.” In other words, to read a well-written biography of a saint (canonized or not) will have the same effect on us as it had once on St. Augustine, who said, after watching saintly people living a holy life: “If he could do it, and she, why not I?”

If every member of a family adopts this threefold reading program and comments on the books he has been working on, a great benefit will be flowing from one to the other as they exchange the spiritual goods obtained from their reading.

[excerpted from Around the Year with the Trapp Family]