Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A China Pattern for Church Ladies

Gladding, McBean & Co., was founded in 1875 to produce sewer tile for the rapidly developing American West, but their fame began with production of Franciscan dinnerware in 1934 at their plant in Glendale, California. The name Franciscan is an allusion to Franciscan monks and reflected the simple, informal style of Mexican folk pottery. The most famous of this period, Franciscan Apple first produced in 1940 and Franciscan Desert Rose first produced in 1941, are still produced today although early pieces are what collectors seek. It has been observed that Desert rose is the most popular American dinnerware of all time, a claim that even if not true accurately reflects its sustained popularity from continuous production since the inception of the design.(source)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

40 Days For Life Begins!

Please consider joining with thousands of others nationwide in prayer and fasting during these 40 days leading up to the election.

The goals of this initiate are to:
  • Dramatically reduce abortions in your community...
  • Mobilize hundreds of new pro-life volunteers...
  • Help post-abortive women find healing...
  • Generate prominent pro-life news coverage...
  • Make LIFE the most important issue in 2008...
This year, more than 170 communities in both the United States and Canada, in 45 states and two provinces, have plans to participate in the 40 Days for Life campaign. Each location has a link you can click to see what that location is doing for the campaign, and how to sign up to participate in your area.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Add it to your calendar

The Feminine Genius at Work in the World
Mary Beth Bonacci
Wednesday, October 22

O'Shaughnessy Educational Center
University of St. Thomas, 7:30 p.m.

Part of a celebration of the 20th anniversary of Mulieris Dignitatem.

NB - There will be another event in this series on November 6-8 at the University of Notre Dame, sponsored by the Center for Ethics & Culture.
The Family: Searching for Fairest Love (with special sessions devoted to the 20th anniversary of Mulieris Dignitatem and the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitate)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Episcopal approval

For nice stationery, as illustrated by a recent missive from my former local ordinary. His Lordship uses a fountain pen, to boot! This is an art I am attempting to master, having recently received a fountain pen as a gift- any other fountain pen users out there?

Monday, September 15, 2008

An honest to goodness

Guild of Church Ladies' tea, held in the parish rectory dining room yesterday afternoon. It was well attended and lots of fun!

Before the oppression of felt

This is what banners looked like. This particular one is in the parish's lower chapel.

Do any of our church ladies have experience making banners like this? I imagine that with ink jet or laser transfer paper that you can run through a home printer, the Internet's the limit in terms of desired images. (Might we recommend the World Gallery of Art?)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Guess who's coming to brunch? (updated)

The priest is coming over to bless the new apartment and have brunch on Sunday morning after Mass.

What are your favorite Sunday brunch casseroles? I'm looking for something that can be mixed up ahead of time and popped in the oven immediately after returning home.

**UPDATED**: Now with recipe
I served Stuffed French Toast, a favorite Church Lady breakfast casserole. Discovered by Therese at her academic department's graduation brunch our senior year at Our Lady's University, those with a Midwestern background will recognize this as a really fancy "egg bake."

For 6 people:
2 T butter, melted
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
12 mini croissants or 6 hamburger sweet rolls
1 8 oz brick of cream cheese
1 1/2 to 2 cups fruit (I used peaches, macerated in cinnamon sugar over night)
maple syrup, for serving

Grease casserole pan with melted butter.

Peel and prep fruit, as necessary.

Beat eggs and milk until well combined.

Slit croissant or rolls in half. If rolls are larger, slice them into half circles.

Spread cream cheese on each side of the slit. Spoon in some fruit. Dip entire croissant/roll in egg mixture and place in casserole dish. Repeat for remaining croissants/rolls. Pour any remaining egg mixture evenly over casserole dish.

For fluffiest results, refrigerate overnight at this stage and bake at 350 for 45 minutes the next morning, but being short on time, I baked it immediately and the dish was a success. Bake a tray of breakfast sausage alongside the casserole to round out the meal.

NB: This is an excellent use for day old bread and bargain bag fruit.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Catholic Priest Today

Check out Midwest Theological Forum's video, The Catholic Priest Today, available online from Milwaukee's St Francis Seminary for testimony of the beauty of the priesthood and the need for the Church in the modern world.

Windows version
Mac version

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Handwritten Holiness

More than almost anything else, back to school preparations here at Sacred Heart Academy evoke dreams of new office supplies! Fresh clean notebooks, newly sharpened pencils, red pens (filled to the tips with editorial ink), the essential 3M products, and perhaps a few not-so-necessary impulse purchases all contain the excitement of upcoming year, and promises of a more organized life.

Of course, the nicest distractions at an office supply store are often found in the stationery aisle where we're reminded to join the "finer things club" and be gracious and grateful. Where our instant gratification is set aside in favor of the more lasting gift of something created by hand, thoughtfully, and containing the full sentences we are often tempted to sacrifice in electronic communications. We find little pieces of artful self-expression just waiting for our creative contributions. Really, who can resist?

I was reminded of this today when I found a mother's day letter that I've re-read about 317 times and an article in today's diocesan paper about shopping for thank you notes:

The cards inspired a spark of wonder, reminding me of Pope John Paul II’s letter to artists, who are “captivated by the hidden power of sounds and words, colors and shapes.” Faced with artistic marvels, he wrote, “wonder is the only appropriate attitude.”

I dropped $46 in wonder.
Of course, every Church Lady needs stationery for a variety of needs and having the right design sets the tone for the message therein. In the past few months I've written many of the typical wedding, graduation, and birthday greetings, but I've also had occasion to send words of sympathy to a young friend whose husband died unexpectedly, a stern note to a young man, and a rather long tome to someone I missed who lives three states away. Each called for a different setting. (And, of course, there's something just ... wrong ... about replacing a love letter with an email.)

One creative Church Lady I know, (artistic, proficient in the use of PhotoShop, and having a generous university print allowance) creates her own stationery, and happily has been known to give it as gifts. Another choreographed papers from five different sources to create her own wedding stationery. I usually spend one weekend in January surrounded by the mess of my rubber stamps and related goodies, making cards for the upcoming year. Of course, there are MANY places to purchase lovely stationery, classic, religious, and funky, so not having the time or inclination to create is no excuse. The trick is to move past owning the paper and onto the actual letter writing.

One Lent my small saints and I resolved to send a hand-written note to someone every week. I don't remember any particular experiences associated with it aside from the drama of knowing we were practicing the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy (and our handwriting) for only 39 cents a week. But I do now have four stationery-loving daughters. Perhaps they and I will all be inspired to join Christina Capecchi's resolution:

I’m joining in the back-to-school spirit of sharpened pencils and blank notebooks, assigning myself one thank-you note a week. A thanks for something, anything. Weekly.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Let them eat cake

Modeled after Notre Dame Cathedral, this elegant pan produces a beautifully detailed cake. 10 cup capacity.

Therese and I are quite fond of the Nordic Ware Cathedral Bundt Pan for our church lady dessert socials.

In addition, I recently acquired this piscine pan for occasions such as the feast of Sts Anthony, Andrew, and Peter, and celebrating our fishers of men.

Bl. Marie de L'incarnation

Born Marie Guyart, she was a wife, mother, widow, and single parent before becoming an Ursuline nun and missionary to New France.

She and her sisters in religion learned Iroquois to teach the native children in their own language. (The Church mastered ESL 300 years before the American public school system).

They supported their congregation by embroidering vestments, making artificial flowers, wax statues and dolls, and gilding most things gilt in New France for the next two centuries, including their convent chapel, which they completely decorated themselves.

Truly a Church Lady!

Click here for a peek at the exhibit at her motherhouse, the Ursuline Museum in Quebec.

Cook like a champion today

Sighted at Target; also available from Amazon. Some recipes are also available from Taste of Home online here.

For more POD contributions, also consider A Continual Feast or Cooking with the Saints.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

That time of year

As your hostesses are all quite devoted to Our Lady's football team:
Our Lady of Victories, Quebec City

The 2008 Notre Dame Football Schedule:
09/06/08 vs. San Diego State, 3:30 p.m. ET
09/13/08 vs. Michigan, 3:30 p.m. ET
09/20/08 at Michigan State, 3:30 p.m. ET
09/27/08 vs. Purdue, 3:30 p.m. ET
10/04/08 vs. Stanford, 2:30 p.m. ET
10/11/08 at North Carolina, TBA
10/25/08 at Washington, 5:00 p.m. PT
11/01/08 vs. Pittsburgh, 2:30 p.m. ET
11/08/08 at Boston College, TBA
11/15/08 vs. Navy, 12:00 p.m. ET
11/22/08 vs. Syracuse, 2:30 p.m. ET
11/29/08 at USC, 5:00 p.m. PT

Our Lady of Victories, pray for us!

Early vocations

P: Introibo ad altare Dei
S: Ad deum qui laetificat juventutem meam.

P: I will go unto the altar of God
S: To God, who gives joy to my youth

[Prayers at the foot of the altar]

Looking for the perfect venue for your children's Mass kits? This mini-altar was sighted at the Museum of Quebec Civilization. For a sense of scale, the mensa is about 18" high.

After all, the Episcopalians have a whole children's chapel at National Cathedral...