Saturday, May 30, 2009

A whole new meaning to vanity plates

Sighted at Logan Airport last weekend. Ironically, the plate was on a tiny convertible.

Let us know if you spy any other of the seven deadly sins!

Pentecost Novena: Day 9

NINTH DAY (Saturday, Vigil of Pentecost)

Thou, on those who evermore Thee confess and Thee Adore, in Thy sevenfold gift, Descend; Give Them Comfort when they die; Give them Life with Thee on high; Give them joys which never end. Amen

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit

The gifts of the Holy Spirit perfect the supernatural virtues by enabling us to practice them with greater docility to divine inspiration. As we grow in the knowledge and love of God under the direction of the Holy Spirit, our service becomes more sincere and generous, the practice of virtue more perfect. Such acts of virtue leave the heart filled with joy and consolation and are known as Fruits of the Holy Spirit. These Fruits in turn render the practice of virtue more attractive and become a powerful incentive for still greater efforts in the service of God, to serve Whom is to reign.


Come, O Divine Spirit, fill my heart with Thy heavenly fruits, Thy charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, faith, mildness, and temperance, that I may never weary in the service of God, but by continued faithful submission to Thy inspiration may merit to be united eternally with Thee in the love of the Father and the Son. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

Friday, May 29, 2009

Pentecost Novena: Day 8

EIGHTH DAY (Friday, 7th Week of Easter)

Bend the stubborn heart and will, melt the frozen warm the chill. Guide the steps that go astray!

The Gift of Wisdom

Embodying all the other gifts, as charity embraces all the other virtues, Wisdom is the most perfect of the gifts. Of wisdom it is written "all good things came to me with her, and innumerable riches through her hands." It is the gift of Wisdom that strengthens our faith, fortifies hope, perfects charity, and promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree. Wisdom enlightens the mind to discern and relish things divine, in the appreciation of which earthly joys lose their savor, whilst the Cross of Christ yields a divine sweetness according to the words of the Saviour: "Take up thy cross and follow me, for my yoke is sweet and my burden light.


Come, O Spirit of Wisdom, and reveal to my soul the mysteries of heavenly things, their exceeding greatness, power and beauty. Teach me to love them above and beyond all the passing joys and satisfactions of earth. Help me to attain them and possess them for ever. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pentecost Novena: Day 7

SEVENTH DAY (Thursday, 7th Week of Easter)

Heal our wounds--our strength renews; On our dryness pour Thy dew, Wash the stains of guilt away.

The Gift of Counsel

The gift of Counsel endows the soul with supernatural prudence, enabling it to judge promptly and rightly what must done, especially in difficult circumstances. Counsel applies the principles furnished by Knowledge and Understanding to the innumerable concrete cases that confront us in the course of our daily duty as parents, teachers, public servants, and Christian citizens. Counsel is supernatural common sense, a priceless treasure in the quest of salvation. "Above all these things, pray to the Most High, that He may direct thy way in truth."


Come, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide me in all my ways, that I may always do Thy holy will. Incline my heart to that which is good; turn it away from all that is evil, and direct me by the straight path of Thy commandments to that goal of eternal life for which I long.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pentecost Novena: Day 6

SIXTH DAY (Wednesday, 7th Week of Easter)

If Thou take Thy grace away, nothing pure in man will stay, All his good is turn'd to ill.

The Gift of Understanding

Understanding, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, helps us to grasp the meaning of the truths of our holy religion BY faith we know them, but by Understanding we learn to appreciate and relish them. It enables us to penetrate the inner meaning of revealed truths and through them to be quickened to newness of life. Our faith ceases to be sterile and inactive, but inspires a mode of life that bears eloquent testimony to the faith that is in us; we begin to "walk worthy of God in all things pleasing, and increasing in the knowledge of God."


Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten our minds, that we may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation; and may merit at last to see the eternal light in Thy Light; and in the light of glory to have a clear vision of Thee and the Father and the Son. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pentecost Novena: Day 5

FIFTH DAY (Tuesday, 7th Week of Easter)

Light immortal! Light Divine! Visit Thou these hearts of Thine, And our inmost being fill!

The Gift of Knowledge

The gift of Knowledge enables the soul to evaluate created things at their true worth--in their relation to God. Knowledge unmasks the pretense of creatures, reveals their emptiness, and points out their only true purpose as instruments in the service of God. It shows us the loving care of God even in adversity, and directs us to glorify Him in every circumstance of life. Guided by its light, we put first things first, and prize the friendship of God beyond all else. "Knowledge is a fountain of life to him that possesseth it."


Come, O Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, and grant that I may perceive the will of the Father; show me the nothingness of earthly things, that I may realize their vanity and use them only for Thy glory and my own salvation, looking ever beyond them to Thee, and Thy eternal rewards. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

Monday, May 25, 2009

Friends in the field:

Just a reminder that the MN Catholic Home Education Conference is THIS WEEKEND at Macalester College! Speakers include Marybeth Hicks, Dr. Brian Ray, Sister Helena Burns, and Father Samuel Martin. Don't forget the workshops, over 140 tables of vendor deals and colleges, a record number of used book tables, being able to look at curriculum before you buy it, and not having to pay for shipping. Add to that the inspirational talks that keep you going for another year and spending the weekend with hundreds of other Catholic home educating parents - and well, why would you want to miss it?!

Registration is available at the door on Friday or Saturday, and more information is online at We hope to see you there!

Pentecost Novena: Day 4

FOURTH DAY (Monday, 7th Week of Easter)

Thou in toil art comfort sweet, Pleasant coolness in the heat, solace in the midst of woe.

The Gift of Fortitude

The Gift of Fortitude By the gift of Fortitude the soul is strengthened against natural fear, and supported to the end in the performance of duty. Fortitude imparts to the will an impulse and energy which move it to under take without hesitancy the most arduous tasks, to face dangers, to trample under foot human respect, and to endure without complaint the slow martyrdom of even lifelong tribulation. "He that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved."


Come, O Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in time of trouble and adversity, sustain my efforts after holiness, strengthen my weakness, give me courage against all the assaults of my enemies, that I may never be overcome and separated from Thee, my God and greatest Good. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pentecost Novena: Day 3

THIRD DAY (7th Sunday of Easter)

Thou, of all consolers best, Visiting the troubled breast, Dost refreshing peace bestow.

The Gift of Piety

The gift of Piety begets in our hearts a filial affection for God as our most loving Father. It inspires us to love and respect for His sake persons and things consecrated to Him, as well as those who are vested with His authority, His Blessed Mother and the Saints, the Church and its visible Head, our parents and superiors, our country and its rulers. He who is filled with the gift of Piety finds the practice of his religion, not a burdensome duty, but a delightful service. Where there is love, there is no labor.


Come, O Blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart. Enkindle therein such a love for God, that I may find satisfaction only in His service, and for His sake lovingly submit to all legitimate authority. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Pentecost Novena: Day 2

SECOND DAY (Saturday, 6th Week of Easter)

Come. Father of the poor. Come, treasures which endure; Come, Light of all that live!

The Gift of Fear

The gift of Fear fills us with a sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread nothing so much as to offend Him by sin. It is a fear that arises, not from the thought of hell, but from sentiments of reverence and filial submission to our heavenly Father. It is the fear that is the beginning of wisdom, detaching us from worldly pleasures that could in any way separate us from God. "They that fear the Lord will prepare their hearts, and in His sight will sanctify their souls."


Come, O blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set you, my Lord and God, before my face forever, help me to shun all things that can offend You, and make me worthy to appear before the pure eyes of Your Divine Majesty in heaven, where You live and reign in the unity of the ever Blessed Trinity, God world without end. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pentecost Novena: Day 1

The novena in honor of the Holy Spirit is the oldest of all novenas since it was first made at the direction of Our Lord Himself when He sent His apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost. It is still the only novena officially prescribed by the Church. Addressed to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, it is a powerful plea for the light and strength and love so sorely needed by every Christian.

FIRST DAY (Friday, 6th Week of Easter)

Holy Spirit! Lord of Light! From Your clear celestial height, Your pure beaming radiance give!

The Holy Spirit:
Only one thing is important -- eternal salvation. Only one thing, therefore, is to be feared--sin· Sin is the result of ignorance, weakness, and indifference The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Light, of Strength, and of Love. With His sevenfold gifts He enlightens the mind, strengthens the will, and inflames the heart with love of God. To ensure our salvation we ought to invoke the Divine Spirit daily, for "The Spirit helpeth our infirmity. We know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit Himself asketh for us."

Almighty and eternal God, Who hast vouchsafed to regenerate us by water and the Holy Spirit, and hast given us forgiveness all sins, vouchsafe to send forth from heaven upon us your sevenfold Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and fortitude, the Spirit of Knowledge and Piety, and fill us with the Spirit of Holy Fear. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.

On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace, O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, "Speak Lord for Your servant heareth." Amen.

To be recited daily during the Novena


O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.

(To be recited daily during the Novena)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

God ascends to shouts of joy!

Today our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven; let our hearts ascend with him.  Listen to the words of the Apostle: If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth.  For just as he remained with us even after his ascension, so we too are already in heaven with him, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies.
~Saint Augustine~

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The importance of a a phone call

Fr John:
"Well, Lucy, you are the only person on the face of the earth who remembered my ordination anniversary. Not a single other person did- not my parents, no one at the seminary or at the parish. I didn't remember it was my anniversary until halfway through morning Mass."

With ordination season in full height, anniversaries also abound. Don't forget to commemorate this important date with a note or phone call.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Art of the Wedding Shower

Wedding season is fast approaching! The Church Ladies' friend Seraphic walked down the aisle last weekend, and she'll be in good company before the summer's over.

There is an art to throwing a classy wedding shower in today's terribly tacky world. The Church Ladies provide some guidance.

-There can be nice showers at restaurants. But what better place is there to celebrate the beginning of a new "household of faith" than At Home? Your event will be more relaxed and personal.

-There is a time and a place for a co-ed party. It's called your wedding reception.

-Consider celebrating a culture of life and inviting girls and women in different seasons of their lives. (NB: This shuts down shenanigans like you wouldn't believe.)

-The ban on wearing a hat in your own home is lifted for wedding showers. Consider having a garland or veil on hand for the bride, depending on her taste.

-Light instrumental music sets the tone. Try some Saint-Saens or Elgar, available from your public library.

-This is the time for delightfully dainty food. Chicken salad on croissants, little cookies, and pink lemonade make for an elegant soiree that's easy on the cook. Who can easily be our friend Trader Joe if you're pressed for time.

-If the bride is without local relatives, ask her if she needs help with anything, like addressing invitations or packaging wedding favors.

-Sometimes wedding showers bring together women from different areas of the bride's life. Casual games can help people relax. A tray memory game can be fun: place wedding related items on a tray, give the guests a minute to look at, then cover the tray and test their powers of recall! From a more challenging activity, prepare a list of scripture verses pertaining to love and marriage, and see who can identify the most (an ecumenical party game, as the Protestants will do better). Or generate a list of saints connected to marriage and the family, such as Catherine, Gianna, Margaret, and Monica, and match them with their patronage.

-Thoughtful home-made gifts might include an apron, potholders, or a tea-cosy. Another favorite theme is "something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue." A gift should fall in one of those categories, like an antique hankie, a new cake pan, or a blue chaplet. Another much appreciated gift could be a gathering of household essentials around a theme, like pantry basics, spices, stationery, or cleaning necessities.

-The bride will get enough advice. Have everyone bring a favorite recipe for her instead. A nice story about the recipe is sweet too, such as "this was my husband's favorite casserole in our newlywed days." Cooking disasters are always amusing as well.

-Save the bows in a bouquet for the wedding rehearsal. Or, if you have some artificial flowers and ribbon looking for a new home, have each person pick one, and write a poem with their well wishes tying into the flower's symbolism, and gather whole creation together on a paper plate.

Good Luck!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tea for two

She awoke early, long before it was light, and lay almost rigid, looking at her wristwatch every ten minutes, waiting for six o'clock, when she told herself it would be reasonable to get up and make tea. There was a tray in her room set with two large thick cups and saucers, a bowl containing tea bags, sachets of coffee and sugar, and a couple of biscuits. There was a small kettle, but no teapot. She supposed she was expected to make the tea in the cup.
[PD James, A Certain Justice]

Tea brewed in a teapot is more sociable, stays warm longer, and is just classier (an attribute the Church Ladies strive to emulate). Sadly most modern china patterns don't include with a teapot (and those that do often run 3 figures). What's a Church Lady to do?

If you have a more casual set, Fiesta makes teapots in a wide variety of colors. If you are looking for something formal, we recommend scouring garage sales and antique stores for a design that complements your pattern. Happy hunting!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hankie Handiwork

"Have a good time dearies," said Mrs. March as the sisters went daintily down the walk. "Don't eat much supper and come away at eleven when I send Hannah for you." As the gate clashed behind them, a voice cried from a window,"Girls, girls! have you both got nice pocket handkerchiefs?"

"Yes, yes, spandy nice, and Meg has cologne on hers," cried Jo, adding with a laugh as they went on, "I do believe Marmee would ask that if we were all running away from an earthquake."

"It is one of her aristocratic tastes and quite proper for a real lady is always known by neat boots, gloves, and handkerchief," replied Meg who had a good many little aristocratic tastes of her own
." [Louisa May Alcott, Little Women]

The Church Ladies are engaged in an on-going campaign to re-instate hankies.

Plain handkerchiefs are easily obtained at dollar discount stores, but lack decoration. This is a perfect opportunity to practice embroidery or lace knitting. Enter, a handy site about hand knit lace edgings. You're good to go.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Need knows no season

From the Ravelry Knitters Cherish Life group:

In honor of our children and all children who have lost their lives by abortion Silent No More Minnesota will sponsor a baby shower on June 3rd. Gifts will be given to Robbinsdale Women’s Center, a pregnancy center located in Robbinsdale, MN. They are also located across the street from an abortion clinic.

We would be happy to receive donated knitted items you wish to send and forward them on to the center. You can mail them to Silient No More Minnesota, 4180 West Broadway Ave. No., Suite B, Robbinsdale, MN 55422.

Even if you can't finish an item by the deadline, I'm sure Silent No More would appreciate receiving it. It gets plenty cold in Minnesota.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Linen Primer

For the church ladies, caring for linen is a year-round concern, as many of the better surplices, etc, are crafted of this delightful fabric. And as Memorial Day approaches, our own chic linen sundresses and skirts are coming out of storage. Here are a few quick tips to make your linen look its best.

1. Start with a clean iron. If the sole-plate is dirty, heat the iron on the steam setting, then unplug it and let it cool for a few minutes. Scrub with a wet terry washcloth- the steam will loosen anything that's caked on.

2. To keep that crisp finish, iron your linen when its damp. If that's not possible, squirt it well with water and starch before ironing.

3. Dry-clean your fancier linen. Those Dryel bags make this affordable and easy at home.

4. For a more casual look, you can wash your linen. Separating the lights and darks is super important here, as is avoiding bleach, which can be harsh on this delicate fabric. Always use cold water.

Mindful Mondays

If you're against capital punishment, you must be more against capital punishment against babies, which is carried out without trial or jury or appeal or court-appointed lawyer.

If you're against war, you must be more against war conducted against babies by their parents and doctors, since unborn babies are the ultimate defenseless pacifists, only wanting to go about their own business of growing and living.

If you're against poverty, you must be more against babies being deprived of their only property, their own lives and bodies.

If you're for social justice, you must be more in favor of justice for babies as an integral part of religion and society.

There is no social ill, no injustice, no horror that is not intensified when it involves the unborn, for they have the least power and the most need. If we don't protect our young, we don't protect anyone.

From Maureen at Aliens in this World, Cloche tip to Amy

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Not Quite Church-Worthy

A slideshow of hats from this year's Kentucky Derby.  Interestingly enough, the most conservative one was worn by (get this) Paris Hilton.


Just swimmingly

I know there is swimwear out there that resembles a dress but quite frankly, if I have to wear a dress in the pool I'm just going to stay home. That having been said, I don't believe we should be wearing Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikinis either. Lucky for us, there are plenty of adorable vintage-inspired swimsuits that I think strike a perfect balance between usability and modesty. Here are three of my favorite sources for retro bathing suits...

Betty Beguiles has done the hard work in researching some glamorous bathing suits.

May: Month of Mary

The Holy Father's Intentions for the Month of May 2009

General: That Christians may use literature, art and the media to greater advantage to favour a culture which defends and promotes the values of the human person.

Missionary: That just as she accompanied the Apostles in the early stages of the Church, may the Blessed Virgin Mary, Star of Evangelization and Queen of Apostles, continue to guide missionaries throughout the world with maternal affection.

Lovely day for a procession

The Kloskas have photos from the 5th Annual Eucharistic procession at Our Lady's University.