Friday, January 30, 2009

Whiter than Snow

This helpful tip for getting those white church clothes white again comes from Mary Hunt's everyday cheapskate column. My yellowed clipping is taped inside the door to my laundry room cupboard, (Where else would you keep a laundry "recipe"?) and I've used it many times; almost always with a visible difference in whiteness.
For dingy items, add one cup of Cascade automatic dishwashing powder (not gel), 1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda and a heaping measure of your normal laundry detergent to the wash cycle. Allow the agitation to begin, then turn the machine off. With the lid closed, allow the load to soak overnight. In the morning, turn the machine on and complete the cycles.
NOTES: I've used store brand dishwashing powder for this and the Washing Soda is available at grocery or discount stores. It works best with a small load.

On a related topic, this recipe for homemade laundry detergent from the Complete Woman site looks interesting.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Title IX for women religious

It's time to step up awareness of female religious communities, both active and contemplative.

The Diary of a Parish Priest column in February's issue of Today's Parish Minister illustrates an issue I have been thinking about lately.

A quick synopsis of the column, since it's not available on-line: Father and the female pastoral associate take the altar servers (boys and girls) to the diocesan altar server Mass at the Cathedral, at the end of which is a priestly vocation spiel, followed by a fleeting mention of cloistered women religious. The pastoral associate is furious, believing that the girls are shortchanged because there is no presentation of lay ministries. She holds her own self-described "damage control" session for her parish's servers to inform them of this potential.

I agree with the pastoral associate in a way. And I think lay ministry gets plenty of air time, so I'm going to approach the situation from a different vantage point. A concern with female altar servers is that they are presented with an unsustainable model for service to the Church. By promoting the priesthood while neglecting women's religious communities, the impression is given that the only way for anyone (versus any man in the most exclusive sense) to serve the Church in an official leadership capacity is as a priest.

A devastating combination occurred soon after Vatican 2: a number of women left religious orders and many of these women's roles were easily replaced by lay people. People realized that you didn't have to be a religious to be a teacher or a nurse, at least not in America. Many female religious that people encounter today are visiting missionaries, rather than resident members of the community. Women's religious orders no longer have anything but a stereotyped role in many people's Catholic consciousness.

Look at your average diocese's website. Walk into your average parish. Most of them do a great job of promoting vocations to the priesthood- I'd be surprised if you didn't see a recruitment poster for the seminary.

But for women? Frankly, while there are diocesan congregations,there isn't a standard religious community that plays an active role in most dioceses, and certainly not the type of promotion for women's religious communities that you get with priestly vocations.

And that's a crying shame. It is a travesty that women's religious orders don't get the promotion they deserve and that young girls don't get the education they need about this beautiful state of life.

The Church Ladies intend to make up for this negligence by providing a list of our favorite women's religious communities. While at Our Lady's University, many of us were fortunate to go on nun runs and have visited these places, so do feel free to ask questions!

Ann Arbor Dominicans
Teaching Dominican sisters, many of them quite young. Their website even has an image of their visit to Our Lady's University for a Eucharistic Procession

Chicago Poor Clares
A cloistered monastic order interceding for us on earth

Discalced Carmelite Nuns
Links to communities all around the US

Nashville Dominicans
Another order of young teaching sisters, these ones with sweet tea

USA Dominican Nuns
Links to Dominican communities across the US

Little Sisters of the Poor
A nursing order, caring for the elderly

Missionaries of Charity
You might know them better as Mother Teresa's order. Rosaleen, the third of the original Church Ladies is an MC postulant.

Monastery of Our Lady of the Perpetual Rosary
A cloistered Dominican community in NJ

Poor Clare Nuns of Virginia
A contemplative community in the spirit of St Clare

Regina Laudis
Contemplative Benedictines in Bethlehem, CT

Sisters of Life
a contemplative/active religious community dedicated to protecting and advancing a sense of the sacredness of all human life

Sisters of Saint Francis of Perpetual Adoration

A contemplative/active community in Indiana

[image source: The Liverpool Museum]

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What to do with all that religious paraphernalia

You know how it goes. You subscribe to one Catholic publication (cough NC Register cough) and suddenly all this religious paraphernalia shows up. Every day.

What to do with all of it?

The rosaries are easy. Put one in every coat and purse you own. That way, you'll never be caught without one, and have one to give away should you encounter someone who needs one.

But the medals? With a few 8 mm jump rings from the jewelry section (the ones the medals come with usually aren't big enough to fit over larger needles), you can have unique stitch markers that advertise the faith whenever you knit in public.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Agatha Christie Indult

"Religion, M. Poirot, can be a great help and sustenance- but by that I mean orthodox religion."
[Agatha Christie, The Labors of Hercules]

This Church Lady (and her pastor) are Quite Fond of the works of Mrs. Christie.

But did you know about the Agatha Christie Indult?

The "Agatha Christie indult" is a nickname applied to the permission granted in 1971 by Pope Paul VI for the use of the Tridentine Mass in England and Wales Following the introduction of the Mass of Paul VI to replace the former rite in 1969-1970, a petition was sent to the Pope asking that the Tridentine Rite be allowed to survive in the dioceses of England and Wales. The petition noted the exceptional artistic and cultural heritage of the Tridentine liturgy, and was signed by many prominent Catholic and non-Catholic figures in British society, including Robert Graves, Professor Sir Maurice Bowra, Iris Murdoch, Sir Kenneth Clark, Cecil Day Lewis, Dame Joan Sutherland, Nancy Mitford, two Anglican bishops - and the crime novelist Agatha Christie. Cardinal John Heenan, the leader of English and Welsh Catholics, subsequently approached Pope Paul VI and asked that use of the Tridentine Mass be permitted. On 5 November 1971, the Pope granted the request. Between then and the granting of the worldwide "universal indult" in 1984, the bishops of England and Wales were authorized to grant permission for the occasional celebration of Mass in the old form, with the modifications introduced in 1965 and 1967. It should be noted that English Catholics had a particular emotional attachment to the Tridentine Mass, as the Mass which had been celebrated by the English martyrs of the Reformation and by priests in the years in which Catholicism had been subjected to sometimes severe persecution. The indult acquired its nickname by virtue of a story told about the Pope's acceptance of the petition: The story is that Pope Paul read through the letter in silence then suddenly exclaimed, "Ah, Agatha Christie!" and then signed it. He must have been one of her fans. The English Indult of 1971 was granted and thus was saved the old Mass. Ever since it has been known informally as the Agatha Christie indult. The text of the petition and of the response of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship to Cardinal Heenan's request are available online here

[from Wikipedia]

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Monday morning laugh

Sign at the door of a local convent.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

As a priest was leaving our post-Mass brunch this weekend, someone commented on his obviously-handmade scarf.  He told us that right after Vietnam, he and a couple other priests took turns saying Mass at a nearby army base.  There was a pious woman there who was particularly appreciative of their services, so she crocheted three scarves, one for each of them.  "One was brown, one was orange, and one was green.  I got the green one," he told us, clearly pleased with his choice even 30 years later.

The moral of the story?  Well, just remember this story next time you're wondering what to get your favorite priest.  The downside is that you can probably only give that gift once per priest (or at least, only once every 30 years or so).

All in one

You've heard of four-ways (the scapular/Miraculous Medal etc combos). Our friends at Catholic Stationery (who already had some beautiful sacramental registers) have come up with a neat idea: an all in one record.

This records it all! Areas to record nearly every Sacrament a child will receive in life, starting with Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, Holy Matrimony or Entrance into Religious Life. Also has an area for dates to consecrate them to the Sacred Heart, Our Lady and St. Joseph! Makes a great gift! Printed on Quality, Acid Free Paper, this frameable 11" x 14" print will last for generations to come.

Real Heroes

Check out this beautiful video, The World Needs More Heroes, from and Grassroot Films (the same people who brought you God on the Streets of NY), recently shown at the St John- Notre Dame men's basketball game.

"You have to be a real man if you want to be a priest."
-John Cardinal O'Connor

Saturday, January 24, 2009


One of my most effective laundry tips is to liberally sprinkle Clorox 2 (dry bleach for colored fabrics) onto a stain, roll it up, get it thoroughly wet and set it in my washer to wait until laundry day. I've saved many things that way, most recently this piece of hardanger embroidery that was badly stored and stained. Since it's always prudent to start with the most gentle method and move up to the I've-got-nothing-to-lose point (usually bleach), I started with Woolite and then detergent. Neither worked at all on this.

It doesn't usually help with grease stains, but I've had lots of luck with other types.
Clorox 2 - Easy. Cheap. Effective.

Friday, January 23, 2009

... a fundamental desire of people to communicate and relate

The Message of the Holy Father for the upcoming World Day of Communications:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, I ask you to introduce into the culture of this new environment of communications and information technology the values on which you have built your lives ... It falls, in particular, to young people, who have an almost spontaneous affinity for the new means of communication, to take on the responsibility for the evangelization of this "digital continent". Be sure to announce the Gospel to your contemporaries with enthusiasm. You know their fears and their hopes, their aspirations and their disappointments: the greatest gift you can give to them is to share with them the "Good News" of a God who became man, who suffered, died and rose again to save all people. Human hearts are yearning for a world where love endures, where gifts are shared, where unity is built, where freedom finds meaning in truth, and where identity is found in respectful communion. Our faith can respond to these expectations: may you become its heralds! The Pope accompanies you with his prayers and his blessing.

Excellent use of a cope

CLOCHE tip: Rebecca Teti

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The crockpot is your friend

Quick! There's a Holy Hour at Church at 7.30, and somehow you have to get everybody fed and out the door beforehand. Or the family is starving after Morning Mass- the coffee hour doughnut holes just aren't cutting it. You get the picture.

Don't worry, the Church Ladies have the answers!

I have to admit, when I got married, I was ambivalent about registering for a crock-pot- I did it mostly to please my mother -in-law, but wasn't convinced I'd get much use out of it. I put it on the top shelf of the pantry and ignored it until recently. But add in a Sunday night knitting group, and BAM! The crock-pot has become a good friend at our house. It'll be the best $20 you ever spent.

Your basic cookbooks- Joy of Cooking, Better Homes and Gardens, and Betty Crocker have slow cooker sections.

Here are the official recipes from Crock-Pot themselves.

Betty (at Betty Beguiles: Marriage, Moxie, and Modesty) offers some breakfast crock-pot meals: Hot Breakfast Cereal, Apple Cobbler, Peach Cobbler, Bacon, Egg, & Potato, Breakfast Casserole, and Oatmeal.

Catholic Answers (yes, they're more than apologetics literature!) shares their favorite crock-pot recipes.

What are your favorite crock-pot recipes?

[image source]

A Litany for Life

R/: Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy, R/
Christ, have mercy, R/
Lord, have mercy, R/
Christ, through whom all things were made, R/
Spirit of life and truth, R/
On each child just conceived, R/
For their safety and health, R/
For nine months of growth, R/
That an angel might protect them, R/
For peace and hope, R/
On all new fathers, R/
On fathers who are alone, R/
On father unemployed, R/
On fathers who are suffering, R/
On young fathers who are in pain, R/
On all new mothers, R/
On mothers who are alone, R/
On mothers unemployed, R/
On mothers who are suffering, R/
On young mothers who are afraid, R/
On mother who are in pain, R/
On those who defend life, R/
On those who love the child in the womb, R/
On those who pray for the unborn child, R/
On all who work to change unjust laws, R/
On all who live the Gospel of Life, R/
On all legislators who work for life, R/
On all national and state officials, R/
On all who are too little to vote or persuade, R/
On all people who work for life, R/
On doctors who gaze on life's mysteries, R/
On physicians who see into the womb, R/
On surgeons who heal the unborn child, R/
On nurses and nursing students, R/
On those who first hear the heartbeat, R/
On nurses who cradle the newborn, R/
On all who protect defenseless life, R/
On the unborn child whose life rests in the hands of others, R/
On all victims of abortion, R/
On all who seek mercy, R/
On all who seek peace, R/
On all who seek justice, R/
On all who seek healing, mercy, and perfect peace, R/

God, our loving father, grant wisdom to those who govern us, compassion and courage to those who work to defend human life, and safety and care to every human being, for You alone who formed us in our mothers' wombs, and call us home to heaven, are God forever and ever. Amen.

[Boston Deacons for Life, Diocese of Madison]

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Making it Portable

She obtains wool and flax and makes cloth with skillful hands.
Proverbs 31:13
Church Ladies appreciate those quiet evenings at home, quietly doing needlework while someone else reads aloud from an edifying book. (The fireplace is lit, I have a hot cup of mint tea, a cozy chair ... sigh!) The reality, however, is I'm more often doing my needlework on the go while riding in a car, waiting for appointments, or for a child's activity to get done, even while sitting in a meeting. I always have at least one project in process that can be classified as "portable" and few things are more frustrating than facing a long car ride with nothing to do because I've dropped a stitch and can't maneuver everything back into place with the stuff I have in my glove compartment, and why can't I find that paper clip I know I saw on the back seat floor last week? But I digress.

I've found the following to be useful for yarn projects and it all snaps securely into an eyeglass case. The case easily lives in a project bag and doesn't snag yarn because the edges are all rounded.
  • retractable tape measure (88 cents at Wal-Mart)
  • folding scissors (also 88 cents at Wal-Mart)
  • a small pencil or pen (I'm always making notes on my patterns)
  • stitch markers
  • row counter
  • crochet hook (for picking up dropped stitches, etc.)
  • paper clip (to mark my place in a pattern sheet)
  • needle and safety pins (poked through a ribbon to keep them together)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tip of the Day

"...that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing..." [Eph 5, 27]

A Church Lady is known by the impeccable state of her iron. But sometimes even the best of irons can work against you.

I had been struggling with my iron cord creating wrinkles as I ironed. Solution: hook the cord through the handle, which lifts it up, minimizing its potential to undo your hard work.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Reader bleg

On the one hand, there is the example of some young Churches, which show how fervently Sunday can be celebrated, whether in urban areas or in widely scattered villages. By contrast, in other parts of the world, because of the sociological pressures already noted, and perhaps because the motivation of faith is weak, the percentage of those attending the Sunday liturgy is strikingly low. In the minds of many of the faithful, not only the sense of the centrality of the Eucharist but even the sense of the duty to give thanks to the Lord and to pray to him with others in the community of the Church, seems to be diminishing.
[John Paul II, Dies Domini]

For the last few years I've been tossing around the idea for a book about the celebration of Sunday around the world. People often think of Sunday as having two historical extremes. There is the Laura Ingalls Wilder version where all people did was go to church and read the Bible, with no manual labor or play allowed. The other version is increased secularization, the idea that Sunday is simply the second day of the weekend, either for pure leisure or whatever work needs to be done.

At the same time, in an increasingly homogeneous Church, we are challenged with losing our respective heritages as we belong to parishes that are more territorial and less ethnic. As we move further and further away from our immigrant roots, we risk losing a part of our identity. Yet the truly celebratory Sunday of yester-year has the potential for someone being over-worked to provide the entire family with a special Sunday dinner.

I'd like to examine the celebration of Sunday from a Catholic perspective. Each chapter would consist of a brief history of the Catholic experience in a culture, and combining that with a recipe from that culture adapted for easier preparation.

But I have been struggling to find sources (preferably primary). Ideally, I'd like to have 30 cultures to examine, and right now I only have information for a few countries (Austria, some Germany, some Ireland, and Sri Lanka).

If you have stories to share about your or your family's celebration of Sunday in a different country, I would be really interested to hear them. Also book recommendations on the subject would be much appreciated. You can share this information via email: sanctalucia(at)gmail(dot)com. Thanks in advance!

[image source]

Martin Luther King Day

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!" [MLK, Jr]

Martin Luther King, with Father Theodore Hesburgh of Our Lady's University.

[image source]

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pie Crust* Sunday

This is, I am afraid, a festival of my own invention unknown to the liturgy. But many of us make good resolutions to usher in the New Year, and the observance of good resolutions, with most of us, lasts a full fortnight and no longer. Surely then, the third Sunday in January is an opportunity for cultivating that baffled spirit of humiliation which is, commonly, the only fruit of our good resolutions bring.

I believe there are one or two rules worth observing. One is, to aim at something positive, not something negative. Occasional and even frequent failures to keep a positive resolution do not bring with them the same chilling sense of despair. You are less likely to throw up the sponge after the fourth failure to rise when you are called than after the fourth row with your sister-in-law.

Another is to supplement -replace if you will- the habit of thinking up good resolutions at certain seasonable intervals by the habit of following up at once, the good inspirations which come to us by flashes; the good inspirations which tempt us to say "This will do for Lent." Why wait until Lent to do something which might be done on January 20th?

A third is to pray for the grace to carry out the resolve, and to let your mind dwell on the prayer rather than the resolve itself. Commonly, the man who thinks he is going to win does better than the man who tried hard to win.

But above all, when you come back to report your failure, let it be with a smile. [Ronald Knox]

*"Promises are like pie crusts, meant to be broken." [Mary Poppins]

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Eventually, the holiday decorations have to come down. But before you toss your Christmas cards, consider getting one more use out of them. By reusing your religious Christmas cards as gift tags, you can subtly emphasize the true importance of the Christmas season.

All you need is a pair of scissors, although an X-Acto knife and straight edge can make the task go faster and fancier.

Trim motifs out of your Christmas cards to use as gift tags next year. You'll be hard pressed to find ones that don't have at least something that can be cropped for reuse. Many card companies print a miniature of the front image on the back flap- those make a nice size for small packages.

You can then punch a hole and thread the label on ribbon, or simply tape them to your gifts.

You can also send your Christmas cards to St Jude's Children Ranch, 100 St. Jude Street, P.O. Box 60100, Boulder City, NV 89006 for the children to use to make new holiday cards as a fundraiser.

It's for the children!

I'd hate to turn this blog into a forum for legislative activism, but do think it's fair to say that buying used books, finding a second-hand bargain, and selling hand made items are all near and dear to the hearts of these Church Ladies. If you agree, please read up on the Consumer Product Safety "Improvement" Act of 2008, HR 4040. The publicized intent was to protect children from last year's discovery of lead contamination in toys coming from China. The final outcome will require ALL components of ALL products used by children (clothing, toys, books, furniture, DVDs, etc.) under age 12 to be tested. This will effectively shut down used sales of any of these items and will put second-hand stores, many home craft businesses, ebay and Etsy sellers out of business.

Consider, for example, a child's dress. Each component will require testing by an independent lab - each fabric, thread, zipper, lace, and decorative ribbon used will need to be certified separately. And each size of the identical dress will need a separate certification. It goes without saying that this would not be possible for your average Goodwill outlet. Not only will used items no longer be available for sale, but new items will be significantly pricier to absorb the cost of testing.

And books, for Pete's sake. I don't know about you, but there's nothing I enjoy more than going to a library sale and buying armfuls of beautiful, used books to enrich my children's minds through literature. But literacy is now less important than the remote possibility my 10-year-old daughter will eat her books and become sick. So books will be subject to testing because of the component parts – glue, bindings, paper, inks. Libraries can no longer hold book sales because children's books might be sold. Used bookstores would have to dump all their children's selections. has already notified its vendors that they must comply with the new law by providing lead-testing certificates. There can be no more homeschool curriculum fairs because used books change hands all the time. See how this works?
Read more here and here and please consider contacting your legislator and passing the word to others.

Friday, January 16, 2009

"All human life is a gift from our Creator that is sacred, unique, and worthy of protection."

Could the contrast be more stark? On January 18, President Bush invites us to recognize "that each person, including every person waiting to be born, has a special place and purpose in this world." Later that week thousands (hopefully millions) will be finishing their novenas against the evil of the promised "first piece of legislation."

Thanks to President Bush for all the ways he's defended the unborn. Take a few moments to read his proclamation for the National Sanctity of Human Life Day and please remember to keep praying and working for a culture of life.

Note: The photo is of my family's home altar. When my children were small we somehow acquired a plastic model of an unborn baby at 12 weeks old and the natural place for one of my little ones to put it was in this tiny crib. It became a reminder to us to pray for the unborn. I was looking for a link to where you could purchase these models and found these amazing ones instead.

Hint of the Day: The Holy Card System

To commemorate the feast of the day on my home altar, I display a holy card or a holy card sized image set in a plate holder.

But I was getting increasingly frustrated with not being able to find the cards I needed, especially after the collection doubled after getting married, so I spent a morning putting the following system in place.

First, I sorted all the holy cards by devotion and weeded out the duplicates for enclosing with correspondence. Then I put them in piles according to what month the feast fell, along with some seasonal piles like Advent, Christmastide, Lent, and Easter, and separate piles for family death cards, commemorative holy cards, etc.

I put each pile in its own envelope. Each of the months has the name of the month on the front, and a list of the saints/devotions that I have and their feast day on the back, eg 21- St Agnes.

I keep all the envelopes in a box in chronological order, with the current month at the front, date-side forward, which I store in the top drawer of the bureau/home altar, so I can easily see if I have an image for the day.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Old world charm for $6.99

This wooden church Advent calendar is on sale at Target for $6.99. I think with a few touches, it could be turned into something quite inspiring and a family treasure for generations.

Painting the roof a more roof like color with shingles or tiles approximated in permanent ink, and the ground rendered a more realistic color would help a lot, as would moving the small cross to the top of the steeple. Painting the door brown or another dark color would add some visual weight as would using the eyes from a large hook and eye set as faux iron work. Those handy with Photoshop could add stained glass (printed on labels for easy fixation).

Inside each door, one could place a verse from the readings of the day and other small treasures.

The new springtime

A beautiful image to lift your spirits on a winter's day.

CLOCHE tip: Fr Z (via Good Jesuit Bad Jesuit via The Pilgrim's Story)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Write the Church Ladies

It has come to my attention, via one of the comments, that there had not been a way to contact Your Hostesses directly. I have taken it upon myself to resolve that problem, and you may now find our email address on the sidebar. We do love mail, so please feel free to write Early and Often!
(Image source.)

Church Lady Hint of the Day #2: Cassocks

I've decided to make little hints a regular feature on this blog (starting with yesterday's on the little bread bag closures). As the talents of your hostesses are Various and Sundry, expect quite a variety of hints, as well.

Without further ado, Today's Hint: Hemming a cassock.

One might assume that a cassock would have a fairly straightforward, flat hem. You would be wrong, however, as many have a slight curve to the hem. Not enough to pick up on while ironing it, but just enough to really throw you off while sewing. So, consider yourself warned if you are doing such alterations: keep the hem relatively narrow, pin very well, and employ the use of ease stitching, if necessary. Ask me how I learned this.

Embroidery and Old Books

One of today's commenters pointed me towards the wonderful Needle'n'Thread blog, where I found this Lovely resource:
Text not available
Church Embroidery, Ancient and Modern, By Anastasia Marice Dolby

As Your Hostesses are great lovers of both the needle arts and vintage books, you can imagine my delight. I highly recommend you have a look at both the book and the blog, which has several wonderful resources.

Coolest pub name EVER

The pub is located in the picturesque Cotswold village of Shutford, five miles west of Banbury. The stone building dates back to the thirteenth century, and is Grade II listed. The bar is quite unique in that when you order a pint you are actually twelve feet underground - the pub is built into the side of a hill, with the historic St. Martins church sitting above it. Legend has it that the pub is haunted by several ghosts, and is linked to the manor house by a secret tunnel built in smuggling days. [More information]
[image source]

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Epiphany Party

A Belgian friend of the family always hosted an Epiphany party growing up. This year, I continued the tradition.
[Image source]

I set the table with the Magi and baby Jesus from a couple of the Nativity sets, and used the crown rings and the angels from a Harry & David Christmas basket to hold the napkins.

The Menu:
Since the Magi came from the East, I served Indian food.
Hummus & pretzel chips
Egg Curry
Cabbage, Carrots, & Coconut Stirfry
Gaetano D'Aquino 2007
Chocolate Cathedral Bundt Cake (w/ Baby Jesus inside!)

In the spirit of the feast, we had a White Elephant/Yankee Swap. Lots of treasures were exchanged. People also picked their patron saints for the year.

It was a good party.
A really good party.

Handy Needlework Tip

Those little plastic bread closures make great bobbins for the ends of knitting and crochet projects waiting to be woven in, spare bits of embroidery floss, etc. You can even label them with pencil.

I ran across this on the Ravelry* forums the other day, and it's been a lifesaver as I'm doing finishing work on a sweater.

*If you knit or crochet and you're not on Ravlery, you should be. Make that two tips. :-)

A Lovely Picture for your Tuesday

A child is breast-fed by its mother after being baptised by Pope Benedict XVI in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican January 11, 2009.
REUTERS/Maurizio Brambatti/Pool (VATICAN)

(h/t: Amy Welborn)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ukranian Church Ladies

Working Through Tough Times (NY Times Video)

Elderly Ukrainian women have kept St George's Ukrainian Catholic Parish and parochial school alive through their dumpling making.

To quote one of our sister Church Ladies: "No time to be tired! Who else going to do it?"

CLOCHE tip: A fellow Church Lady from Milwaukee

Happy Epiphany!

The kings of Tharsis and the Isles shall offer gifts;
the kings of Arabia and Saba shall bring tribute:
all kings shall pay Him homage,
all nations shall serve Him.
[Ps 71, 10-11]

The Veil-Along begins

The Ravelry group KnitCatholics' Veil-Along starts today. Join us as we knit or crochet chapel veils!

[image source]

Knitting with the Saints

Patron saints for craftsmen were chosen for accidental reasons, such as the name of the guild church or a saint's day that provided a winter holiday. The latter reason may explain why in Barcelona, the silk knitters chose St Lucy and St Ursula, while the wool stocking knitters chose St Sebastian- though St Sebastian's arrows may have suggested knitting needles.

Bishop's liturgical gloves were often made by stranded color knitting.

The saintly cardinal archbishop of Milan, Carlo Borromeo, in his Latin regulations on ecclesiastical dress used [the word] contextus, interwoven, to describe the fabric of bishop's gloves.

Ironically, it is the same year, 1793, that gives us one true story of a knitting saint: Jean-Baptiste Marie Vianney, the famous cure of Ars. He and his little sister Marguerite went out every day to graze the family donkey, cows, and sheep. They took their knitting with them, since it was the custom of shepherds of both sexes to make stockings while looking after their beasts. Jean carried a statuette of the Madonna in his blouse. He made a shrine for it with leaves and flowers in a hollow tree trunk and used to say to Marguerite, "Knit my stocking. I must go pray down by the brook."

[A History of Hand Knitting]
[Image source]

Bl Brother Andre

"He spent his whole life speaking of others to God, and of God to others," said a friend of Brother Andre's. [NC Register Article]

Image source:
Basilica of the Sacred Heart, University of Notre Dame

Friday, January 2, 2009

Church Ladies love a sale

A noteworthy after-Christmas sale is being held at Our Father's House. They've long been a favorite source of Montessori stuff and we LOVE the various pieces of their Miniature Mass Kits. The prices are reasonable and the quality is excellent!