Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Today's Word

Of course, after mentioning it yesterday, the next logical word is

Novitiate (no-VIH-shee-eht)
A period of training and discernment for one seeking admission to a religious order. Like a postulant, Novices have not yet taken vows and are free to leave at any time. This is also a period of discernment for the order, and the Superior (leader) is also free to dismiss a novice if the arrangement is not discerned to be a good mutual fit.

From the ever-helpful Wikipedia:
After initial contact with the community, and usually a period of time as a postulant (a more or less formal period of candidacy for the novitiate), the person will be received as a novice in a ceremony that most often involves being clothed with the religious habit (traditional garb) of the particular religious community. The novice's habit is often slightly different from those of professed members of the order. For instance, in communities of women that wear a dark veil over the head, novices often wear a white one; among Franciscan communities of men, novices wear an additional shirt-like chest piece over the traditional Franciscan robe; Carthusian novices wear a dark cloak over the usual white habit; etc.
Novices are not admitted to vows until they have successfully completed the prescribed period of training and proving, called the novitiate. This usually lasts one year, the minimum required by Canon Law, though in some orders and communities it is two. Novices typically have dormitories in separate areas within a monastery or community and are under the direct supervision of a novice master or novice mistress.
Even more helpful is this page on the stages of formation of religious life from the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. The above photo is also from their site showing a postulant, a novice and a fully-professed sister.

The place where novices live is also know as a novitiate.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Today's Word

Postulant (PAHS-stoo-luhnt)
A candidate for a religious order who is entering the pre-novitiate period of his/her discernment. The length of this time varies from one order to another, but during this time the postulant participates as fully as possible in the prayer and work life of the community. Since no vows are yet taken, this is a time for the candidate to discern the Lord's will.

You may have read the recent interview with Harvard's 2010 Valedictorian, Mary Anne Marks, who is about to move into life as a postulant with the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Michigan. If you haven't, please do! It's a thoughtful reflection on one woman's discernment process and the Church in the modern world.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Uniting the Faith with Daily Life

In this week's Lesson Plan feature in the Catholic Spirit (diocesan paper of St. Paul/Minneapolis) Maria Wiering has a great article on simple ways you can work to build a Catholic culture in your family.
Do you go to Mass on Sunday, but feel like Monday — and Tuesday, Wednesday and the rest — are detached from what you experience at church? For many Catholics, it’s a challenge to unite faith and the normal tasks of daily life. There’s something about a meeting at the office, or washing dishes, or shopping for groceries that seems very ordinary and outside of God’s interest in our lives.

Yet, St. Ignatius of Loyola preached that it is possible to find God in all things. With this in mind, it doesn’t hurt to add a few things in your day that are specifically about reminding yourself that what you have on Sunday should be part of every day.
I've listed the basics below so you can grade yourself, but go to her article for the details of each. There are simple ideas and some that will require a little more commitment. Almost all will work with family members of every age and there are definitely some you can try today.
  1. ___Feast on feasts
  2. ___Talk about the readings at Sunday brunch
  3. ___Say your bedtime prayers
  4. ___Learn about each day's saint
  5. ___Follow the liturgical seasons
  6. ___Greet the day
  7. ___Pray the Rosary
  8. ___Hang your crucifixes
  9. ___Attend a funeral
  10. ___Have your home blessed
  11. ___Make a pilgrimage
  12. ___Recite the Angelus
  13. ___Bless your door
  14. ___Thank your priest
  15. ___Pray before car rides
  16. ___Attend religious ed.
  17. ___Give something up
  18. ___Mail a holy card
  19. ___Read a book
  20. ___Open your Bible
  21. ___Attend a daily Mass
  22. ___Look at art
  23. ___Eat together
  24. ___Pray for the Pope's intentions
  25. ___Pray for the Pope
  26. ___Volunteer for a cause
  27. ___Talk about God
  28. ___Memorize a psalm
  29. ___Visit an empty church
  30. ___List your prayers
  31. ___Plant a garden
  32. ___Be grateful
  33. ___Light a candle
  34. ___Try adoration
  35. ___Leave out your nativity set
  36. ___Make a confession
  37. ___Schedule that retreat
And this is my prayer: that your live may increase
ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception,
to discern what is of value, so that you may be
pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
filled with the fruit of righteousness
that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.
~Philippians 1: 9-11

Friday, August 27, 2010

Today's Word

The recent post at NLM on the Watts Book of English Church Embroidery is interesting enough, but stay on their site a little longer and drool over the amazing fabrics and vestments. Even the banners are impressive!

And as long as we have such a perfect visual aide, let's move into today's word:

The vestment worn by clergy at Benediction, processions, and solemn celebrations of the Liturgy of the Hours. A cope is a floor length garment and is fastened around the neck by a clasp. A hood shaped like a shield is usually on the back of the cope.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

For today's to-do list

Mother Teresa stamps go on sale today. I plan to buy a ridiculous quantity.

Word of the Day*

When I first read about Elizabeth Scalia's new "Word of the Day" feature, my immediate thought was "why didn't I think of that?" Ever since I worked with a parish group that rejected the use of a picture of a thurible on a t-shirt because "no one knows what that is anymore," I have been on a mission to use my tiny sphere of influence toward using proper terms, defining things, and introducing others to the beautiful vocabulary of the Church.

With that in mind, it just seems right to begin with a word that is near and dear to us -
Sodality (so-DAL-ih-tee)
A group, usually of lay people, formed to promote pious and charitible acts. The Code of Canon Law tells us:
In the Church there are associations which are distinct from institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life. In these associations, Christ's faithful, whether clerics or laity, or clerics and laity together, strive with a common effort to foster a more perfect life, or to promote public worship or Christian teaching. They may also devote themselves to other works of the apostolate, such as initiatives for evangelisation, works of piety or charity, and those which animate the temporal order with the Christian spirit.

Christ's faithful are to join especially those associations which have been established, praised or recommended by the competent ecclesiastical authority. (Can. 298 §1 and §2)
*I need to add some qualifiers here. (1) I guarantee there will not be a word each and every day. Maybe Word of the Week would be more realistic. Sometimes Word of the Month may be closer to the truth. (2) I can also guarantee that every entry will not be a single word; there are just too many interesting phrases to learn. Perhaps a more accurate title would be The Church Ladies Sporadically Write About Words and Phrases That Currently Catch Their Attention. Or perhaps we'll just use Today's Word ;-)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I love cooking with the liturgical year and all

But I am not making today's recommended dish for St Louis, King of France.

Cut the eel in rounds. Mix with it yolks of eggs, parsley, mushrooms, asparagus, soft roes, verjuice, or gooseberries if in season, and do not stint either butter, or salt, or pepper. Spread this on an undercrust and cover it with pastry. In order to hold it together, butter narrow bands of paper, and putting them around the pastry, bind them lightly on. Bake the pâté and, when it is cooked, mix the yolks of three eggs with a dash of verjuice and a little nutmeg; and when you are ready to serve, pour in your sauce into the pâté and mix it well. Open the pâté and serve with the crust cut in four.

Margaret Mary suggests French toast instead...

Image source

Friday, August 20, 2010

St Bernard

"And I glory in tribulations if I have been counted worthy
to endure any for the sake of the Church.
This, truly, is my glory and the lifting up of my head:
the triumph of the Church.
For if we have been sharers of her troubles,
we shall be also of her consolation.
We must work and suffer with our mother."

[St Bernard of Clairvaux]

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Feast of the Assumption

"What son would not bring his mother back to life
and would not bring her into paradise after her death if he could?"
(St Francis de Sales)

Feast of the Assumption links:
*Pope Pius XII's Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus: Defining the Dogma of the Assumption (November 1950).

*Celebrating the Feast of the Assumption in the domestic church (Mary Reed Newland)

*Catholic Cuisine's Feast of the Assumption recipes

Image source:
Pietro Perugino, "Assumption of the Virgin"
c. 1506

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Swatching it up

On Friday, Therese and I are going to the biggest button store in New England. We are pretty excited.

Whenever possible, I like to purchase buttons after a project is finished. For one thing, you have a better idea of how many buttons you'll need. But being an urban, pedestrian Church Lady, I don't have the option of lugging several almost finished projects with me to the button store.

Instead, I've come upon a technique that gets extra mileage out of your gauge swatch. After you've worked the requisite number of rows, knit a few rows in garter stitch, then, while knitting in the button band stitch pattern, work a button hole every few rows. You'll get a sense of how much the buttonhole stretches and what size button you should purchase. You can also experiment with different kinds of buttonholes to see what works best with the fiber. And on a lighter note, all you'll have to carry is the gauge swatch.

Image source

All things work together...

This story has nothing in particular to do with being a Church Lady, but it's an inspirational reminder of God's hand in the details.

And Romans 8:28 is one of my favorite verses.
And it's a great testament to the power of the Rosary.
And Evelyn Waugh is mentioned.

Taking a Break

The findings have surfaced with ominous regularity over the last few years, and with little notice: Members of the clergy now suffer from obesity, hypertension and depression at rates higher than most Americans. In the last decade, their use of antidepressants has risen, while their life expectancy has fallen. Many would change jobs if they could.
Read more here on the vital topic of stress and burnout among members of the clergy. Although most of the article is written about the issues Protestant clergy face, I can't help thinking about the priests I know. Do they get a break? Do they have regular down time? How demanding of them am I? And perhaps most important, what can I do to better support them?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Holy Father's Prayer Intentions for August

General Intention: The Unemployed and the Homeless
That those who are without work or homes or who are otherwise in serious need may find understanding and welcome, as well as concrete help in overcoming their difficulties.
Missionary Intention: Victims of Discrimination, Hunger and Forced Emigration
That the Church may be a “home” for all people, ready to open its doors to any who are suffering from racial or religious discrimination, hunger, or wars forcing them to emigrate to other countries.

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer You all my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day
for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart,
in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
throughout the world,
in reparation for my sins,
for the intentions of all our associates,
and in particular for the intentions
of the Holy Father for this month.