Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Word in Season: "AS" We Forgive Those...

My weekly column, A Word in Season, tackles dealing with resentment and working on forgiveness. Ah yes, so much comes clear in the season Lent... or am I the only one who gets tripped up with these things? Anyway, here's some of what you'll find there...

Observe the little word in the line of the Lord’s Prayer that gets to the heart of it all…
 “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
This petition is astonishing…. according to the second phrase, our petition will not be heard unless we have first met a strict requirement. Our petition looks to the future, but our response must come first, for the two parts are joined by the single word "as." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, par. 2838.)
That little word “as” … is AS-tonishing! No getting around it. It’s the stickler, the caveat, the tipping point, for the truth of this teaching. 
How many times have I asked God’s forgiveness for something, when I really had no clue that I was to extend it to others first? Often, I just rattled off the words of prayer, not paying attention to what they meant.
The Lord desires my true conversion, so I had to get it straight: “Our response must come first.” Then the Lord “hears” my prayer. 
Ok, it's not an easy teaching, but you'll find the rest here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Looking for the Among Women Podcast this week? I'm on hiatus.

As I mentioned recently in Episode 93 on Adoration, some of the events in my life are converging in such a way as to keep me out of the studio for a while.

In the meantime, let me encourage you to continue to raise the bar this Lent... that is, the B.A.R.= adding one hour of Bible reading, Adoration, and the Rosary to your Lenten journey in the prayer department.

If you need more explanation, go back to episode 93 on adoration, or our Listener-Inspired and Listener-Contributed AW "Special Edition: episode 92" about the Bible and you!  (I really loved hearing that episode where so many women called in with their favorite Scripture verses!)

Besides the last two shows I've mentioned, if you are really looking for an Among Women fix, don't forget our archives, and our master index that lists all previous 93 shows by topic, saint and guest.

A new podcast will return on or about April 19th, featuring a look at the Rosary as we wind down Lent.

One last thing... March 31st marks the second year anniversary of Among Women. Gee, time flies when you're having fun, so they say! I can't thank you enough for all your prayers and support of this program.  And I'm wondering... maybe episode 100 should be another opportunity for audience participation. So, if you want to say a few words on the AW podcast, as we celebrate "100" shows in a few weeks, feel free to leave some voice feedback on our studio line!  Here's the number: 206-203-2024.

Monday, March 28, 2011

This makes me think... about friends

A poet once described friends as "the sunshine of life".  I myself have found that the day is certainly brighter when I'm sharing it with my friends. Enjoying fellowship is one of the life's sweetest blessings and joys. What would we do without people and the many shadings of companionship and camaraderie? We need friends in our lives, friends with whom we not only discuss "deep" issues and confide our secrets, fears and sorrows, but with whom we can laugh, play, and even cry. The best times in life are made a thousand times better when shared with dear friend.

Camaraderie is definitely a part of friendship, and camaraderie itself can often produce friendships, too. When we reach out to others, they reach out to us. It's a two-way street, a street practically lined with balloons and streamers in celebration of the unique bonds of friendship.

---Luci Swindoll, You Bring the Confetti, God Brings the Joy

image credit

Friday, March 25, 2011

Today... a few random thoughts

I really like this feast day...the Feast of the Annunciation.... cuz Momma Mary is my mother, friend, guide and a sure path to Jesus.

We've all have days that change our life... but on this day, something happened to Mary that not only changed her life, but changed my life and yours. Her "yes" to God's message from an angel ushered in the messianic age. (See Luke 1.)

Today has a different meaning for me, too.

On this date, 18 years ago, I had one of those life-changing days: I received a really awesome gift... the birth of my third child and last child, Peter.  It was a thrilling birth, but a hard one on my body. But Peter James came into our lives and has never stopped bringing us joy.

Here he is at age 2.

Peter's turning 18 signals that I'm now a parent to three grown-up children. My life, and his, are getting ready to change again as he prepares to graduate high school and I prepare for an empty nest, of sorts. As the older two went off to college, and on to new things, people would ask me what I was going to do... as I've always been cobbling together various part time pursuits in the writing and ministry life.  I'd always look back over my shoulder at Peter there... a lot of things in my life could wait until he was ready to fly. But by late August, Peter will depart for college, somewhere. (Its not fully decided where, just yet.) And come fall, I wonder what else I might be doing, when I'm not attending fencing meets and piano recitals and parent-teacher meetings and such.

I wonder whether my life will stay in its current rhythm or if it will change again.

A mother, I think, grows up and changes right along with her children. The phases and stages of mothering flow and change according to the family's needs. Through it all I've looked to Mary for her witness and example. She raised a son to adulthood. And she knows. And I'm counting on her to let me know just what I need to know when August rolls around. Mary's never failed me.

Mary, and the rosary, got me through the baby and toddler years where sometimes I thought I might lose my mind for the sheer work and exhaustion that comes from the high demands of hands-on mothering. And Mary got me through the middle years as I pondered the renewed life of a cancer-survivor Mom. And she got me through the teenage years with ever-increasing grace and fortitude. And now I look to her again, as I begin yet another slow-motion letting go and leave taking of another young adult child.

Here's Peter in the final fencing bout that won the State Title for his team last month.
The bout and the tourney was won by one point. 
To say it was a cliff-hanger was an understatement.

Peter, today, photo courtesy of The Eagle-Tribune.

Today's Annunciation reminds me that God is always about announcing Good News. And his love comes to us, not only through the message of an angel, and the power of the Blessed Virgin's "yes"... but it also manages to comes to us in all the ways we have said "yes" to God's will in our lives... For me, today, that equals a yes to marriage, yes to bearing children, yes to raising them, and yes, even now, to watching them go.

Mary's motherhood has deep ramifications for all women, and for all the world. And on another day, we might talked about the theological import of all of that.

But for me, and for today, I'm happy that Peter's birthday shares her special feast. Mary was all about yielding her life to God as a Mom. She raised a son. She prayed for him. She watched him go...


Love this brand new video featuring Fr. James Martin, SJ.

Who Cares About the Saints? - Mary from Loyola Productions on Vimeo.

From the archives:

The F.U.N Quotient: Coke & Peanuts, or, that silly Catholic drinking game

Sometimes if it takes too long to explain it, you should probably just  leave it alone. But such random silliness rarely enters this blog, save on Fridays, so here goes...
Okay, I read a lot of blogs. And one day last fall I was reading Maria Johnson's post about Coke and Peanuts...  Seems that this was some kind of quirky Southern refreshment that Maria had enjoyed as a kid.

Well, I had read the same tweet that Maria refers to about Coke consumption from those classic bottles, but my memories were of Coke sans peanuts... so I put a little musing of my own in my pal's  combox...
Later that day on Twitter, Maria (aka @bego) invites the Twitterverse to join her in some coke and peanuts... and then it seems discussion rose up among Maria and Sarah Vabulas, (aka @CatholicDrinkie(and whose inimitable blog is, well, The Catholic Drinkie, as in a send up to the Catholic Foodie. For more history on that go here).  as to the ritual consumption of Coke and peanuts in the South...  Sarah, a proper Southern young lady had never tried it. As you can tell from my comment above, neither had I. (But then again, I suffer from the liability of being born a Yankee, accordin' to my Southern pals, and I missed exposure to certain Southern comfort foods.)

Are you with me so far? I didn't think so. 

So it gets weirder, when in the course of twittering about same, the subject of a food dare comes up innocently.  
And hey, I like Coke. And peanuts. And its a lot tamer and lamer than jello shots or other crazy drinking games that one might be dared to try. (Note I'm much older and wiser these days.) So, no harm done. Sounds good for a giggle. 

Sarah is telling me we oughta do this drink-off on Skype given my northern clime and her southern location, and Maria, the instigator of it all, simply shakes her head at both of us. 

Meanwhile, Sarah tweets and brings @JenniferWillits into the loop, another cool Southern gal, who apparently had never imbibed the beloved C&P either...

A day or two later. I go shopping for Coke, just to see if I can find those glass bottles... and the legendary Lance's peanuts. Alas, the Coke is found but the Lance's were not. 

I report my findings to Maria, and mentally cross the Coke and peanuts escapade off my to do list. Figuring I would save it for some future day when I might  saving perchance one day take a trip down south. 

Days after the Twitter dare, I enter my winter hermitage --being laid up from surgery on my ankle and not going anywhere for 12 long weeks due to my cast, crutches, and much snow and ice...

Maria keeps sending me little get-well gifts by mail during my confinement, as the New England snow continues to fall. And then one day, a package arrives at my front door... with, among other things,  packages of Lance's peanuts.

And then it was game on... 

(Is this silly? Absolutely! Was this fun? Well for us it was for us!) (Especially if you consider F.U.N. to be Frequent Unbridled Nonsense.)

So just for fun... step into this little inside joke with us, and enjoy this little send up to Coke & Peanuts... 

Here's my tribute...

And yes, the successive chugs led to a certain amount of dribbling on my white hoodie... oh, and I couldn't help adding the Cuban-esque soundtrack for my Cuban-born pal, Maria.

Now here comes "the reply", or "The Retort"  I got from Maria, Sarah, & Jennifer. Oh, and Maria's daughter amazing college-aged daughter, Christy, who went along for the ride too... but somehow I think they had enjoyed a wee bit more than C&P, since they made this video on St. Patty's Day.

Oh, the taste-testing panel from left to right: Christy, Jennifer, and Sarah...

In the aftermath, I saw this tweet from Sarah:
Amazing women, indeed. 

Note well: One fine day, when I get down to Atlanta, I'll be the one with the martini, as I hand the C&P back to @bego. I think she still owes us one more memory.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lame Lent?

Here is my latest over at Patheos, better known as the Catholic Portal's column, A Word in Season...

It begs the question:
Am I Making a Good Lent, or is Lent Making Me Good?

Go here.

Among Women #93 - Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament- it'll rock your world!

Sorry for the late posting friends... had to take the show on the road as I traveled out of town for a funeral. Needed to wait to upload! But here yer go!

Among Women 93 tells the devotional stories of three women -- local friends of Pat's from over the years. Together they share the benefits and graces that flow from Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Join us for a panel discussion with Jane Richard, Nancy Kazmer, and Debbie Papalia.

Pat also describes how she came to understand the power of this form of prayer, and she profiles a young Italian saint from the 19th century, Clelia Barbieri. Give a listen here. Or on iTunes. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

This makes me think...

I saw immediately that the task was beyond my strength. I threw myself into the arms of God... [T]he moment I understood that was impossible for me to do anything myself, the task imposed upon me no longer appeared as difficult... [I]f I had depended in the least on my own strength, I would very soon have had to give up.

--St Therese of Lisieux, The Context of Holiness

Friday, March 18, 2011

The F.U.N Quotient: Technical Difficulties Gone Country

Can't get this crazy song out of my head!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pat's St Pat's Picks

Yes, I'm half- Irish and yes I was born this week, ergo, I'm named for himself, the great bishop and saint of Ireland, St Patrick.

In honor of the great one to whom I owe me name, here's a wee bit o' readin' for the likes of you, doncha know....

A St Patrick's Day Poem, by McNamara himself

Why St. Patrick's Day Matters to Everyone, more from Dr Pat McNamara, a church historian with a sense of humor. ( I keep telling him we're keeping the "Pat" in Patheos...)

Bio of St. Patrick, short version

Bio of St. Patrick, dense version

Oh, and the obligatory St. Patrick is Italian story.

Friend St Patrick on facebook. C'mon let's put him over the top with 5000 likes!

My childhood and St Patrick's Cathedral show up in an article about the Catechism.

St Patrick's in NYC. The one, the only.

And St Patrick's Breastplate:

Among Women #92 - Special Edition: The Bible and You

This week's Among Women is another Special Edition featuring a look at developing a love of Scripture.  This episode, "The Bible and You" features many AW listeners and guests sharing their favorite bible verses. Download this special edition and let God's Word build you up!

A Word in Season: Joseph's Way

My column this week at Patheos features an in-depth look at the life and spiritual attitudes of St. Joseph, the husband to Mary and foster father to Jesus. This article reviews the key themes found in John Paul II's masterful exposition of Joseph, Redemptoris Custos ("Guardian of the Redeemer").  Here's a sample:

The Catholic Church has long venerated Joseph for this single, powerful idea: it was into Joseph’s hands that God entrusted his most precious treasures -- his Son Jesus, and Mary, his holy mother. As Mary and Jesus are entrusted to Joseph, so too, does the Church, entrust itself to Joseph’s active patronage and paternal protection, as Patron of the Universal Church.
John Paul II’s 1989 Apostolic Exhortation Redemptoris Custos, (“Guardian of the Redeemer”), renews our understanding of this heroic patron saint.
Matthew 1:19 describes Joseph of Nazareth as “a just man.” This upright and devout man was destined to love and protect the future Mother of God.
According to Jewish custom, Mary’s betrothal to Joseph was the first stage of their marriage, before Joseph took Mary into his home. During this betrothal, Luke 1:26-38 describes the familiar account of the angel Gabriel’s annunciation to Mary, and Mary’s loving fiat -- her “yes” -- to being overshadowed by the Holy Spirit to miraculously receive Jesus into her womb.
Alongside Mary, Joseph, like no other person in history, shared the mystery of the Incarnation, up close.
In Redemptoris Custos, John Paul II notes a parallel “annunciation” story -- that of Joseph being visited by an angel as he searched to reconcile the news of Mary’s stunning maternity. It was the defining moment in Joseph’s life.
When… Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit. 
Joseph her husband… a righteous man… unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph… do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
…When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. (Mt 1: 18-24.)
God entrusts Joseph with Mary, and all the mystery of her motherhood. In this message God affirms Joseph as Mary’s spouse who will, by law, be responsible for Mary’s son, whom he will name. 
Note Joseph’s immediate obedience of faith, fully submitting his own will to the will of God.  We see such obedience over and over again in Joseph’s life.
Joseph responds to this annunciation as Mary did -- giving a positive fiat of action at a decisive moment. Joseph’s action says “yes” again to his marriage and “yes” to the new mission God ordains for his life.

The rest of the story.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Catholic Media Favs

Today is Catholic Media Promotion Day! These are my favs!

Favorite Blogs or Websites: 
Ok, I have a gazillion blogs and websites that I already brag on simply by placing them in my sidebar here at the Among Women blog, so do check them out. But here are a few more that I like:
  1.  The Catholic Portal at Patheos - Fresh! Filling! Fascinating! I'm always learning here!
  2. New Advent - love the roundup on the landing page, and of course the Catholic Encyclopedia is very useful study tool.
  3. Catholic Lane - new up-and-coming general interest & news site.
Favorite Podcasts:
  1. Word on Fire: The Sunday Sermon by Fr Robert Barron - Indispensable - Even my teenage son likes it.
  2. Catholic Weekend from SQPN - I can't always listen to all the SQPN podcasts that I would like to in a given week, but this one features a panel with many of the SQPN personalities that I enjoy.  
  3. Catholic Information Service from the Knights of Columbus -- multiple downloaded podcasts for your Catholic growth.
I am listing 2 new books that I am excited about and one that I continue to use these last 3 years since it came out:
  1. A Garden of Visible Prayer: Creating a Personal Sacred Space One Step at a Time by Margaret Rose Realy (2011).
  2. The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming our Passion, Purpose, and Sanity by Meg Meeker, MD (2011).
  3.  Jesus, Present Before Me: Meditations for Eucharistic Adoration, by Fr. Peter John Cameron, OP
Catholic Media: 
It's hard to not give a shout out to well-established Catholic Media players like diocesan newspapers, Catholic TV, EWTN, and all the Catholic radio stations and shows that are out there.  Instead I'd like to focus on some web-based outreaches that underscore the new evangelization on the digital continent very well:

  1. For news affecting the global church: Rome Reports
  2. For the best Catholic video advancing the new evangelization: Grassroots Films, Brooklyn NY... like this video about World Youth Day, and this video they produced on vocations within the Archdiocese of New York.
  3. For shows on faith-related issues: NETNY... I like Currents and In the Arena,

Smart Phone App:
  1. Rosary Miracle Prayer App from Daughters of St. Paul - I love praying the rosary with the Daughters, especially when I take a walk outdoors!
  2. VerseWise's Holy Bible: Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition - I've used others, this one in now my favorite. It's my favorite.
  3. Magnificat App - My favorite daily devotional in print, now comes to my iPhone. I always have it with me!
Hidden Gems:
  1. St Charles Borromeo's searchable database for the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Now with a mobile application.
  2. Divine Mercy - This is my favorite apostolate-oriented website. Others could learn from them. Oh, and the hidden gem within the gem is this series of articles by Dr Stackpole.
  3. The Angelus sung in Latin. (I'm still trying to learn this! But the Daughters of Mary sing it beautifully!)

If you listen to Among Women, and wish to leave a review, go here and log into iTunes. Thanks!

Monday, March 14, 2011

This makes me think...

Jesus... set before me the book of nature; I understood how all the flowers He created are beautiful, how the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the Lily do not take away the perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy.  I understood that is all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the fields would no longer be decked out with the little wild flowers.

And so it is in the world of souls, Jesus' garden. He willed to create great souls comparable to Lilies and roses but He created smaller ones and these must be content to be daisies or violets destined to give joy to God's glances when He looks down at his feet. Perfection consists in doing His will, in being what He wills us to be.

----St Therese of Lisieux, The Story of a Soul, chapter 1.

I don't think I've shared here on the blog that I am rereading The Story of a Soul, the autobiography of St Therese of Lisieux. But this time, I am reading this study guide to assist me. It's a spiritual classic that I've read before -- most recently in grad school -- when you are always assessing and analyzing everything, because usually there is a grade involved. Well, this time, I'm just reading it for me. It seems St Therese kept showing up in my life in the people.blogs, and places I visited since the beginning of the year.  It's funny how long it sometimes takes me to catch on to what the Lord is doing.  So I just finally yielded and got myself a new copy and some supplemental reading on the text that I'm finding very helpful. 

Happy Lenting!

Promote Catholic Media tomorrow!

There's an initiative being promoted on Facebook, and by SQPN, and by many others that I know.  Greg Willets of Rosary Army and The Catholics Next Store on Sirius-XM radio came up with the idea, and I want to get behind it.

Tomorrow - March 15-  is being called the Catholic Media Promotion Day.

It's purpose is to get out the vote - well, sort of... its a day of concentrated effort to ask the Catholic Media producers, consumers, and their fans to get out there and show your LIKES for Catholic Media by writing reviews over on iTunes for Podcasts, or promoting your favorite blogs, website and Catholic phone apps. You get the point.

In other words, if you have a voice- use it! Tomorrow send up a blog post, or a review, or an email to people sharing what you like and LOVE about Catholic Media. Then, share your link back at the CMP page.

Here are a few suggestions...

Tell people your three favorites in any of the following category :
  • Blog or website 
  • Podcast
  • Book
  • Smartphone app
  • Catholic media - radio, television program, newspaper, etc.
  • "Hidden Gem" - something online that may not be well known, but that you love

So, first, today go over to Facebook and "like" the promote Catholicism page. Then tomorrow, make some noise!!!!  Then link back so others can see what you really like about Catholic media!

You'll see mine top choices here tomorrow, and I'll be leaving my comments over on iTunes and elsewhere.

In an unrelated conversation, but within the same vein of Catholic new media, the panel over at In the Arena was talking recently about the new confession app with the app's creator. This is a topical Catholic show that you may wish to keep up on here.

We interrupt today's laundry to bring you Conversion Diary's Jennifer Fulwiler


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011

Making my garden a place of prayer? Margaret Rose Realy's new garden book gets it done!

To use a very well-worn phrase, Margaret Rose Realy, you had me at "hello."*

I was hooked by the opening words from the Preface of A Garden of Visible Prayer -- delighting me with St. Teresa of Avila's wisdom:

"A beginner must think of herself as one setting out to make a garden in which her Beloved Lord is to take his delight..."

Now, I'm a sucker for the saints, and St Teresa makes my Top Ten of all-time favs. But I had always read that quote as a spiritual tenet, as tending to the metaphorical garden of the heart of prayer. I never once considered it gardening advice... until, well, now. It is, indeed, both!

What's more, Margaret Realy -- Michigan's Jackson Living garden columnist in the Jackson Citizen Patriot -- got me reading about a subject I might have otherwise ignored. And that's saying a lot from a non-enthusiast. (Sadly, if we were talking about Top Ten lists again, gardening would not make mine.)

Truth be told, the gardening gene skipped a generation. My mother is great gardener; I am a minimalist. I do what I have to do outdoors to get by, and I have a particular fondness for hearty perennials that lighten my workload but make my gardening efforts look good.

That is not to say I don't appreciate everything a garden is, and all the work that it requires. After all, I am a lover of flowers and birds and fragrance and beauty. I think there is something innate in us that draws us closer to the Creator, and his splendor, and his provision for us, when we are in a beautiful garden. So, I do really get the book's subtitle: Creating a Personal Sacred Space One Step at a Time. I especially enjoyed Chapter 6 relating gardens to our sensibilities for color and fragrance.

Still, I kept reading. I've never really known much about plants and landscape planning, but this book is getting me there. And I love the spiritual perspective it brings to this task. Plus the assured hand-holding and direction it gives folks like me who never knew how to interpret a plant tag (until Margaret explained it in this book.)

You see, I have a small "Mary Garden" in my backyard, where Our Lady of Grace, in statuesque form,  keeps vigil. It's been a place of prayer for me and just something that I look at with fondness during the harsher New England winter seasons that helps me hang on until spring. (Ok, around here we judge how bad the snow storm is by if we can see Mary's head above or below the snow!) But what's more, I have this devotion to Mary that make me want to keep that little garden patch a place, not only for prayer for my family, but a place of honor for her. That said, I am very grateful for the book's appendix on Catholic Traditions in Prayer Gardens.

Here's the publishers' synopsis:

Gardens are places of growth, not only for plants but for our souls as well. Creating an outdoor spiritual sanctuary, no matter how small, is now within every gardener’s reach.  A Garden of Visible Prayer shows you how to develop a contemplative outdoor space in a creative and systematic manner. Whether you are a new gardener or an old hand, wanting to create a public or a private retreat area, this book will guide you in a step-by-step approach to discern what leads you, personally, to a deeper sense of spirituality and then how to take that information to create your own outdoor space for prayer.

Set up in a systematic approach, this book breaks into three easily understandable units to create an outdoor retreat: discern, design, and development. In the discerning process you will establish what elements in a garden lead you to become quiet and introspective, fostering spiritual growth. The next section guides you in designing your prayer space; where to locate it, where to place the features you have chosen and how to select plants. There is also a section on Catholic traditions in the garden at the end of the book. The final chapters on development tell you how to install your garden based on your design. A Garden of Visible Prayer helps you feed both hungers for natural beauty and spiritual insight.

What a lovely surprise! Margaret Rose Realy's new book, A Garden of Visible Prayer, Creating a Personal Sacred Space One Step at a Time is a warm and engaging "how to" that has as me anticipating Spring in a new way.

Buy it now, for your favorite gardener or for the gardener wannabe. Endorsed by the Catholic Writer's Guild Seal of Approval, of which I am a member, this book is a perfect gift for Easter, Mother's Day or Father's Day.
Oh, and Margaret, these are irises that I transplanted from my mother's garden on Long Island years back, and still they live here in New England. I am amazed! 

*Readers will note this has nothing to do with an endorsement of  Jerry Maguire the movie, or the Kenny Chesney song of the same name. Altho' I could be persuaded about the song!

The F.U.N Quotient: Parent Edition

Yes, I am a parent. I joke because I have to. It beats the alternative.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Save the Date: New England Catholic Homeschool Conference, June 25!

New England Catholic Homeschool Conference to be held June 25, 2011 in Chicopee, MA

The third annual New England Catholic Homeschool Conference will be held Saturday, June 25, 2011 at St. Stanislaus School in Chicopee, MA. Centered around the theme “Answering our Baptismal Call,” there will be several talks and vendors for homeschoolers and those thinking about homeschooling.

Christine Hebert, one of the primary organizers of the event, states “the conference is an opportunity for homeschoolers and those interested in homeschooling to take a day to be refreshed in their journey. The speakers we have this year are offering uplifting information in a variety of areas so that the needs of all will be addressed. This is the only Catholic Homeschooling Conference in New England. We invite people to come and share their faith and their homeschooling journey.”

Deacon Eugene McGuirk, Director of Academic Counseling for Seton Home Study School, will speak on “Why Should I Study That?– I’ll Never Use It Again!” His talk will explore why development of the whole person is important. Dr. Steve O’Brien, visiting lecturer at Bridgewater State University and online instructor with Regina Coeli online academy, will be joined by his wife, Katie O’Brien, homeschooling mother of four who also oversees the high school program at St. Thomas Aquinas School in West Warren, Massachusetts. They will be speaking on Retrieving Catholic History and infusing a sense of Catholic culture and history in students.

Other featured speakers include Sr. Christina Miriam Wegendt, FSP, Children’s Editor at Pauline Media, speaking on Media Mindfulness and Fr. Henry Dorsch, pastor of Our Lady of the Lake Parish, speaking on instilling a devotion to the Lord through Eucharistic Adoration. Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur, Associate Editor with Catholic Exchange and homeschooling mother of two, will speak on incorporating art with other areas of the curriculum. She and Karen Ford, adjunct professor at Springfield Technical Community College and homeschooling mother of four, will also offer a workshop for new homeschoolers. 

Vendors scheduled to attend include Seton, Teaching Textbooks, HSLDA, Morning Star Catholic Books, Nancy Larson Science, and many more!

To find out more about the New England Catholic Homeschool Conference or to register, please visit or call 413-315-9999.

And now a word for all the Moms... Save the date: April 2!


A Word in Season: Dusty Mortality

Dealing with the messiness of mortality is the subject of this week's column, A Word in Season:

Getting in touch with one’s mortality is often a messy but necessary business. And it usually comes upon us in the harder times. There is the confronting of the pangs of bodily ills or limitations, but also the disorders of one’s soul. And it is often hard to discern which one demands the most attention. It is really hard to separate one from the other; on some level, you realize you must deal with the whole of it.
 The Catholic Church gets this about us and supplies what we need. As human persons we are body and soul. Both were designed for eternity. Both need to be tended-to as a unity, that’s why the sacraments are both supernatural (graces poured out) and temporal (uses of form and matter -- the prayers and the earthly signs of water, bread, wine, oil, vows, etc.)
 So, long before we come to our natural death, there are seasonal, weekly, and yes, even daily opportunities to grow in the grace of recalling, not only that we will die, but that we will live. The seed of eternity is found in our very souls. 
The rest is over at Patheos. 

Among Women #91 - 40 Days and 40 Ways

Among Women 91 - 40 Days and 40 Ways kicks off the Lenten season with a discussion on our mortality, as we are marked with ashes on Ash Wednesday.

We follow that up with an inspiring reading from Marium Baouardy, the Christian mystic, whose words about being dust are more of a cause for rejoicing in her Lord. Finally we are joined by longtime faith formation expert, Sr. Janet Schaeffler, OP, who encourages us with 40 Lenten Ideas.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

NY's Archbishop Dolan Makes the Pitch for Ash Wednesday - Nice!

You’re watching You’ve Got Archbishop Timothy Dolan. See the Web's top videos on AOL Video

Ash Wednesday - some basics

I hope you have a blessed Lent, in preparation for the coming Easter Season. Here's a few links that might be helpful.  Let us pray for one another!

USCCB's links for the season

The Holy Father's Lenten message

Why 40 Days of Lent? This explains it well:

Prepare for Sunday Masses by listening to podcasts by Fr. Robert Barron.

Here Fr. Barron comments on Lent:

Here's something about St. Therese of Lisieux from Catholic TV, as I re-read her autobiography this Lent.

Oh, and over at EWTN, be on the lookout for this, starting March 11th: The Catholic View for Women. Too bad they've only scheduled it for a monthly airing... pretty hard to build a viewership that way imho.

Articles from my archives that are Lent-worthy:

Monday, March 7, 2011

This makes me think...

The manager of a local supermarket, in an effort to increase sales, advised his employees to personalize his or her service. No one did much about that suggestion, except for a young man with Down's syndrome who worked as a bagger. With the help of his father, he made hundreds of business-size cards with inspirational thoughts. He dropped a card in each order of groceries he bagged. 

Two weeks later the manager noticed that "John's line" stretched clear down the aisle to frozen foods. The manager opened another register and welcomed people to his line. No one moved. Puzzled, the manager asked individual customers to come to his open line. "No," they replied, "we want John's cards."

Sales in the store increased significantly. Other workers were inspired. The flower department decided to give away flowers at the end of the day to the elderly, widows, and to children.

We can build the kingdom by small, steady acts of kindness.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

St Katharine Drexel, not only had great wealth, but great wealth of soul

My latest over at Patheos is a look at the life of St. Katharine Drexel -- an American saint who was canonized at the dawn of the new millennium. Her life is examined in A Word in Season:

To say she came from money would have been an understatement. But what is more remarkable is how her parents raised her. Contrary to being possessed by their riches, the 19th century Drexel family from Philadelphia maintained that wealth was simply loaned to them to be shared for the good of others. 
Katharine Drexel, born in 1858, grew up one of three heiresses to a family fortune. Her grandfather, Francis, and his sons, founded and ran the Drexel Bank. Her successful uncle, Anthony Drexel, pioneered banking networks and the early days of Wall Street. He also opened Drexel University with the goal of helping people improve their station in life by offering low-cost tuition.
Katharine’s affluent heritage afforded her a private education and extensive travels throughout the United States and Europe. It was during those very travels in the U. S. that she witnessed the nation’s poorest and marginalized citizens of her day: disadvantaged Native Americans and African Americans.
Upon the death of her parents, Katharine inherited a vast fortune. Meanwhile, her strong Catholic faith was leading her toward a religious vocation. She longed to dedicate her life to prayer fulltime as a contemplative nun, and donate her share of the inheritance to the family’s philanthropic charities...
During a private audience with Pope Leo XIII, Katharine knelt at his feet pleading that a missionary priest be sent to tend to her beloved Native Americans of the United States. The Pope’s response worked wonders in Katharine’s soul: “Why not, my child, yourself become a missionary?”  This challenge brought focus to Katharine’s resolve: she was already contemplating a religious life and giving away her fortune to support the missions. Soon her life would take a new turn that would involve both... 

Read it all.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Among Women #89- The Icing on the Cake

Among Women 90 takes a light-hearted look at doing the craft thing in time with the liturgical year--even if you are craft-impaired like I am! We welcome Lacey Rabideau, blogger at Catholic Icing, for a fun show that's all about kid-friendly and mom-friendly crafting, plus easy recipes that round out our Catholic experience.

This week's show also profiles the life of St. Louise de Marillac, wife, mother, widow, and foundress of the Daughters of Charity, alongside St. Vincent de Paul.

Don't forget SQPN's Giving Campaign Marathon, this Sunday, March 6th.
And Faith and Family's "Mom's Day Away" coming up April 2, in Stoneham, MA.

The new Roman Missal (click & learn about the coming changes):

Watch Catholic TV here! Find Women's programs: "WINGs" and "Woman at the Heart of the Church"

A Lovely Reminder for Every Day

Coffee drinkers! Support AW by drinking Mystic Monk Coffee!

Ship a Cake, and Share a Blessing