Monday, October 31, 2011

This makes me think... about devoted friends.

Particularly when I am worn out by the upsets of the world, I cast myself without reservation on the love of those who are especially close to me. 

I know that I can safely entrust my thoughts and considerations to those who are aflame with Christian love and have become faithful friends to me. For I am entrusting them not to another human, but to God in Whom they dwell and by Whom they are who they are.

---St. Augustine, Letter, 73, 3, as found in "Friendship is Godlike"in Augustine, Day by Day.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Check out Among Women's pro-life resources: Get the real story from women about what's important to them!

October is Respect Life month, and while it's still October, here's a reminder about previous Among Women episodes that speak to life issues. Each episode has its own page that lists links to resources that respect life.
The following four episodes are no longer downloadable, but can be listened to online on the Among Women website. 

Among Women 29 -- Guest Kathleen Fitzpatrick chronicles her journey of becoming pregnant as a college student and dealing with her process of acceptance, and her choice to give birth to her son and raise him as a single mother. Statistics show that 10% of all college aged women become pregnant every year. That's why Kathleen's story is so important, and why we need films and information that reach out to women in that age group that accounts for 45% of all abortions. (<--note: this link opens a .pdf file)

Among Women 30 -- Guest blogger and pro-life activist Leticia Velasquez discusses respect life advocacy and building the "culture of life". She gives valuable tips on how average citizens can stay informed on issues and awareness.

Among Women 28 -- Guest Merry Nordeen pioneered the "choose life" specialty license plates now available in Massachusetts. Merry also discusses how the initiative can come to the other states in the Union.

Among Women 40 -- Guest Earline Tweedie shares her faith story and her experiences of raising a son with Downs Syndrome.

The following episodes are available on iTunes or at the Among Women website.

Among Women 65 -- Guest Patti Harrison, a medical chaplain, discusses the spiritual perspective surrounding "end of life" issues.

Among Women 74 -- Guest Jessica Schacle, then a high school student, discusses her reasons behind her pro-life advocacy. This episode also features teaching on the Church's profound understanding of the dignity of the human person.

Among Women 75 -- Guest Dr. Theresa Burke, an international expert on post-abortion stress and healing, as well as a clinical psychiatrist, discusses the process of healing after an abortion. Many great resources are available through Rachel's Vineyard.

Among Women ReadHER 10.29.11... motherhood, confession, prayer, gratitude, singing & more

Among Women ReadHer

Pilgrims of Truth, Pilgrims of Peace
By Pope Benedict XVI
The Pope spoke in Assisi this week with many varied religious leaders -- Christian, non-Christian, and agnostics -- and this is the text of his only talk. It is very readable. Consider giving it your attention and note his analysis of the intersection of spiritual realities (or their lack) with all sides of life.

The Fellowship of the Unashamed (note, this opens to a .pdf)
By Patrick Madrid, at
First read this in Magnificat, and checked it out at Patrick's website. Something worth praying on, doncha think?

Donating My Hairshirt
By Lisa Schmidt at The Practicing Catholic
Got annoyances in human form? 

Showing Our Gratitude in Our Tweets
By Maria Johnson, guest post at
This has been a fun and enriching way to start the day. I've only been at it a couple weeks. If you tweet, check it out. (You can follow Maria Johnson on Twitter: @bego , or me @PatGohn .)

Fr. Z's 20 Tips for Making a Good Confession
By Fr John Zuhlsdorf at his blog WDTPRS?
To-the-point, easy-to-remember suggestions. H/T Lynn Wehner.

10 Ways to Pray Without Ceasing
By Colleen Spiro at
Add one of these ways to your daily duties!

How to Pray Badly
By Marc Barnes at Bad Catholic
Out of the park, Marc! 

Couple Married 72 years Dies Holding Hands
By Deacon Greg Kandra at The Deacon's Bench

For Happy Children, Put Your Marriage First
By Mary Beth Hicks at Family Events
While not a Catholic periodical, I have found Mary Beth's content at Family Events universally solid and grounded in Christian virtues and the moral law. It's free to subscribe.

If You Quit You Can't Blame God
By Patrice Fagnant MacArthur at
We've all been there. Then what? Thanks Patrice! (Who has been a previous guest on AW 6!)

Saintly Soda for All Saints Day
By Lacey Rabideau at Catholic Icing
Fun idea! And Lacy lets you copy her idea! Lacey was a guest on the podcast, back on AW 90 -she's got great stuff!

Saint-o-Lantern Link Up
By the contributors at Catholic Cuisine
More Halloween and All Saints Day Fun -- great photos!

Are You Working Too Much?
By Kathy Schiffer at Seasons of Grace
Fun video... especially if you type/keyboard for your living...

You Gotta Have Friends
By Rachel Balducci at Faith and Family Live
So true. You know who you are thinking of. Go call her.

The Church Has Three New Saints
By Vatican Radio at
2 men, 1 woman, (whom we'll be profiling on a future AW)

Here's the legacy of an amazing Catholic Mom:

Read the story of Emmanuel's Catholic Mom Moira.

Finally, here's something cool that I really like. If you like what we do at Among Women, then you can trust me, just do this.

image credit

Friday, October 28, 2011

The F.U.N. Quotient

I love it when a priest shares a good joke.

Ok, this one is an oldie but a goodie:
A pastor dies and is waiting in line at the Pearly Gates.  Ahead of him is a guy who's dressed in sunglasses, a loud shirt, leather jacket, and jeans.  Saint Peter addresses the man wearing somewhat sloppy clothes, "Who are you, so that I may know whether or not to admit you to the Kingdom of Heaven?" The guy replies, "I'm Jack Thomas Jr., taxi-driver, of Noo Yawk City." Saint Peter consults his list. He smiles and says to the taxi-driver, "Take this silken robe and golden staff and enter the Kingdom of Heaven." The taxi-driver goes into Heaven with his robe and staff. 

Then it's the pastor's turn. He stands up tall and booms out, "I am Joseph Snow, pastor of Saint Mary's Church, for the last forty-three years." Saint Peter consults his list. He says to the him, "Take this cotton robe and wooden staff and enter the Kingdom of  Heaven.""Just a minute," says the preacher. "That man before me was a taxi-driver, and he gets a silken robe and golden staff.
Why, How can this be?"

Saint Peter, looks to the preacher and says, "Up here, we work by results," "While you preached, people slept. While Jack drove, people prayed."   

Last one: 
A minister parked his car in a no-parking zone in a large city because he was short of time and couldn't find a space with a meter. Then he put a note under the windshield wiper that read:
"I have circled the block 10 times. If I don't park here, I'll miss my appointment.
When he returned, he found a citation from a police officer along with this note: 

"I've circled this block for 10 years. If I don't give you a ticket, I'll lose my job. 
Lead Us Not Into Temptation." 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mississippi & Alabama: Important Movie about an Abortion Survivor in limited release this weekend.

Official movie trailer for October Baby...

Here, Gianna Jessen, an abortion survivor and a well known public speaker shares about her experience with the movie...

The film makers describe the story behind the movie. Check it out....

Bringing the month of the Most Holy Rosary to a close with a look at The Hail Mary

Forty One Lovely Words Grounded in Scripture and Tradition is over at Patheos. The little "Hail Mary" may be short, but it packs power. Come unpack it with me in my weekly column, "A Word is Season." 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Thanks to Martina McBride for making me cry today

The lyrics of this song could be my life.

I belong to a crazy sisterhood of women who are, in common parlance, breast cancer survivors. Chances are, given the 1-in-8 statistics, you might be too. Since I've been living the cure since 1996, I've been trying to get over it, but my life and society just keep bringing it up. I may be "cured" as far as the paperwork goes, and clinically "cancer-free," yet I am never really free its reminders for too long.

Given my scars, and my three-times-a-year check-ups for it: one general physical, one MRI, and one mammography -- which I just endured yesterday -- it's hard not to forget. This being "breast cancer awareness" month it was hard not to miss all the pink ribbons all over the hospital where I'm treated.
And yet, I feel it is now my job to encourage every nurse, doc, and tech who tends to me while I'm there, thanking them for their care and good humor. I remind them (and me) that I lived to see the (part-time) empty nest with my youngest now in college... the same little boy that had yet to enter pre-school when I was first diagnosed. Yesterday, I bought a coffee for the woman who booked my next set of appointments, Just Because.

And I'm not really free of it because every other doctor I visit for any ailment, even the dentist, must ask and be told about my health history. So, it gets a little old at times. But then, again, that's the thing... I'm getting older. And I am so grateful.

And maybe that's the real lesson here -- I'm never really supposed to be free of the deep gratitude that should color my life.

My gratitude extends to every person who ever prayed for me, cooked for me, walked for me, raised money for cancer research in my name, drove me to/fro (or my kids), or came with me to appointments, and re-checks, and, and, and... it's a list that I'll never be able to properly thank or return in kind, and so I humbly remember them all in prayer.

And I'm on the lookout for the next woman I might know who comes through the door of the club that nobody wants to join. To remind her that love and grace and prayers will see her through it.

If you're going through cancer, or you're in recovery, you might want to listen to my conversation with Lisa Hendey about breast cancer on Among Women 27.

So yeah, Martina made me cry. But it was because I'm so grateful, not only to have had the grace of a good outcome, but to also have been loved and served by so many extraordinary people.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Among Women Podcast #114: Prepping for the New Roman Missal

Among Women 114 is a powerful combination of faith testimony and practical suggestions for preparing your heart (and your children!) to receive the words and prayers of the forthcoming New Roman Missal, coming to the English speaking Catholic world this Advent. I welcome Jaymie Stuart Wolfe, an author and an editor for Pauline Books and Media, who, not only brings her own faith story to Among Women, but unpacks some great resources for the spiritual life.

Together we discuss and a great new book for children,
The Mass Explained for Kids, and new book series for young people:  Praying with the Holy Father.  And here is the new iMass app available for iPad and iPhone.

In our saint segment, we'll profile a copier of books, and a former princess who gave up her position to become a religious sister: St Euphrosyne of Polotsk.

Monday, October 24, 2011

This makes me think... about faith and the exciting intersections of anniversaries in the coming year.

 The “door of faith” (Acts 14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church. It is possible to cross that threshold when the word of God is proclaimed and the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace. To enter through that door is to set out on a journey that lasts a lifetime. It begins with baptism (cf. Rom 6:4), through which we can address God as Father, and it ends with the passage through death to eternal life, fruit of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, whose will it was, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, to draw those who believe in him into his own glory (cf. Jn17:22). To profess faith in the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is to believe in one God who is Love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8): the Father, who in the fullness of time sent his Son for our salvation; Jesus Christ, who in the mystery of his death and resurrection redeemed the world; the Holy Spirit, who leads the Church across the centuries as we await the Lord’s glorious return. 
(from par. 1)


I have decided to announce a Year of Faith. It will begin on 11 October 2012, the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, and it will end on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King, on 24 November 2013. The starting date of 11 October 2012 also marks the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a text promulgated by my Predecessor, Blessed John Paul II, with a view to illustrating for all the faithful the power and beauty of the faith. This document, an authentic fruit of the Second Vatican Council, was requested by the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in 1985 as an instrument at the service of catechesis and it was produced in collaboration with all the bishops of the Catholic Church. Moreover, the theme of the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops that I have convoked for October 2012 is “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith”. This will be a good opportunity to usher the whole Church into a time of particular reflection and rediscovery of the faith. 
(from par. 4)


I would like to sketch a path intended to help us understand more profoundly not only the content of the faith, but also the act by which we choose to entrust ourselves fully to God, in complete freedom. In fact, there exists a profound unity between the act by which we believe and the content to which we give our assent. Saint Paul helps us to enter into this reality when he writes: “Man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved” (Rom 10:10). The heart indicates that the first act by which one comes to faith is God’s gift and the action of grace which acts and transforms the person deep within.

The example of Lydia is particularly eloquent in this regard. Saint Luke recounts that, while he was at Philippi, Paul went on the Sabbath to proclaim the Gospel to some women; among them was Lydia and “the Lord opened her heart to give heed to what was said by Paul” (Acts16:14). There is an important meaning contained within this expression. Saint Luke teaches that knowing the content to be believed is not sufficient unless the heart, the authentic sacred space within the person, is opened by grace that allows the eyes to see below the surface and to understand that what has been proclaimed is the word of God.

Confessing with the lips indicates in turn that faith implies public testimony and commitment. A Christian may never think of belief as a private act. Faith is choosing to stand with the Lord so as to live with him. This “standing with him” points towards an understanding of the reasons for believing. Faith, precisely because it is a free act, also demands social responsibility for what one believes. The Church on the day of Pentecost demonstrates with utter clarity this public dimension of believing and proclaiming one’s faith fearlessly to every person. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit that makes us fit for mission and strengthens our witness, making it frank and courageous. 
(from par. 10)

---Benedict XVI, Apostolic Letter, Moto Proprio Data, Porta Fidei. (For the Indiction of the Year of Faith.)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Happy Anniversary to us!

This is my husband, Bob, and his current obsession hobby car that is always a work-in-progress. Today's our anniversary... my how-fast-the-years-have-flown-by. Judging by his love of antiques of a certain vintage, then this marriage -- another work-in-progress -- is bound to endure!

All I can say is it's been a heavenly ride.

Top down, music up, wondering where we're going next?!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Among Women ReadHER 10.22.11 You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll read, you'll wonder.

Among Women ReadHer

The Lessons of St. Gerard
by Sarah Reinhard at Snoring Scholar
We passed St. Gerard's feast this week, but it's never too late to give praise to one of the great patrons and advocates of mothers and mothers-to-be everywhere. You'll find Sarah was an AW guest way back in the earliest podcasts -- AW 11 -- and she recently added her comments to our special rosary edition. Speaking of patrons, Sarah has been one of the great ones of this podcast, a debt I cannot repay save to ask you to check out her new books and blog

Prayer and Theology
by Dr. Anthony Lillies from his blog Beginning to Pray
Yeah. What he said. 

The Evolution of Organic Sex (Part of an ongoing series.)
by Dr Tim Muldoon, from his column at Patheos
A bit of theology and a bit of history puts where we are today in perspective.

Revolution is Calling
by Elizabeth Scalia, her weekly column on Tuesday at First Things
Weighing in on more than just Occupying Wall Street... 

Robert Downey Jr Asks Hollywood to Forgive Mel Gibson
by Frank Weathers from Why I Am a Catholic
One of the best pieces I've read on this subject. 

What an MBA and a Spiritual Director Taught Me about Being Overwhelmed
by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary
Still blogging at Conversion Diary, and NCRegister, I'm in awe of Jennifer's prolific output... not just prolific, but well-balanced, meaningful posts time and again. Gotta get her to visit us Among Women... not that I want to add to her stress or anything...

Our Catholic Faith at Work 
by Randy Hain at The Integrated Life
Always a great writer on the subject of faith "on the job", here's Randy's latest post.

Easier Than You Think
by Elizabeth Cosgrove at Virtuous Planet
Taking it from being single friends to being "in a relationship" for 6 months.

Protestant Pumpkins
by Hilary McRee Flanery at Catholic Lane
This is one of those sad-but-happy pieces that you really can't make your mind up after you've read it, but you decide it's a lovely tribute to the Catholic life well-lived-even-when-we-live-it-awkwardly all in the same moment. May God bless the Sacramental Soldier, and this beloved family who will dearly miss this young boy.

Notes from A Dragon Mom
by Emily Rapp in the NY Times
It is not often that I would dare post two articles that talk of the early demise of children, however, this article is powerfully poignant for all families who deal with disease and the challenges of a poor prognosis for their loved one. Let us pray send up a prayer for the families involved.

The Mighty Macs: More than a Game
by Maria Morera Johnson, of the Catholic Weekend Podcast, at Patheos
One of my delights at the CNMC was sitting next to Maria -- former hard-core high-school hoops star herself -- and my pal, Lisa Hendey, at this pre-screening. What fun! What a game! 

And finally, some "coming attractions" ... this video not only talks about next year's 50th anniversary of the start of Vatican II, (FYI, it also is the 20th anniversary of the new Catechism of the Catholic Church), it just so happens that this will also kick off amid the Pope's gathering of the Synod of Bishops whose theme will be on the New Evangelization... again, all this coming next October 2012. See how our Pope thinks with Augustine: our faith is ever ancient, ever new!

Buckle up!

If you have time, go read the Pope's letter announcing it. As a theology geek and a catechist, I think this rocks!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The F.U.N. Quotient ... more chicken jokes (you will giggle, but we're going for *snort* here.)

As you may recall, I like chicken jokes, they recall carefree childhood years and weeks at camp trying to stump the other kids with a snappy answer. Not to mention, I'm always looking for clean jokes to use in ministry settings. But this week I came across a chicken joke master... and all of these I have openly cribbed from his fading blog's vast collection of famous persons giving their replies to the long-told joke... so go visit and read 'em all if you like this sampling.

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road? 
Tertullian: If God has not told us, there is no need to think about it.

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road? 
Jane Austen: Because it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single chicken, being possessed of a good fortune and presented with a road, must be desirous of crossing.

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road? 
Aristotle: The chicken’s movement resulted from an actual sensation that was acted upon by the appetitive element of the soul.

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road? 
Woody Allen: ‘Why did the —’ . . . You’re asking me? ‘Why did the chicken cross the road,’ how should I know? Maybe it was a very confused chicken. God, I’m so depressed.

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road? 
James Bond: World domination. The same old dream. Our asylums are full of chickens who think they’re Napoleon. Or God.

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road? 
Pat Buchanan: Clearly that road was one of many roads, too many roads, that lead right past the Border Patrol and right into the overburdened heartland of America.

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road? 
Paul McCartney: Because the long and winding road will never disappear.

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road? 
Robert Frost: Because it was grassy and wanted wear.

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road? 
Karl Marx: It was driven by the lash of economic necessity.

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road? 
Robert Baden-Powell: To earn a road-crossing badge.

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road? 
Pythagoras: Only the initiates of the inner circle are permitted to hear the reason.

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road? 
Dr. Seuss: Sam-I-Am talked the chicken into it. Would you, could you cross the street? Would you with your own two feet? Could you through the smog and haze? Would you, could you look both ways?

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
Flannery O'Connor: To make way for the peacocks.

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road? 
Yogi Berra: Because it wasn’t chicken.

image credit

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Poetry keeps showing up in my mailbox...

sunlight splashes through the fall leaves, 

illuminating them in golden radiance

while dancing with delight. 

each leaf sings a joyful song

 to celebrate the sun.
I just love the idea that each leaf might have its own song... its own melody that springs from its depths. And I just delight in this final aging leaf that has twilight illuminating its veins.

My thanks to Maria Johnson for sending along her poetry. She is one of those insta-poets. She-sees-it-feels-it-writes-it. It is a spontaneous gift she has; I just dig it. 

These are just a few of the autumn leaves I found on my rosary walk this afternoon... the first sunny afternoon after much rain... I know this is why God made New England... to grace us with signs of his beauty and grandeur in his gifts of creation... even in something as ordinary as a little decaying leaf. 


In other news, my mother, who still believes in the value of snail mail, sent me a few clippings that she collected... among them, this poem that follows. I hope you like it. It's a little bit like something you'd read in a greeting card, but I know many people on my prayer list who can relate to this sentiment at the moment.

The Gift of Tears
by David G. Mulvey*

"And you, Creature-in-My-Image,
I shall bless you with the Gift of tears!"
Thus God spoke, and humankind
Has questioned ever since:
"Why, my God, curse us with the pain and
Hurt of crying? It is too hard to bear!"

"Tears when you are hurting help release
The pain, my child;
They wash the selfishness from
Deep within your soul.
Tears make you aware of your
Deepest human emotions - liked and unliked;
They drain your arrogance and total
Self-reliance, and call you close to Me."

"Tears when you are overwhelmed with joy
Accentuate the joy you hold;
They make visible the depth of 
Feelings that you are capable of.
Tears wash others in your joy,
Spilling over within their very souls;
They water and nourish your Trust and 
Faith in Me, the Source-Of-All-Good."

"See, My Child, that tears truly
Are a Gift, both in Sorrow and in Joy!"
And when God spoke, humankind, insight gained,
Questioned less, but not for the last...
"But you, Creature-in-My-Image,
I have blessed with the Gift of Tears!"

*I tried to find some website, book or blog that referenced this writer's work, but to no avail. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Among Women Podcast #113 Communing with the Saints and Lisa Hendey

Among Women 113 welcomes author and founder of, Lisa Hendey, back for her third episode with us. This time we are celebrating our life with the communion of saints.... and in particular saints that might inspire motherhood.

<--(Did you know that Lisa drives a microbus named "Arnold"? Yep. )

Lisa's new book, A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms: 52 Companions for your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul, has just hit the bookstores and I'm please to be among her biggest fans. Of course, this is just in time for the All Saints Day rush! (You can read my review here.)
Together we'll talk about the relevancy of patron saints for ordinary Catholic life plus Lisa will share a few of her favorite saints stories and prayers. Plus I'll be doing a segment on just why the Communion of Saints makes it into our Creed as a tenet of our faith. Listen to the full podcast here.

There's a free drawing going on for Lisa's new book as well, so listen for how you can get you name in for a chance at winning the book! Or, add your name to the drawing by emailing me:, or leaving details at our AW Facebook page. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

This makes me think... about Jesus in the Eucharist

"The Lord Jesus on the night he was betrayed” (1 Cor 11:23) instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of his body and his blood. The words of the Apostle Paul bring us back to the dramatic setting in which the Eucharist was born. The Eucharist is indelibly marked by the event of the Lord's passion and death, of which it is not only a reminder but the sacramental re-presentation. It is the sacrifice of the Cross perpetuated down the ages.This truth is well expressed by the words with which the assembly in the Latin rite responds to the priest's proclamation of the “Mystery of Faith”: “We announce your death, O Lord”.

The Church has received the Eucharist from Christ her Lord not as one gift – however precious – among so many others, but as the gift par excellence, for it is the gift of himself, of his person in his sacred humanity, as well as the gift of his saving work. Nor does it remain confined to the past, since “all that Christ is – all that he did and suffered for all men – participates in the divine eternity, and so transcends all times”.

When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, the memorial of her Lord's death and resurrection, this central event of salvation becomes really present and “the work of our redemption is carried out”. This sacrifice is so decisive for the salvation of the human race that Jesus Christ offered it and returned to the Father only after he had left us a means of sharing in it as if we had been present there. Each member of the faithful can thus take part in it and inexhaustibly gain its fruits. This is the faith from which generations of Christians down the ages have lived. The Church's Magisterium has constantly reaffirmed this faith with joyful gratitude for its inestimable gift. I wish once more to recall this truth and to join you, my dear brothers and sisters, in adoration before this mystery: a great mystery, a mystery of mercy. 

What more could Jesus have done for us? 

Truly, in the Eucharist, he shows us a love which goes “to the end” (cf. Jn 13:1), a love which knows no measure.

---Blessed John Paul II, from his final encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia

H/T Bad Catholic


Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Autumn Bug - or - How to be a Tourist in Your Own Town

My daughter's car was looking kind of lonely and I was missing her too, she being away at college. It  falls to me to rev up "The Bug" now and again to keep it running until her return.

The Autumn Bug

Each Friday I have a commitment to do an hour of adoration at our parish. And since I've been away for almost two weeks, to present at the CNMC, and to help lead a retreat for writers, I was missing my weekly date with Jesus too. The best part about having this midday hour on a Friday is that it forces me to step away from the screen and the studio and take in the local color, so to speak. So I thought maybe you'd like to come along.
The lake

Of course I live in New England, where folks actually vacation at this time of year in order to"leaf peep," basking in the glow of colorful foliage that blankets our hills and valleys. Some time this weekend, I'll be zipping along the country lanes --hopefully with the top down in Hubby's MG.

But on Friday I was itching to get out even if it was our third day of rain. And I thought I'd share some of the gracious backroads that I drive most days...
Gratuitous pumpkin shot

I have a thing for barns and so does my husband.

Our dream is for the next home to have a barn.
(See? It really was raining...)
Of course, it won't be a working barn per se. It will be where we keep the MG, and the writing studio, and the woodworking shop, and the... toys for the grandchildren. (Note to offspring... no worries, no rush on this... just filling in the dream details here.)  Anyway.

There are a lot of barns in this area.

It is horse country...

...and it is also a place where farmland once was greater than it is now... everyone at one time had a barn, though many now function as glorified garages or sheds.

(more rainyness...)

This is one of my the rain and from the distance the camera-phone almost can't handle the details... so it almost looks like a painting, right?

There are also these cows that I spent four years driving past... on the way to the highschool, but to which I do not drive anymore.

If you look carefully, you'll see very intelligent turkeys under the tree in the rain as the cow remains outstanding in its field. (I do believe the rain was curling its hair!)

Another "painting" due to shaky photography and rainy mist!

Same effect here too.

Among Women ReadHER 10.15.11 Lotsa random H's: HPV, Hospitality, Halloween, & the Holy Father...

Among Women ReadHer

The Holy Father's Catechesis on Prayer: Psalm 23
Translated by Diane Montagna
Each week, at the General Audience on Wednesday, the Pope visits and prays with pilgrims from around the world. His recent messages have been on prayer, and last week, he spoke about Psalm 23. Some beautiful reflections on the images contained in that psalm are captured here.

"I Wouldn't Give You $5 for the Whole Operation..."
Tom Crowe at
A well stated posture we need to have about the Catholic Church in light of another the indictment of the Bishop of KC, MO... good insight here.

The HPV Vaccine -- Not for "Little Girls"
--Kathleen Berchelmann, MD at
Given all the discussions about it in the press, I really appreciated the health information synthesized by the Catholic Medical Association. 

A Special Mother is Born - a new book!
--Leticia Velasquez, from her blog, Cause of Our Joy
A new book, edited by Leticia, is a wonderful anthology of essays and stories for parents of children with special needs. You may recall Leticia's visits on AW back on episodes 6 and 30.

Singles: "Entrust your future to the Lord."
--By Bishop Rhodes
That's a word for all of us! 

By The Crescat (Katrina Fernandez, now over at Patheos)
This came out while I was away, and it continued to get traffic into this week. 

New Love, New Vocabulary
--Elizabeth Duffy
A new columnist over at Patheos manages to take on marriage, fidelity, and the new missal translation all in the same article.

I Just Went to Get My Hair Done (and saved a baby from abortion instead.)
--Kelly Clinger from
Ever notice how freely women speak to each other at the hair salon? I mean I have had some pretty amazing conversations with complete strangers there over the years. Just sayin'. You never know when the moment will come where God puts you in a situation to just speak up, with love, and with compassion for the woman next to you. 

Costumes For Kids Can Send the Wrong Message
--Mary Beth Hicks at Family Events
Halloween celebrations -- and the "appropriate" costumes for children! -- are a mixed bag in our society. Mary Beth has some straight talk on the subject.

My Nouveay Traditional SAHM Lifestyle and Amanda Marcotte's Exploding Head
Simcha Fisher at her blog at National Catholic Register
Simcha's covering a lot of important ground here as we look at motherhood, women's roles, and the culture. See what you think.

---Lisa Hendey at Faith and Family Live!
Lisa walked right into the arms of a spiritual mother cared for an nurtured her without reserve. Let us take notes. (Also, see Lisa's forthcoming book found in the video trailer below.)

The book trailer for Lisa Hendey's newest title:
Be looking for Lisa Hendey's conversation with me "Among Women" coming up soon!

Other Books I can heartily recommend:
Here are two reviews for "Catholicism" from Fr Robert Barron that you've heard me brag on...
from Kathryn Jean Lopez & Maria Johnson

And here's my own take on Brandon Vogt's "The Church and New Media", which I subtitle The Catholic Tourist's Guide for the Digital Continent.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The F.U.N. Quotient... computer edition

A few sillies caught my eye this week: 

1. The Seven Deadly Sins on your computer.
H/T @MattSwaim on twitter.

2. Just another day at Tech Support 
Tech Support: "I need you to right-click on the Desktop."
Customer: "Ok."
Tech Support: "Did you get a pop-up menu?"
Customer: "No."
Tech Support: "Ok. Right click again. Do you see a pop-up menu?"
Customer: "No."
Tech Support: "Ok, sir. Can you tell me what you have done up until this point?"
Customer: "Sure, you told me to write 'click' and I wrote click'." 
3. A smiley intervention for those of us who use 'em. This cracks me up. 

N.B.: F.U.N. = frequent unbridled nonsense

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thoughts on Fatima, on the occasion of the Miracle of the Sun, from my journal

The Statue of Our Lady of Fatima that I purchase in Fatima Portugal
(and a lovely tribute to the Hail Mary handcrafted by a friend
It reminds me what Among Women is all about.)

When Mary appeared to the three young children at Fatima on Oct 13, 1917, it was to fulfill her promise of a miracle visible to the people of Portugal gathered at the Cova de Ira. And part of the miracle that day was that "the Lady" revealed herself as Our Lady of the Rosary.

It is with great pleasure that I offered my thoughts on the rosary at my column today, as well as on the podcast this week. And to have the rosary article appear today on the anniversary of "the miracle of the sun" is a blessing I did not plan, but one I think Mary must have had in mind.

Today is a rainy, dark day in Massachusetts, and I could not help but think of those Fatima children as the rain comes down, and 70K+ soggy people gathering on a hillside wondering if the Lady would show up and grant a miracle. They, of course, had no idea that it would be a miracle that would not only astound them, but also change the weather conditions immediately!

Here's a video from the film "The 13th Day" that dramatizes that day. Go watch it!

So today, I just want to thank Momma Mary for the miracle of her love and presence in my life.

Today I recall my first trip to Fatima in August of 1998. It was a wonderfully intimate pilgrimage of the heart on my part to travel to thank Jesus and Mary for their love and care, as I marked an anniversary of being 2 years cancer-free. Bob had given the gift of frequent flyer miles to travel with my friend, Jane, to pray, think, and begin to get on with my life with renewed joy after all the junk and grief of cancer recovery... after which I kind of got stuck in the mud of self-pity. Despite my faith in God's great mercy, I still had need of some emotional healing. Some kind of inner healing took place while I was there in Portugal because I returned very much changed on the inside... tho' it took several years for it all to surface in different areas of my life.

From my journal, dated Sept 1, 1998:
On Saturday morning I spent time on my knees interceding for my husband and children, and for the friends and family that had sent along their petitions [to be brought to Our Lady of Fatima.]
I felt honored to be the courier of such heartfelt prayers from my family and friends. I was on a mission to deliver these letters to Our Lady.  
I purchased a stack of fifteen candles to light in the votive area [it was all I could carry]. Then I sat down to write out the petitions that others had told me about. I left the intentions with the guard/acolyte of the Chapel of the Apparitions, and he put them directly into the base of Our Lady of Fatima's statue [in the exact location of her appearances.] 
I then made my way next to the chapel to light those candles. I had to wait my turn to get close to the rack that holds the candles. There were so many pilgrims there! When it was my turn, I carefully lit and placed them, burning in a group, and said a brief prayer -- that I continued minutes later in the basilica. 
I found a quiet pew, and prayed over the names, individually, of every one of those petitions. It took quite a long time, but what a grace to have that opportunity.
Then I prayed for Bob and the each of the children: Bobby, Katie, and Peter. I cried for love of them. I wished them to know and love Jesus in a deep and powerful way. I longed for the grace to show them with my own life. Lord let me continue to teach them! 
Then I thanked the Holy Trinity for my recovery from cancer, and I placed the rock of self pity that I had carried around for so long on that altar, and into the hands of Jesus and Mary. It was an emotional meeting with the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart. 
What a thanksgiving! What a gift! Indeed what John 3 said: "No one can receive anything except what is given him from heaven."  
From my journal, dated August 28, 1998, from Fatima, Portugal:
Today I celebrate two years cancer-free. I thank God and I thank the Blessed Mother... for there were literally hundreds of rosaries and prayers lifted on my behalf. I am so grateful to be alive. To feel the wind, to smell good food, to put my feet in the ocean. I am so happy to be married, and to continue my life with Bob and the family we have. I am so thankful for another 2 years with my children. 
Tonight we closed our day with Mass, and then an outdoor rosary and candlelight procession (at night under the stars). People from various nations led the prayers and singing. We responded in English as best we could. When we processed around the colonnade before the basilica, we were led by a lighted cross, and Mary's statue lifted high on a bed of flowers came, carried by 8 men. 
We were all singing and raising our candles singing "Ave, ave, ave Maria!"  As we followed Mary in this simple fashion, I felt that Mary was walking along with her children... holding our hand, walking slowing beside us as if in conversation. Just a loving Mom, loving her children in that moment. 
Prior to returning to the Mission House, I stopped into the adoration chapel to say goodnight to Jesus, and to thank him for this day. I just kept thanking him for all he has done for me.
One little story about the power of prayer, and putting things, even trivia things(!) in Momma Mary's hands...

Back in 1998, I asked Mary if I could come back to Fatima one day, and would she kindly arrange for each of my children to come as well? After all, Blessed John Paul II called Fatima "Mary's throne on earth," so I figured it couldn't hurt to ask the Queen, you know?

Well in  2002 I returned with my husband Bob, and oldest son, Bobby. What a double blessing!

Then in 2008, my daughter's high school proposed a European trip to Spain and Portugal. Well, it was kind of expensive, but I told her if the tour included Fatima we would strongly consider it. Turns out the trip did not include a Fatima destination. My daughter, Kate, took her case to the tour leader -- and this being a Catholic Academy that she attended -- the tour leaders arranged it -- and all the women on tour got to go with Kate to Fatima!

So, Momma Mary... we've got one more son, Peter, who needs a plane ticket.... and I have full confidence that this will be arranged at an appropriate time. But so far 4/5 Gohns have made it! Thanks be to God!

+Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!


My latest over at Patheos... something for the month of the Holy Rosary

My latest column over at Patheos discusses my discovery of the rosary and, ultimately, a relationship with Mary...

Here's a snippet:

I came to the Rosary, and really, to Mary, during the white-knuckled medical stresses of my first pregnancy. Prior to that, I always went to Jesus in prayer for help. My small mind reminded me that Jesus never had a baby. What I needed was some “girl talk”; I longed for a strong feminine connection.
 I’m only guessing, but I think Jesus used that opportunity to introduce me to his mother. A woman who was a little older than me, and about 10 years into parenting, befriended me, and spoke to my angst about motherhood. A mother of three, she gently encouraged me to look to Mary for help and example. I was so low and so sick from perpetual “morning” sickness that I couldn’t muster a reason to argue.
 I daily opened Nana’s pretty metal box and desperately prayed those Rosary prayers. They were a lifeline thrown to me in a drowning sea.
Read the rest here. 

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"

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