Thursday, May 31, 2012

Among Women Podcast #135: Books: For the Fun of It!

Among Women 135 takes a look at a new book, Catholic Family Fun, from Catholic wife and mom, author-blogger, Sarah Reinhard. Together we share fun memories of growing up, and ways to keep families bonded together using the glue of fun! It's all part of the conversation we had as we take ideas from her new book and head into the summer months. Plus enter a special free drawing for this book! (Send in your name to via the contact details below.)

Check out Sarah's previous guest post on the AW blog from last month.

Also featured in this episode, a reading describing the faith and faith-filled death of St Monica, patron of mothers, from Augustine's Confessions.

This week, we have a few announcements!

Don't forget to make your reservations to attend the Catholic New Media Conference, Aug. 29-31 in Dallas.

Among Women Special Edition: on Joy!  Send Pat your reflections on what gives you joy, or where you find joy... for a future edition of the Among Women Podcast later this summer.  Contact Pat at or find AW on facebook.

Finally, listen to this new podcast as Pat announces her book project that will be of special interest to the AW listening audience.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Milan: VII Meeting for Families - "Work and Celebration"

Like a World Youth Day for families, you can get more details here. The Pope celebrate Mass in Milan on June 3. Some catechesis for families found here.

Monday, May 28, 2012

This makes me think.... a profound prayer for a contrite heart

With a Contrite Heart

Prevent me, Lord, from confounding
The mystery of you life in me
With willful self-mastery.
May my gentleness not be a facade;
May it flow froth from my inmost center
Where you reign supreme.
Save me from becoming
A proud paradigm
Of perfect self-control,
A worshiper
Of poise and self-possession.
Save me from pressure 
Of exalted ideals
That deny my humanness
Let my soul not be maimed
By perverted gentility
Grant me the gift to pray
With a contrite heart
And be saved daily 
From the deception
Of pious fantasies.

-- Adrian van Kaam, from Practicing the Prayer of Presence, with Susan Muto.

Thank you, Veterans!

Let us thank our vets and pray for their families.

"Greater love has no man than this, 
that a man lay down his life 
for his friends." 
John 15:13. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Among Women ReadHER 5.26.12 Pentecost check in, Catholic lawsuits, Sibs, Silent no more...

Among Women ReadHER

Why We are Fighting (and Filing): Setting the Record Straight
By Emily Stimpson at
Reminders about the HHS Mandate fight and the Catholic institutions that are taking up the charge in court.

Cardinal Dolan of NY, Cardinal Wuerl of DC, and 40 Other Catholic Institutions Sue Obama Administration 
Posted at
This is almost old news, but read it in case you've been out of touch this week.

Surprise! MSM Ignoring Catholic Lawsuits Against the Government
By Elizabeth Scalia, The Anchoress
A more recent take on the subject above.

15 Years and Silent No More
By Kat Fernandez at The Crescat
Powerful, poignant, memoir of another woman who regrets abortion.

The Norm of Co-Habitation
By Bernard Toutounji at
A look at this phenomenon and how not to co-habitate strengthens a relationship prior to marriage.

Sibling Revelry
By Rachel Balducci at Faith and Family
A great perspective on the gift of siblings through the years.

Simcha Fisher this week with a two-part knock-out punch (um, in a good way.)
Over at her blog at National Catholic Register...
Part 1: Is This What Abstinence-Only Education Looks Like?
Part 2: What SHOULD We Tell Our Kids about Sex

Career vs Baby Making
Posted by Julie Robison at A Corner with a View
An 8-min. video on the "window" of having one's own children... The video is not by Julie herself, but another woman. However, if you'd like to hear Julie, check her out on AW 132 and 133 with "The Bright Maidens."

The Great Pentecost Mass Check-In
By Lisa Hendey at Catholic Mom. com
A fun and easy way to talk up Sunday's Mass for Pentecost. And while you're at Catholic Mom, admire the new website upgrade.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Latest over at Patheos on Evangelization

Check out my latest column on Patheos at A Word in Season, where the word is evangelization, and where I'm talking about what the heart of the new evangelization must be in us.

Here's a snip...

The heart of the new evangelization is not the Year of Faith, or the forthcoming Synod, or the next great pope, or the next great book, or parish program, or even all new Catholic media on the internet or the broadcast bands or in film.
No. The heart of the new evangelization is an actual beating heart.
It is the heart of Jesus that burns with love for us.
And it is our hearts that yearn to be one with his.
The heart of the new evangelization is about a Person, the Person of Jesus Christ, and our encounter—our living encounter—with him.
Everything starts there, and everything must flow back there.
Read it all.

Monday, May 21, 2012

This makes me think... to never stop seeking God...

For Those Searching for God

O Lord my God,
Teach my heart this day where and how to see you,
Where and how to find you.
You have made me and remade me,
And you have bestowed on me
All the good things I possess,
And still I do not know you.
I have not yet done that
For which I was made.
Teach me to seek you,
For I cannot seek you
Unless you teach me,
Or find you
Unless you show yourself to me.
Let me seek you in my desire,
Let me desire you in my seeking.
Let me find you by loving you,
Let me love you when I find you.

-- Saint Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, theologian, philosopher, monk, Doctor of the Church (d. 1109).

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Among Women ReadHER 5.19.12 ...the lite version (referring to the # of articles, NOT the content)

Blogging will be light this week as my daughter graduates and I tend to family, but I wanted to pass along these finds from the past week. 

Among Women ReadHER 5.19.12

In Celebration of the Feminine Genius
By Emily Stimpson at Our Sunday Visitor
Well put, with good reference works in the side bar. Also this piece by Emily Stimpson: Catholic Women in Their Own Words.

Live the Law of the Gift
By Kathryn Lopez at K-Lo at Large at Patheos
A highly excerpted review of Cardinal Timothy Dolan's Commencement Address last weekend at Catholic University of American in Washington, DC. Very good.

Love Both Conditional and Unconditional
By Father Robert Barron at Word on Fire
This is an audio podcast version of Fr. Barron's amazing sermon from last Sunday. Do listen. Consider subscribing to the podcast he puts out every week. It will really boost your faith.

The Face of Attachment Parenting
By Elizabeth Foss at her Real Learning blog
The best response by far to the TIME magazine cover that caused a stir with an full frontal photo of a mother nursing an older toddler. Elizabeth is one of the wisest women in the mothering circles. One day I hope to meet her in person to thank her for all I've "read" of her for years. I did have the delight of talking to her, together with Danielle Bean, for this AW podcast a while back.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Another Gohn Grad!

Congrats to our middle child, our daughter Katie, who graduates from Boston University, magna cum laude, with double majors in history and political science.

We are so proud of you!

It seems like only yesterday I was posting this missive about your first day at college, or who can forget our exquisite mother-daughter rendezvous in Paris while you studied in London! Not to mention your own contribution to Among Women 102

Thank you for being a wonderful, faith-filled daughter. Your Dad, brothers and I love you so much!

Where to next? Can't wait to find out!

Blogging will be light into next week. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

This makes me think... about never dismissing the rosary as 'old school' or something to ignore or take lightly

It's May -- Mary's month! Pray the rosary. Sometimes we might dismiss it. Don't.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Thanking God for a Mother's Love (3 videos)

Happy Mother's Day!
A great musical tribute

And for the mothers we are and the mothers we aspire to be...

Ok, yes, it is a commercial, but its a great one!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Among Women ReadHER 5.12.12... the Mother's Day edition & more

Among Women ReadHER 5.12.12
Happy Mother's Day!

For the Moms out there...

A Mother's Day Challenge
By Meg Meeker, MD from her website
This is your conscience speaking... read this... and DO THIS. You'll love yourself for it.

What Moms Really Want... an annual reminder
By Lisa Hendey at Faith and Family Live
Happy Mother's Day to all!

Mother's Day History

My favorite song by Jim Brickman... A Mother's Day
This video quality is so-so, but it's a really great tribute song for mothers!

The Right Choice Video Makes Waves on Facebook
By Rebecca Downs at Live Action News
Here is a short post and 7 minute video about an amazing young mother, and her heartbreakingly beautiful love for her disabled son. 

In other news...

Statement of the USCCB regarding President Obama's Remarks on Marriage
By Cardinal Timothy Dolan, President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, on his blog at the Archdiocese of New York
A short reminder about an important topic.

Nobody Has Ever Died From Not Having Sex
By Katrina Fernandez at The Crescat
Forthright and direct.

Reflecting on Last Week
By Mark Shea at Catholic and Enjoying It
Don't let the title of this post fool you. Mark talks about his thoughts and reasons behind his compassionate stance toward gays and lesbians in light of church teaching, after considerable fuss was made over his previous post memorializing a very accomplished Catholic Christian man who happened to be gay.

The Heartburn of Sex
By Joanne McPortland at egregious twaddle
While Mark and Katrina are on the subject... yet another thought-provoking missive...

4 Reasons to Keep Bikini Pictures Off Facebook
By Mary Lane at Catholic Lane
Just in time for summer...

Reported by the LA Times
Warning: This from the sad-but-true department. The epitome of evil, human remains in pill form, likely from aborted babies. Sorry to link to something so chilling, but Catholics who respect life need to know the depths of these depravities so we can argue for true human dignity.

From Olympic Skater to Religious Sister
Posted by Vatican Radio at
The path to religious life for a former Olympian... 

Don't miss this...

Friday, May 11, 2012

The F.U.N. Quotient... babies and giggles and Moms edition

Happy Mother's Day Weekend to all the Moms out there!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Among Women Podcast #134 Sarah Hart Sings Her Heart

Among Women 134 features the powerful songs and testimony of Sarah Hart. In a joyful departure from our normal format, I'm delighted to welcome Sarah Hart to Among Women. In this episode, Sarah shares the stories behind some of her songs (and some of my favorites)... from her Grammy-nominated "Better Than A Hallelujah" to "Wonderfully Made" to "Prayer for This House," and more.

Together we share the concerns often found on a woman's heart, as we explore themes of faith, life and death, the feminine genius, family, and prayer. Sarah shares her heart not only in concerts as a singer and songwriter, but as beautiful wife, mother, and evangelist with a passion for women's ministry. Don't miss this one!  Find Sarah Hart's music on iTunes.

Monday, May 7, 2012

This makes me think... about Mary and motherhood

[Mary] is the “blessed among women” (Lk 1:42) – in the words of Saint Elizabeth’s greeting. Her whole life was spent in the light of the Lord, within the radius of his name and of the face of God incarnate in Jesus, the “blessed fruit of her womb”. This is how Luke’s Gospel presents her to us: fully intent upon guarding and meditating in her heart upon everything concerning her son Jesus (cf. Lk 2:19, 51). The mystery of her divine motherhood that we celebrate today contains in superabundant measure the gift of grace that all human motherhood bears within it, so much so that the fruitfulness of the womb has always been associated with God’s blessing. The Mother of God is the first of the blessed, and it is she who bears the blessing; she is the woman who received Jesus into herself and brought him forth for the whole human family. In the words of the liturgy: “without losing the glory of virginity, [she] brought forth into the world the eternal light, Jesus Christ our Lord” (Preface I of the Blessed Virgin Mary).
Mary is the mother and model of the Church, who receives the divine Word in faith and offers herself to God as the “good soil” in which he can continue to accomplish his mystery of salvation. The Church also participates in the mystery of divine motherhood, through preaching, which sows the seed of the Gospel throughout the world, and through the sacraments, which communicate grace and divine life to men. The Church exercises her motherhood especially in the sacrament of Baptism, when she generates God’s children from water and the Holy Spirit, who cries out in each of them: “Abba, Father!” (Gal 4:6). Like Mary, the Church is the mediator of God’s blessing for the world: she receives it in receiving Jesus and she transmits it in bearing Jesus. He is the mercy and the peace that the world, of itself, cannot give, and which it needs always, at least as much as bread.
--Benedict XVI, Homily, Solemnity of Mary, Jan. 1, 2005.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Graces and the Long Haul

Today I remembered that I’m am still afraid sometimes. It starts somewhere in the minutes I’m asked to disrobe, and I find my way into a one-size-fits-none hospital gown. I consider it fortunate that the radiology unit is running on time today and I don’t have to spend additional time waiting my turn in the queue. I timed my arrival perfectly despite the long haul in 40 minutes of traffic. I’m glad things are on schedule.

My nerves don’t betray me yet as I endure the chit-chatty nurse putting the I.V. into my left arm. I show her which vein works best, because after years of the jab you just know. Then she guides me to the lab that houses the MRI machine, its tubular structure reminding me of a small escape pod tethered to an indoor space ship. But there’s no escape for me as I’m introduced to another radiology technician who helps prepare to me to slide into the tube for my latest internal photo-shoot.

I try to practice my relaxation techniques… breathing deeply, visualization, and prayer.

I’m never just there for a routine screening. Of course, that’s not what I’d tell you if you asked me why I was there. Yeah, I get these all the time. I know the drill.

But, really, this is never a routine.

If you’re in the MRI tube, they are scanning you for something. In my case, they are looking for breast cancer, or any of its evil cousins… even if they just call this a follow-up visit for a sixteen-year survivor.

I lay face down into open headrest, and try to imagine the posture as one where I am about to get a massage. Yet all that fades away as soon as my sternum rests on the chilled solid frame that suspends me over the imaging platform.  

I temporarily find it harder to breath and renew my effort to concentrate on being relaxed. This as I’m tucked in on all sides, and handed the “emergency call button”, in case I should have an emergency while I’m in the tube… a polite reference to panic attacks. Thanks for the reminder. Yes, over the years I’ve had a few, always in relation to this one recurring theme. I know that life can change with one lab report, one failed test, or one questionable exam.

It began for me on May 5, 1996 when I found a lump first thing in the morning while showering. I knew the minute my fingers traced it that I, no, we – our whole family -- would be in for a long haul.

Don’t move, the tech tells me, as she exits to start the imaging series… lie still.

I am lying here… still.

The conveyor hauls me into the tube and the slowest fifty minutes of isolation I can bear commences. My heartbeat pulsates my throat… I try push it away as I deliberately pray…

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit…

I keep thinking of that quote from American actress Dorothy Bernard: “Courage is fear that has said its prayers.” The only up side to this diagnostic haul is that I am forced to do nothing else than suspend my will and submit to prayer…

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee…

It occurs to me that for the last 5,840 days I’ve been hauling in graces in from heaven, thanks to the fervent prayers of people too numerous to name. The first prayers were from my husband the morning I came back into bed with the news about what I discovered in the shower. He went into protective mode, and the first thing he did as he sensed my fear was prayed aloud into my ear as he held me tight. Grace flooded the room.

Blessed are thou among women…

Weeks flew by as spring yielded to summer and by June biopsies and surgeries were scheduled. The news went out to my family out of state. They took turns staying with us to keep the house from falling to pieces, to keep the kids going strong, and to provide sanity amidst less than normal. Not only that, I think they contacted every prayer chain on the east coast.

And blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus…

One by one the prayers went up, from near and far. Rings around the rosary, as I went from surgery to surgery… The graces continued to pour in thanks to the prayers and help from my friends from the local church. So many pleading voices petitioning heaven, pulling down graces on another’s behalf… how can I ever repay them?

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners….

I try to offer up this one claustrophobic morning in the tube for the needy ones, even as I beg for a few small graces to quiet my racing thoughts. Years later, even today, I am still comforted by the presence that comes from others’ prayers. I know loved ones are praying for me this morning, including one who sent a text message complete with a silly hand-drawn picture that got me giggling minutes before I entered the lab.

Now and at the hour of our death…

Every little prayer counts, God can even use my little distracted mutterings lifted heavenward amidst this noisy MRI booth. I hate being reminded that cancer is a loathsome specter lurking in places I cannot see. But even distracted prayer is prayer, and God is everywhere whether I'm luxuriating at the seaside where I breathe freely, or squished in confining spaces like an MRI tube with my crowded, fearful imagination.


Finally, I feel the tightening leave my chest… The slow cadence of the rosary lowers my heart rate a bit. Slowly my fear is replaced by trust. I close my eyes counting the prayers on my fingers. The machine’s magnet whirs louder than a jackhammer. Even through the earplugs, it jars me awake, and alive. In the past, fear has stolen many moments from me, and even whole days, when I have let it.
There is nothing to fear right now. Jesus is with me. I'm not relinquishing this day.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit…

Finally it’s over. The staff releases me from the chute and my feet find the floor. Relief doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings as I change back into my street clothes and find a quick bite at the cafeteria. I pass the window of the hospital gift shop on the way out to the car, and spy a little coffee mug I might suggest to my now-grown kiddos for Mother’s Day. I marvel that after my fearful moments in the radiology department, I can find amusement, even joy, in such silly diversions.

As it was in the beginning, is now and every shall be…

Graces for the long haul come in many manifestations… prayers … check ups… supportive family and friends… even goofy texts and silly window-shopping…

I may be claustrophobic and a fraidy cat when it comes to MRIs and cancer, but my bigger fear is wasting all this somehow, or missing the blessing of the days I’ve been given.

World without end. Amen.

I’m a little choked up as I realize this as I take to the highway for the long haul home.

Sixteen years. Sweet Sixteen. They have truly been sweet years, especially with Bob and my children -- all three of them well on their way now – another set to graduate from college in a couple weeks.

Lord, let me not waste the graces you’ve in invested in me.

I no sooner give thanks to God for bringing me through this long haul of a day, and through a medical history that, at times, tries my weak soul, when this song comes on the radio on my drive home. (You'd almost think God orchestrated this timing now, wouldn't you?) 

I turn it up, and sing at the top of my lungs... remembering that no one is immune from suffering, everyone's got stuff they struggle through. And grace isn't given just for days like these, but for the long haul home to heaven.

Among Women ReadHER 5.5.12... obedience, grace, May crownings, NFP, tweens online...

Among Women ReadHER 5.5.12

Obedience: The Dirtiest Word in America
By Julie Davis at Happy Catholic
Take and read and consider it carefully.

Credo: Mary Eberstadt
By Liz Essley at Washington Examiner
Mary Eberstadt briefly gives a history lesson on why women are not as happy as they once were, a premise from her new book Adam and Eve After the Pill.

Brandon Vogt's Interview with author Dawn Eden on healing from sexual abuse. 
Posted at The Thin Veil
(Blog post and video) Speaking of books, Dawn's latest book, My Peace I Give You, is addressed in this interview (15 mins.)

Kristen Walker: Fearless, Funny, and Pro-Life
By Jennifer Fulwiler at National Catholic Register
So good to hear clear voices in the pro-life cause.

How to Plan a May Crowning for Kids
By Lacy Robideau at Catholic Icing
Great activity! Every Catholic child should have a memory of a May crowning in their life. 

If You've Been Looking for a Sign
By Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience
Christian author Ann Voskamp talks grace, graffiti, gifts.

How to Ruin Your Marriage Using NFP
By Simcha Fisher at her blog National Catholic Register
Seriously fun and very worthwhile.

The Endearing Name of Mommy
By Susan Terbay at Catholic Mom
Oh. Wow. This is so me... the Mom of young adults looking back on the Mommy years.

A Rose for My Mother
By Bishop Libasci of Manchester, NH
Funny, sweet, and serious memoir and tribute to the Blessed Mother. (Elsewhere, I'm doing some talking of my own about Mary and the Hail Mary here, and about my varied nicknames for Mary here.)

Tweens Secret Lives Online
By Katherine Rossman at the Wall Street Journal
Got tweens? Teens? Pre-tweens? Don't miss this.

Legal Scholar Helen Alvare gives a great talk on Religious Freedom and Sexual Liberation. I highly recommend your listening and digesting this content. Please share this video link with others. 

And finally, one of the coolest events in the Archdiocese of Boston every year that is touching our young adults...

Friday, May 4, 2012

The F.U.N. Quotient... bird watchers edition

I'm an avid bird watcher, not that I go to meetings or anything, but I love feeding the wild birds that come to our yard, and my Hubby and I are always drawn to go see the bald eagles that nest in our region in the dead of winter. So, this video fascinated the birder in me. Disclaimer: this is a schmaltzy production video that is ultimately a pitch for an Alaska vacation. But the unexpected capturing of humming birds coming close enough to feed off of a human's hands was worth enduring it. Just that shot that you see below is worth it.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

An on-going word-by-word look at the Hail Mary prayer... Today, the word "fruit" being reflected upon by yours truly

Sarah Reinhard was here last week, and today I'm over at her blog, Snoring Scholar, this week. 

I'm a happy contributor to the on-going series that is examining the Hail Mary, word by word. My assignment from the lovely and prolific Miss Sarah was "fruit". Head on over there!

If you find the Hail Mary series of interest, you may wish to review an archived series on the Our Father at Jennifer Fulwiler's Conversion Diary blog.

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