Monday, December 9, 2013

Second P - Prepare and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception


Are you prepared for the birth of Jesus? I'm not. I am a bit side-tracked, but I do know how to get back on track! Ask Mary. Ask Our Blessed Mother to send us reminders that Advent is the time for preparing for the great celebration: the birth of Our Savior, the long-awaited Messiah. Mary will lead us to the Scriptures, where we read, pray, and reflect on the Word of God. Take time to ponder the readings of the day that Holy Mother Church offers us in the liturgical cycle. The Holy Spirit inspired those writings and He will lead you to a deep and thoughtful understanding of His words.

Here is a friend of mine with her son from a number of years ago. It could be you today with a son(s) or daughter(s) or grandchild, making cookies for Mary on her feast day. Below you will see how beautifully they came out. Whether beautiful or shabby chic, they are cookies to honor the best mother in the world. Don't expect 

perfection from children. Do expect creativity and lots of love!
Share your cookies with others. Cheer someone up who otherwise would be blue. Bring the children around to visit an elderly neighbor who can't get out often. Don't stay too long, but long enough to make them smile and leaves some cookies.


We can't always prepare well, but we can always do some things with great love. Whatever you do, great or small do it with great love. (A paraphrase from Mother Teresa of Calcutta.)

These cookies were made with lots of love by 7th grade girls. There is lots of creativity and love for M, Mary, Mother, Mine.

Christmas Prayer

Hail and blessed be the hour and the moment, when the Son of God was born of the most, pure virgin Mary at midnight in Bethlehem in the piercing cold. At that vouchsafe, Oh my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desire through the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and His most, blessed Mother. Amen

Advent Blessings

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Do You Have A Plan For Advent?

Sunday, December 1, is the First Sunday of Advent. Do you have a plan for yourself and your family? 

Personal Prayer: 5 Minutes of                        Silence  

 A friend said to me recently as we were listening to Gounod’s Ave Maria, while background talking was going on, “I just dislike it when a beautiful piece of music is being played or sung, and people are talking their way through it. It takes the soul time to quiet down and let the music sink in. There are so many distractions which prevent the music from affecting the soul.” I agreed with her. Beautiful  music has a way of quieting the soul and when the soul is quiet, we can experience the piece of music more fully than when it is disturbed by the many distractions of our everyday environment.

It is the same way with prayer, even more so. Finding five minutes can be very difficult for silent prayer, but the rewards are rich. Learning to settle the soul and wait for the Lord, deepens our relationship with Him immeasurably. "But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who who sees in secret will reward you." Matt. 6:6.

This Advent season begin with the first P, silent prayer. Find five minutes for silence, start with one minute if you must, but give the gift of silence to Our Lord. You will not regret it, and I am willing to wager you will start looking for ways to extend the five minutes to ten. Where can you find five minutes for silent prayer?

  • Before the rest of the family gets up. 
  • Before or after shopping if you are by yourself. You can even visit Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament if a local church is nearby and open.
  • After the children have gone to bed, if they are young and you have some time to yourself before you head to bed.
  • If your children are older or you have some older ones to watch the younger ones, schedule 5 minutes for prayer. While the children nap or have quiet time may be ideal in many homes.
  • Look at your own day, you know better than anyone where you can carve out 5 minutes for silent prayer. If you start, you won't regret it. I promise you.

There is a depth in our prayer life that we can not reach, if we do not  learn to love silence. I am not saying in the world we live in, silence is easy. However, for mothers, for fathers, for those called to guide and form the young,  there are treasures waiting to be given, but they are only given in silence. This Advent begin a deeper participation in the graces of the season by including silent prayer in your plan. 

Tomorrow, the second P

Sunday, November 17, 2013

November the Month of the Poor Souls

Soul Cakes
"Will you say a Hail Mary for the Poor Souls in Purgatory?"

Students were offered a scrumptious spice cupcake lightly frosted and asked to say a Hail Mary for the poor souls in purgatory. Overwhelmingly the answer was "yes." Together the teachers and the students prayed a Hail Mary for the poor souls. This custom called "Soul Cakes" is found in the old, north country of England.

According to the custom, children beg from their neighbors or at a party a soul cake in exchange for prayers for the departed souls of loved ones. "A soul cake, a soul cake, I pray good mistress a soul cake." After hearing the request, the lady of the house gives the child a nice plump fruity bun, and the child offers the prayer.

Adapting the practice to contemporary life seems a delightful way for parents or teachers to encourage young children to pray for the poor souls in purgatory. We have chosen the humble spice cake as our soul cake! If older children take part in the custom, they can be given the role of mistress or dispenser of the soul cakes, requesting a prayer from the younger children for the poor souls in return for the cupcake. This reminds the older students to pray for the poor souls, too. All can say the prayer together, and then everyone eats the soul cake! An older custom is revived, a fun time is had, and the poor souls receive a gift of prayers.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Rome, Florence, and Assisi, October 11 - 22, 2013

Recently my husband and I were in Italy celebrating thirty years of marriage. The Italians know how to eat, prepare food, enjoy food and present it to the world. People come from near and far to partake of Italian cuisine.  Italian wines, candies and numerous foods are exported and are found in our supermarkets and specialty stores here in the United States and elsewhere. The above picture is a store window in Florence. The enticing display of colors and contrasts attracted my eyes and the beautifully arranged confections attracted my palate!

What that window picture says to me is strive for excellence in all that you present, make life beautiful for others, and reflect the best that you are able to, so that order, harmony and form, even in something as simple as a store window full of confections, communicates an excellence that we human beings are capable of, if we but try!

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Monday, October 7, 2013

Our Lady of the Rosary, October 7, 2013

Look how creative the kids were in making this tasty and very attractive cupcake Rosary! We said a Hail Mary for each cupcake before we ate them! The hard part was waiting to finish our prayers, but the good part was that we said the Rosary. 

Here is another cupcake Rosary. I confess I made this one! You can make them for the Divine Mercy Chaplet, too. The children's Rosary is wonderfully creative. I love it when we make with food some beautiful and tasty work of art to honor a person or a noble act. The Rosaries by the children and myself were made to honor Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, on this feast day. "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen"

Saturday, September 28, 2013

St. Michael the Archangel, September 29, 2013

St. Michael's Marbles

All you Saint Michael the Archangel fans, tomorrow is his feast day. Here is an easy treat to make while you say a prayer to this great warrior and patron of the military, police officers, the sick and suffering and the Church from Apostolic times.

To make this no-bake treat, you will need
6 individual packages of Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal
1/2 cup of peanut butter
1/4 honey
6 oz. of raisins

Empty packages of oatmeal into a bowl. Add peanut butter, honey, and raisins and mix well until all ingredients are incorporated. Take pieces of the mixture and roll into balls. Your hands will get a little sticky, so rinse and dry them as needed. The recipe makes about 20 1 1/2 inch balls. Place in refrigerator until chilled and then enjoy!

Prayer to St. Michael

St. Michael the archangel defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. Do thou O Prince of the heavenly host by the power of God cast into hell Satan and all evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen

Friday, September 20, 2013

Feast of Sts. Andrew Kim and Paul Chong and Companions, September 20, 2013


St. Andrew Kim was the son of a convert and a martyr for the Catholic faith. His father Ignatius Kim became a Catholic as an adult. In the Korean persecutions of the 1830s,  he was martyred, and in1925 he was declared blessed. St. Andrew Kim at age fifteen was baptized into the Catholic faith, and then left for the seminary in China to begin his studies for the priesthood. After six years he returned to Korea through Manchuria, then traveled to Shanghai and was the first Korean-born man ordained to the priesthood. The times were turbulent when he began his priestly ministry to the Catholic faithful in Korea. He was joined by others who like himself had a deep love for Christ and the desire to bring His love and truths to the Korean people.  Andrew Kim smuggled priests through water routes to avoid the patrols who guarded the borders. He was eventually caught, tortured and martyred for the faith in 1846.

Paul Chong was a married layman, whose father was a convert and a martyr for the faith in 1801. Paul was a bulwark of the early Catholic Korean Church. Born in 1795, he experienced the persecutions that devastated the young Church in Korea. Full of the love of Christ, he rekindled the faith and devotion of the scattered Christian community. Seeking assistance from the Chinese Catholic community, he made many trips begging the Chinese bishop for priests to bring the sacraments to the Korean people. Eventually he was captured and martyred on September 22, 1839.  Pope John Paul II made the following remarks at the canonization.

"The Korean Church is unique because it was founded entirely by lay people. This fledgling Church, so young and yet so strong in faith, withstood wave after wave of fierce persecution. Thus, in less than a century, it could boast of 10,000 martyrs. The death of these martyrs became the leaven of the Church and led to today's splendid flowering of the Church in Korea. Even today their undying spirit sustains the Christians in the Church of silence in the north of this tragically divided land" (Blessed John Paul II, speaking at the canonization).

A Korean entree to celebrate the heroic deeds of these brave martyrs is known as Bul Ko Kee or in English, Korean Barbecued Beef! It is very tasty and popular with those who like an Asian flavor to their barbecue! I hope you enjoy it.


1 pound beef boneless top loin or sirloin steak
1/4 cup soy sauce 
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons sesame or vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 green onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped

Remove fat from beef; cut beef into 1/8 inch slices on the diagonal. (You can freeze the beef partially for ease in slicing.) Mix remaining ingredients; stir in beef until well coated, then cover and refrigerate for 35 minutes.

Drain beef; stir-fry in 10-inch pan or wok over medium heat until lightly brown, 2 - 3 minutes. Serve over hot cooked rice, noodles, or a gluten-free pasta.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Queenship of Mary, August 22

I love this title of the Blessed Mother, the Queenship of Mary. It is linked, of course, with the feast of her Assumption, which was just one week earlier, August 15. Mary is the Queen. I love queens. When I was a young girl I loved to think of queens with the rustling of their beautiful dresses, swishing and swirling around a room. When a queen entered a room, magic began in my girlish spirit. It was  more like the magic of a Disney movie or fairy tales than the reality of Mary's Queenship, but nevertheless a taste of the life of kings and queens enveloped me.

The Queenship of Mary was instituted by Pope Pius XII on October 11, 1954. The faithful had recognized Mary as Queen long before the acknowledgment of her title and feast day. Mary's titles are received as a result of her cooperation with her Son in the redemption of the human race. We can only imagine the delight Our Lord has in giving his Mother the title and status of queen. Mary, in turn, by her total cooperation with her Son raises all of us to nobility, after all she is our Mother, too!

  Cupcakes are an easy way to celebrate a feast and enjoyed immensely.

  A meringue, whipped cream, or seven minute frosting can make your ordinary cupcake fit for a queen!

This is not as hard as it looks. If you do not feel comfortable with fondant, you can simply frost the cake with your choice of favorite, colored icings. A decorator bag with a simple tip will allow you to make swirls and decorative flourishes. Purchase a variety of edible, decorative jewels and place them strategically on the swirls and flourishes . Your cake can look  like this one. Buy or make a simple crown for a topper. You have an elegant cake to share on the feast of the Queenship of Mary.