Thursday, October 20, 2016

October Month of the Most Holy Rosary

October is the month of the most holy rosary of the Blessed Mother. I love the rosary. For many years I saw my maternal grandmother praying the rosary. She would sit in her rocking chair, often with her apron on, and pull the rosary out of a front pocket and begin to quietly pray. She had a couple of rosaries that stand out in my mind. For years she prayed on a beautiful, glass cut rosary. At some point she must have lost it, perhaps it broke or maybe another was given to her, because I no longer saw her use that rosary. Instead she began praying on a sturdy, green stone rosary brought to her by her second oldest daughter, Marjorie, from Ireland. Gram used that rosary until she died. The rosary is still in the family and I am fortunate enough to call it my own now.

I have read a number of books about the rosary, and they are helpful for gaining an understanding of the origins of this prayer. There are some beautiful books of meditations on the rosary, which are great aids in praying the mysteries. A recent book on this vocal and meditative prayer by Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon is an excellent compendium of history, saint stories and prayers. Published very recently it is well-researched and offers many accounts of miracles attained by praying the rosary that have not been told to a wide audience before. Here is a link to view this recently published book on the rosary,

Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land, Washington, D.C.
The Hail Mary is the staple of the rosary. The rosary itself begins with the Apostles' Creed followed by the Our Father and three Hail Marys. The Glory Be and the Fatima Prayer are prayed afterwards, then the five decades of the rosary follow each with its own mystery. The Hail Mary by far is the most recited prayer of the rosary. Above is a picture of the archway at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington, D.C. It is a frequent site of pilgrimage for Catholics and others who are visiting the nation's capital. I point it out to you because contained within and inscribed on the walls of the archway are Hail Mary's written in 150 different languages and, as you can imagine, many different alphabets! If you have a chance and are visiting Washington, D.C. be sure to visit the Franciscan Monastery. It is only a short distance from the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, the national shrine of the Catholic Church. Here are two links which will give you more information on the Franciscan Monastery.  and There are many promises attached to those who pray the rosary, It is a powerful weapon of the Blessed Virgin Mary and one in which both both mind, heart and lips take part.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Meeting Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Mother Teresa of Calcutta
I had the privilege of meeting Mother Teresa of Calcutta the summer of 1979. I was a graduate student at St. John's University and working for Fr. Hardon, S.J., who was one of my professors. He hired a few students, I was one of them,  to work along with his senior editor and researcher on The Modern Catholic Dictionary. It was a nice, sunny New York City day. We agreed to meet Father at the Jesuit residence on Park and 83rd Street, then walk a few blocks to the subway and take the train to the Bronx. It was there at the contemplative convent that Mother Teresa was visiting her Missionaries of Charity sisters. Fr. Hardon was teaching her sisters and he would hold conferences with Mother Teresa when she was in town. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet her as were my friends. I didn't quite know what to expect. I had been educated through ninth grade by religious sisters, but a teaching order not an order dedicated to serving the poorest of the poor or the sick and dying, and certainly not a sister who had international recognition.

Fr. John Hardon, S.J.
When we arrived at the convent, Fr. Hardon went off to his classes and we were given a tour and told about the work of the sisters and the schedule they followed. The contemplative order of the Missionaries of Charity is the praying arm of the active order. Their main work is to pray, but as in any living establishment, there is much to do to maintain the home: cleaning, laundry, cooking and more.

As we walked through the convent, I was surprised to see the modest sleeping arrangements. The sisters slept on cot-like beds with a very thin mattress. I was more surprised to learn that they rose at 4:00 am in the morning. I knew that religious sisters got up early, but I was unaware that some sisters and nuns rose as early as 4:00 am or even rose during the night only to retire for a few more hours of sleep before rising for the day. It was an eye-opening visit for me. What was even more eye-opening was the spirit of joy that permeated the sisters and the whole convent. I had never experienced that spirit of joy before. It was very uplifting, light and full of gladness. You might think that it was an indication that I was called to be a Missionary of Charity, but I knew it was not my calling. However, I will never forget the gift of that day and being introduced to the Missionaries of Charity's beautiful spirit of joy.

We had the wonderful opportunity of going to Mass with Mother Teresa and the sisters. The room that Mass was held in was not very big and it was also very simply furnished. There were no kneelers or pews. We all stood and knelt from our sitting positions on the floor. Our Lord had been adored in the Monstrance just before Mass began, and it was very impressive in such a small space to have the Monstrance reigning on the altar, then removed for Mass. There was a distinct sense of an Indian presence although most of the sisters were from the U.S. and the Mass was of the Roman rite. Still there was an unique atmosphere. Mass was beautiful, very quiet and full of serenity.

We ate lunch which the sisters prepared for us. Mother Teresa was not present, but there were other guests besides ourselves. The lunch was delicious! The sisters said that it was prepared from donations of left over food from grocery stores and those who wished to help the sisters. Again, I was amazed at what a tasty meal could be prepared from donations. Who knew!

A short while after lunch we were invited to meet Mother Teresa. We entered a small parlor-like room where Mother Teresa was standing among a number of guests. Fr. Hardon was present. I was surprised to see how short Mother Teresa was. I stood about 5'5 1/2". She barely came to my chest. I was anxiously, perhaps foolishly, waiting for some kind of personal revelation about Jesus' plan for my life from her. After all I had heard of people receiving insights into their souls from Padre Pio and St. John Vianney, and I knew Mother Teresa had a very special calling and charism from Our Lord. When I did get to meet with her for about 30 seconds, she told me, "Follow Jesus." Simple, direct and profound. It wasn't quite what I was expecting, but it was and is the best advice anyone can give - "Follow Jesus."

Anyone who knew Fr. Hardon knows that this is a very typical pose of his where he bends over and looks directly into the face of whomever he is speaking to, in this case, Mother Teresa.
We finished our visit with Mother Teresa and hopped back on the train with Fr. Hardon, returning to our work and studies. The experience was a rich one, more than perhaps any of us knew at the time. It was so typical of Fr. Hardon to always be doing good, thinking of others, and sharing the wealth of spiritual treasures that came his way. I only worked for him that summer, but he arranged  an interview for me which led to a job that  I held for the next four years.

Mother Teresa will be canonized this Sunday, September 4, 2016. May God be glorified! Fr. Hardon is a Servant of God which means that the cause of his canonization has begun. Both individuals were called from very ordinary lives to bring the love of Christ to many, and they each accepted that call. Many, many of us have been the recipients of their cooperation with God.

Saint Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us

Fr. John Hardon, pray for us

Sunday, July 24, 2016

St. Anne's Shrine, Isle LaMotte, Vermont

Tuesday, July 26, 2016 is the feast day of St. Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus and the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Scripture does not mention Sts. Joachim and Anne, but from very early times in Christianity they have been included in written accounts of Mary and other events related to the life of Jesus. For a short and readable treatment of these early sources on Joachim and Anne this book is helpful, The Life and Cult of Saint Anne by Gerard Desrochers, CssR.

The pictures in this post were taken on a recent vacation to Isle LaMotte, Vermont. The Shrine of St. Anne is one of the oldest sites in Vermont. The Edmundite Fathers staff the shrine and provided inspiration, guidance and the sacraments to those who seek to honor St. Anne and ask for her intercession. Isle LaMotte is a very picturesque and quiet spot to visit, and it makes a true site for relaxation and refreshment from the busy demands of life. Here is a link to the shrine complete with its history and information if you wish to make a pilgrimage or retreat or just want to stop in for a brief visit during your stay in this northern New England state. Below are more pictures from the Shrine of St. Anne at Isle LaMotte and a prayer to St. Joachim and St. Anne for your intentions.

Prayer to St. Anne and St. Joachim

Dear St. Anne and St. Joachim, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary and grandparents of Jesus, our Divine Savior, have pity on your loving and trusting client, and listen to the petition which I present to you.
Oh, blessed Saints, you are both dear to the Heart of Jesus, whose beloved Mother was your own tender, devoted child! Can He refuse anything to you, in whose veins the same blood flowed. Which afterwards furnished the precious price of our redemption? Great saints, nothing was impossible to your power and influence over the young Jesus, “Who grew and waxed strong, full of wisdom “under the maternal care of your glorious daughter, the Queen of Heaven and Earth. In mercy and compassion, be like Him “Who went about doing good,” and come to the aid of your servant in my great necessity!
St. Anne, St. Joachim, beloved parents of Mary, “our life, our sweetness and our hope,” pray to her for me and obtain my request. Amen

Some history of the original settlement at St. Anne's Shrine, Isle LaMotte
French Explorer of the Green Mountain State

St. Anthony

St. Patrick

Our Lord on the Cross overlooking Lake Champlain at St. Anne Shrine

Sunset on Lake Champlain

Friday, July 1, 2016

Celebrate St. Junipero Serra's Feast Day, July 1

St. Junipero Serra was born in Petra on the island of Majorca off the east coast of Spain. Here are a couple of recipes that are native to Majorca. You might want to try them as you celebrate the feast day of St. Junipero Serra, today, July 1. To read about Fr. Serra's life, go to


A very scrumptious cake, try it!

  • Unsalted butter and all-purpose flour for preparing pan
  • 8 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 2 cups coarsely ground blanched almonds


Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Butter an 11-inch round cake pan with 2-inch sides and then dust it with flour, shaking out any excess.
In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar an whisk together until smooth and foamy. Add the lemon zest, cinnamon, and vanilla, if using, and mix well. Add the ground almonds a little at a time, mixing well after each addition to incorporate fully.
Using a whisk or a handheld mixer, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Scoop about one-third of the whites onto the egg yolk mixture and, using a rubber spatula, fold them in to lighten the mixture. Then add the remaining whites and fold them in gently but thoroughly, deflating the batter as little as possible.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake the cake for about 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and, holding the cake pan 6 inches above a countertop, drop the pan onto the counter. This simple dropping action shocks the cake, making it easier to remove from the pan.
Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let cool in the pan until warm. Run a knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake sides and then invert the cacke onto the rack and lift off the pan. Place the cake upright on a serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream, if desired.


This very delicious pastry is labor intensive to make but worth every mouthful. Below is the link to the recipe.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Feast of St. Anthony of Padua

St. Anthony Statue on our front porch
 Anthony of Padua is one of my favorite saints. He was born in Lisbon, Portugal, 1195, and died in Arcella, a suburb of Padua, Italy, 1231. He was canonized the following year by Pope Gregory IX. You can read more about him here,

My love of St. Anthony developed when I was in the 8th grade. I was 13 years old and had just received a new pair of glasses. I was very nearsighted and had worn glasses since I was in fourth grade. The glasses brought everything at a distance into focus for me. I needed to wear them all the time. Like many 13 year old girls, though, I thought I looked better without glasses and sometimes went without them.

A favorite St. Anthony picture 
Finances were very tight in our home in those days. New glasses were necessary but an extra burden on the family budget. I was aware of that so when I reached into my coat pocket to retrieve my glasses one day, I panicked when I was not able to locate them. I often dropped them into my right-hand pocket when I wanted to go without them. This time they were gone. I searched frantically. What was I going to do? I didn't feel I could tell my parents. They had enough worries. What had I done? Foolish me. A few days went by and no luck. The glasses did not turn up. I was getting desperate, not to mention I could not see the board at school.

Suddenly I had the inspiration to pray to St. Anthony. We had just learned about the Nine First Fridays at school, so I promised St. Anthony if he found my glasses for me I would pray the Nine First Friday devotion. Well I am sure  you can guess the outcome. I did find my glasses. Shortly after I began praying to St. Anthony, I reached down into the right-hand pocket of my coat and there they were! Right there where they always were waiting for me to pick them up and put them on. I was so relieved and I learned a good lesson. I stopped taking them off for vanity's sake.
St. Anthony by El Greco

Did I ever make the Nine First Fridays? Yes. But it took me about ten years of starts and stops before I finally finished them all the way through. Years later I took our four children through the Nine First Fridays. If you are not familiar with them, below is a site at Catholic Culture where you can read about the devotion.

Lastly, a feast day is a cause for celebration. We honor St. Anthony for his many virtues and most of all for his great love of God and sublime charity to his fellow man. The cannolis pictured below are one of the many delicious desserts Italians enjoy on the feast of St. Anthony. A recipe from the Food Network is linked. You might like to try them or eat one of your favorite desserts to celebrate this saint, who has helped us all out in great and small matters.



Sicilian Cannolis

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Pope Francis is seen here greeting his Wednesday audience in sign language! The is a first according to Vatican Radio for the pope. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

May Crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary

We had a lovely and very simple May Crowning at our home today. Our granddaughter crowned the family statue of Mary that my husband's parents had brought to the United States from Ireland in the 1950ties. After crowning the statue of the Blessed Virgin she placed flowers in a vase in front of her.

In the background we had the song, "Bring Flowers of the Rarest," playing. I like this one from You Tube,

As you can see our granddaughter was very happy to have crowned Mary. My husband looks on in the back.
A little help in placing the flowers in the vase was required from her Dad. Her uncle Mike is pictured in the background.

These are the wired flowers I used to make the crown. I purchased them from Michaels Arts & Crafts.

 Here is the crown with the roses attached. Below is the crown with the ribbons added.

These are some of my favorite colors. 
This gives you a little idea of how the crown looks from the back. Below I have listed some sites which offer background information and/or planning activities with prayers for your own May Crowning. May is the month of Mary and it is the perfect time to honor her with a simple or elaborate May Crowning Ceremony. Happy Mother's Day to all mothers…/liturgicalyear/activities/   Type in May Crowning in the top right corner where the search icon is located.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Take Your Children or Grandchildren through the Jubilee Door of Mercy

Jubilee Year of Mercy, December 8, 2015 - November 20, 2016
The Jubilee Year of Mercy, December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016 is a grace-filled opportunity to take your children or grandchildren through the designated Jubilee Door in your diocese and receive the abundant graces offered to those who do so. I recently had the opportunity to enter the Jubilee Door at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, AL, pictured here. Mother Angelica's tomb is in the crypt of this church. What is the significance of a Jubilee Door and why take our children? The Jubilee Door signifies a year of mercy and reconciliation within the Catholic Church. It has been proclaimed once every 25 years since 1475. The last one was proclaimed by Pope John Paul II in the year 2000. This Jubilee Year (Holy Year) is an Extraordinary One. An Extraordinary Jubilee Year is called on special occasions such as Pope Francis's call for a Year of Mercy. The previous one was Pope John Paul II's Extraordinary Jubilee,1983, to honor 1,950 years of redemption after Christ's death and resurrection. Jubilee years are ones of abundant graces both for ourselves and for others. They offer us an opportunity to receive a plenary indulgence and to help the Poor Souls in Purgatory through our prayers and obtaining indulgences for them. The second picture here is of Pope John Paul II going through the Jubilee Door in 1983. I have listed a series of websites which you may find helpful. One website list the designated Jubilee Doors in each state. Other websites provide background information and activities for children. Don't miss out on this grace-filled opportunity with your children! Be sure to get ice cream or some yummy treat at the end of your special visit to the Jubilee and say a prayer for Pope Francis!

John Paul II, 1983, Extraordinary Jubilee Year

Holy Door Websites

Monday, April 18, 2016

Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC

My husband and I recently visited the art museum in Raleigh, N.C. We went to see an exhibit of Childe Hassam's paintings. I only recently was introduced to this American impressionist and was delighted to see that the North Carolina Museum of Art was featuring works of his through June 19.

Along with the Hassam exhibit was another from the Minneapolis Institute of Art called "Marks of Genius: 100 Extraordinary Drawings." A third smaller exhibit, Barbara Cooney's original illustrations of her children's book, Island Boy rounded out the exhibit offerings.

A couple of hours were well-spent savoring Hassam's impressions of the "Shoal Islands" off the coast of New Hampshire and perusing the drawings from the institute. Photographing the paintings was prohibited but I did buy one print of rich red poppies dancing in the wind which I will frame for the guest bedroom. Those of you who are familiar with Barbara Cooney's books know the illustrations are simply elegant. They are well-done. Buy any one of her children's books. You will not be disappointed. The colors are rich and clean. The illustrations uniquely hers and no one else's. When we finished viewing the exhibits, we continued on to the main building where their permanent collection is housed. I took a few photographs. The one below is the Peruzzi Altarpiece. I have included the description from the museum below. It is from the famous artist, Giotto, late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries. It represents one of the many magnificent pieces of artwork that this museum has in its holdings. I did not have time to fully view their entire collection of European religious art. I will go back in the future to see and enjoy more of it. If you are in Raleigh, N.C., I encourage you to visit the museum and view some of its very fine holdings.

The Peruzzi Altarpiece

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

An Easter Visit to the Blessed Sacrament

 The Easter season is the perfect time to bring your children or grandchildren for a visit to Jesus during Adoration. Many of our churches have adoration at least once a week. Some parishes have adoration chapels where Our Lord is exposed in the monstrance twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Tell your children that you are going to make a short visit to Jesus to say, "Hi," to tell Him that we love Him, and to keep Him company for a few minutes (seconds if the child is very young and active). No visit no matter how short is unimportant to Our Lord. He treasures our visits and we draw graces for ourselves and our children when we stop by to adore and say, "Hello." You can build on the time you spend visiting Jesus in adoration over time. But there is no time like the present to get started!

Here is a Mom with her young son in the pew to the left of her. They have come for a short visit to adore Jesus in the Monstrance on the altar in the front of the church. There are other people praying, too. Some of the people praying are committed adorers who remain for an hour with Jesus. Others have just dropped in like the mother  with her child to pray for a few moments, to adore Jesus, to ask for His help and then to be on their way. "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. Matthew 19:14
Come to me all you who are weary and burden and I will give you rest. Matt. 11:28

Monday, April 4, 2016

Another Book for Children

I love this book! The illustrations are captivating. If I am drawn to it as an adult, think what your children, ages 7 and up will be! It covers the major Old and New Testament stories and has a glossary in the back. Additional chapters on the prophets and psalms are included. The overall quality of the materials used is very high as is the retelling of the stories. This is the time of the year when parents, grandparents, godparents, aunts and uncles are looking for gifts for First Communicants. This book would make an excellent and long lasting gift.

Friday, March 11, 2016

St. Patrick's Day - We are going to have a party

St. Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland
Detail from stained glass window at St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church,
Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY

Dad/Grandpa, Robert Patrick, Born March 16
 We are planning a joint celebration for St. Patrick's Day and my husband Bob's birthday. All the family is coming except our son, Tom, and his wife, Meredith. They live at a distance. Our six grandchildren will be here, and we are planning to make some yummy treats with them and for everybody. Here are pictures with links to the recipes for our treats. Don't they look just delicious?

Mint Oreo Truffles

Of course we will have some games. I found a great scavenger hunt on line for the kids, and after all their running around, we will show the CCC movie, St. Patrick: Brave Shepherd of the Emerald Isle. This movie is put out by CCC of America. The link is below if you want to buy one for your children or grandchildren.

No St. Patrick party would be complete without Irish entrees. I will be serving Corn beef and Cabbage and Guinness Stew. There will be my Irish-born mother-in-law's Irish Soda Bread. You can find the recipe on my Tuesday, March 17, 2015 post. It is an excellent recipe and has a hint of nutmeg which you do not find in other soda bread recipes. To go with the Irish Soda Bread and our birthday cake for Grandpa will be Irish Coffee. We always buy a bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey for the occasion.

And our toast!

Lastly no gathering of the Irish and their descendants would be complete without praying part of 
St. Patrick's Breastplate. 

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

Happy Feast of St. Patrick


Happy Birthday Grandpa!