Showing posts from February, 2013

The Things I Wonder About. Do You?

I know my purpose here on earth is to love and serve God so that I can spend eternity with Him in Heaven… But at my age, even having some of the answers to life’s bigger questions doesn’t mean there still aren’t a few things I wonder about… For instance, I was recently watching a rerun of I Love Lucy and found myself saying out loud—to no one in particular: I don’t remember Ethel being so young and pretty! In fact, she’s beautiful! How did I ever miss that? Or there was the time I was answering questions for a survey and wondered why my age group was the last choice. I thought everyone was living longer. Was I mistaken? Shouldn’t there be an age group after mine? I felt it was important to bring that to the attention of the gal conducting the survey: Have you not updated your survey recently? You know people are living much longer now and there is no way I should be in the last age group!   And yet on that same survey, my income was in the first, lowest


Cracked She looks out through the glass Still cold, still winter The fence and the shed need painting Peeling and bent Barely holding up But a lick of paint is no use now It will not cover the cracks Like the cross on the wall That someone has carefully glued back together But the crack still shows It’s lost its value now She carefully takes it down And throws it out With the clothes for the homeless Jane Frances 

Word for Today

‎ "To a great extent the level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood. When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women." ~Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

The Pope on Love

During the papacy of Pope John Paul II, the media dubbed Cardinal Josef Ratzinger "God's Rottweiler." But when Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI, he showed his softer side. At Christmastime, he appeared to pilgrims in the Vatican as "Santa Pope," a jovial figure in a red Santa cap (called a camauro). In his youth, little Josef wanted a teddy bear every Christmas, according to his brother's memoirs. This is the side of Pope Benedict XVI that I want to remember, a gentle man who was a champion of faith, hope, and love. On this last day before Pope Benedict XVI's resignation, I want to share with you some lessons he taught me about the passionate, eternal love we all long for. Couples coming to be married in the Catholic Church (and already-married couples, too) should realize and revel in the depth of learning the Church can offer on love. The first encyclical issued by Pope Benedict XVI -- on Christmas Day, as it so happens -- was on

The Immaculate Conception is the First Fruit

The Immaculate Conception is the First Fruit Sin comes second; it only exists as a parasite, when we let it have some room in a life made only for life and light. Our true being has its roots in God. Hence the great work of conversion, the return to our origins—not to the womb, but to allow ourselves be birthed again, in the truth—by letting the Spirit work in us through Mary’s faith, as though we were in her womb. We must therefore accept the Passover, the passage into the world of grace—God's world. Our being is redesigned in the darkness of Holy Saturday. Our habitual world disappears, along with its demands for visible accomplishment and successful competition. Humanity opens up to the call of a life lived under the sign of communion. I think that individuals and even society cannot do without being called back to life received by grace. Mary is the completed figure of the new world that only subsists on trust in a God who cannot be conquered by any form of darkness, a Go

Association of Catholic Women Bloggers: Blog Author required

Association of Catholic Women Bloggers: Blog Author required : Hi fellow Bloggers - I am looking for someone to take over as editor for the Association of Catholic Women Bloggers - a Catholic Women Blogg...

Adopt A Cardinal!

Have you heard that you can "adopt a cardinal?" Yes, in addition to praying for the Conclave electing our next pope, we can each have a specific cardinal assigned to us, so we may pray that he will be guided by the Holy Spirit.    If you would like to take this opportunity to pray particularly for one of the men who will be inspired by God to choose our next holy father,  click this line   to read more about it. 'On this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.'  Matthew 16:18


Boxes It seems my whole life has been spent in boxes Tea chests moving us from one place to the next Other people’s expectations College University Church People move the walls And make the box smaller And smaller Until I am so constrained I have no choice But to break out And leave them in the fall out Wooden sides scattered in all directions But I breathe the air And see the sky And I am a child again Playing in a tea chest And imagining the world in a cloud Jane Frances

Blog Author required

Hi fellow Bloggers - I am looking for someone to take over as editor for the Association of Catholic Women Bloggers - a Catholic Women Blogger of some time who is used to using the settings etc - would need to moderate comments and add Blog Authors as required.  Please email me at if you would like to take this on.  <3

Raising boys to be men--not beasts

A couple weeks ago, Pat Archbold started a discussion on boys and "cursing" at the National Catholic Register . I was late in reading the post, but thought that, as a mother of 4 boys, I should address this issue. I firmly believe that the double standard between boys and girls on moral issues has got to go. Some commenters denied that cursing was a sin. Others said it should be expected of boys until they are civilized by their future wives.  Let's look at this issue rationally, instead of just emotionally. What do the Bible and the Catechism say? What is the example of Christ? Why is this issue important? Read the entire post

"Cravings:" On Human Hunger and Being Wonderfully Made

I'm going to go ahead and review Mary DeTourris Poust's latest book, Cravings: A Catholic Wrestles with Food, Self-Image and God, without having finished it. This is a wonderful book. This a book on the relationship of spirituality to food and the first, its publishers say, written from a Catholic perspective. Keep Reading...

Sunday Morning Walk in Neshanic Station

The word Neshanic comes from the Algonquin language and  means "double stream."  Keep Reading...

New Can We Cana? Blog

Married Catholics today need help and they aren't getting it, which is why I started the Can We Cana? blog in December 2012.  Can We Cana? is meant to be a community of faithful Catholics supporting other faithful Catholics in their vocation of marriage.  I invite anyone who's interested to join in and contribute their questions and their advice. The blog offers marriage preparation tips in its Pre-Cana Posts, practical advice on marriage and family in its Post-Cana Posts, and invitations to meditation and prayer in its Pray-Cana Posts. My husband Manny and daughter Lelia designed the logo, since I have no artistic talent whatsoever and couldn't design a stick figure. Manny first came up with a few different ideas. One was interlocking marriage rings with the Scriptural quote, "Do whatever he tells you." Many people would recognize these words as what Our Blessed Mother said to the servants at the wedding of Cana directly before Jesus performed the miracle


The Chaste Womb of Mary Becomes Heaven All things on earth exult with joy, praise echoes from the stars, and songs follow one after the other before the nuptial chamber of the Virgin. This Virgin, who carries the Word in her womb, has become the Gate of Heaven. She who gave God to the world, has opened Heaven for us. Such a happy girl, completely free from Eve's law is she; conceiving without a man and delivering her Child without a cry. The noble womb of Mary carried within it the Redemption of the world. We glory in having been redeemed by the One who lifted the yoke of sin from us. The Son of the Father fills her with Himself; the Holy Spirit covers her with His shadow. In this way the chaste womb of the Holy Virgin is transformed into Heaven. St Peter Damian Hymn 44 for the Annunciation, PL 145, 933 CD May God bless you!

Financial Lent

My husband and I have been scraping the bottom of the financial barrel lately. It couldn't have happened at a better time. Lent is about sacrifices, after all, isn't it? Some sacrifices are voluntary, but some are imposed from the outside. Cheerfully accepting the sacrifices we haven't asked for is as valuable as imposing mortifications of our own choosing. Cheerful acceptance, of course, is easier said than done. More...

The Cross

“ I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit. ” Khalil Gibran The Cross Weight bore down Almost unbearable Joy and sadness combined  “For now you shall know in part Then you shall know in full.” Almost consumed by the Spirit Such ecstasy Tears and sweat mingling The intense pain and all-pervading joy The suffering and the hope Slowly He gives Himself up To higher things Blood trickles down His companions, one with him His Mother bereft As a sword pierces her soul John takes her head and lays it on his breast In comfort They cut him down and Wrap him in clean cloths Like He was a baby In a manger

What is mental prayer and how you can do it?

Catholics divide prayer into 2 broad categories – vocal and mental. Vocal prayer includes prayers written for recitation. Mental prayer is prayer in one’s own words. St. Teresa of Avila wrote, “Mental prayer, in my view, is nothing but friendly intercourse, and frequent solitary converse, with Him Who we know loves us." St. Thérèse of Lisieux likewise wrote, “With me prayer is an uplifting of the heart; a glance towards heaven; a cry of gratitude and love, uttered equally in sorrow and in joy." Catholics are generally comfortable with vocal prayer, but mental prayer can leave us at a loss. How can you spend 20 minutes or more in prayer without a pre-written text? How can you keep your prayer from becoming mere rambling? Read to learn a suggested form of mental prayer.

The Sea

The sea is often used as a metaphor in poetry such as a metaphor for life. "I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life, To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;” (John Masefield) (Sea Fever by John Masefield (1878-1967) “In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans, in one aspect of you are found all the aspects of existence.”   Kahil Gibran, The Prophet, Penguin Books The Sea The poets mused at the sea today With the glorious sea and sky Saw some ships that were bobbing there As the seagulls they breezed by We stayed awhile on the golden sands And watched the children play We took some time to reflect and stand On a chocolate-box sunny day We waved goodbye with the rising moon Turned from the spumy foam The time had come and gone too soon As we headed back for home Joanna Bennett

Sisterhood at the Nail Salon

Grace comes in unexpected places. After work today, I went to the nail salon for a pedicure. A group of ladies, older and Jewish and lifelong friends, were there. The owner of the salon is a Korean woman, married for years and a devout Catholic. Her husband of many years works with her. They never had children. And so this story begins. Keep Reading....

Lent and the Eucharist

Lent and the Eucharist It’s Lent and time to take into consideration what we can do to strengthen our relationship with God and grow more deeply in our faith.   Lord only knows how badly our world needs stronger faithful people! Big changes are on the horizon for Mother Church with a new Pope to be elected soon and the present aging Pope to step back into the recesses of the Vatican. What better way to do that than adding extra time with the sacraments of confession and Eucharist?   Christ gave Himself to us totally and completely, even to the humiliating and horrid death on the cross. During this time of Lent, we can find time in our busy schedules to give a part of us to Him, yes?   Let us examine the sacrament of Christ’s Passion: The Eucharist is food for the journey And as they were eating, He took bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them saying, 'Take; this is my body.'(Mark 14:22)  And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to th

Prayer in the Digital Age: a review

  Matt Swaim's  Prayer in the Digital Age has some solid advice for users of digital media who want to improve their spiritual lives. At the same time, it gives a conflicting message about the importance of setting time aside daily to devote to mental prayer. Due to this significant shortcoming, I give the book 3 stars. Read the entire review .

Hildegard of Bingen, Spiritus Sanctus


"In Cold Blood:" Heartache and Violence

  Photo of Holcomb, Kansas courtesy of I decided to read Truman Capote's 1966 book  "In Cold Blood" because I have become intrigued by his close friend, Nelle Harper Lee. Lee wrote the luminous novel "To Kill a Mockingbird," which I teach every year to high school freshmen and her character Dill Harris is modeled on her childhood friend, Truman Capote. Lee, now 86 and living a private life in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, never has published another book. I wanted to know her better and I figured I might find traces of her in Capote's nonfiction novel.  I haven't researched how much of her fingerprints are on this book of richly drawn characters, real people whose presence has remained with me days after finishing this book. Keep Reading...

That Sunday Scone at Starbucks? Meh.

I gave up processed food for Lent. If I want to eat bread before Easter, I have to bake it. Except, of course, on Sundays, which being Sundays, do not count as part of Lent. After 11 a.m. Mass with my son we headed next door to the Barnes and Noble because he said he needed a new sweatshirt. As I was walking over I thought: Oh! It's Sunday! I can have something sweet with my iced soy latte. The Rutgers B&N has a Starbucks inside. In line at the cafe, I spied blueberry scones. And ordered one. And sat down to sip my latte and eat my Sunday scone. It looked nothing like the scone depicted on the corporate website. Keep Reading...

Yes, No....Not Yet.

In our prayer God gives us usually only three answers when we pray. 1.  Yes  - your prayer is answered. 2.  No.  - your prayer is refused by God.  Don't loose heart - this is not a bad thing - this is a good thing!  A no from God is a time to reflect on what you were asking for, if it was asked in the right heart.  Was it a selfish desire? If you have asked in the right mindset then know that this is your personal lesson that the will and justice of God, for the will of God and the justice of God is always perfect.  You may even never know why the answer is no.  But if you go forth and submit to the will of God then you usually find the answer for the "No" was because if He had said yes it would have diminished or cancelled a grace or gift He wished to give you later.   3.  Not yet.   God's timing is not our timing and we have to understand this, we will wait patiently for what He said He will do, we may even have to wait our lives for it, but tru

(How to) Receive Holy Communion by Mouth (by Tongue)


Lenten Talk: St. Rita of Cascia

My friend Melissa drove me to Staten Island tonight so we could attend an inspiring talk about St. Rita of Cascia at a parish called Saint Rita Church.  Call it food for our Lenten journeys. The speaker was Father Michael Di Gregorio, O.S.A., who grew up in the parish and graduated from its grammar school. He is an Augustinian priest who now serves as vicar general of the Augustinian order in Rome. He also is the author of a biography of Saint Rita called The Precious Pearl: The Story of Saint Rita of Cascia.  "We think of a saint as someone who is out of this world." he told the audience of about 70 in the church sanctuary. "But a saint is someone who is attuned to the Voice that speaks within and who tries to respond openly and honestly. " Saint Rita, he said. "had her feet on the ground." Keep Reading...

Vatican teaching on Catholic schools--quotes to ponder

Archbishop J. Michael Miller identified 5 marks of a Catholic school. Click here to see what they are and discuss how your school--at home or otherwise--measures up.

Gemma Di Giorgi's blindness cured by faith & intersession of Padre Pio (...


My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints

Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. ~Apocalypse 13:10 My Peace I Give You by Dawn Eden is a much-needed spiritual resource for those recovering from any type of physical or emotional suffering brought on by the lust, crassness or cruelty of others. It took a long time to read because I had to stop and take time to ponder and absorb, reading several parts of it over again. Not only is Dawn's book well-written but every contention is backed up by solid references. With modesty and restraint, she confronts a topic uncomfortable to many. The misuse of the gift of life-giving sexuality has scourged multiple lives and institutions, not the least of which is our Holy Catholic Church. Too often amid the scandals, the wounded do not receive the treatment which they need in order to heal. This book, coming from the long and painful recovery of a survivor of abuse, will be a grace for many who are hurting from similar wounds. Hopefully, it will inspire all who read it to t

English-language News about French Gay Rights Debates: Le Figaro runs confessional of man raised by lesbi...

English-language News about French Gay Rights Debates: Le Figaro runs confessional of man raised by lesbi... : This piece ran also in France's Christian magazine, Chretiente . It is based on an article that came out in Le Figaro the day before and ma...

New book review at

    I restrict book reviews on Contemplative Homeschool to those dealing with the spiritual life or home education. However, I volunteer to review Catholic fiction at My first review, on Rumer Godden's Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy, is being featured today. Please click through to read it and support new Catholic publisher Tuscany Press. A cautionary note: Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy deals with adult themes. Even the review is inappropriate for children. I also write reviews at Goodreads . I will slowly be adding reviews (as time permits) on many living books we use for homeschool. Look for recommendations to pair with specific Bible stories, virtue studies, or historical periods. I also review literature and non-fiction books for adults. Please join my circle of friends and share your favorite books with me as well!

Lots O Lenten Links

Over the years I have collected links to Lenten readings and activities for young and old over on my blog.  I'll be adding to it this year as I find more goodies around the web!  Here is an excerpt with a link to the links at the end! The penitential season of Lent is the period of forty week-days beginning on Ash Wednesday. It is a season of the Church year that commemorates the forty days Jesus fasted and prayed in the wilderness before He began His public ministry of preaching for repentance. Six Sundays are within the season; the last, Passion Sunday, marks the beginning of Holy Week. Holy Thursday begins the Triduum (three days) before Easter day, which includes Good Friday and Holy Saturday. The Church has devoted a period of time to prayer and fasting as a preparation for the liturgical commemoration of the Passion of Christ and the celebrations of the feast of the Resurrection, Easter Day, since very early times. In 604 Pope Gregory I defined Lent as "The spir

Dynamic Women of Faith 2013 (Toronto) HD


Review of "Come, My Beloved"

Twenty-something women in our culture of hook-ups and broken hearts, often think that they have to settle for a string of meaningless relationships rather than a life-long love. So said a journalist from the New York Times in a recent editorial. Romance is only fantasy you indulge in, reality is being used and discarded, they maintain.True love only happens in the movies. "Come, My Beloved" stands in direct opposition to this cynical viewpoint; for in it, Catholic couples in varied walks of life, and age groups, found true love against the odds. These stories will reawaken your faith that with prayerful trust in God's plan for your vocation, and the grace of the sacraments, you can find a mate who loves you for yourself, and wants to help you to grow closer to God as you grow in love for one another. Love isn't for the perfect, just the hopeful. Enjoy this book and the resurgence of hope it will awaken in your heart as you hear the words of the "Song of Songs&q

Fine-tune your spiritual focus for Lent

D id you choose a specific virtue to cultivate for a New Years' resolution? Try making a concrete step in that direction a focus for Lent, which starts tomorrow. In January, I wrote how I was working on trust this year. I've been practicing trusting God when I sin , following the example of St. Therese. It's becoming routine. I can't tell you how much freer I feel. When I have a bad day of yelling at my kids or otherwise being selfish, I no longer beat myself (figuratively speaking) over it.  I trust God to take care of it, and even to bless me (not because of my sin, but because of my trust).  My faith is stronger as well. Continue reading.

The Humble Resignation of Pope Benedict

If you live long enough, you'll see just about everything.  Today I saw something that none of my most recent ancestors saw - the resignation of a Pope.  I think most of us remember the end of John Paul II's pontificate and the images of the once active pope bowing to the ravages of old age and illness. It was hard to watch but at the same time taught a lesson in its own right - that life is precious even to the very end, and that God can indeed use our lives regardless of our age and physical condition and that all of it is truly a gift if we choose to see it that way.  But now Pope Benedict XVI is teaching us another lesson. The Holy Father's decision to resign has as much dignity and courage as the decision of all of his predecessors to die in office. I think the lesson is that sometimes we have to recognize our own limitations and weaknesses, and step aside for the good of others and also for our the sanctification of our own souls.  It seems that Pope Benedict

Fight! Fight! Fight!

I hear so many people say, "Well, if you aren't getting fed at your parish - find another one." or they say, "If your priest distorts the Mass and the sacraments, then go somewhere else." I don't agree with this. If your priest is distorting the Holy Mass or the sacraments, do find a valid mass so that you can be fed, but make sure you come back to the parish where things may not just be "right" and do much prayer and penance for that Priest.  Do not abandon him.  He is precious to God, and what a great gift is given to God if he is turned back from the darkness! For at his hands how many more are touched and if he is obedient to the M agisterium, his obedience will beget good, faithful Catholics.  Pray many Rosaries for him, do penance for him, fast for him, ask God to put it in his heart to take up his Rosary again, for the Holy Rosary demolishes all heresies.   Once I went to Holy Mass (I won't say where) and the Priest was totally de

Humblepiety: Thank You Holy Father!

Humblepiety: Thank You Holy Father! : FROM THE END OF THE: ENCYCLICAL LETTER DEUS CARITAS EST OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF BENEDICT XVI Mary, Virgin and Mother, shows us what lo...

Pray for Children: Thank you to Pope Benedict XVI

Pray for Children: Thank you to Pope Benedict XVI : Pope Benedict XVI announces his resignation Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation to the world today on the Feast of Our Lady of...

Biography of Benedict XVI

Biography of Benedict XVI

Blessings to Pope Benedict XVI: "The Love of Christ Urges Us On

I have always loved the writings of our Holy Father. In fact, I just bought his I nfancy Narratives as an audiobook. I wish that those who criticize the man  - within our Church as well as outside the Church - would read his words without preconception. Keep Reading...

Pope Benedict will be missed. But, contrary to prophecies of doom, the Catholic Church will endure

By  Tim Stanley   Religion   Last updated: February 11th, 2013 42 Comments   Comment on this article Contrary to his image, Benedict XVI stressed unity within the Church Are we headed towards an apocalypse? First an asteroid comes close to the Earth, then the British start eating horse and now …  the Pope resigns . Resigning is something that Popes very rarely do. That last time it was done voluntarily was by Celestine V in 1294; Gregory XII stepped down under political pressure in 1415. By contrast, John Paul II remained in his position regardless of his declining health – a testament to the man’s extraordinary will power. How wonderful it is to be part of a church that has a memory stretching back centuries. Alas, its prophesies don’t reach much further in to the future.  According to Saint Malachy’s Prophecy of the Popes  (published in 1595), Benedict is the penultimate Pope before the End of Times begin. The Prophecy has actually been eerily accurate in predicting th