Monday, February 22, 2016

The Pope Francis Conversation . . . or, Go Talk to Your Father, it's His Feast Day

Hey Guys.

Today is the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. In light of current events, it seems especially important to remember what we celebrate today.

According to Pope Benedict:
This is a very ancient tradition, proven to have existed in Rome since the fourth century. On it we give thanks to God for the mission he entrusted to the Apostle Peter and his Successors.

"Cathedra" literally means the established seat of the Bishop, placed in the mother church of a diocese which for this reason is known as a "cathedral"; it is the symbol of the Bishop's authority and in particular, of his "magisterium", that is, the evangelical teaching which, as a successor of the Apostles, he is called to safeguard and to transmit to the Christian Community. . . .

The See of Rome, after St Peter's travels, thus came to be recognized as the See of the Successor of Peter, and its Bishop's "cathedra" represented the mission entrusted to him by Christ to tend his entire flock. . . .

Celebrating the "Chair" of Peter, therefore, as we are doing today, means attributing a strong spiritual significance to it and recognizing it as a privileged sign of the love of God, the eternal Good Shepherd, who wanted to gather his whole Church and lead her on the path of salvation [General Audience, Feb. 22, 2006].

I went on a retreat over the weekend, at a hotel, with the baby.

And we are quite refreshed and renewed and resolved. The husband and kids did quite well without me, thank you very much.

But, it would appear that the Catholic side of the internet needs more supervision than it was getting, because things seem to have gone a little nuts in my absence.

Before I left, I saw that Pope Francis had said some words on an airplane. (Again.)

Here's what he said, in response to a question about the use of abortion and contraception in cases where couples are concerned about the Zika virus, which can cause serious birth defects:
Abortion is not the lesser of two evils. It is a crime. It is to throw someone out in order to save another. That’s what the Mafia does. It is a crime, an absolute evil. On the ‘lesser evil,’ avoiding pregnancy, we are speaking in terms of the conflict between the fifth and sixth commandment. Paul VI, a great man, in a difficult situation in Africa, permitted nuns to use contraceptives in cases of rape.
Don’t confuse the evil of avoiding pregnancy by itself, with abortion. Abortion is not a theological problem, it is a human problem, it is a medical problem. You kill one person to save another, in the best case scenario. Or to live comfortably, no?  It’s against the Hippocratic oaths doctors must take. It is an evil in and of itself, but it is not a religious evil in the beginning, no, it’s a human evil. Then obviously, as with every human evil, each killing is condemned.
On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. In certain cases, as in this one, or in the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear. I would also urge doctors to do their utmost to find vaccines against these two mosquitoes that carry this disease. This needs to be worked on. 
See the rest of the transcript here.

While I was away, those words began to cause many people to get giddy with joy/hurt and confused/full of despair. And a lot of those people, who were having those feelings, took to the internet to express them.

The mainstream media headlines were predictable in their overstatement.

Click-bait-y Catholic sites (that I won't link to) were also predictable in their preference for clicks over responsible journalism.

As I tried to sort through everything, a few posts in particular stood out to me as helpful and reasoned.

When the story was still new, Jenny at Mama Needs Coffee, made the very valid point that if you just look at the actual words of Pope Francis, there's not NECESSARILY anything to be upset about. I appreciated her take:
I’ve reread his remarks at least a dozen times now, and I can’t find the spot where he encourages Catholic spouses to oppose one another in their sexual embrace by means of contraception. I can, however, see where he alludes to NFP in the line “avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil.”
It sounds really familiar, actually. Because it’s a central message in one of Catholicism’s most essential texts on sexuality: Humanae Vitae.
So to sum things up: no, Pope Francis, in an in flight interview on a 747, did not just change the Catholic Church’s teachings on birth control (not least of which due to the simple fact that he can’t. He literally doesn’t have the power to change it.)
Read the whole thing here.

That's what I thought too, and I figured there would be a clarification and all would be well. The whole nuns in the Congo being given permission by Pope Paul VI to take contraceptives, it seemed . . . off. But, I did read this explanation by Jimmy Akin on the different moral issues involved, and it was at least comprehensible.

But then, Fr. Federico Lomdardi, who was with Pope Francis on the flight, made the following statement to Vatican Radio:
The contraceptive or condom, in particular cases of emergency or gravity, could be the object of discernment in a serious case of conscience. This is what the Pope said…the possibility of taking recourse to contraception or condoms in cases of emergency or special situations. He is not saying that this possibility is accepted without discernment, indeed, he said clearly that it can be considered in cases of special urgency.
D'oh. Not exactly what we were hoping for. (I can't find an original source for this in English. It's quoted all over, but not sourced. So it's possible that this is not an accurate quote.)

But. I'd like to point out, that this is NOT necessarily the "official clarification" we seek. When there was confusion and controversy surrounding condoms after the publication of a book of interviews with Pope Benedict, Fr. Lombardi issued a prepared statement, including the following:
Thus the pope is not reforming or changing the teaching of the church, but reaffirming it by placing it in the context of the value and the dignity of human sexuality as an expression of love and responsibility.
See it all here.

Fr. Lombardi's statement in the current case with Pope Francis, didn't feel like an official clarification, it seemed like he was simply confirming that Pope Francis did in fact say those words on the plane, as he was also on the plane, rather than saying that those words were without error, or that they were consistent with Catholic teaching.

Because it seems clear enough that there are inconsistencies.

Janet Smith explains the Catholic moral teaching at stake:
To suggest that some “emergency” or “special situation” would permit a person in conscience to use contraception does not align with Catholic moral theology. For spouses to use contraception is always wrong. How can any emergency or special situation justify what is always wrong? It is an improper use of conscience to use it to discern that it is moral to do what is intrinsically wrong in special situations. One job of the conscience is precisely to enable a person to honor moral norms in special situations. In emergencies or special situations we are not permitted, for instance, directly to kill innocent human beings even if great good could come from that death. Martyrdom is precisely a result of the refusal to do something that is morally wrong in an “emergency” or “special situation.”
Read the rest here.

And THEN Fr. Z, hallelujah, demonstrated VERY convincingly that Pope Paul VI NEVER gave permission to nuns or anyone else to use the pill:
[It] reads like a soap opera, the one hand. It reads like a vicious campaign of lies and disinformation designed to confuse the faithful and undermine the Church, on the other….

This whopper doesn’t pass the smell test. Paul VI told nuns they could use contraceptives… riiiiight.

Notice, the more you go back in time, the more “Paul VI” becomes, more vaguely, “Rome”. Dig deep enough and you will find that “Rome” turns out to be just an article published, you guessed it, in Rome, precisely by the magazine Studi Cattolici, n° 27, in the year of our Salvation 1961. Title: “Una donna domanda: come negarsi alla violenza? Morale esemplificata. Un dibattito” (A woman asks, how to subtract oneself from violence? Exemplified morals. A debate).

Yes, I can hear you yelling at the monitor. Paul VI ascended to the Throne of Peter only in 1963.

And now I want somebody to tell me, with a straight face, that St. John XXIII allowed contraception. Above all, I want them to show me where and when he did it.
Fr. Z also points out that Pope St. JPII similarly did not okay contraception for nuns at risk of rape, even though the same thing was alleged in the 1980s about him and nuns in Kosovo.

Read the rest here, if you can. Fr. Z's blog appears to have crashed from all the traffic, but keep trying. It's good.

So, thank goodness it isn't true. It isn't true that nuns in the Congo were given the birth control pill by Pope Paul VI and it isn't true that Catholic moral teaching would permit the use of the birth control by married couples concerned about birth defects. One problem solved. But we are still left with the problem of Pope Francis having said it. Which is a bummer, but not a particularly BINDING bummer. Because Pope Francis was NOT speaking ex cathedra, or "from the chair." THE chair. Today's chair.

I like how Jason Bermender summed it up:
He also says that the use of contraceptives is evil, albeit a lesser one. This is not new. It is also a principle of moral theology that one may not commit a lesser evil in order to avoid a greater evil, no matter how much worse it is, especially if a good action is a possibility. Thus, Pope Francis did not give permission to use contraceptives to avoid being pregnant with a child who might have a debilitating condition. Even if he did contradict Church teaching, he is human and makes mistakes like the rest of us. No big deal. Other popes have done worse.
Read the rest here.

I understand the having of feelings related to the things that Pope Francis said. As a person who spends some of her time defending the truth and beauty and consistency of Catholic teaching on human sexuality, and a lot of her time looking after the eight little fruits of that teaching, I understand.

I also understand wanting to take to the internet to question or vent or rage or despair. But I don't think that's a good call.

I have to agree with Micaela of California to Korea:
There are two types of people who challenge popes: humble and holy people like St Catherine of Siena and rather more rebellious people like Martin Luther. If you’re concerned with the way Pope Francis is handling things, by all means, send him a letter. Contact your parish priest, your spiritual director, or even your bishop for guidance on how to handle it.  But nailing your own personal 95 theses to a blog post is a recipe for rebellion and division, not renewal and unity. Be like St Catherine, not like Martin.
See her list of 25 things to do rather than complain about Pope Francis here.

Today is the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. The man who sits in that chair deserves our respect and our patience. I want to be like St. Catherine.

Pope Francis is our Holy Father. If my dad were to say something incorrect to someone on a plane, even if it turned out to be a really big deal, and then people wrote about it in the newspaper . . . even THEN, I wouldn't take to Facebook to vent about it. I wouldn't want to air family disputes publicly. I might talk to my brothers and sisters, sure. But definitely, I'd call my dad up or send him an email. I'd explain how I was feeling and the facts as I understood them, and I'd let him know what I hoped he would do to fix the situation.

So that's what I did.

I wrote Pope Francis a letter. And since he doesn't have an email address, I wrote it on PAPER and I put it in an envelope and I addressed it and I put postage on it and tomorrow, I'm going to put it in a mailbox.

Here are some tips if you'd like to do the same.

His address is:
His Holiness Pope Francis
Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City

The proper salutation for a Catholic writing to the pope is: Your Holiness, or: Most Holy Father,

The proper closing for a Catholic writing to the pope is: I have the honor to profess myself with the most profound respect, your Holiness' most obedient and humble servant, or: I am, Your Holiness, most respectfully yours in Christ,

The postage from the US to Vatican City is $1.20 or three forever stamps.

Perhaps if a few of us write to him, respectfully, lovingly, like sheep addressing their shepherd if sheep could write letters, then perhaps we will get a more official clarification. And wouldn't that be especially cool in this Year of Mercy, from the guy in the Chair of St. Peter?

For more ideas on living the Year of Mercy, see

The Year of Mercy Family Challenge

For another quick and easy activity for today's Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, see

The Chair of St Peter


Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Year of Mercy Family Challenge

It's the Year of Mercy! But hopefully you already knew that, as I've been meaning to write this post since, um, November.

We've been making an effort to be mindful of the Year of Mercy in our home, and we came up with a Year of Mercy Family Challenge to go with it. Perhaps you'd like to play along?

Our neighborhood parish, where we attend daily Mass, just happens to be the Holy Door parish for this area, so it was easy for us to head through it, receive communion and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father, and get to confession within a reasonable amount of time. (Defined as "about twenty days.") Yay for plenary indulgences

We could technically get one plenary indulgence EVERY DAY, but since we are in the habit of getting the kids to confession more like three or four times a year, I think that's a more reasonable goal for us. 

One down, three to go . . . 

But we also wanted to figure out a way to, as Pope Francis has suggested, incorporate the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy into our year.

We've already discussed how I think I'm getting a pretty good dose of that stuff as a stay at home mom. But I also hoped there might be a less tongue-in-cheek way to get our whole family aware of, and involved in the Works of Mercy.

Here they are . . .

 The Corporal Works of Mercy
  • Feed the hungry
  • Give drink to the thirsty
  • Clothe the naked
  • Shelter the homeless
  • Visit the sick
  • Visit the imprisoned
  • Bury the dead
The Spiritual Works of Mercy
  • Admonish the sinner
  • Instruct the ignorant
  • Counsel the doubtful
  • Comfort the sorrowful
  • Bear wrongs patiently
  • Forgive all injuries
  • Pray for the living and the dead
It's easy to read that list and think, "Yeah. I'm not going to be able to do any of that. I need to make dinner and get these library books turned in." Or, "I can't let my kids do that stuff!"

But, hopefully, it's all in how you approach it.  

Our kids range from six months to thirteen years old. We think our school-aged kids are old enough to really take ownership of the works of mercy this year, but even the little kids can become more familiar with them, and participate with help. The husband and I plan to participate too. Below you'll find some ideas for each of the works of mercy. Some might seem too hard, some might seem too easy. I'm hoping that there will be a "just right" in there for everyone, but of course, the lists are just a jumping off point. Flexibility is recommended. Some things we will do as a planned family activity, some things the kids will be on the look out for opportunities to do individually.

Much of the following is inspired by The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism (No. 2) I highly recommend it, as well as the First Communion Catechism, and the Pink Catechism No. 1.

The corporal works of mercy are pretty straightforward, but most take some planning and effort. They put our focus on taking care of people physically. This is an important thing to do out of basic Christian charity, of course, but also, the corporal works of mercy set the stage for the spiritual ones. If people's basic physical needs are not met, they are unlikely to be particularly receptive to being admonished or counseled or even forgiven.

Feed the hungry:
  • volunteer at a soup kitchen
  • make sandwiches and hand them out to homeless people
  • bring a meal to a family with a new baby
  • bring a meal to a family having a difficult time
  • share food with a friend or sibling
  • make dinner for your family
  • throw a dinner party for friends you don't think could afford a nice dinner
  • don't throw a dinner party and donate the money you would have spent
  • eat beans and rice for a week and donate your grocery money
Give drink to the thirsty:
  • give water to someone working in your neighborhood
  • set up a lemonade stand and donate the money you make
  • give out water bottles at an event on a hot day
Clothe the naked:
  • clean out your closets and donate your unneeded clothing
  • organize a charity clothing drive
  • offer to help sort clothing at your local pregnancy resource center
  • do the laundry for your family
  • help a younger sibling get dressed
Visit the imprisoned (people can often feel imprisoned in ways other than being in jail):
  • visit an imprisoned friend or family member 
  • write a letter to an imprisoned friend or family member
  • visit an old folks home, or a lonely member of your parish
  • offer to babysit for a mother of all young children
  • offer to babysit a younger sibling for your mom
Shelter the homeless:
  • donate food or blankets to a homeless shelter
  • donate to disaster relief services 
  • take in a foster child
  • take in a needy relative
  • help an elderly neighbor with home repairs
Visit the sick:
  • visit a friend or family member in the hospital 
  • visit a nursing home
  • look after a sick member of your family at home
  • help an old or sick person with errands or chores
Bury the dead:
  • go to a funeral (yes, even kids)
  • visit a cemetery and put flowers on graves
  • learn about your ancestors

The spiritual works of mercy require less planning ahead but for that and other reasons, they are trickier to get right. Many of them require a relationship with the person you hope to help. Many require tact. But I think we can do this.

Admonish the sinner:
  • set a good example
  • remind a sibling or friend of the rules
  • offer to bring a friend or family member to confession
  • have a calm and loving chat with a person with whom you have a relationship about a particular sinful behavior
Instruct the ignorant:
  • teach a catechism class
  • share a helpful article or blog post in a friendly way 
  • lend a good book
  • be an RCIA sponsor or a godparent
  • help a sibling read a book or play a game or learn a prayer
Counsel the doubtful:
  • learn the teachings of the Catholic Church so you'll have the answer if you get asked a question
  • pray outside an abortion clinic
  • be there to listen to a friend and give good advice
  • reach out to a friend you think might need good advice
  • help a sibling or friend make the right choice
 Comfort the sorrowful:
  • visit a friend or family member who is having a difficult time
  • send someone a sympathy card or a care package
  • remember the anniversary of a friend's miscarriage or loss of a child or spouse
  • read a story or sing a song to a sibling who is feeling sad
Bear wrongs patiently:
  • don't get mad at other drivers
  • assume the best of people you encounter in real life and online
  • give up a toy that a friend or sibling wants to play with, even though you had it first
  • don't gossip about the bad behavior of others
  • don't tattle
Forgive all injuries: 
  • forgive a grudge you've been holding, even though it was the other guy's fault
  • call or write to an estranged friend or family member
  • give a friend or sibling a second chance
Pray for the living and the dead:
  • go through the Holy Doors to gain a plenary indulgence for a deceased love one
  • visit a cemetery, especially in November 
  • keep a list of prayer intentions
  • say a family rosary
I made up this free printable, so each member of the family can keep track of each of his works of mercy this year. Some will be pretty easy to check off once, but hopefully kids AND grownups will be inspired this year to practice mercy again and again.

As with all my printables, you are welcome to save the images to your computer for your own personal use. You may print the images and / or upload them and have prints made for your personal use or to give as gifts. First click on the image to bring it up in a new window, then right click on the image to save it to your computer. You may use my images on your blog, just please link back to my blog. If you would like to sell my images, please contact me first.

For LOTS MORE free printable prayers, check out my Pinterest board.

And for custom images, old favorites, and prayers, quotes, scripture, and catechism, available as high quality digital downloads, check out the shop!

The corporal and spiritual works of mercy printables are available for purchase in my Etsy shop in a higher resolution, without the watermark, in multiple sizes from 5x7 to 16x20, and also as print-at-home two-sided holy cards. You'll find them here. Thanks!

Year of Mercy?! Don't know what I'm talking about? Lemme esplain . . .

The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy (Latin: Iubilaeum Extraordinarium Misericordiae) is a Roman Catholic period of prayer held from the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8), 2015 to the Feast of Christ the King (November 20), 2016.

A few details:

Also called Holy Years, jubilees normally occur every 25 years. They feature special celebrations and pilgrimages, calls for conversion and repentance, and the offer of special opportunities to experience God’s grace through the sacraments, especially confession.
Extraordinary holy years, such as the Holy Year of Mercy, are less frequent but offer the same opportunities. The last extraordinary jubilee was called by St. John Paul II in 1983 to mark the 1,950 years after the death of Jesus. John Paul also led the last holy year, known as the “Great Jubilee,” in 2000.
The Year of Mercy called for by Francis is the third “extraordinary” jubilee since the tradition began 700 years ago.
There are Holy Doors involved. THE Holy Door is one particular door in St. Peter's Basilica:
Pope Francis will open the Holy Door in the basilica. Each of Rome’s major basilicas has its own holy door, which are traditionally sealed from the inside and only opened during jubilee years. The door usually is sealed with bricks as a symbolic reminder of the barrier of sin between human beings and God.
Those who pass through a Holy Door during this jubilee year will receive a plenary indulgence, which removes all of the temporal punishment for sins committed up to that time — provided the recipient also goes to confession, receives Communion, and prays for the pope.
Planning a trip to Rome with all the kids? Great! I highly recommend it. (See . .  here, when Jack had his First Communion with BXVI and again here, a near miss on the second shot.) Be sure to go through the Holy Door at St. Peter's. But, if that's not in the cards for you this year:

On Sunday, Dec. 13, five days after the opening of the jubilee, every diocese around the world is supposed to open a Holy Door. These doors can be in the local cathedral or other churches of particular relevance, such as a Marian shrine.
This will be a historical first, reflecting Pope Francis’ desire that the jubilee be celebrated on the local level and not just in Rome.
Several dioceses have registered their doors at the jubilee’s website, but thousands still have to do so so they will appear on an interactive Google map made for the occasion.
Wondering if there's a Holy Door at your parish? Check your diocese website, or just look around for the Year of Mercy logo.

Some folks are pretty weirded out by the logo, but I'm a big fan of the mosaics done by this same artist that we saw on our pilgrimage to Italy. So, I'm going to refrain from comment. :)

But, wait, there's more!
Beyond the opening of the four Holy Doors, there will be monthly events headed by Pope Francis aimed to shine a light on 14 “works of mercy,” acts that are intended to be both penance and charity.
These works of mercy are divided into “corporal” and “spiritual,” and they include feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, sheltering the homeless, instructing the ignorant, and praying for the living and the dead.
Get all the rest of the details here: Everything you need to know about the Holy Year of Mercy

AND if you're looking for a way to inspire your kids in this Year of Mercy, what better place to look than the lives of the saints? CCC of America is having a huge sale on their saint movies. This isn't a sponsored post, my kids just really like these DVDs and I have worked with CCC before, so I wanted to share the sale with you guys.

They are running a 30 day 40% sale on their entire catalog plus bundling the Marian Collection for $25.00 (that's 60% off retail) and their short films are on sale for $7.50, perfect for Easter Baskets! 

Click here to go through to their page, then click on "shop" on the top menu.

Now, get out there and be merciful!

This post contains affiliate links.

You might also enjoy . . .

Living the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy in the Home. . . with Frankie


Exactly How to be a Good Catholic


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Pro-Life is Complicated, and How You Can Help

Last month we had the unfortunate anniversary of Roe v Wade. Many cities, including my own Los Angeles, hosted Walks for Life, but our family wasn't there. We weren't there because we were at a funeral, for a baby named Emily Rose Marie.

We are fortunate enough to live in a vibrant Catholic community, and the church was packed with families. And I couldn't help thinking how very pro-life that funeral was.

Because everyone there knew that Baby Emily wasn't going to live long. There was a great deal of doubt that she would survive her birth. But she did. And she lived for six weeks past it. The whole of her life, people who loved her provided meals and support to her family. Her tiny life touched others and brought them together in love.

In the circles in which I run, we often think that being pro-life means having lots of babies.

Some folks on the other side, of course, think that being pro-life means putting a bunch of uncaring rules on people.

We know THAT'S not true, but what I think we sometimes forget is that being pro-life means so much more than not having abortions. For some, it means having more kids or fewer kids than you thought you would, or none at all. For a few, like our friends, it means cherishing a life for the short time you get to have it. For many, it means accepting a child who isn't exactly who or when or what you had hoped or planned for, and finding the beauty in that.

If you've been following my blog for a while now, you might remember the story of my sister- and brother-in law.

They were one of the cautionary tales in this post:

Dear Newlywed, You're Probably Worried About the Wrong Thing

They spent many years trying everything they could try in good conscience . . . and weren't able to have a baby. 

Two years ago, my sister-in-law visited the Trappist Monks of Our Lady of the Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, VA. She and my brother-in-law decided to sponsor a giveaway on my blog, to send someone on a retreat with the monks to pray for their intentions. And four months later, they became the parents of a handsome little guy they named Luke, adopted in June of 2014.

Prayers answered, right?! Yay!

But God wasn't quite done with them yet. Because when our family went out to Washington D.C. last spring to meet baby Luke, she and I were BOTH sporting baby bumps. This despite being told by fertility experts that it was very unlikely that they would ever conceive.

So, our cousin Brendan was born in August, just a couple of weeks after Mary Jane was born, and ten months after his brother Luke.

Two babies in a year. The whole family was thrilled, especially after having wondered for so long if they'd have any children at all. Good to go, right?

Nope, not quite yet.

Just a couple of months later, they got a call from their social worker that Luke's birth mother was expecting again, and was hoping that my brother- and sister-in-law would adopt this baby too.

Another boy, due in May of 2016. Eleven months younger than Brendan.

And after hoping and praying for so many years, how could they say anything but, "yes."

Since the adoption is through an agency again, they are incurring all of the same expenses as their first adoption.

I told them that after all the readers of this blog have been through with them, I thought we could help. I asked them to set up a crowdfunding site, and they did.

You can find it here. That day at the funeral really convinced me that we are all made better when we live out our pro-life convictions together.

Update: I'm so excited by your donations, you guys. Seriously. I'm seeing all these names I know from comments and Facebook and I'm tearing up and I'm not even pregnant. (I think. I really shouldn't ever say that.) So, here's a free printable for you all, whether you donate or not, just because you guys are the best. :)

 As with all my printables, you are welcome to save the images to your computer for your own personal use. You may print the images and / or upload them and have prints made for your personal use or to give as gifts. First click on the image to bring it up in a new window, then right click on the image to save it to your computer. You may use my images on your blog, just please link back to my blog. If you would like to sell my images, please contact me first.

For LOTS MORE free printable prayers, check out my Pinterest board.

And for custom images, old favorites, and prayers, quotes, scripture, and catechism, available as high quality digital downloads, check out the shop!

And, because I seriously cannot stop with the picMonkey-ing even when I am definitely supposed to be working on writing projects . . . I created new sections in both the Etsy Shop and the CafePress Shop with all new printables and items for babies and about babies and 100% OF THE PROFITS FROM ANYTHING SOLD IN EITHER SHOP SECTION UNTIL MAY WILL GO TO HELP COVER ADOPTION EXPENSES.

Here are all the new printables in the Etsy Shop:

Adopted Too, Fictional Friends 8x10 Quote Set {digital download} Set 1: Anne of Green Gables, Princess Leia, Dorothy of Oz
Also available in pastels, by request!

Adopted Too, Fictional Friends 8x10 Quote Set {digital download} Set 2: Spiderman, Superman, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I Prayed For This Child 8x10 Quote Set {digital download}

They Prayed for Me 8x10 Quote Set {digital download}

Every Good and Perfect Gift / I Was Born to Do This 8x10 Quote Set in blue {digital download}
or in red

 And here is all the new gear in the Cafe Press Shop:

Gifts for babies . . . here and here
 Gifts for moms . . . here and here

Gifts for babies AND moms . . . here and here

And a whole bunch more stuff for moms, babies, and kids including gowns, onsies, bibs, blankets, burp cloths, t-shirts, sweat shirts, necklaces, key chains, journals, note cards, pillows, posters, and framed prints.

If you don't see a particular image on a particular item, just let me know and I can make it up. (Except I can't put Superhero or Star Wars images in the Cafe Press Shop.)

We would all also very much appreciate your prayers, whether or not you can contribute.

I hope you have a very festive Fat Tuesday and a most fruitful Lent!


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sixteen Pairs of Catholic Saints Who Were Friends IRL

On the Feast of St. Brigid, on Monday, the kids and I got to talking about the saints. Of course we know that they're all friends NOW, in heaven. But we were kind of intrigued by the idea that St. Brigid and St. Patrick were actually friends IRL, as it were.

Spouses, siblings, parents and children, mentors and protegees, friends . . . it turns out that there are quite a few pairs of saints who knew and loved each other.

So, since St. Valentine's Day is approaching and we are hopefully all thinking about all the different ways there are to love your fellow man, I thought I'd share with you what we found . . .

1. St. Anne and St. Joachim
Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grandparents of Jesus. These guys had their act together.

2. St. Cosmas and St. Damian
Twin brothers who lived in Syria around the year 300. Both physicians. Apparently their thing was converting people to Christianity by not charging for medical services. Which is an excellent plan right up until you get martryed. (Although, long term, still good.)

3. St. Timothy and St. Maura
Newlyweds, martyred together during the persecution of Christians under the Roman Emperor Diocletian also around 300. It's all very romantic.

4. St. Adrian and St. Natalia

Also married. Also martyred. But these guys were in Nicodemia during the time of Emperor Maximian in the early fourth century.

5. St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis Xavier
Two of the founding members of the Jesuit order, these guys were actually ROOMATES IN COLLEGE before they became priests and missionaries and were responsible for ten of thousands of conversions.

6. St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin

The Mother of God and her spouse, the parents of Jesus on earth, and a perfect example to all of the love of a family.

7. St. Louis Martin and St. Zelie Martin
Speaking of good examples . . . Louis and Zelie Martin had nine children, five of whom lived past infancy. All five of those daughters because nuns. One is St. Therese of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church.

8. St. James and St. John
These guys were actual brothers (as were Sts. Peter and Andrew) who were both among the twelve apostles, and were two of Jesus' closest friends. He called them the "Sons of Thunder," so you KNOW they were fun at parties.

9. St. Monica and St. Augustine
He was a real stinker, but his mother never gave up on him. Eventually, through the tears and prayers of St. Monica, St. Augustine was converted to Christianity and rehabilitated from his wanton ways, to the benefit of all posterity.

10. St. Paul and St. Barnabas
Neither met Jesus before his death on the cross, but both worked tirelessly alongside the apostles to spread Christianity in its early days. They had some rather public disagreements about how, exactly, to do this, and with whom. But that's okay. Friends are allowed to decide not to travel together anymore.

 11. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and Bl. Claude Colombiere
Receiving a vision from Jesus asking you to spread a devotion to His Sacred Heart has got to be overwhelming, but then to have everyone around you think you're bonkers and/or a liar? That would be even worse. Fortunately for Margaret Mary, she had her confessor, Bl. Claude, who believed in her.

12. St. Benedict and St. Scholastica
The "Holy Twins," they knew from a very young age that they both wanted to enter religious life. They each founded an order, and used to meet in the middle once a year to talk about old times.

13. St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross
Both Carmelites in Spain in the 16th century, they worked together to return their religious communities to a life of prayer. But not everyone was on board with their plan. It's nice to know you've got a friend who'll get imprisoned for you.

14. St. Felicity and St. Perpetua

Perpetua was a noblewoman and Felicity was a slave, but the two young mothers were martyred together in the year 203, rather than apostatize. St. Perpetua's letters detailing their imprisonment are a rare first hand account.

15. St. Francis and St. Clare

Clare was a devoted follower of Francis, and was entrusted by him with the founding of a religious order for women. She trusted him to cut her hair.

16. St. Patrick and St. Brigid

Their friendship is noted in the Book of Armagh: "Between St Patrick and Brigid, the pillars of the Irish people, there was so great a friendship of charity that they had but one heart and one mind. Through him and through her Christ performed many great works."

So, there you go, all saints, all loved, but different times and places and types.

Now I'm looking around me, thinking how COOL it would be if I could become a saint with my husband, or my kid, or maybe a fellow blogger. I wanted my kids to think about it too, and to make such good choices in their friends that they could hope to one day all be canonized together!

So . . . I made up some Valentines for my kids to take to our homeschool parkday valentine exchange, featuring all sixteen pairs of saints.

And, just in case you're interested, I put them in the Etsy shop as 4x6 trader cards . . .

And as 8.5x11 sheets, that you can print two-sided, and cut into 2.5x4 individual valentines . . .

Each card features one pair of saints, and a little description. (Less colorful than the ones above. Just the facts.) You get the whole shebang for $2.

Have a very Happy St. Valentine's Day, and Fat Tuesday before that. I've got one more printable-type project I've been working on. I'm looking forward to sharing it with you, maybe next week? Anyway, have some fun. 'Cause Lent, she's a coming.