St. Elizabeth’s Church

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Last week, Steven and I visited my brother’s family in Springdale, AR.  I hadn’t been there in twenty years, so we had much to see and catch up on.

Balm of Life

We listened delightedly as Stevie and Cathy told us about their day trip to Eureka Springs.

October 17th, they’d seen our son, William, perform with a band at the Balm of Life community center so they wanted us to experience the place for ourselves.

We walked the streets, entered some shops, ate at the local pizza place, and finally inquired about the old town’s church.   We were advised to drive there since the evening was quite chilly, the church was on the opposite side of town, and darkness was quickly approaching.

Once there, we realized we had just twenty minutes to look around and take photos before the church closed at five

Which Elizabeth?

When Stevie and Cathy first told us about St. Elizabeth’s Church, I asked if the saint’s feast day was November 17th.  Is she the saint from Hungary? I wondered.

“I don’t know,” Stevie told us.  “We haven’t yet visited the church.”  So our curiosity was piqued.

Just days before our trip to Arkansas, I’d searched for feast day links to post on our church website and learned that St. Elizabeth of Hungary is the patroness of acts of charity, bakers, beggars, brides, children who have died, exiles, falsely accused people, the homeless, hospitals, in-law problems, lace makers, nursing home services, people ridiculed for their piety, the Secular Franciscan Order, toothache, widows, and more.

During her twenty-four years, St. Elizabeth of Hungary gave her all to assist the needy.  She was canonized four years after her death.

St. Elizabeth’s Church

Entering St. Elizabeth’s Church, I felt warmly enveloped within its subtle elegance.  Its size reminded me of the chapel at the Dominican Sisters’ House adjacent to St. Paul’s in Flour Bluff (Corpus Christi, TX), so I easily immersed myself in prayer as we took photos in silence.

Not long after, Fr. John walked in on us.  He hadn’t expected to see anyone in church at that time of the evening, so he was visibly annoyed.  Nevertheless, he chatted with us a bit before locking up for the night.

Memorable experience

Our November 18th visit to St. Elizabeth’s Church left me feeling like a cup of hot cocoa topped with miniature marshmallows.  I was tickled pink to have come closerthanthis to celebrating St. Elizabeth’s feast day at her very own church.  To have visited a sacred space named after a saint I’d discovered just days before was as memorable as show-and-tell at school— a lasting, real world connection between what I’d read online and what I’d experienced in the quaint little town of Eureka Springs.

Prayer

Dear St. Elizabeth, you were always poor in spirit, most generous toward the poor, faithful to your husband, and fully consecrated to your Divine Bridegroom.  Grant your help to widows and keep them faithful to their heavenly Lord.  Teach them how to cope with their loss and to make use of their time in the service of God.  Amen.

November 17, 2014

How could I bear a crown of gold when the Lord bears a crown of thorns?  And bears it for me! (St. Elizabeth of Hungary).

Photo files…  Eureka Springs, AR…  St. Elizabeth’s Church: one / two

Links of interest…  Eureka Springs, AR…  St. Cecilia: The saint & the song…  St. Elizabeth of Hungary: about  (more) / devotionsexample / feast / for the poor / prayers (chaplet – litany) / profile / religious / widow…  St. Elizabeth’s Church

WP post…  Agreements and treasures…  St. Felix

Angels keeping watch

Icons of spiritual loved ones and old churches have fascinated me since I was a child; so it’s understandable that the two angels on either side of the Madonna and her Child in the left alcove at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Brownsville, TX have tugged at my heartstrings for a lifetime.

     

forevermore

devoted angels
love’s guardians
winged, hands clasped, bent on one knee
you’re so still yet so real
what thoughts abound as you keep watch
dare I whisper a request
pray for him
console him
kiss his sweet head
embrace him
bless his soul
he’ll always be God’s gift to me

© Lanoux

Heaven on earth

As often as I could, I visited the church on my off time from work and attended noon Mass.  I was enthralled by both the organ playing and the singing, responsibilities that Charles inherited when his grandmother retired as music director.  Many times while praying the music was so heavenly that I felt myself float at least a foot off the kneeler! 

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I got to know Father Lanese, a spry seventy-something-year-old with twinkling clear blue eyes and a gentle disposition; Father Moran who had a humanistic view toward our personal frailties, “the sins of our youth;” and Father Sheehan (beside Acacia-Darling) with whom I had long talks about family and future goals and with whom I continue to correspond.

Connectedness

Even if Segy and I hadn’t been parishioners at Immaculate, I still would’ve had a sense of belonging that I’ve never felt elsewhere.  Maybe this stemmed from having attended daily Mass there as a first grader across the street?  Or maybe because of the combined scent of incense and times long past? 

The streamed chanting certainly made me want to stay a very long time.  I felt very much at peace there, but teaching and my university course load kept me extremely busy.  My soul ached for the church when I couldn’t be there.

Angels keeping watch

ICC81411-44Finally, on April 29, 2003, I had an epiphany: I took my Advantix with me to work, drove to the cathedral after school, and snapped photos to my heart’s content.

From that day on I stopped missing the place.  Now I only have to look at the three framed photos on our refrigerator door to be whisked back not only to the cathedral that afternoon, but also to the many times spent with the angels keeping watch since I was a five-year-old at Immaculate Conception School.

Prayers to St. Gerard

For a mother with child…  O almighty and everlasting God, through the Holy Spirit you prepared the body and soul of the glorious virgin, Mary, to be a worthy dwelling place of your divine son.  Through the name of the Holy Spirit you sanctified St. John the Baptist while still in his mother’s womb.  Hear the prayers of your humble servant who implores you, through the intercession of St. Gerard, to protect me from the dangers of childbearing and to watch over the child with which you blessed me.  May this child be cleansed by the saving water of baptism and, after a Christian life on earth, may we, both mother and child, attain everlasting bliss in heaven.  Amen.

For motherhood…  O good St. Gerard, powerful intercessor before the throne of God, wonder worker of our day, I call upon you and seek your help.  While on earth you always fulfilled God’s designs.  Help me always to do God’s holy will.  Please ask the master of life from whom all parenthood proceeds, to bless me with offspring that I may raise my children to God in this life and heirs to the kingdom of God’s glory in the life to come.  Amen.

Special act of sorrow

Forgive me my sins, O Lord.  Forgive me my sins: the sins of my youth, the sins of my age, the sins of my soul, the sins of my body, my idle sins, my serious voluntary sins, the sins I know, the sins I have concealed for so long that they are now hidden from my memory.

I am truly sorry for every sin, mortal and venial, and for all the sins of my childhood up to the present hour.

I know my sins have wounded your tender heart, O my Savior.  Let me be freed from the bonds of evil through the most bitter passion of my Redeemer.

O my Jesus, forget and forgive what I have been.  Amen.

January 15, 2015

“It is human to fall but angelic to rise again” (Saint Mary Euphrasia Pelletier).

March 1, 2015

Go to Jesus….  He is on the altar surrounded by angels adoring and praying.  Let them make some room for you, and join them in doing what they do (St. Mary Joseph Rossello).

September 29, 2015

The angels lead the soul to the peaks of the spiritual life.  In revealing the beauty of God, they awaken in the soul a more burning thirst for union with him (Jean Danielou in The Angels and Their Mission).

July 16, 2016

Don’t forget your childhood prayers, learned perhaps from your mother’s lips.  Say them each day with simplicity, as you did then (St. Josemaría Escrivá in The Way).

April 17, 2017

What attracts me to the homeland of heaven is the Lord’s call, the hope of loving him finally as I have so much desired to love him and the thought that I shall be able to make him loved by a multitude of souls who will bless him eternally (St. Therese of Lisieux in Mornings with Saint Therese).

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Sacred Heart Church – Nacogdoches, TX

Pdf file…  Immaculate Conception Cathedral (guide, 6 pages)

Links of interest…  Angels: about (more) / book / choirs / creation (more) / holy angels / servants of God / stories…  Catholic diocese of Brownsville TX…  Guardian angel: about (more) / badge / chaplet / eight things to know & share about the guardian angel / memorial / prayers (for humanitymore / special)…  Icons & sacred images…  Immaculate Conception Cathedral (ICC): historical landmarks (#38/39) / national registry / parishes online…  Ohio artist restores religious statues, stirs memories of closed parishes…  Our Lady: beloved of the Trinity / celebrating May / corner / devotion / gate of heaven / litany / meditations / mother (of the church) / page prayers (miracles / more / novena / queen of angels) / untier of knots…  Sacred spaces that nurture us

WP posts…  Angels all around…  Beautiful sacred space…  Connected tangents…  Dear God…  Gifts    Father’s guided tour…  Father now retired…  Gifts…  Heart of hearts…  Home again…  Memory lane…  Mourning joy…  Picturing God…  Promise of hope…  A real church…  Soulful…  St. Michael chaplet…  Sweet Jesus…  Two angels…    Two takes