Vattmann church


As part of our TX Tropical Trail (TTT) outing in January, we visited Vattmann, an unincorporated community off Highway 77 at the intersection of farm to market roads 626 and 772, just sixteen miles southeast of Kingsville.

The big attraction was Our Lady of Consolation Church (OLCC), which was dedicated in 1920 and remains the heart and soul of its surroundings.

OLC11811-10Morning presentation

Our TTT group began its tour in the parish hall, which includes the original church schoolhouse that changed as the size of its student population grew and subsequently became a community center.

Ms. Goldia Hubert, a member of OLCC, shared both historic and anecdotal information about life on the “tracts of land” (not a town) that comprise Vattmann.

In 1907, Theodore F. Koch, a Minnesotan, was among those who purchased land from the 86,000 acres offered by the King Ranch for the purpose of populating South Texas (Kleberg County: The TXGenWeb Project, 1996-2011).

Koch founded Riviera and used the St. Louis, Brownsville, and Mexico Railway to entice potential buyers and settlers to the area.  Koch also met with Father Edward J. Vattmann, secretary of the Catholic Colonization Society of America, to encourage Catholic families to move there. 

The first German family from Westphalia, TX was joined by Edward J. May, who bought forty acres in 1908 before the arrival of more German families from Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio (Coalson with the Texas State Historical Association, 2011).

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A rose by any other name

The settlement, Vattmannville, honoring the priest who started the movement to South Texas in 1914, later shortened the name to Vattmann

“The town [sic] was first called Vattmannville, [sic] but the second ‘n’ was later deleted” (Bigger-Cantu in the Kingsville Record and Bishop News online, 2009). 

TTTR also has the site listed as Vattman; but most of the sources I checked show the site’s name ending in nn; so that’s what I’ve chosen to use.  My prerogative, as I’m an old school South Texan who also adheres to the original pronunciation of, say, Riviera (Ree-vee-eh-ra, not Ree-veh-ra [Rivera]) and Refugio (Re-foo-hee-o, third and fourth syllables as one [hyo], instead of Re-foo-ree-oh).

Annual Thanksgiving feast

For the past ninety-six years, Vattmann has hosted a fall fundraiser. 

The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1914 in a grove of mesquites [sic] beside a small lake directly behind the present location of the Vernie Hubert home.  A platform constructed in front of the picnic area concluded the activities that evening with a dance held under the star with local musicians participating in the orchestra (Bigger-Cantu, 2009).

The yearly event hosts a country store, which sells arts and crafts made by the OLCC Women’s Club to benefit Our Lady of Consolation Church.

“We paint anything that stands still,” said Gwen Rudellat, one of the members.  Club members began meeting [ten] years ago.  This spring they began meeting on a weekly basis to work on their creative projects to sell at the thanksgiving. At least five or six women meet regularly all year long (Bigger-Cantu).

Best of all, the Vattmann holiday tradition, which includes various activities, games, and music played until midnight, is open to anyone interested in joining the community in a historic, fun-filled day. 




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Links of interest…  Annual Thanksgiving fundraiser: giving thanks / holiday tradition / King countrypicnic (about) / special report (KIII; more)…  Father Edward J. Vattmann: about / chaplain (more) / more / photos: 1 / 2…  King’s Inn Restaurant: food / fried & true / website (contactevents)…  Manual for spiritual warfare…  Kleberg County (roots web)…  Our Lady: feasticon (more) / litany / meets us right where we arenovena / prayers / shrine (about)…   Our Lady of Consolation Church: diocesan map / facebook / one-room school house / photo / website (contact – events – history)…  TX Tropical Trail…  US Genealogy Web Project…  Vattmann: about / cemetery (find a gravelocation – photos) / history / photos: wedding (c. 1910) & “where I grew up”…  The visitation & Mary, the walking tabernacle…  What does God want? A practical guide to making decisions

WP posts…  Repeated prayers…  Thanksgiving prayers…  Then and now…  Unexpected detours…  Vattmann Thanksgiving…  Venerable Julia Navarrete

Repeated prayers

On our way to January’s Texas Tropical Trail (TTT) monthly partner event in Vattmann and Sarita, I told Ruthie the story of my Franciscan Crown.  Then I asked what her favorite colors were— “blue and beige”— and left it at that.

Beautiful couple

CMx11410-596We first met Ruthie and Bill on the Cozumel cruise with our church group in January 2010.  We sat together for dinner all but one evening.

To say she was a hoot is an understatement.  During dinner our last evening on the ship, Ruthie got up to dance with the staff and didn’t sit back down until the entertainment was over!

CMx11410-597I took photos, but the lighting was so bad that Ruthie was just a blur, though I did catch Bill looking back at her over his shoulder.

“Oh, my gosh!  Here she goes again!” Bill’s rolling eyeballs seemed to say with humor and resignation.

Thinking about it still makes me laugh, as it was beyond hilarious!  And memorable!

So, yes.  Ruthie is very special, very personable, and oh-so full of life.  She’s always up for another adventure.

Shared space

After the cruise, we saw each other a few times at church after Sunday Mass and at the one fish fry I attended.  Ruthie and Bill were so much fun that even our good buddies, Mary Ellen (pictured here) and hubby, Steve— both part of our dinner group on the cruise— enjoyed their company, too.

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They made such a lasting impression that Steven wished Ruthie and Bill were locals instead of winter Texans here only January and February.

So, of course, when they returned this year, we could hardly wait to spend time with them again.

We invited them to join us on our TTT outing, which we were pretty sure they’d enjoy; and we followed up with dinner here at home.

Ruthie’s Crown

Ruthie21211Before Ruthie and Bill arrived I had enough time to bead her Franciscan Crown and put together a booklet with the stories and the prayers.

The Crown was blue but had white instead of beige, which Ruthie said was “close enough.  I like white, too.”

Then Ruthie told me that she loves to praise God, especially during her walks on the beach.  She’s never had to think twice about “going straight to him,” no matter what’s on her mind.  Ruthie knows she can always count on God’s guidance and love, so she’s never cultivated a relationship with the Blessed Mother.

I used to be pretty much the same way.

“Growing up we’d take flowers to Mary during the month of May, and we said the rosary once in a while.  Then, during my doctoral studies, I took to praying the rosary at bedtime.  Still, I wasn’t particularly devoted to Mary; but it all changed after I broke my kneecap.  That’s when I asked God to give me a different way to pray the rosary since I dreaded Tuesdays and Fridays.  The sorrowful mysteries made me very sad.”

“Couldn’t you just skip them?” Ruthie asked.

“Well, no.  I didn’t feel right doing that, so I prayed them anyway.  Until I discovered the Franciscan Crown.”

“I haven’t ever been into saying all those prayers,” Ruthie added.

“But that’s the beauty of the Franciscan Crown.  You only pray Our Father‘s and Hail Mary‘s.  There aren’t any extra prayers as with the traditional rosary.  It’s so simple to say that it only takes seventeen minutes.”

“But why are there so many repeated prayers?  I get lost after a while, and then I start thinking about all these other things that have nothing to do with prayer.”

“I’d never thought of it that way.  I’ve just never questioned repeated prayers,” I said, knowing I’d be looking online to find some answers.  “But it’s okay to go off on tangents.  Think of it as your way of sharing what’s on your mind with the Blessed Mother.  I’m pretty sure she understands.”

I had lots to tell Ruthie about the Franciscan Crown, but we still had the blogs and her Yahoo email account to talk about.  And dinner was almost ready.  Besides, I’d included everything she needed to know in the little booklet I’d bound for her; and she could always email me.

Comments welcome

Ruthie emailed three days later.

I actually was able to meditate and pray two decades on my Crown the other night waiting for sleep.  Deli, please help me understand how this repetition is honoring Mary.  I feel I am just saying words without meaning compared with my running dialogues with Jesus… praising him, thanking him, sharing my most inner thoughts, cares, worries (just as we do with each other).  HELP!!

Ruthie’s three questions

I’d been so focused on catching up with my blog posts that I hadn’t yet completed my online search on repeated prayers, so I immediately got to work on finding answers to Ruthie’s queries: Why pray to Mary?  Why pray ten Hail Mary’s with each rosary decade?  What about distractions?

Answers gleaned— or not

(This part of my post was last readdressed March 23, 2016.)

Question three took four years to ruminate.  Based on personal practice, I replaced my original response (based on online searches) with what has come to work for me.

Through persistence and experimentation with daily prayer I’ve discovered, finally, a very special proactive engagement, mind, body, heart, and soul, that makes me smile with anticipation.

SAC41716-69Sooo…  Set goals and objectives.  Establish a routine, but don’t feel badly when it’s derailed.  Focus on specific prayers, such as those you’ve come to love and enjoy.  And do mix and match here and there when you come across new (old) prayers in your daily readings and/or thoughtful friends suggest some.

I start with a simple prayer of thanksgiving and praise in the morning.  I ask the Holy Infant to bless children past, present, and future, especially those most in need of his tender loving care.  I offer my day for my grandchildren and for those most in need of God’s blessings.  Throughout the day I also dialogue with the Blessed Mother and the angels and saints; visit with friends and family mentally; and set aside three special times— morning, noon, and evening— to bless the Infant for my day and spend quality time with him in prayer.  But what I look forward to most is my regular exercise period on the treadmill and/or the air bike, as this is my true alone time to focus on favorite devotions that help me build community within God’s kingdom.

Questions one and two I still haven’t gotten around to.  Since the day that Ruthie asked her questions, I’ve checked a lot of sources and have found nothing that truly suits me.

What I’d included here previously was okay but laughable not because the information didn’t make sense, but because the sources weren’t all that scholarly.  Hmm.  Make that at all scholarly.

Don’t get me wrong.  The information gleaned at the time made perfect sense, but the sources weren’t what I would’ve preferred.  So, shame on me for quoting and citing what was available at the time.  But maybe I thought no one would read my post?!!  What I recall is having searched ad nauseum to little avail.  And does it help to know that— mea culpa, mea culpa— I’ve revisited this post way too many times to mention since February 25, 2011, only to ponder the topic further?

Regardless, today is not the day I’m staying up all night reworking responses; so Ruthie’s first two questions will remain pending until I find (read) enough reliable sources that I can paraphrase and/or quote and cite.

Of course, I could add my thoughts alone.  That’s what I did with the third question last year, but This Inquiring Mind wants to know if answers from valid sources exist because, based on what I read earlier, nothing addresses the questions.  Or maybe I haven’t looked enough— or in the right places?

Suffice it to say that some of us Catholics take on devotions just because and don’t ask why.  Others want to know why and have the right to expect answers.  I, personally, have no qualms about repeated prayers.  Maybe it’s something I grew up with?  Maybe it’s an acquired practice?  Maybe the familiarity is soothing?  Does anyone really know?  Has anyone done research in the field?

I have my devotions and that’s that.  But God created us uniquely.  We are not Stepford Catholics.  And, if we are to embrace devotions, then they need to be appealing, or they’ll either fall by the wayside or not be enjoyed at all.  That would be a shame, considering the many beautiful devotions waiting for a chance to grow on us, as in, “adopt me today!”

This has nothing to do with faith, though!  Or the lack of it, please! 

Prayer is a personal preference, just as some folks enjoy dialoguing with Jesus while others go directly to God.  Or to Mary.  Or to the saints.  “Remember that faith is a gift and a disposition, not a set of rules and tasks that one must accomplish” (the Word among us, August 2008, p. 18).

Anyway, my pea brain is already working at lightning speed ruminating morsels here and there, so we’ll see what I come up with— eventually— so please don’t hold your breath, as I may be a while!  In the meantime, one question answered out of three ain’t bad, right?!!  Thank goodness for a sense of humor and the fact that I don’t purport to “know it all.”

Prayerful thoughts

Thankfully, St. Anthony’s thoughts on prayer came to mind as I pondered Ruthie’s questions and my online reading.

The Lord manifests himself to those who pause while in peace and humility of heart….  God, in order to be able to speak to the soul and fill it with the knowledge of his love, leads it to the solitude, detaching it from preoccupations of earthly things.  He speaks to the ears of those who are silent and makes them hear his secrets (St. Anthony of Padua, 1195-1231).

No doubt, Ruthie had engaged God in lots of conversation while waiting for my response so, after much reflecting, I was ready to share.

Personalized prayer

Thank you, Ruthie, for your perspective.  If you hadn’t shared your thoughts, I never would’ve wondered about repeated prayers, much less looked for enlightenment. 

I agree with you on the personalized prayer.  God has your listening ear, and you have his.  I feel the same way, even though I keep company with the Infant throughout the day.  And St. Anthony and St. Jude and—  God did give us our intercessors, so I visit with many.  Moreover, that you’re a sponge absorbing new ideas in your prayer life says that you’re open to endless possibilities.

The way I see it, God is so diversified and so totally awesome that he loves for us to surprise him.  I think he laughs himself silly when we challenge ourselves to change.  I also think that he’s tickled pink when we look for ways to please him, don’t you?

Repeated prayers

Finally, the Franciscan Crown has special meaning for me.  My broken kneecap led to my daily walks on the beach, which led to keeping company with my traditional rosary, which led to my posed question, which led to change, which led to a meaningful relationship with the Blessed Mother.

Walking the beach day after day I became acutely aware of God’s presence, too.  I sensed his loving gaze as he listened in on our conversations; encouraged our interactions; grew our devotion to one another; and guided us to our sacred space, our very special time together.  

Moreover, I discovered, thanks to my Franciscan Crown, that repeated prayers calm the waves in my otherwise stormy sea.

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Prayer to Our Lady of Fatima

O Most Holy Virgin Mary, queen of the most holy rosary, you were pleased to appear to the children of Fatima and reveal a glorious message.  We implore you, inspire in our hearts a fervent love for the recitation of the rosary.  By meditating on the mysteries of the redemption that are recalled therein may we obtain the graces and virtues that we ask through the merits of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Redeemer.  Amen.

November 14, 2011

The lovely Ning shared this related morsel from “Dear Padre” (Hamrogue, 2011).

Don’t be discouraged if your thoughts wander all over the place.  That’s part of the secret of the rosary: It opens your deeper self to you and to God.  The important thing is to want to pray, to walk with Mary, to honor and love Jesus.

Be faithful.  Keep praying.  It’s shaping you and guiding you even when what you feel is nothing and what you think is anything and everything.

April 3, 2014

We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit (Aristotle).

February 20, 2015

“Recite your rosary with faith, with humility, with confidence, and with perseverance”
(St. Louis de Montfort).

May 10, 2015

Humility is to the various virtues what the chain is in a rosary.  Take away the chain and the beads are scattered; remove humility, and all virtues vanish (St. John Vianney).

December 5, 2015

“When you see the storm coming, if you seek safety in that firm refuge which is Mary, there will be no danger of your wavering or going down” (St. Josemaría Escrivá).

December 8, 2015

“As sailors are guided by a star to the port, so are Christians guided to heaven by Mary” (St. Thomas Aquinas).

March 15, 2016

To swim with the tide in this case is cowardice, since we have to fight and swim against the tide of this ocean.  Whomever wants to shine the light upon the road for this century must ignite his torch in the light of revelation
(St. Clement Maria Hofbauer).

May 10, 2016

“My greatest pleasure is to go there [the cemetery] to say my beads and meditate on that unending happiness which so many of them are already enjoying” (St. Damien of Molokai).

May 25, 2016

“All the ways of this world are as fickle and unstable as a sudden storm at sea”
(St. Venerable Bede).

May 30, 2016

Our day begins with prayer and ends with prayer.  Some days, we pray mindfully and other days our minds may be far away even as we are praying.  When I cannot focus during prayer, I have to bring myself back to what I want to do, which is to pray.  No one’s prayer will ever be perfect; however, God does not want perfection.  He simply wants some of our time and attention.  Surely all of us can give this gift every day! (Monday Message by Sister Kristine Anne Harpenau, OSB: “The number of psalms to be sung at these hours – RB 17″).

May 31, 2016

Let the name of Mary be ever on your lips; let it be indelibly engraven on your heart.  If you are under her protection, you have nothing to fear; if she is propitious, you will arrive at the port of salvation (St. Bernard).

August 1, 2016

The heart of man will never find true peace if it does not empty itself of all that is not God.  But this the soul cannot do of itself; it must obtain it of God by repeated prayers (St. Alphonsus Liguori).

August 2, 2016

In order to succeed in prayer, it should be done when we first awaken, when our whole being is calm and recollected.  We need to make our meditation before anything else (St. Peter Julian Eymard).

August 31, 2016

You wish to have a devout and peaceful spirit, which is not a small thing to wish for.  The virtue of devotion is nothing other than a general inclination and readiness of the spirit to do what is pleasing to God (St. Francis de Sales in Roses Among Thorns).

September 8, 2016

“Storms make trees take deeper roots” (Dolly Parton).

September 9, 2016

Ask not for an easy life.  [Rather,] ask for the strength to face the elements; to weather the storms; to be the might for the right and the weak; to be the voice for those who cannot speak; to see one’s dreams to fruition with dignity, integrity, and grace (Giac Nguyen).

September 26, 2016

Prayer is the most effective communication with God and the saints.  Prayer strengthens us, gives us resolve, and helps us to carry our daily crosses
(Fr. Amador Garza, Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle).

January 13, 2017

There is no space where God is not; space does not exist apart from him.  He is in heaven, in hell, beyond the seas; dwelling in all things and enveloping all.  Thus he embraces, and is embraced by, the universe, confined to no part of it but pervading all (St. Hilary).

January 24, 2017

“We shall steer safely through every storm as long as our heart is right, our intention fervent, our courage steadfast, and our trust fixed on God” (St. Francis de Sales).

February 24, 2017

“In the face of so many wounds that hurt us and could harden our hearts, we are called to dive into the sea of prayer, which is the sea of God’s boundless love, to taste his tenderness” (Diane M. Houdek in The Hope of Lent).

March 28, 2017

“The storms that are raging around you will turn out to be for God’s glory, your own merit, and the good of many souls” (St. Pio of Pietrelcina).

April 10, 2017

“We do not become perfect by the multiplication of exercises, penances, and austerities, but rather by the purity of love with which we do them” (St. Francis de Sales).

May 6, 2017

By the divine pleasure of the Father, Mary invites us to enter into the mysteries of faith presented to us through the holy rosary and to receive the graces they offer.  As we are transformed more and more by their power and light, we can come to “the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).  And we can battle against the powers of darkness to bring this, our day and time, into the victory of the cross (Johnnette S. Benkovic and Thomas K. Sullivan in The Rosary: Your Weapon for Spiritual Warfare).

May 18, 2017

If God asks you to walk on the turbulent waters of adversity, do not doubt, do not fear, because God is with you.  Have courage and you will be safe
(St. Francis de Sales).

June 2, 2017

When you look into muddy or choppy water, you will not see your face reflected.  If you want the face of Christ who looks on you to be reflected within you, come away from the disturbance of exterior things and let your soul be at peace (St. Anthony of Padua).

June 5, 2017

The Church is like a great ship being pounded by the waves of life’s different stresses.  Our duty is not to abandon ship, but to keep her on her course
(St. Boniface).

June 29, 2017

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass.  It’s about learning how to dance in the rain (Vivian Greene).

July 3, 2017

In an intimate, personal relationship, two people may repeat to each other certain expressions of love and each time the words express the heartfelt affection they have for one another.  Repetition is part of the language of love. 

In reciting the Hail Mary throughout the rosary, we participate over and over again the wonder-filled response of Gabriel and Elizabeth to the mystery of Christ.  The name of Jesus, spoken with tender love, becomes the heartbeat of the the rosary (Edward Sri in Praying the Rosary Like Never Before).

July 6, 2017

O, Mary, my mother, be my refuge and my shelter.  Give me peace in the storm.  I am tired on the journey.  Let me rest in you.  Shelter and protect me (St. Bernadette Soubirous).

July 11, 2017

We must not gauge our devotion by what we feel but, rather, by what we are ready to endure.  Indeed, it often happens that God tries the most advanced by letting them experience a coldness and deadness in prayer such as ordinary people seldom experience and none could endure in such times if their love for God were not very deep and strong, ruling and sustaining the will (Fr. Basil W. Maturin in Spiritual Guidelines for Souls Seeking God).

August 20, 2017

May we all find creative ways to incorporate prayer in our homes— whether that means praying one decade of a rosary each evening or reading a psalm together every morning.  May we make it a point to express our love and appreciation to each other with our words and [our] warm embraces.

It doesn’t take much to make our homes into houses of prayer.  It just takes a willing heart and an opening to God’s blessing.  Even if we make mistakes along the way, we can be sure that we will make progress (the Word among us, July/August 2017, p. 72).

October 5, 2017

The rosary is a very old devotion which has exercised an immeasurable influence.  It is, above all, dear to pious people and belongs to their lives like the work they do and the bread they eat (Romano Guardini in The Rosary of Our Lady).

October 19, 2017

What would you think of a father who took his daughter’s scribbled picture, tore it up, and told her not to draw again until she got it exactly right?  No good father would do that!

God looks at us the way a good dad looks at his son or daughter.  When it comes to prayer, our heavenly Father sees our hearts, our sincere desires to pray well, not just our final products in prayer.  So even if our praying of the rosary ends up being just a bunch of scribbles, we should remember that God can write straight with our crooked lines.  He can delight in our good intentions, our sincere desires to please him in prayer, even if our minds go someplace else.  Having a good intention is more important than maintaining perfect attention throughout prayer (Edward Sri in Praying the Rosary Like Never Before: Encounter the Wonder of Heaven and Earth).

July 12, 2018

I think there is a special place in purgatory for the person that originated the notion that some places count more than others do.  Did this individual ever consider what this implies about the God who longs for us?  Imagine God saying, “I’m not listening, Gary, because you are on the treadmill.”  That is certainly not the God of Jesus Christ.  The Father always hears us, whenever and wherever we cry out to him (Fr. Gary Caster in Prayer Everywhere: The Spiritual Life Made Simple).

January 14, 2019

“I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning to sail my ship” (Louisa May Alcott).

March 19, 2020

“Even in a world that’s being shipwrecked, remain brave and strong” (St. Hildegard of Bingen).

October 9, 2020

“Home should be an anchor, a port in a storm, a refuge, a happy place in which to dwell, a place where we are love and where we can love” (Marvin J. Ashton).


Gulf of Mexico: Heading to Galveston, TX from Cozumel


Marker 42 – Port Aransas, TX


Links of interest…  Beads & the repetition of the rosary…  Cardinal Tobin’s real-life approach to faith…  Does Mary hear our prayers like God…  Drawing a bead on Mary…  Everyone experiences God…  Faith: A matter of the heart or head…  Five ways to improve your prayer life…  God is Inviting You (blog: Sister Kristine Anne Harpenau, OSB)…  Help in the stormy seas of life…  How long does it take to say the rosary / saints overcame distraction during prayerto deal with distractions during prayerwe react to the storms in our lives…  Mary as my refuge / teaches us to alleviate the suffering of others…  Perseverance is the key to overcome distractions in prayer…  Prayer is not an emptying of the mind / learning processtakes practice: five ways to improve…  Rosary: 10 ways to not hate25 things to know / about / center / crown of roses / foundation / holy / joyful brevity / psalter / Q&A / secret / seemingly endlessly repeated prayer / seven joys (Franciscanmeditations & reflections) & sorrows / spiritual sword of Maryten reasons to pray / traditional prayers (more) / virtual / wonders…  Seven keys to praying without ceasing…  Simplicity in devotion…  St. Mary de Cerevellon…  St. Paul & distractions in prayer…  To Jesus through Mary…  TX Tropical Trail…  Want to know what God wants from you?  Try total immersion…  What to do when you’re distracted while praying…  When Jesus doesn’t calm the storm / life feels like a raging storm… Why Catholics play dumb / rosary is not “vain repetition”…  Women bloggers spark an evangelical “crisis of authority”

WP posts…  Bearing one’s crosses…  Faces of Mary…  Faith and prayer…  Making meaning…  Mary’s miraculous medal…  Mary’s seven joys…  May flowers…  My Franciscan Crown…  One prayer…  Our Lady…  Repeated prayers…  Sorrowful redemption…  Vattmann church…  Vattmann Thanksgiving…  Verbosity

Holy relics

On Valentine’s Day 2009, Junebug and Gary (left) and the lovely Ning and Sam joined us for a special dinner.  And, as usual, “the gang”— our family through Why Catholic? at St. Paul’s in Flour Bluff— had a fantabulous time!


Junebug’s prompting

That evening Junebug excitedly told us about visiting a chapel with the Legion of Mary.  She didn’t recall its name or much else other than having been (and still is) in awe of all the relics there.  “You just have to go see it!  It’s such a special place!” Junebug remarked, adding that she’d never known about relics until then.

“I know just what you mean!” I said.  “I didn’t know anything about relics until I received mine from Father Roderick.  And I treasured them until I gave them away.  Thanks so much for telling me about the chapel!  I’ll have to visit to take photos for my blog.”

Elusive treasure

Junebug’s exuberant insistence that I “visit the chapel out by the Lexington” stayed with me until May of last year.  That’s when, in driving around trying to locate it, I accidentally stumbled across the small, well-kept chapel on the corner of who knows where in the vicinity of the USS Lexington.

Yet, within moments my joy downgraded a couple of degrees.  Our Lady Star by the Sea was locked, and no one was at its adjacent office.

To further dampen my enthusiasm, I’d forgotten my Coolpix; so I had to rely on my antiquated cell phone to photograph the chapel’s exterior.  Not a good idea at all, I found out later, ’cause I couldn’t email the photos to my Yahoo account.

Still, things worked out fine.  I learned the name of the chapel and its location, so the visit wasn’t a total loss.

Now it’s just a matter of attending weekend Mass, Saturday at five-thirty or Sunday at nine, so I can finally see the relics that catapulted Junebug into OMG mode.

Shared keepsakes

Like Junebug, I’d never known about holy relics until— surprise, surprise— I received two third-class St. Anthony relics in the mail from Father Roderick, head of Franciscan Mission Associates (FMA) at the time.

A relic is an object or a personal item of religious significance, carefully preserved with an air of veneration as a tangible memorial….  A third-class relic is any object that is touched to a first- or second-class relic.  Most third-class relics are small pieces of cloth (Wikipedia, 2011).

“Relics refer to the body tissues of saints, items worn or used by them, and things that have come in contact with the originals” (Father James G. Ward, CM in the Association of the Miraculous Medal Bulletin, October 2010, p. 3).

The veneration of relics, most strictly the material remains of a saint or holy person after his death, has a long tradition in the Catholic Church….  St. Thomas Aquinas would explain that the relics “excite to love.”  It is really the saint who is being honored, and the relic assists the giving of that honor through both a visible sign and a physical link with the saint (St. Anthony Shrine, 2009).

I treasured my two St. Anthony relics but eventually gave them away to a couple of acquaintances whose life stories were filled with such despair that I thought the relics would give them hope.

By then Father Robert had become director of FMA, so I wrote him a letter requesting another relic and— wouldn’t you know it— he sent two that I carried with me, knowing I’d give them away as well.

St. Anthony chaplets

August, 2010, I gifted my two relics to Sabrina (left) and Ruth (right) with a note in the St. Anthony booklet that I created specially for them.

2Sabrina8410        StA8510-Deli        1Ruth72210

Segy, our youngest, has always said, “The best gifts are those I want so very badly to keep but give away instead.”

In 1998, I wrote to Father Robert at Franciscan Mission Associates.

In 1985, Father Roderick sent me two St. Anthony relics.  But, over the years, as I met others in great need, I gave them away.  And now that I don’t have one, I feel empty.  So may I please have another relic?

And I was surprised, just as I’d been the first time, to receive not one but two.  But, even though I’ve treasured my two relics all this time, I’ve always wondered when the time would come that I’d have to part with them again as before.

Looking through my Companion Prayers booklet on July 22nd, I suddenly took note of the St. Anthony chaplet prayers and the Miraculous Responsory for the first time.  I’d added the latter to my “St. Anthony” post, but it just hadn’t registered till that moment.

I decided to customize a chaplet just right for me and attach not a regular medal, but the St. Anthony relic I’d carried around all these years.

Then I had an epiphany.

Since I had a second relic still in its original little bag I thought, Ruth and Sabrina!  I’ll bead three identical chaplets, place the relics on theirs, and use a different St. Anthony medal on mine.  I’ll write to Father Robert again and request another relic for my chaplet.  Hopefully, he’ll send two.

Sooo…  On Tuesday, July 23rd, I began using the chaplets.  I’ve taken turns with each one so that, when you pray on your own, you’ll know I’m praying with you, too.

Heart’s desire

FMA8410aI have to admit that it was very difficult to part with my last two
St. Anthony relics.  In fact, that’s what kept me from beading the chaplets sooner.  God knew how I felt, though.

Right when I was having serious qualms about giving them away, I received a perfectly timed relic prayer card in the mail from FMA.

In the days that followed I internalized what I’ve experienced before: God always knows and provides just what we need (Matthew 6:8).

Hold your eyes on God and leave the doing to him.  That is all the doing you have to worry about (St. Jane Frances de Chantal).

Holy relics

How amazing that, since finding Our Lady Star by the Sea and gifting my St. Anthony relics, I’ve become aware of other holy relics: St. Elizabeth Seton’s at Sacred Heart Church in Nacogdoches, Venerable Margaret Parigot’s on Sister’s prayer card from the Flower of Carmel Monastery in Australia, St. Peregrine’s through Father Ralph at Stella Maris in Lamar, and Venerable Julia Navarrete’s through Sister Maxie at the Missionary Daughters’ Solemn Place of Prayer in Kingsville.  Then, as a very special gift from the Anthonians in November, I received a seventy-five minute video commemorating the exhibition of St. Anthony’s remains at the Basilica in Padua, Italy.

So I have to wonder…

Has parting with my treasured St. Anthony relics helped me find more along the way?




May 13, 2011

Joyfully, I received Venerable Father Casey’s relic badge, which I showed Junebug at Michael’s Confirmation.  I’ll be ordering another to surprise her with, as I think it’ll make her day.


September 13, 2011

Wow!  How amazing is it to find right here on my computer desk exactly what I’ve wanted for months?  To think that I’ve had St. Jude’s relic for a very long time and didn’t even know it till this morning.

Will wonders never cease!

October 4, 2011

I just received a letter from Franciscan Mission Associates in time for All Souls Day.  Father Primo has replaced Father Robert, who served for the past fifteen years.  I guess it’s time to write that letter I’ve been putting off and wish Father Robert well on the next chapter in his book of life.


If you’d like to request a St. Anthony relic, contact Franciscan Mission Associates at P.O. Box 598, Mt. Vernon, NY 10551-0598.

January 21, 2012

Steven and I drove to Stella Maris for the second time, and we arrived early enough to converse with Father Ralph before evening Mass.  I asked if he had his St. Peregrine first-class relic, and he did!  What a thrilling experience to hold it and pray for his intercession.


January 22, 2012

I went by Mary Ellen’s house to drop off both her St. Anthony relic chaplet and her Child Jesus chaplet, and she showed me the third-class relic she has of the nun who founded the Incarnate Word Order.  I didn’t have my camera with me, so I’ll take a photo another time.

April 8, 2012

I finally got the chance to take the photos of Mary Ellen’s third-class relic of Venerable Jeanne Chézard de Matel (1596-1670), foundress of the Incarnate Word (IWBS) Order.

Oh, happy day!


April 29, 2012

“Be careful what you wish for” certainly comes to mind, only in a good way this time.

On revisiting the Dominican Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus at St. Pius V in Chicago, I discovered a treasure overlooked in the past.  St. Jude’s first-class relic!  His arm!


July 2, 2012

What unexpected surprises!  St. Teresa of Avila relics from Sister in Australia!


September 29, 2012

From Sister, timely St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus treasures received for October 1st!


January 13, 2013

Steven and I visited the Tepeyac Shrine in San Antonio for the second time and discovered that the Grotto Sanctuary has a first-class relic: Part of St. Eugene de Mazenod’s heart!

SA11313-67        SA11313-113        SA11313-1

February 10, 2013

??????????This morning Steven fell out as a Knight of Columbus participating in the veneration of José Sánchez del Río’s first-class relic at Immaculate Conception Church in Taft, TX.  Ten o’clock Mass was followed, first, by a procession around the neighborhood and then by visits to the front of the altar to spend one-on-one time in prayer with the relic.

Worth noting is that Joselito died eighty-five years ago today.

June 14-16, 2013

When Steven learned that Father Mario from the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua, Italy would be in Rockford, IL, he quickly made plans for us to attend Mass and the veneration of St. Anthony’s first-class relics at St. Anthony of Padua Church.  And we had a phenomenal time!

Father Mario captivated all of us with wonderful stories about St. Anthony and gifted many present with relics touched to St. Anthony’s tongue.  In the photo on the left, the reliquary in the forefront holds tissue from inside St. Anthony’s cheek; the one on the altar, part of his floating rib.

Before Father Mario retired for the evening, he did something totally unexpected: He blessed Steven and me with the small reliquary!

We were so taken with Father Mario that I wanted to bring him home with us, but he has places to go and people to see.  Building community within God’s kingdom is what traveling with St. Anthony is all about, so they’re off to Great Britain next.

SAP61413s-56        StA73113b        StA73113a

The following morning, despite the pounding rain and the heavy traffic, we made our way back to Chicago where we not only spent time at the Dominican Shrine of St. Jude at St. Pius V (like last year), but also visited the Claretian National Shrine of St. Jude at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.

 ??????????        ??????????        OLG61513-19

Then we drove to Detroit where we attended nine o’clock Mass at St. Bonaventure Church on Sunday and delighted in the Solanus Casey Center the entire day.

SBC61713s-13      ??????????      SBC61613-108a

What an extraordinary experience!

July 1, 2013

Oh, happy day!  St. Pio’s relic!  Thank you, Sister dearest!

StPio7113-1a    StPio7113-1c    StPio7113-1b    StPio7113-1d

November 21, 2013

Surprise, surprise!  In today’s mail, I received a treasure trove from our niece.

Found this [tiny, old envelope].  Thought of you.  Not sure what it is, but you will know.  Love you.  Sue

Um, yes!  Not one, but two relic badges of then Servant of God, now Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos who needs only one more step to reach sainthood.

After a brief period of parish ministry in Detroit, Michigan, he was assigned in 1866 to the Redemptorist community in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Here also, as pastor of the Church of St. Mary of the Assumption, he was known as a pastor who was joyously available to his faithful and singularly concerned for the poorest and the most abandoned.  However, his ministry in New Orleans was destined to be brief. In September of that year, exhausted from visiting and caring for victims of yellow fever, he contracted the disease.  After several weeks, he died on October 4, 1867, at the age of forty-eight years and nine months (Wikipedia, 2013).

FXS112113-2a        FXS112113-2b

March 28, 2014

Hip hip hooray!  An unexpected St. Anthony relic from the Anthonians!

Anth32814a        Anth32814b

April 18, 2014

Thanks to Diana at Franciscan Mission Associates for expeditiously sending me not just the lovely relic for Sid’s St. Anthony chaplet, but also the prayer card!  Sidney Davis, whom we met at the Solanus Casey Center last week, loved his priceless treasures!

FMA-H62a        FMA-H62b        FMA41814a        FMA41814b

May 24, 2014

Thanks to Father Thomas Franks, OFM-Cap for St. Pio’s precious relic!  The Shrine of St. Pio of Pietrelcina is located at the Church of St. John the Baptist in New York City.  (The address is on “Credits” page.) 

SJB52414-2a        SJB52414-1b        SJB52414-2b

October 11, 2014

Thanks again, Father Tom, for the wonderful relic cards from St. Pio’s shrine!

SJBC10114a    SJBC10114b      SJBC10814a    SJBC10814b

November 9, 2015

“For even now miracles are wrought in the name of Christ, whether by his sacraments or by the prayers or relics of his saints” (St. Augustine).

Links of interest…  Legion of Mary…  Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish: diocese page / parishes online…  Relics: about (chapelmore – why we venerate them) / altar of (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton) / badge (Venerable Solanus Casey) / feast (more) / first-class / four categories / holy / how to venerateincorruptibles (how can a corpse be incorruptible – saints) / more than I thought I’d ever know (blog post) / of the past & the present / priest martyrs of Mexico / process of beatification & canonization / remains / sacred artifacts / saints / what is…  St. Anthony: basilica (virtual tour) / bones a guide to the living / relics (on display in Padua)…  St. Paul the Apostle Church: facebook / website…  Why Catholic

WP posts…  St. Anthony of Padua: Saint of miracles / Si quaeris miracula…  St. Eugene de Mazenod: Heart of hearts / Memory lane…  St. Elizabeth Seton: Right at home…  St. José Sánchez del Río: Honoring Joselito…  St. Jude: Forever grateful / October novenaSt. Anthony Claret / St. Jude novena…  St. Peregrine: Healing service / Memorable as ever / Powerful intercessor / Prayers and blessings / Saintly connections / Stella Maris / St. Peregrine relic…  St. Teresa of Avila: Gift of love / Seven dwelling places…  St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus: Budding relationships…  Venerable Father Casey: Capuchin church stations / God’s master plan / Mercy and justice / Solano, Solanus, Solani / St. Bonaventure Church…  Today’s Beatitudes…  Venerable Julia Navarrete (of the thorns of the Sacred Heart)…  Venerable Margaret (of the Blessed Sacrament)…  What I learned by caring for holy relics

Venerable Julia Navarrete


December 21, 2010, the Texas Tropical Trail Region (TTTR) hosted its monthly meeting in Kingsville— for me, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity— that we wouldn’t have missed for anything, not even the high fever I’d been running since the night before.


A real saint from South Texas?

After lunch we will visit the only convent in Kingsville/Kleberg County, the Convent of the Missionary Daughters of the Most Pure Virgin Mary, founded in 1916 by the late Mother Julia Navarrete Guerrero.

Mother Julia was born in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 1881, and joined the church at 19.  She left her home at the height of the Mexican Revolution when, in some areas, it was forbidden to celebrate Mass.  At the request of her home diocese, she came to Texas and started her ministry in a one-room house on Richard Avenue that was purchased from King Ranch founder, Richard King.

Her mission was to educate the children and minister to the adults.  Mother Julia died in 1974 at the age of 93.

In 2004, Pope John Paul II proclaimed Mother Julia venerable, the second of four steps on the way to sainthood.  She was nominated for the honor by her holy order, which is based in Mexico, though much of her work was in Kingsville (Nancy Deviney, TTTR Kingsville Partner Event, December 2010).

A worthwhile cause

TTTR122110-11During lunch guest speaker Maggie Salinas, charter member of the Kleberg County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of Kingsville’s Historical Development Board, shared the story behind her lifelong commitment to help the Missionary Daughters of the Most Pure Virgin Mary (MDPVM) preserve the convent founded by the Venerable Mother Julia Navarrete.

So, after lunch, we drove to 408 East Richard Avenue where Sr. Maxie shared the history of her religious order and invited us into the newly renovated chapel.

The rest of the story

The best part of the tour for Steven and me was when everyone else departed for the presentation at the King Ranch Museum, and we had Sr. Maxie all to ourselves.

I told Sister that, from the time we’d read about the day’s upcoming events, our anticipation had crescendoed at the prospect of not only seeing the chapel, but also learning all we could about a saint in waiting in our own South Texas community.

Sr. Maxie spoke glowingly and compassionately about Mother Julia’s numerous accomplishments— founding their Order and establishing more than forty-five convents in Mexico and the United States— and the Venerable Mother’s long, terrible illness, respectively.

Sr. Maxie nursed Mother Julia through the ordeal and was greatly inspired by the Venerable Mother’s spirituality and resilience.  The doctors would prescribe all the wrong treatments, seriously compounding her physical suffering; but Mother Julia never complained.  Instead, she bore the pain with patience and resolve until her death.

Venerable-Julia-1      Venerable-Julia-2-3      Venerable-Mother-Julia-4

Mother Julia’s legacy

TTTR122110-118The number of nuns at the old convent has dwindled due to age and illness, so Sr. Maxie lovingly takes care of all of them as she did Mother Julia.  She also juggles a busy schedule that includes driving the Sisters to their doctors’ appointments and managing countless obligations that encompass both the restoration of the original schoolhouse that has been moved across from the chapel and the preservation of the old convent.

Thanks to community supporters like Maggie who have embraced Mother Julia’s legacy, the Missionary Daughters of the Most Pure Virgin Mary can dedicate themselves to more divine aspirations— “the treasure of [Mother Julia’s] spirituality and a profound devotion to the Holy Spirit, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and to the most Pure Virgin Mary” (MDPVM, 1983)— while others labor to prepare for the big day ahead.


Of course, canonization is a lengthy process which can take decades; so everyone familiar with Mother Julia is spreading the word.  If you pray for her intercession, as did the gardener and his wife on behalf of their daughter, please report favors granted to the Missionary Daughters.  (Refer to the prayer card above.)

Treasured relic

In the meantime, Sr. Maxie continues to keep Mother Julia close to her heart through a very personal relic.  Sister’s crucifix has a bloodstain from the time that Mother Julia was gravely ill.

Momentous blessing

Being so in awe of holy relics, I felt specially privileged to have been invited to touch— and will always remember— that very personal connection to Mother Julia.  But I was beyond moved to have been encouraged to kiss the crucifix and share in the love of Mother Julia’s congregation.

And I’m doing my part to share the story so that the Venerable Julia Navarrete becomes a saint in my lifetime.

Think of it.  A saint from our culture, our time, our very own South Texas community.

Simply amazing.








Links of interest… Capia de la Madre Julia nuevo lugar para oración…  Community celebrates Mother Julia jubilee…  Maggie Salinas: For Kingsville woman, helping others “is a gift we should all share” / TX story project…  Missionary Daughters (MDPVM – of love)…  Mother Julia’s Good Samaritan Shop (open 1st & 2nd Saturday)…  Museum to honor Kingsville’s Mother Julia (10.26.15)…  Praying to the saints: Christian practicegracious advocatesheavenly intercessors / intercessory prayer / litanies / novenaswhy pray to the saints…  Sainthood: 87 new causes for sainthood / becoming a saint (five steps – how – models –  process – rules – what is – what makes)…  Sr. María del Carmen Villalpando: in memoriamobituary…  Sr. Maria Elena Casillas (more)…  Sr. Maxima Cruz: A life of devotion (Sr. Maxi; pp. 22-24)…  South Texas Catholic…  St. Martin of Tours Parish: 100 years as a faith community / diocese parish finder / facebook…  TX Tropical Trail Region (moreTropical Traveler, p. 1)…  Venerable Julia Navarrete: about (YouTube) / celebrating 100th anniversary“Christmas miracle” planneddecrees of the congregation for sainthood causesgardener’s miracle / Julia of the Thorns of the Sacred Heart / quote / Tejano Talks No. 13

WP posts…  Holy relics…  Honoring Joselito…  Multicultural Mass…  Sacred Heart Church…  Saturday evening Mass…  Solano, Solanus, Solani…  Then and now…  Today’s Beatitudes…  Unexpected detours…  Vattmann church…  Vattmann Thanksgiving…  Venerable Margaret

Bearing one’s crosses


It’s been a little more than two months since my last post and, while things have been different, it’s not surprising that things have also remained the same.

Opportunity knocking

Ruthie and Bill came by for dinner yesterday— perfect for Ruthie’s lessons on Yahoo mail and navigating both the church blog and this one.  She’s one very quick study— “a sponge,” I call her.

Our visit also allowed us quality time together, so I could learn more about her.

Revisiting St. Simon

In talking about health issues, which we all seem to have these days, I immediately remembered “revisiting St. Simon;” so I clicked on the link.

On seeing the photo of Most Precious Blood Church, Ruthie’s face lit up.

“I know the church!” she exclaimed before adding that they’d attended a funeral there “just last week.”

We viewed the photo files of the St. Jude Shrine after which I clicked on the stone pocket-cross prayer.

“You see the cross in the photo?  It’s this one here,” I said, reaching across the desk.

I handed Ruthie the brown-black stone cross that David gave me last year, since I keep it here by my computer all the time.


Bearing one’s crosses

“It’s really difficult to bear one’s crosses,” Ruthie softly sighed.

I nodded smilingly in agreement.  “Which is why, when I’m facing something truly insurmountable, I reach for the little stone cross, hold it, rub it, and reflect on its relevance in my life.”

Ruthie held the small stone cross, rubbing it gently as if etching a memory of its smoothness in her small hands.

“How could David have known that I’d need this very personal reminder to carry me through the tough times?” I wondered out loud.  “He couldn’t even come up with a reason for giving it to me other than he sensed that I needed it— or would need it— somehow.”

As we continued reading, Ruthie sat on the edge of her seat, wholely engrossed in the text’s message.

“So you see how simple it is?” I asked when I thought she’d finished reading.  “All you have to do is revisit St. Simon’s post to connect with the small stone cross and reread the prayer.”

Ruthie smiled.  “Simon was my father’s name.  I never knew anything about St. Simon until now.”

I smiled, too, because just then Ruthie had made a personal connection that would help her remember that she’s not alone when she’s afraid.

Where two or more are gathered

It’s always so much easier to bear one’s cross when we have something to hold onto: A memory; a special memento; the knowledge that someone’s with us through the tough times, maybe not in person but in one’s heart.

When I go through my rough moments, I come here to my thoughtful spot where I can gaze at the Holy Infant’s picture above my workspace.  I hold the small stone cross tightly, pressing my concerns and all my feelings into its surface as I dialogue with the Infant.

???????????????????????????????Forgive me, sweet Jesus.  I’m having a tough time bearing my cross right now.  I know you love me.  I know you’re with me.  I’m with you.  Please know that this, too, will pass.  Thank you, Jesus.  Praise you, Jesus.  I’ll get through this somehow.

I think about Sister in Australia.  I think about the cathedral back home.  I think about my friends— Paty, Rose, Pat, Cammie, and others— who, like Ruthie, have shared their crosses with me.  Most of all I recall the Child Jesus chaplet prayer.

Divine Infant Jesus, I adore your cross.  And I accept all the crosses you will be pleased to send me. 

At that moment I sense that my mind, heart, and soul have penetrated the small stone cross to its core.  I’m infused with warmth.  I’m empowered all over again.

One cross overcome

This morning after nine o’clock Mass, I had a most joyful surprise.  Not only did I see Ruthie and Bill, but I was also heartfully greeted by Rose whom I’d last seen before her recent throat surgery.

Rose’s beautiful blue eyes were barely visible as her smiles practically swallowed them up.  She was sooo happy that everything she said ended in exclamation points.

“I’m healed!  The cancer is all gone!  I’m perfectly healed!  I’ve been praying my Child Jesus chaplet every single day, and Sister has been sooo wonderfully supportive!”

We hugged each other so tightly that I thought my right shoulder would crush her throat!  We rejoiced at her glorious news!

As I took photos of Steven with our friends, Rose shared her story with Ruthie, whom she’d just met.

“God is so amazingly awesome, isn’t he?” I enthused rhetorically.

Somehow or another we always get past our tough times and we find that we’ve been able to bear our crosses so much better with a little help from our friends— even when they’re with us only in spirit— because friends are, after all, God’s gift to us when we need him most.

Prayers from Retreat Booklet (Franciscan Mission Associates, B-20)

For a good life…  You are the protector, O God, of all who trust in you.  Without you nothing is right or holy.  Shower your mercy upon us.  With you as our leader and guide may we use the good things of life without losing those that will last forever.  This favor we ask through Jesus Christ, your son and our lord.  Amen.

For abundant blessings…  You are all powerful, O God, and your mercies last forever.  They exceed not only what we deserve, but even our highest hopes.  Pour down your graces on us, forgive the sins that haunt our conscience, and even grant us the favors we dare not presume to ask.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your son, we implore you.  Amen.

For true happiness…  It is you, O God, who makes your faithful people of one mind and heart.  Give us, then, the grace to love your commands and to desire your promises.  Amid the allurements of life let our hearts ever be fixed on the true source of our joy.  Through your son, Jesus Christ, our lord, we ask this blessing.  Amen.

May 13, 2011

Father Robert, OP shared his thoughts on worry, anxiety, and serenity.

“When your heart has fallen, raise it gently, humbling yourself greatly before God and acknowledging your limitations.  Do not undertake your affairs with disquietude, anxiety, and worry.  Do not hurry and excite yourself… for this hinders reason and judgment and prevents us from doing well the very thing about which we are excited.  Commend yourself to God and soften and moderate your concerns with reason” (St. Francis de Sales, 1567-1622).

One of the greatest treasures you can have is inner calm and peace.  Complete serenity of mind is a gift from God; but this inner quiet is not without our own intense effort.  God will not give you this unless you work with all your strength to obtain it.  Do not confuse serenity with being lazy or careless [or] with putting off decisions.  You must be diligent and decide you can deal with your problems.  Therefore, you need to get control of your mind and feelings and identify the specific causes of uneasiness.  Then, with God’s help and [with] prayer, take one step at a time.

November 12, 2011

“Let us bear our cross and leave it to God to determine the length and the weight”
(St. Rose Philippine Duchesne).

July 20, 2014

“When the afflictions of this life overcome us, let us encourage ourselves to bear them patiently by the hope of heaven” (St. Alphonsus Liguori).

September 14, 2014

From here on earth love cannot live without suffering.  It is through loving the cross that we discover his heart, for divine love never lives without suffering (St. Bernadette Soubirous).

November 24, 2014

“The greatness of our love of God must be tested by the desire we have of suffering for his sake” (St. Philip Neri).

December 18, 2014

“If there be a true way that leads to the everlasting kingdom, it is most certainly that of suffering patiently endured” (St. Colette).

March 10, 2015

“In all trials I will say always, ‘Lord, your will be done’” (St. Gerard Majella).

March 26, 2015

“Detachment is the secret of perseverance” (St. Sebastian Valfre).

March 30, 2015

“Follow after Christ and carry your cross for your salvation as Christ carried his cross for your salvation” (St. Anthony of Padua).

March 31, 2015

“Bear the cross and do not make the cross bear you” (St. Philip Neri).

April 17, 2015

Pray that we remember that the crosses we are given are not too heavy.  And, when we carry our cross, we carry it towards Christ (Matthew Archbold).

May 27, 2015

I will not live an instant that I do not live in love.  Whomever loves does all things without suffering or, suffering, loves his suffering (St. Augustine of Canterbury).

“Who, then, can be so shameful as to desire to enter into the kingdom of Christ with ease, when he himself did not enter into his own kingdom without pain?” (St. Thomas More).

May 29, 2015

“For pity’s sake, don’t start meeting troubles halfway” (St. Teresa of Avila).

June 1, 2015

There is nothing which we more earnestly desire than to endure torments for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, for this is what will provide our happiness and give us confidence at his bar where all men must appear to be judged (St. Justin).

June 8, 2015

You must constantly carry the cross which he lays on you, be it interior or exterior, without growing weary or complaining of its length or weight.  Does it not suffice that it has been given you by the hands of a friend whose all-loving heart has destined it for you from all eternity? (St. Margaret Mary Alacoque).

June 5, 2015

What we ourselves cannot bear let us bear with the help of Christ.  For he is all-powerful, and he tells us: “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light”
(St. Boniface).

July 12, 2015

“Whenever anything disagreeable or displeasing happens to you, remember Christ crucified and be silent” (St. John of the Cross).

September 28, 2015

“God sends us trials and afflictions to exercise us in patience and teach us sympathy with the sorrows of others” (St. Vincent de Paul).

May 26, 2016

“Men are generally the carpenters of their own crosses” (St. Philip Neri).

June 30, 2016

Suffering overwhelms you because you take it like a coward.  Meet it bravely, with a Christian spirit, and you will esteem it like a treasure
(St. Josemaría Escrivá).

November 15, 2016

“It is by the path of love, which is charity, that God draws near to man and man to God” (St. Albert the Great).

December 10, 2016

“Nature easily complains of want and of trouble, but grace bears poverty with constancy” (Thomas à Kempis in The Imitation of Christ).

January 30, 2017

In the same way that a powerful medicine cures an illness, so illness itself is a medicine to cure passion.  And there is much profit of soul in bearing illness quietly and giving thanks to God (St. Amma Syncletica).

March 1, 2017

Why must we suffer?  Because, here below, pure love cannot exist without suffering.  O Jesus, Jesus, I no longer feel my cross when I think of yours (St. Bernadette Soubirous).

April 5, 2017

In Christ, all of life has meaning now.  We have the opportunity to participate in the redemption of the world by offering up our suffering in union with Christ, and there is a treasure trove of meaning for us to uncover! (Jeff Cavins in When You Suffer).

April 24, 2017

The support of friends, especially in times of crisis, is vital to helping us through the emotions that flood and fuel our hearts.  They will help us see clearly enough to move through mourning, provide lighter moments, too, especially if we might seem to teeter on the edge of truly losing hope.  They will be the personification of God’s unconditional love and help us find even greater spiritual depth (Maureen Pratt in Don’t Panic: How to Keep Going When the Going Gets Tough).

April 26, 2017

We are entangled and bound up together not as in a net in which we are trapped, but in a network through which we are nourished and find our health.  It is humility that teaches us the good of this entanglement while pride tries to escape our embeddedness, mostly by ignoring it and sometimes by violently wrestling free (Wendell Berry and the Given Life).

June 6, 2017

“Walk beside me and be my friend” (Albert Camus).

June 21, 2017

Jesus is the answer to all our questions, no matter what our age or state of life.  He offers solace to those aching for relief.  He offers truth to young people who are searching for deeper meaning and security.  He restores the dignity and moral center of those who are looking for life and see only death.

To each of these weary souls, Jesus says: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest… learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28–29; Anne Costa in Healing Promises: The Essential Guide to the Sacred Heart).

July 13, 2017

A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter: he that has found one has found a treasure” (Sirach 6:14).

August 4, 2017

You must accept your cross.  If you carry it courageously, it will carry you to heaven (St. John Vianney).

October 6, 2017

Illnesses are simply a challenge, a kind of a journey.  They are journeys we do not choose; we simply become their participants.  Complaining that you are on a different ship than you would like does not make sense.  After all, we have already sailed to sea; there is no way to change ships” (Ania and Karol in “Henry lived one year” by Marta Brzezińska-Waleszczyk).

March 31, 2018

“If you rightly bear your cross, it will bear you” (Thomas à Kempis).

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Crosses to share, crosses to keep (Gifts: Jim Moreno, 2015)


Grounds at the Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House – Lake Dallas, TX

Links of interest…  Avoiding envy & learning acceptance in suffering…  Bearing the cross / one’s crosses…  Being a companion through the mystery of suffering…  Can suffering be a gift from God…  Cross that we bear…  Crucifixes & crosses…  Deepen your prayer life through exclamations…  Falling for God: When crosses become ladders…  Final hours of Jacques Fesch…  Finding hope in the trials of life…  God comes to you in your lowliness / decided to visit me today…  How to endure suffering / your physical health can be traced back to emotional traumas…  Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House (aboutfacebook)…  Other people’s blessings…  Pain beneath the cross…  Sanctifying suffering in union with Christ…  Secret of avoiding bitterness in suffering…  St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross: Edith Stein teaches us to embrace the cross…  St. Francis de Sales: about / Introduction to the devout life (ebook)…  Stories in stone…  Suffering for love? I would prefer not to / with the distressed…  Task of love: Carrying the cross…  True friendship: How Christian companionship helps us become holier…  Upset & turned upside down…  What is your cross made of…  What’s so special about friendship…  When God doesn’t answer / life disappoints you…  Wisdom about suffering from St. Paul & St. Frances de Sales…  Yes, you can “inherit” the trauma your ancestors experienced

WP posts…  Backtracking…  Connected tangents…  Forever grateful…  Growing pains…  October novena…  One prayer…  Prayerful ways…  Repeated prayers…  Revisiting St. Simon…  Sweet Jesus…  St. Anthony Claret…  St. Jude novena…  St. Jude shrine (Chicago)…  St. Jude shrine (Corpus Christi)…  Unexpected detours…  Vattmann church…  Venerable Margaret