Driving home from Cotulla we had every intention of stopping at Hillcrest Tortillas and Bakery in Hebbronville.  We’d eaten the last of the tamales purchased mid-October; and my sweet tooth was already contemplating the prospect of empanadas, pan de nuez, or some other caloric treat.  But one does not live by bread alone!

Photo opportunity

“Do you think we can swing by Our Lady of Guadalupe first?” I asked.

We’d first visited Hebbronville with the Texas Tropical Trail group, June 16, 2009.  Then Steven and I had returned for Vaquero Fest the first Saturday in November.

After the parade we’d followed the celebration to the plaza and learned that Our Lady of Guadalupe was hosting its own festivities: a tour of the chapel; a book reading in the church basement; and, for the fortunate few like us, a tour of Scottus College.  Oh, the views from the breezeway!

Steven interrupted my thoughts.

“What if it’s locked?  It’s just past noon.  What if Mass already started?  I don’t want to get down in shorts.”

“It’ll be okay,” I said.  “We’ll stay in the back, and I’ll take photos afterwards.”


Several cars occupied the parking area in front of Scottus College.  Mass?  A conference? 

A mom and her kids walked out to their vehicle.  Vacation Bible school?  Day care?

With my Coolpix and the Word among us in hand, we approached the church entrance and found, to our amazement, that one of the doors was wide open.

Stepping into the vestibule, we looked past the glass doors into the darkened nave.  Our persistence had paid off.  We had the church all to ourselves!














Blessed Mother, queen of peace…  Ever blessed and immaculate Mary, you are the heavenly patroness of our country.  In your generous kindness, we beg you to obtain for us a more perfect union, domestic tranquility, justice for all our citizens, and the blessings of peace and prosperity for us and our descendants.  Help us view all the people of this world as children of God and as our brothers and sisters.  [Help us] to seek just and peaceful means to redress even the most grievous wrongs done against us.  Amen.

Devotion to St. Francis…  Beloved St. Francis, gentle and poor, your obedience to God and your simple, deep love for all God’s creatures led you to the heights of heavenly perfection and turned many hearts to follow God’s will.  Pray for us [and for] the many who come here searching for peace.  Intercede for us as we come before the Lord with our special requests.  Blessed saint of God, from your throne among the hosts of heaven, present our petitions before our faithful Lord.  May your prayers on our behalf be heard and may God grant us the grace to lead good and faithful lives.  Amen.  St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us.

Meditation…  Lord God, you watch over us every moment of the day, even when we are not thinking of you.  Help us turn to you from time to time as we pause in our work.  Let us not forget who you are, who we are, why we are here and that we are all, however slowly, returning to you who made us for yourself.  Please teach us how to pray even when words won’t come, when our spirits are heavy, when our minds are tired.  By the merits of Christ, our savior who knew times of tiredness and lonesomeness, we ask your aid.  Amen.

Contact information

The prayers above are just three of fourteen featured in Prayers for peace (B-140) from Franciscan Mission Associates, P.O. Box 598, Mt. Vernon, NY 10551-0598.


August 11, 2018

“While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart” (St. Francis of Assisi).

Links of interest…  Hillcrest Tortillas, Inc: Authentic Texas (pp. 52-53) / monthly partner event (Sept 2014) / reviews…  Let prayer bring peace to your soul…  Our Lady of Guadalupe Church & Scottus College (more)… Our Lady: mother / patroness / storytilma…  Persistence: Francisco Joaquin…  Sacred Heart of Jesus…  St. Anthony: traditions & miraclesrelic…  St. Francis: about / biography / national shrine…  St. Isidore: farmer (more) / feast / litany novena / preserving our inheritance of faith / printable prayer / quotes…  Texas Tropical Trail

WP posts…  Franciscan experience…  Franciscan treasures…  Grapes of generosity…  Historic nuggets…  Honoring Joselito…  St. Anthony…  Vaquero Fest Saturday

6 Responses

  1. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • What timing! I was thinking about you yesterday. Here’s wishing you a beautiful day!

      • Please refresh my memory, are you the one I wrote to about the Franciscan Crown?

        If not, no problem and feel free to ignore the rest. If so, I’m slowly making illustrations on the computer (was gifted one and want to learn how with a cheap graphics tablet). I’m making 8, including a beginning image of the young monk. Currently am working on the Magi, and, will be going with a Resurrection I’ve done previously.

        Each scene has a blue “shadow” to the left. For example, the Nativity has the shadow of the Law, the Resurrection will be shadow of the Crucifixion.

        Each scene has handicrafts, except maybe the Finding in the Temple and the Assumption. I have rough sketches but things change.

        Mother Mary’s colors are patterned after our Lady of Guadlupe. In the Assumption I plan to place stars and trim on her mantle.

        It’s taking longer at the computer than it would with colored pencils and pens. I had hoped to turn them into murals somewhere but, realistically I know the politics within the Church isn’t ever going to allow that. So, I plan, if our Heavenly Father will be so kind to allow, to turn them into a slideshow complete with a follow along audio of the Franciscan crown. (Hope by St. Francis, Oct. 4, my new goal, it was Aug. 15 but life got in the way.)

        If you want to see my progress thus far and my other art please visit my public FB page. (If you aren’t on FB, just ignore sign-up, you should be able to see anyway, see link below.) I am very isolated with my husband being one of the very few who encourage me in my art here locally. The ones who are most encouraging are those who aren’t Catholic who knew me before I converted (and who don’t live here) and another one or two Catholics who have moved away. I fight overwhelming discouragement daily and it wears me out. So, how can you pray for me? Well, first of all please join me in reminding God that even Jesus and most of the Saints had close friends of similar mind to share the journey. Secondly, I seriously need a way to earn a modest living with my creativity. I’m 57 and I need God to finally and kindly step in with a few socio-economic miracles before I’m too old to vibrantly work this gift of Story He saw fit to give me.

        Thanks. “Seek peace and pursue it.” May the Sacred Heart of Jesus enfold you and grant you gentle companions for your journey.

        Ritagail B.

      • Yes. You responded to “My Franciscan Crown” (Feb 2015) so, when I reread on occasion or simply recall your messages, I smile. Thanks for sharing what you’ve been up to! God bless you most abundantly!

  2. So that’s what you were thinking as I was taking photos. What a perfect respite from our three-hour drive. Thanks for being there with me!

  3. It was an old-time experience in the church that day. Summer heat was scorching everything outside, summer heavy on the brush country. The church was open, not air-conditioned. The breeze did not penetrate far into the sanctuary. But it was comfortable. The warmth amplified the scent of incense that permeated the space, and it mixed with the aromas of wax and varnish and plaster from the walls. The votive lights flickered, made brighter by the unlit interior, only a couple of spotlights illuminating the altar.

    Just finding the church unlocked was a throwback to days when a sacristy was respected and revered, when the faithful could come to visit God in his house any time of the day or night. It was tranquil, sleepy. Yet the sounds of the children laughing and excitedly telling moms about school as they were leaving day care, the occasional passing vehicle, and the trees rustling outside were present, not intrusive, but merely evidence that this place was alive.

    Prayer is not about rushing through a jumble of memorized phrases and words we learned in catechism. It is about relaxing, recognizing the presence of God (wherever we are), and listening for his voice. It is not about petitions. God knows what we need. It is about praise and thanksgiving because that is what God deserves.

    So it was obvious that God arranged for us to spend part of our day in his house. The thrill of discovering the doors wide open in welcome soon gave way to peace and reflection. A safe journey, chance meetings, and comfort in knowing we had good company along for the ride.

    Give praise and thanks to God for this day and this life and for the small bit of wisdom in listening to “the voice.”

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