Words to ponder

Monday, 2.27.17

From U.S. Catholic today…

“When we close our heart to the gift of God’s word, we end up closing our heart to the gift of our brothers and sisters” (Pope Francis).

Open your heart to the gift of God’s word with U.S. Catholic‘s daily prayers and reflections on Pope Francis’ Lenten message.

Sign up here….

Links of interest…  Franciscan Media: Lent calendar & more / Matthew Kelly’s “best Lent ever” signup / U.S. Catholicblog – past magazine issues


Friday, 2.3.17

I recall Dante’s Inferno from my senior high school English V class with Mrs. Phillips.  Of the many classics we read for advanced credit that year, that book’s message was so powerful that it’s remained with me ever since.  So imagine finding a link to A whole course on Dante’s Divine Comedy recently on Aleteia.  What a resource!


Wednesday, 2.1.17

Links of interest…  Franciscan Action Network (FAN): aboutActing Franciscan (blog) / commitment for resistance of Muslim registry (form to sign) / issues / newsspirituality


Monday, 1.30.17

anth13017Anthony in the USA (February 2017)…  This month relics of Saint Anthony will be gracing various parts of the world.  Our editor Fr. Mario is taking the “floating rib” relic, the one that was venerated by Archbishop Bergoglio and by Sister Lucia of Fatima, to Austin, Texas, whereas Fr. Alessandro Ratti and Fr. Paolo Floretta, also from the Basilica (Padua, Italy), are taking other relics to Bangladesh and then to India.  They will be helped by two Indian friars who reside in the Basilica: Fr. Steven and Fr. Justin.  The visits are taking place according to the following tentative schedule that may be subject to change (Fr. Mario Conte, OFM Conv).

Monday, Feb 13: Bryan, TX 77803.  St. Anthony Catholic Church.  401 S. Parker Ave.  Veneration starts at 3 pm.  Mass at 6:30 pm.  979.823.8145.

Links of interest…  St. Anthony relics visit the USA  (video)…

WP posts…  Prayer…  Recollections…  Si quaeris miracula…  Venerating St. Anthony


Saturday, 1.7.17

Today (Saturday) at 12:30 pm ET, a live streaming event will be taking place from the Solanus Center, Detroit, “The Casey Family Remembers.”  Solanus’ grandniece and grandnephew will be in Detroit, reminiscing about Solanus, the Casey family and Solanus’ roots.  This year marks the 60th anniversary of Solanus’ death and is the first of six monthly presentations that will be live streamed from the Solanus Center, the first Saturday of each month.

View live streaming presentations and videos about Venerable Solanus Casey here.

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Links of interest…  Capuchins remember…  Photos: Life of Father Solanus Casey celebrated in Detroit

WP posts…  Capuchin church stations…  God’s master plan…  Mercy and justice…  Solano, Solanus, Solani…  St. Bonaventure Church…  St. Felix…  Today’s Beatitudes


Wednesday, 11.30.16

Open to everyone, here’s the Capuchin Poor Clares’ invitation to Christmas Mass at the St. Joseph & St. Rita Monastery: 725 E. Bowie Avenue; Alamo, TX 78516-5500.

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Links of interest… Christmas & Advent music: eleven hymns & songs & seven originals…  Five ways to put all those Christmas cards to good use…  How to keep your Christmas tree looking beautiful & why it’s very much a religious symbol…  Real, live Christmas tunes: classics, countryDial-a-Caroliheartchristmas, & North Pole Radio (stations not accessible year ’round)…

WP posts…  Capuchin ChristmasClarisas cookiesMerry Christmas…  Slice of heaven…  Twelve candles

Wednesday, 8.3.16

Links of interest…  Franciscan  Media: American Catholic blog / archive / ask a Franciscan / e-cards / e-newletters  / post a prayer / sacramentsshop


Thursday, 6.30.16

Link of interest…  31 days of St. Ignatius


Friday, 2.12.16

Links of interest…  Bishop Flores grateful to join Pope in Mexico…  Francis in Mexico…  Sisters from indigenous groups see special meaning in Pope Francis’ visit to Mexico…  Under image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pope Francis calls for caring church


Thursday, 1.14.16

Links of interest…  Augustine Confessions…  Hounds of the Lord (Dominicans)…  How the Virgin Mary became the world’s most powerful woman (about – appeal – author – major hat tip – meandering mess)…  Imitation of Christ Challoner (Thomas à Kempis)…  Poem of the Man God (Maria Valtorta; five volumes as free pdfs)


Sunday, 1.10.16

Links of interest…  Creighton Ministries: resources for grieving / Dominican Friars: homilies (signup) – preaching


Wednesday, 1.6.16

Links of interest…  Five unexpected lessons about thinking (Cecilia)…  Homily of the day (Catholic Exchange)…  Intellectual life: Its spirit, conditions, methods


Tuesday, 1.5.16

Links of interest…  Christmas trials, mercy, & Padre Pio…  Fathers of Mercy…  My visit to Padre Pio…  New details on St. Padre Pio’s relics coming to the Vatican (with rare footage: 8:18; other videos)…  Saints (Aleteia articles)…  St. Padre Pio on listening to your guardian angel


Friday, 11.27.15

SJC122312-56wLinks of interest…  Advent (Nov 29-Dec 24): activities / articles (signup) / American Catholic / Bible Gateway / Bishop Robert Barron: homilies – daily email signupvideos / books (more) / Creighton Ministries / Daily Bread: pencil preachingsignup – devotionals (audio; pdf) / family: bookprayers & more / liturgical season / resources / Salesian Missions / St. Jude ShrineSundays / what is / wreath & traditional meanings


Thursday, 8.20.15

Today is the memorial of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, so imagine my joy at finding a link not just to his first-class relic, but also to more than fifty others.

Links of interest…  Saints & first-class relics…  St. Bernard of Clairvaux (more): about / first-class relic / memorial / prayers / quotes / ten Marian facts / theologian / writings…  St. Thomas More Church (Centennial, CO)


Sunday, 8.9.15

Links of interest…  Confirmed: The body of St. Maria Goretti will soon be brought to the USA…  Little saint of great mercy: about (more) / at St. John’s Churchlife (timeline) / martyrmiracles / official prayer / story / website…  Treasures of the Church (more)


Monday, 7.20.15

Links of interest…  Catholic Culture…  Catholic Education Resource Center (CERC)…  Catholic TV Magazine…  Francis Chronicles…  Global Sisters Report…  National Catholic Reporter (NCR; email alerts)…  Tradition in Action


Saturday, 4.25.15

The “petitions” and “praise” pages were part of the church website (2008-2009) and the church blog (2010-2015), which I created and maintained.  So, when I downsized the latter (April 21), I added the pages here.

SN22512But will visitors think me presumptuous? I wondered.

I immediately took down the pages and saved them on the external hard drive.  However, at Saturday evening Mass a lovely acquaintance, Olga Reyna at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Brownsville, gently, unknowingly, persuaded me otherwise mind, heart, and soul with her tearful sentiment.

“Thank you for adding my mother’s name [Belia Barron] to the list of petitions so that others can pray for her.”

I knew then that I had to add the pages to my personal blog to keep the prayers going.


Tuesday, 4.21.15

My service to St. Joseph Church (SJC) in Port Aransas has ended now that the parish has its brand-new, official website in place.  So, naturally, I downsized the blog to include just the widgets and this week’s two posts on the home page.

Although Steven and I left SJC at the end of January 2014, I’d continued posting the weekly readings and uploading the bulletin that Steven would make the time to pick up.  This was especially helpful to out-of-town visitors looking for Mass times and/or wanting to view archived photos.  But now Steven and I are both off the hook and free to focus our creativity elsewhere and/or to pursue pending projects with depth and complexity.

P.S. I transferred  “kids,” “prayer,” “saints,” and “St. Joseph” to this blog not because a lot of time and effort went into these pages, but because the links are a joy to explore.


Thursday, 4.2.15

A quote in today’s Crisis Magazine reminded me of Segy’s comment about his being “a cynic, thanks to my sixth grade teachers.”

What is a cynic?  A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing (Oscar Wilde).

So I looked it up online and found something totally unexpectedAnd serendipitous.

Tickled pink, I viewed “An epic Sunday run / Public displays of affection.


Sunday, 3.29.15

SMC32915-56aJoy in the morning!  Palm Sunday at Stella Maris!

In his very own words, based on M. D. Anderson’s latest findings in February, Fr. Ralph is “healed!”  And he’s so grateful— and excited— that he shares his wonderful news with everyone.

Just look at that smile!


Tuesday, 3.24.15

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Links of interest…  Amazon…  Communion with Christ (more)…  Everyday meditations (more)…  Hints of heaven (more)…  Ignatian Press…  Loyola Press  (more)…  On spiritual reading (Carmel books – booklets)…  Seeds on fire…  Sophia Institute Press…  The spiritual life…  Walking with Jesus…  Word on Fire


Thursday, 2.12.15

SJC31311-40Links of interest…  Celebrating the Passion of the Lord…  Christ inescapable…  Christ’s Passion shows us that the body matters…  Easter live from Lourdes…  From Good Friday sorrow to Easter joy (nine things to know)…  Jesus loves us without limits…  John Donne’s Cross…  Lent: attaining the power of holy victory / daily scripture / first four days / praying (book) / reflections / with Fr. Barron (about / browse season / homilies / seven deadly sins, seven lively virtues / videos)…  Meditations for Lent…  Ten ways to meditate on Christ’s Passion…  Things to know about Good Friday / Holy Saturday / Resurrection Sunday (Are you John, Peter, Mary, or Paul?)…  Via Crucis at the Colosseum with Pope Francis (videos)…  Walking with Christ in Gethsemane…  Way of Holy Week


Wednesday, 1.14.15

Daily I receive the Loyola Press three-minute retreat in my email inbox, so why not share?

Links of interest…  Online retreats: 34-week (multilingual) / adult & teen / Catholics on call / Colleen Spiro / Ignatian: 3-minute / 8-week


Friday, 11.21.14

SJC42214s-21bLooking online for links on the Blessed Mother, I came across some tantalizing morsels.

Links of interest…  Little Office of Our Lady: about / book (more) / consecrating the hours / hymns, psalms, & readings / introduction / prayers (more)…  Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary: about (more) / explanation / feast (more) / memorial (more) / prayers / readings (more)


Wednesday, 11.12.14

Advent articles have started arriving in my email inbox, so I’ll simply add them here.

Links of interest…  10 things to know about Advent…  Advent gift of John the Baptist…  Advent meditation on hope…  Angels for Advent…  Be watchful…  Calling for God’s help in the midst of sin…  Christmas preparation: Jesus is coming…  Family, culture, holidays…  Five books…  History of Advent…  Honesty & authentic fellowship…  How to Advent…  Ignatian resources…  Joy of renewal…  Picturing Mary…  Preparing for the coming king (more)…  Resting in the womb of Mary…  Rorate Sunday…  St. Joseph: Living out Advent…  Waiting in joyful hope…  What are we waiting for


Wednesday, 11.5.14

This afternoon Jeane W added to her friend’s comment on the “Stella Maris” post…

Dear Felita,

I’m replying to your comment from last November regarding Fr. Ralph’s surgery and recovery, hoping that everyone who reads this will see that he is once again in need of prayers.

After being diagnosed cancer-free April 2014, he is once again battling lung cancer.  He has spent two months in Houston receiving chemo at MD Anderson, but he is still fighting the stage 4 lung cancer.

He has chosen to move back to Lamar and will go to Houston once a month to continue his treatment.  In the meantime, we are all praying that he can beat cancer for the third time.

We appreciate the prayers that you and the prayer warriors offered for him last year and your ongoing prayers now that God will renew his strength and deliver him from this illness.  We pray that anyone who reads this posting will join their prayers with ours on behalf of Fr. Ralph.  God bless you all.

Dear Jeane, what a caring, thoughtful person you are.  Thank you for your heartfelt petition.

Father Ralph is a trooper.  His positive outlook and bright smile warm my soul.

And so we pray…  Dear God, we give you thanks and praise for this fine, gentle priest— a true friend to all who call on him.  We entrust our beloved Father Ralph to your infinite wisdom, love, and care.  We walk in faith believing that you alone know what’s best.

Again I tell you, if two of you join your voices on earth to pray for anything whatsoever, it shall be granted you by my Father in heaven. Where two or more are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst (Mt. 18:19-20).

Let’s continue to keep Father Ralph in our thoughts and prayers!

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Saturday, 10.4.14

Links of interest…  Blessed Miriam Demjanovich (more): about / blessed in the USA / & St. Thérèse / beatification (more) / “cured” blindness / en route to sainthood (photos) / Jersey girl gets wish to meet Pope Francis / Mass (10.4.14) / miracle (more) / nun from New Jersey (more)


Tuesday, 9.23.14

SMA92413-4bSMA92413-4aThe novena to St. Thérèse of Lisieux is prayed from September 23rd through October 1st.

Thanks ever so much to Sister, beloved Carmelite, for the lovely relic of the Little Flower!

Links of interest…  Society of the Little Flower: about / feast day / homenovena / prayers & sharing


Tuesday, 9.9.14

Oh, yes!  Steven surprised me with Father Gabriel’s wonderful book of meditations.

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Links of interest…  Divine Intimacy: Amazon (Kindle volumes: 1 – 2) / Baronius Press / Sisters of Carmel / Tan Books…  Father Gabriel, OCD…  Reviews:  comments / Examinerfacebook / Fr. Z’s blog


Friday, 8.1.14

Steven and I dropped by Our Lady of Corpus Christi on our way to Brownsville this afternoon.

While there we spoke with Fr. Jim Kelleher in admin, and he shared the story of his devotion to Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa.

CPC223-FrJ-bCPC223-FrJ-a“Every time I say the prayer on the card I get new adorers for the chapel!” he told us with childlike exuberance.  “When I get lazy and don’t say the prayer, I don’t get new adorers.”  So Fr. Jim keeps the card handy to remember his daily devotion.  “Maybe you can add the card to your blog?”


Fr. Jim was surprised that I could do this so easily.


Tuesday, 7.29.14

I went across the street to mail a letter to Father Ralph this morning and learned that USPS had already been by.  Oh, well.  It’ll go off tomorrow.

A lovely thank-you card from Sharon Shaw awaited me in our mailbox.  I smiled at the remembrance of our last time together at Stella Maris.  God allowed us special time with Father Ralph that evening.  He told us about his upcoming treatment. 

I hugged Father Ralph mind, heart, and soul at that moment; and I thanked God for Joe and Sharon taking such great care of Father Ralph.

Not long after I walked into the house, the phone rang.


“Joe Shaw called just now with news of Father Ralph!  He’s been downgraded to stage three!” Steven exclaimed.

“WOW!  Praise God!  That’s great news!”

I was so relieved and so overwhelmed with emotion that my eyes watered without my knowing.

Joe told Steven that Father Ralph “will undergo a different type of treatment this time.  He’ll take tablets instead.”  But first he’ll have a procedure in Houston on August 4th.  And that should take care of his cough.

Sooo…  All you prayer warriors out there, let’s continue our heartfelt petitions for our beloved Father Ralph!

Thank you, St. Peregrine, for all your intercessions!

Dear God, we are grateful beyond words!


Friday, 7.18.14

This is in response to the person who posed the question: “Does Stella Maris in Lamar, TX have special healing Masses for cancer patients?”

We attended evening Mass at Stella Maris this past Saturday, and Father Ralph was feeling poorly but in excellent spirits nonetheless.

SMC71214-1Before Mass Joe Shaw, sacristan, close friend, and caregiver, informed Steven and me that Father Ralph had insisted on celebrating Mass that evening because folks were counting on him to show up even though he’d “just come home from the hospital.”

As of that evening, Father Ralph has cut back on his morning Masses “and all the other extra activities,” including the healing services that he so enthusiastically makes time for so that we who visit Stella Maris can have that added blessing.

Moreover, Father Ralph said that anyone wishing to attend healing services and/or Masses should call ahead.  Father has no idea when he’ll be able to resume his normal schedule (duties) and doesn’t want anyone to travel a long way only to find out he’s not there.  The number at Stella Maris is 361.790.5277.

This time around Father Ralph will be undergoing treatment in Rockport so that he doesn’t have to travel long distances into Corpus Christi like before.  The first of his treatments took place Tuesday, July 15.

St. Peregrine, powerful ally, please intercede for our beloved priest who does so much for so many! 

Dear God, we give you thanks and praise for all blessings!  May your will be done! 

Let’s keep Father Ralph in our prayerful embrace!  Thank you!

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Wednesday, 7.16.14

Deacon Greg Kandra posted a really interesting article on his blog.  And to think that Steven and I first heard about— and almost visited— Sweetest Heart of Mary Catholic Church during our time in Detroit this past April!  A woman we met at the Solanus Casey Center told us “the church is just a few blocks away.  You have to see it!”  So it’s on our to-see list along with Br. Joseph Taylor’s mom’s parish, St. Charles Borromeo.

Links of interest…  The Deacon’s Bench: Detroit “Mass mob” fills city’s largest church (about – altar – article – facebook – festival – history – photos – video) / Detroit officially names St. Anne as its patroness…  Parish festival guide (blog)…  St. Charles Borromeo Parish (about – celebration)


Tuesday, 7.8.14

Today’s reflection from Aquinas College reminds us that St. Dominic’s feast day is August 8th.  A link to the novena (Jul 30 – Aug 7) is provided.

Links of interest…  Aquinas College…  Novena…  St. Dominic & the living word: reflection signup & archive


Saturday, 3.22.14DM6614

Searching for Father Lasance, I came across the Daughters of Mary website.  I was sad to discover that one of the Sisters, a beloved teacher, died on one of my personal landmark dates, December 27, 2013, but smiled on seeing her beautiful memorial.

The site’s “contact us” page has various options, so I took a chance and left a prayer request for my friend Martha and her family.

Imagine my surprise when I received a heartfelt response within a day’s time.  I replied and, again, the Sisters responded lovingly with the same thoughtful expression.

The experience was so special that I printed and mailed our email exchanges to Martha.  I wanted her to know that the Sisters really care about the well-being of her family.  I was also deeply touched that the Sisters included me in their prayers as well.

Links of interest…  Daughters of Mary: books by Father Lasance / Sister Mary Cecilia…  Father Lasance: about / books / memorial / Our Lady Bookwriter


Monday, 3.17.14

Last night Steven looked into the Divine Office, also known as the Liturgy of the Hours and the Breviary, and just now I came across the prayers in my daily email from Catholic Exchange.  Pretty amazing how God taps into our ramblings so promptly.

“Seven times a day I praise you” (Psalm 119:164).  “The Office is… the prayer not only of the clergy but of the whole people of God” (Apostolic Constitution Canticum Laudis).

Links of interest…  Bible gateway / study tools…  Catholic Exchange…  Catholicize…  Divine Office…  iBreviary…  Liturgy of the hours: about / history / Lentwhat is


Tuesday, 3.4.14

SJC3313-7Lent for kids: activities (more)… devotions…  explaining the season…  games & more…  observances…  prayer: chain / pots…  resources (more)…  songs…  talking to kids (more)…  traditions & rituals

Lent: Ignatian workout…  in two minutes (YouTube)…  journey (more)…  meditations (more)…  overview…  passages…  prayers…  praying…  recipes (more)…  season (more)…  this time (YouTube)…  this year…  toward the light (videos)…  Veronica’s veil…  week: Shrove Tuesday / Ash Wednesday (more – story) / Thursday (more) / Friday / Saturday (more)

Seven penitential psalms (6, 31, 37, 50, 101, 129, & 142)…

Stations of the Cross for children & families: audio / download / fifteen candles / illustrated / prayer / printables / puppet show (YouTube) / resources / virtual walk / visuals


Monday, 3.3.14

The novena of grace with St. Francis Xavier, SJ begins tomorrow.  The Maryland Province Jesuits have provided the novena prayers along with the daily reflections.

Links of interest…  British Jesuits: about / fight between carnival & Lent (article)…  Maryland Province: home / novena of grace page…  Thinking faith: online / facebook


Tuesday, 2.25.14

A few weeks ago I discovered a worthwhile article in Catholic Exchange online.  Naturally, I subscribed.  And, oh, the daily delights and added links, like today’s on Father Casey.

Links of interest…  Catholic Exchange (facebook)…  Open yourself to goodness…  Saints: ever wonder how a saint is made / patron saint list / who is a saint / why we love the saints…  Slaying your Goliath…  Venerable Solanus Casey


Monday, 2.24.14

What an interesting morning this turned out to be!

I telephoned Franciscan Mission Associates (FMA) and spoke with two very nice women: Theresa who took my number and Susan who returned my call.

I learned that FMA has been keeping my letters and cards to Father Primo because of the “stories” and photos I’ve sent.  Cool.  I also learned that every single item is blessed by FMA before it’s mailed.  Sweet.

“This means,” Susan told me, “that every St. Anthony relic you place on the chaplets you create is blessed.”

“I’ll be sure to share this.  Thank you!” I chirped.  “This way, if someone wants to request a relic, they’ll know their treasure is that much more special.”

To request a St. Anthony relic, contact Franciscan Mission Associates, P.O. Box 598, Mt. Vernon, NY 10551-0598 / telephone: 914-664-5604.  The process is simple (free), although contributions are greatly appreciated, as the money goes toward various mission projects including orphanages, schools, and care for the elderly friars.


Tuesday, 1.7.14

Monday after work Steven arrived with an envelope from Sam and Ning.  Inside were the prayers with which to bless our home and two pieces of chalk.  Thank you!  Then, in my online searches for Saints André Bessette and Raymond of Peñafort today, I came across the perfect complement: A week’s worth of prayers starting on Epiphany.  Since the file was a bit of a challenge to open— too much wait time for those of us who prefer quick access— I modified it for easy sharing.  Enjoy!

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Links of interest…  Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide: Universal prayers: Jan 2014…  Epiphany: 2014 / about  / feast / meaning / prayers / seasonsymbol / twelfth day / what is…  Journey of the Magi (T.S. Eliot; audio)


Monday, 11.18.13

Couldn’t sleep ’cause the ol’ pea brain was working.  On what, I wasn’t really sure.  So, instead of lying there doing nothing but wondering what was keeping me awake, I got up to work on the “Saints” page on our church blog.  And, as usually happens around four-thirty in the morning, I fumbled across the answer to one of my questions.

Sunday evening I came across a link about the doctors of the church.  “Thirty-five?” I said rhetorically more than to Steven.  “But Tommy Ferris and the other sources I’ve checked over the years say thirty-three.  How can that be?”  And, just as quickly, I lost myself in the articles on St. Rose Philippine Duchesne (dOO shain), a fascinating Sister dubbed “Woman Who Always Prays” by the Potawatomi Native Americans.

This morning was a somewhat different story, though.  As I continued my saintly searches, the proverbial rose leaf bonked my Chicken Little’s head and made me smile.  Pope Benedict XVI has named two new Doctors of the Church: the 16th century Spanish priest, St. John of Avila, and the 12th century German nun, St. Hildegard of Bingen” (Catholic News Agency, October 7, 2012).  So this is why the Catholic Church now has thirty-five doctors!  Joy in the morning!

Links of interest…  Doctors of the Catholic Church: audios / book (more – rating) / “faithful people” (more) / list (more) / two new (more)…  St. Rose Duchesne: about (more) / missionary / patroness (more) / prayer (more) / religious / resources (quotes & prayers) / shrine (reflections) / video / “woman who always prays


Monday, 10.21.13

Ooh la lah!  What beautiful cards from Tom Muscatello with the Anthonians!

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Friday, 10.18.13

MB101813-1aA lovely card with a heartfelt message, saintly bookmarks, and a prayer leaflet arrived in today’s mail.

Thank you, Mother Bernadette, for sending prayer cards and leaflets that I would never receive otherwise!  Thank you for lighting a fire under me to learn more about Servant of God John Bradburne!  We greatly appreciate you and the Sisters at the Flower of Carmel!

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Links of interest…  John R. Bradburne: about / community (more) / gallery / holy man / memorial society / poetry / vagabond


Saturday, 10.12.13

Today’s mail from Tom Muscatello included not only a new St. Anthony prayer card, but also the December schedule for Father Mario’s next visit.  If you happen to be in New York, may I suggest Mass and the veneration of St. Anthony’s first-class relics?

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Saturday, 10.5.13

Ever since meeting Martha at St. Anthony of Padua in Rockford, IL, we’ve been corresponding regularly.  And she always manages to surprise me.  This time she sent two prayer cardlets, my word for these prayer card/pamphlet combos. 

Thank you, Martha!  Happy day!

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Monday, 9.30.13

Here’s something interesting I found today: free, downloadable Bible trivia games.  And no registration is required to access Bible passages, verses, lessons, quotes, and more.

Link of interest…  Know the Bible?


Monday, 8.26.13

MB82613-1aThis time around Mother Bernadette really surprised me!  Not only did she send a lovely St. Bernadette prayer card, but—  She also waxed poetic!

It is almost spring here, and the trees are putting out blossoms and some spring flowers.  I suppose autumn is almost there with you.  Both seasons are beautiful.  A little quote from an Australian poet…

September, the maid with the swift silver feet!  She glides and she graces the valleys of coolness… (Kendall, 1841-1882).

I love poetry, so this really hit the spot.  Thank you, Mother Bernadette!

Links of interest…  Henry Kendall: about…  biography…  e-book (free)…  poems…  Milton, NSW, Australia…  September in Australia


Thursday, 8.15.13

Web links are like plants: They require meticulous weeding that sometimes yields surprising results.

As I searched St. Anne online this morning, I discovered Pray more novenas.  Managed by John-Paul and Annie Deddens, the site is user-friendly with lots of beautiful novenas, familiar and new.

Oh, and the novena starting on Sunday, August 18th?  To St. Monica.

Sign up if you’re interested!

Links of interest…  Pray more novenas: about / news / novenas


Wednesday, 8.14.13

Today we attended the vigil for the Assumption; and, while Steven met with Father Kris, I took photos as usual before Mass.

Father Kris has been our pastor since July 1st (when Father Xaviour began his service at St. Philip the Apostle Church in Corpus Christi, TX).  Naturally, he’s been making some welcome changes here and there.  So imagine my delight on seeing a familiar face on the second tapestry at St. Joseph’s.

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St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe, a Conventual Franciscan, created an evangelization center, the City of the Immaculata, near Warsaw, Poland where many friars were trained before setting off to preach the gospel in other parts of the world.  During WWII, he valiantly gave his life at Auschwitz so that the father of a large family could be spared.

SJC81413-15Immaculata, queen and mother of the Church, I renew my consecration to you this day and for always so that you may use me for the coming of the kingdom of Jesus in the whole world.  To this end I offer you all my prayers, actions, and sacrifices of this day.  Amen.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you and for all those who do not have recourse to you, especially the enemies of holy Church and all those recommended to you.  Amen.

Links of interest…  St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe: 1894-1941 / & the Immaculate Conception / apostle / faithful follower / Franciscan / Marytown (Libertyville, IL) / memorial (Aug 14) / prayers: (video) / priest & martyr / prisoner 16670


Monday, 8.5.13

I’m forever repairing (replacing) broken links on both blogs and, just now, came across these really great links to free movies I’d forgotten all about as well as some faves.

Links of interest…  DaySpring ecards…  E-Water inspiration…  I Can Only Imagine (song)…  Inspirational flash movies…  Knots prayer…  Simple truths (free videos)…  Walk the Talk…  White Christmas (animated)


Friday, 8.2.13

JTaylor8213Having uploaded Sunday’s post to our church blog, I had a few moments to check my inbox.

Oh, glorious day!  Joseph Taylor emailed!

Joseph accompanied us on our pilgrimage at the Solanus Casey Center on April 28, 2012—one day after submitting his application to the Capuchins—so, of course, he’s been in our thoughts and prayers daily.

What a gift to hear from him again!


Thursday, 8.1.13

A response in eight days’ time?  Yes!  Father Primo at Franciscan Mission Associates sent quite a treasure trove, including angel pocket coins and the perfect prayer card.  Impressive!  And gratefully appreciated!

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Wednesday, 7.31.13

This month I’ve received “Sunday Scripture Reflections” from Catholic Theological Union (CTU) on a weekly basis.  As one would expect, the readings are linked to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops site; but what I really like are the reflections.  For instance, this upcoming Sunday’s is featured in The Word for Every Season (2008).

To subscribe to the newsletter, the box is in the top right-hand corner of CTU’s Catholics on Call.


Monday, 7.29.13

Here are World Youth Day highlights through tweets, pictures, videos, and more from Pope Alarm.

Links of interest…  50 corporal works of mercy ideas for your summer bucket list…  Bringing loved ones home: Practical steps in helping them rediscover the faith (free e-book)…  Focus (blog / pope alarm)…  Passing it on: Raising children to thrive in the faith (free e-book)…  Pope Francis: first encyclical (summarized)…  World Youth Day: recap / schedule with pictures


Tuesday, 7.23.13

Our evening at St. Anthony of Padua in Rockford, I saw a couple of little girls holding what I took to be prayer cards as they waited their turn in line to visit St. Anthony’s relic.

“I should’ve thought of that!” I told Steven.  “I could’ve brought St. Anthony cards to touch to the relic, so we could give them away later on.”

Too late, I mentally chided myself.  Next time.

So imagine my delight at receiving not one, but two St. Anthony cards from Tom Muscatello in today’s mail!  I wished, and I received.  St. Anthony knew.

Tom72313-2x2On behalf of the Friars from the Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua in Padua, Italy, [Fathers] Mario Conte, Ugo Sartorio, and Luciano Segafreddo asked me to send their very best to you.

We hope you are having a peaceful… summer season.  We wish you and yours the best of health.

May Saint Anthony always be your intercessor!  May God keep watch over you!

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Links of interest…  St. Anthony: 750 years after finding St. Anthony of Padua’s incorrupt tongue / California / finding (loss & light) / irresistible attraction / Marytown / Scotland / stories / traveling with / two-week tour / visit Chicago area


Monday, 7.22.13

This morning’s mail brought a sweet surprise: A four-page letter from Martha, whom we met at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Rockford, IL last month.  I’m sending heartfelt prayers your way! I smiled, as I eagerly devoured the letter’s contents.

Minutes later I checked my inbox and found Sister Gladys’s newly posted “Transition.

Never one to be outdone, God has impeccable timing!

Links of interest…  Sisters of the Holy Family: blog / website


Friday, 7.19.13

Today’s letter from Father Mario reminded me of the unexpected phone call I received from him on January 9th.  “I just called to ask if you have a petition for me to deliver to St. Anthony when I visit his tomb for vespers this evening,” he said.  I was blown away not just by the kind offer, but also by Father Mario’s having taken the time from his very busy day to call me, a stranger, all the way from Padua.

Mind you, until then I’d had a number of really great talks with Maria at the Anthonians’ Indiana office; and, once, a priest from there had called to thank me for a contribution.  Not something I ever would’ve expected.  I mean, one donates without expecting anything in return, after all.  I’d also written to Father Ugo (through Maria) a few times; but, when one receives an invitation, the relationship takes on new meaning as reciprocal.  What’s more, to have one’s petition taken to St. Anthony himself is a life-altering experience, not to mention a truly endearing gesture.  So, naturally, the Anthonians have made quite a heartfelt impression on us.

For this reason, I thought Father Mario’s letter (in part below) and his card in today’s mail hit the spot just right.

FrM71913-2bFrM71913-2aAs promised during my homily, I carried every petition that I received … back here to the tomb of Saint Anthony in Padua where I have prayed for all your intentions.

I am enclosing this picture that one of my brothers took of me praying for you beside the tomb.  It bears some words of blessing and encouragement on the reverse side.

If there is any other petition that is stirring in your heart, please entrust it to us here.  This is why we serve in Saint Anthony’s Basilica.


Saturday, 7.13.13

Receiving two letters, each with lots of photos, had me on Cloud Nine today!

How special of Mother Bernadette to send me Sister Stephanie’s letter related to her final promise!  What a beautiful peek into life at the monastery!  Thanks for the blessing!

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The second letter was from Tom Muscatello with the Anthonians in New York.  He plans and organizes the Holy Relic Tours in the U.S. for Fathers Mario Conte, Luciano Segafreddo, and Ugo Sartorio.

Father Mario and I have been busy touring the holy relics of Saint Anthony of Padua since February [and] went to numerous churches in NY and NJ.  In April, we toured southern California….  These past few weeks in June, we were in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and [in] Libertyville, Rockford, and Chicago, Illinois.

Father Mario asked me to share a few photos with you.  It was truly a blessing to be with so many devotees of Saint Anthony in the U.S.

Thanks to Tom’s captions, I now know who Maria is that I’ve spoken to by phone when I’ve called the Indiana office.  All good!

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Monday, 7.8.13

Wow to the moon and back!  Father Sheehan sent me a treasured keepsake!

FrS7813aGreetings from San Antonio where it is humid, hot, and muggy.  Nothing new!

This is a picture of my parish, St. Gabriel Catholic Church, in Chicago where the Sheehan clan was baptized, confirmed,
and made first communions.  The big school there is still in business.

All goes well here as we age gracefully.  We had a funeral Mass here and burial of Father Mathew.  He was a teacher for many years, a very intelligent man.  He was a Yankee from Chicago.

Y’all be well and have a great summer….

Links of interest…  Father Armand Mathew: community says farewell / dies at age 90 / obituary…  St. Gabriel Catholic Church: history / map / parishes online


Friday, 7.5.13

Wow!  Two surprises in one day!  First, news on the canonization of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII in the near future.  (Maybe Venerable Father Casey and others aren’t far behind?)  Then an unexpected card from Father Mario in Padua, Italy.  Truly special.

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Monday, 7.1.13

MB71313-2dAs always, Sister’s letter was filled with blessings and good news that touched not only on the monastery’s annual retreat presented by Father Luis, a Father of Mercy, but also on the cold winter weather.  Still, everyone’s doing well, including Sister Marie Anne, the Flower of Carmel’s timeless treasure at age ninety-one.

“Please continue to promote the devotion to the Holy Child Jesus,” Sister requested. 

Absolutely!  Thank you, dearest Sister, for your thoughtfulness, your prayers, your love, and all the prayer cards you included in your letter!  Thank you most especially for St. Pio’s relic prayer leaflet!

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Links of interest…  Fathers of Mercy…  Flower of Carmel: home / our treasure / our history / daily work / happenings


Saturday, 6.29.13

This has been a very busy month for us.  Besides driving to Brownsville every other weekend, we’ve also traveled north out of state (and northeast again to Louisiana).  And, oh, the people we’ve met!  Simply delightful.

CH2013-PaceHSFor the first time ever, I received a high school graduation invitation from a student in the very last class I taught.  How priceless to get two for one: Missael, one of Chelsea’s fifth-grade classmates,
happened to be part of the ceremony, too.  In class I’d dubbed him “the Big M” to his calling me “the Great Os” (short for Ostrich Head, as in forever focused), and now he’ll major in business at UT?  Wow.  That Brownsville visit was memorable!

We also traveled to Chicago and Rockford, Illinois and to Detroit (June 14-17).

??????????Father Mario Conte visited with two St. Anthony relics from Padua, Italy to commemorate the 750th anniversary of
St. Bonaventure’s discovery of St. Anthony’s remains.  So how could we possibly pass that up?

We caught up to him— um, them at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Rockford, only an hour and thirty-eight minutes— not quite eighty-eight miles— northwest of Chicago.  (Related entries on this page: January 9 and June 3, 2013)

Of course, that also meant returning to the Dominican St. Jude shrine at St. Pius V on Ashland Avenue.  And how could we not visit, finally, the Claretian national shrine of St. Jude at Our Lady of Guadalupe on East 91st?  The same could be said for revisiting the Solanus Casey Center, so why not attend Sunday Mass at St. Bonaventure Church before leisurely spending the day with Father Casey?

And, oh, the photo opportunities!

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Thursday, 6.13.13

Pope Alarm cited three quotes from Pope Francis during his first ninety days:

“The world tells us to seek success, power and money; God tells us to seek humility, service, and love.”

“It’s not a problem that we’re sinners; it’s a problem that we aren’t ashamed of our sin and don’t seek forgiveness.”

“How marvelous it would be if, at the end of the day, each of us could say, ‘Today I have performed an act of charity towards others!’”


Monday, 6.3.13

You ever have sleepless nights when your brain’s too full of stuff that you can’t rest?

Well, my solution is to get up, read, write letters, and wear out the old noodle until I run out of oomph.

As I finished my letter to Sister at four o’clock this morning, I remembered this month’s FMA Focus that I wanted to share with her.  I looked for the quarterly newsletter, put it on my desk, and took note of its cover’s virtue: Silence.

Father Primo’s letter connected to the blog post on loneliness, silence, and quiet time alone that I’d read around two a.m.

In the silence of the heart God speaks.  If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you.  It is only when you realize… your emptiness that God can fill you with himself.  Souls of prayer are souls of great silence (Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta).

FMAJun2013a        FMAJun2013b        StAnthony-Chi

Closer to home, Father’s message reminded me of St. Anthony’s nugget, which is posted our church blog’s “prayer” page.

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.

Links of interest…  Franciscan Mission Associates (FMA Focus)…  Irresistible attraction of St. Anthony of Padua…  Mother Teresa on silence…  Saint in California


Wednesday, 5.29.13

As I was searching for devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus this morning, I came across some really great finds that I’ve added to the new post I’m working on.

Just look at the vintage postcardsWow!


Sunday, 5.26.13

Today Steven and I attended Mass at Sacred Heart Church in Brownsville.  What a glorious sight!  The altar looked somewhat different, but I wasn’t sure until I saw the photos from our last visit, July 2011.  Still, I was easily, joyfully, enveloped by its heartwarming familiarity.

I can hardly wait to call this beautiful sacred space our home parish again.

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Thursday, 5.16.13

NOLA-PP2-bNOLA-PP2-aWe visited Steven’s brother in Madisonville, LA this week and stayed at the usual place.  Among the literature in the display case at La Quinta, this tasty morsel caught my eye even though it wasn’t on our agenda.

The Archdiocese of New Orleans has an exhibit on the life and art of John Paul II that runs until June 16, 2013 at the museum of art.

If you’re in the area, maybe you’d like to see it?


Wednesday, 5.15.13

What wonderful news from Mother Bernadette!  A Father of Mercy from the U.S. will present a Pentecost retreat during which to “[ask] the Holy Spirit to increase his gifts and graces within us.”

Some Fathers come to Australia for a few months each year to give missions and retreats.  We were fortunate to have obtained Father’s retreat this year.

MB51513-1aAs for how the chickens fared after the flooding in March?

Sister managed to save them.  We lost three and had to give our two turkeys away, but the others are safe.

Mother Bernadette, thanks so much for your lovely letter; the photo of the flowers that grow at the monastery; the prayer cards you included; and, most especially, for sharing a bit of your world.  God bless you and the Sisters most abundantly!


Tuesday, 5.14.13

We traveled to Louisiana to visit with Steven’s brother, whose wife died on Mother’s Day; and, as usual, we stayed at La Quinta in Covington, a small, neighboring town.

??????????At breakfast we met a quiet, joy-filled man who, until I said “good morning” would never have spoken to us otherwise.

What a poet!  What an inspiration!  Allen Simms, a Korean veteran now a sheriff’s chaplain, has given This Little Light of Mine new meaning.  To think that, had we left the dining area five minutes earlier, we totally would’ve missed him.

Allen sang a couple of his poems, which I captured on my Sony; and he gave me permission to post them here once I transcribe them.  Sadly, I didn’t have my recorder when he sang “the rainbow promise,” though he did say I could find his poetry and songs on the F.A.I.T.H. Riders website.

I looked but found nothing, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we meet up again someday.


Monday, 5.6.13

Nine-thirty Mass at St. Mary Cathedral in Austin, TX yesterday was as beautiful as our first visit there.

Although the church is undergoing structural repairs, all else is just as we remembered from three and a half years ago: friendly folks, heavenly music, and a heartfelt homily that this time around focused on gratitude.

StMC5513-11        ??????????        ??????????


Wednesday, 4.24.13

Yesterday I received an email informing me that Oscar Romero’s path to sainthood is now “unblocked;” today, that Pope John Paul II will be canonized in October.

Two more saints in our lifetime?  Amazing!

If you would like to receive timely tidbits, you can sign up for email from Pope Alarm.


Friday, 4.12.13

Oh, my goodness!  Among the precious items in her letter, Sister included St. Teresa of Avila’s wonderful colloquy that I’ll be sure to add to a future post I’ve been percolating since last year.

Thank you so very much for your prayerful thoughts, dearest Sister!  Congratulations on your anniversary on Divine Mercy Sunday!  Blessings to everyone at the monastery!

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Saturday, 3.30.13

Perfectly timed Easter blessings from Sister arrived in today’s mail.  Yay!  She included two Blessed Mother Teresa prayer cards for my treasure trove, too.

Happy Easter season to everyone at the monastery, dearest Sister!  Thanks so much for including Steven and me in the novena of Masses! 


Monday, 3.25.13

Update: CFCA will change its name to Unbound effective January 2014, but will otherwise remain the same (Letter; November 6, 2013).

CFCA112113-2a       CFCA112113-2b        CFCA2013

April of last year we learned about the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (CFCA) from Loren and Dotty Smeester and their longtime friend, Jerry, in Wisconsin.

When we returned from our trip, Steven got online to learn more; and we joined as well.

Through CFCA one can sponsor children and/or aging adults in twenty-two countries and receive not only correspondence, but also online news about the program, prayers, and more.

Contact CFCA by mail: 1 Elmwood Avenue, Kansas City, KS 66103-2118; by telephone: 1.913.384.6500 / 1.800.875.6564; or simply visit their website.


Thursday, 3.14.13

At 1:06 P.M. yesterday, I turned on the TV to watch my daily eighteen-minute dose of The Bold and the Beautiful that had recorded earlier.  But, instead of the hearing characters from General Hospital or a commercial, Diane Sawyer’s reporting had just begun.

White smoke was emanating from the chimney at the Sistine Chapel, she announced.  Then Archbishop Gregory, seated beside her, suggested that they listen for the bells as a sure sign that a new pope had been chosen.

What excitement!

The ol’ pea brain immediately went into sponge mode as I plopped on the sofa, forgot to check for the pope alarm email, and didn’t budge until the deacon cardinal’s announcement.

Habemus Papam!

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Links of interest…  Pope Francis: about / activities for kids / address / against the Roman Curia / big heart open to God (reflections) / book / breaks another barrier as first Jesuit pontiff / call & response in St. Ignatius & St. Francis / call to shake up the church / cardinal of Buenos Aires, elected leader / cardinal to pope / celebrates first Mass / conservative / election / faults Church’s focus / first: Easter – Jesuit pope – Mass with cardinals / focus on gospels / for all species / Franciscan spirituality / Franciscum / from Latin America / Habemus Papam / Heroic leadership (book) / humble, authentic, & credible / humility / Ignatian spirituality / Ignatius & Pope Francis / imagine Catholics and LGBT rights complexly / impatience for scandal / Jesuits / Martin & Francis / meet the new pope / name choice “precedent shattering” / new pontiff / news / our prayer for Pope Francis / pontiff of firsts / prayer, housekeeping / Sistine Chapel / South Texas Catholic (CNS videos) / starts first full day / story behind National Geographic’s story / welcoming & celebrating our new pope / white smoke / who is / witnessing the election


Tuesday, 3.12.13

I laughed when I heard ABC News report that “there’s even a pope alarm.”

Popealarm.com is the brainchild of focus (fellowship of Catholic university students), which serves seventy-four colleges.

Check out the website if you’re curious.  And sign up for your pope alarm.  I did.


Monday, 3.11.13

MB31113-1aWhat news from Mother Bernadette today!

You ask about our weather.  We have had over thirty-five inches in the last few weeks with flooding rains around us.  We are in a high position sloping down to a lower level.  Our poor hen house is flooded, and sister has had to dig channels to keep the ground from being so muddy and wet for the chickens.

I can’t even begin to fathom what that must be like, especially with our drought conditions here in Texas.

You’re in our heartfelt prayers, Mother Bernadette, Sisters, Anne, and Erin!  Thank you for including us in your upcoming Easter novena Masses!


Tuesday, 2.26.13

OMG!  Sunday we attended ten-thirty Mass at my most favorite sacred space, the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Brownsville.  And, since I can never get enough of St. Anthony, I took his photo and wished I could take him home with me.

Then, this afternoon, Steven brought me a “surprise” from Betty at work— an absolutely gorgeous statue of St. Anthony with the Child Jesus— with a note and, later, an email.

He was saying your name Sunday when I saw him.  God works in special kinds of ways.  Have a beautiful day, Deli.

WOW!!!  I was— still am— over the moon with joy.

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Wednesday, 2.13.13

??????????If you’re looking for inspiration, “Praying Lent” is chock-full of resources of— audios, articles, prayers, and more— not only for the Lenten season, but also for Holy Week and Easter.

Ash Wednesday is today; Easter, April 7.

Links of interest…  Creighton Online Ministries: bulletin inserts / site index…  Lent: about / fasting / guide / history / overview / recipes (more)…  Stations of the Cross: fish eaters / for kids / prayers / printables / thinking faith…  Toward the light (videos)…  Veronica’s veil


Tuesday, 2.12.13

Talk about timely.  I was checking the blog’s dashboard and came across a perfectly-timed link to the Lenten fish fries taking place in the Corpus Christi Diocese.  How great is that?  Or maybe I should say delectable?  And— should you be in the Taft area— Immaculate Conception Church is offering options: chalupas, enchiladas, fish, and salmon patties.  Yum!

Sunday, 2.10.13

??????????This morning we drove to Immaculate Conception Church in Taft, TX for ten o’clock Mass and the veneration of Blessed José Luis
Sánchez del Río’s relic on the eighty-fifth anniversary of his death.


Tuesday, 2.5.13

This morning I received an email from Sister M. Heidi.  The Schoenstatt Center in Lamar is revamping its website, so she sent me the 2013 calendar of events to post.  The new links are on the “Marian devotions” post.


Monday, 2.4.13

FrM2413-23cOh, happy day!  I received not only four St. Anthony cards in the mail, but also a really nice letter from Father Mario that prompted me to call Maria at the Anthonians’ office in Mount St. Francis, Indiana.

Maria asked if we’d be able to attend the exposition of St. Anthony’s relics in New York City, February 15-23.  Sadly, no.  Or Los Angeles, April 15-20.  Too far.

Then Maria said she’d accompanied the Anthonians to San Antonio for the celebration at the San Fernando Cathedral a few years ago.  Wow.  How did I not hear about St. Anthony’s relics being there at the time?

So now the cathedral’s on my go-see list along with St. Anthony of Padua Church that Father Sheehan told me about recently.  Certainly, there’s much to explore online to learn more about these sacred spaces.

Links of interest…  San Fernando Cathedral (also known as Church of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria y Guadalupe): about / archdiocese seat / church building / history / map / oldest U.S. cathedral / parish / resting place…  St. Anthony of Padua: about / church / map / website


Saturday, 1.26.13

Thanks to Father Mathias’s invitation to join him for five o’clock Mass, another of my wishes came true.

I visited the chapel at Sacred Heart twice in 2010, but couldn’t photograph the church because it’s locked during the week.  So, of course, I jumped at the chance when Father Mathias emailed to say he’d be celebrating Mass there this weekend.

??????????What a joyful experience!

Those we met— Deacon Benny Vargas, Celina (reader), the sacristan, and the woman (in the pew behind ours) with whom I spoke after Mass— were truly welcoming and extended an open invitation for us to visit anytime.  Wow!

I guess Landin’s magic of three’s is still going strong.  The third visit was the charm.


Friday, 1.25.13

Father Mathias from Holy Cross Church celebrated eight o’clock Mass at St. Joseph’s this morning and called to say hello.

Holy Cross Church is again hosting another ten-week Encounter beginning February 4.  Should anyone be interested, please contact the office secretary.


Sunday, 1.13.13

Today we attended Mass in the chapel at the Oblate Madonna Residence and, afterwards, revisited the grotto and the sanctuary.

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Saturday, 1.12.13

MB11113-1aWow!  I’m grateful for— drumroll, please— both the wonderful responses to my letters and the unexpected messages received this week.

For those of you who haven’t yet taken up the art of letter writing, you might want to reconsider, as it’s quite a rush to find noteworthy nuggets in one’s mailbox instead of the usual unsolicited, humdrum sales pitches and such.

Father Sheehan, we’ll see you at the Oblate Madonna Residence in San Antonio tomorrow.  Father Ralph, your touching thank-you card left me longing to revisit Stella Maris soon, hopefully with friends in tow.  Mother Bernadette, I can hardly wait to sample Sister Mary Paul’s macadamia biscuits, if we ever make it to Goonellabah.  And Father Primo?  Wow!!!  You knocked my socks off again today!  Thanks for believing in what I do and for all the smiles that will surely follow.


Wednesday, 1.9.13

WOW!!!  What an incredible SURPRISE to have the phone ring, listen for the voice on the answering machine, and pick up on hearing, “This is Father Mario calling from the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua, Italy.”

Messenger-Dec2012Father Mario is the executive editor of Messenger; and he called in response to a letter I included in my Christmas card to Father Ugo, the magazine’s general editor.  Amazing!

I’m still reeling with emotion!  Four minutes plus of unimaginable exhilaration!

For days I’d had a prayerful concern.  Only I didn’t know who to call on for assistance.  I guess it’s safe to say that St. Anthony paid me a visit through Father Mario today.

“All better, Lon!” to quote our grandson.

If you don’t yet subscribe to the Anthonians’ magazine, you’re missing out!


Thursday, 12.20.12

SrMA122012-9aWhat joy to find a packet from Sister in the mailbox today!  She sent lots of items she handcrafted herself.  What thoughtfulness!  What treasures!

Jesus: The Word was made flesh and lived among us, and we saw his glory… as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

We’re so blessed!


Saturday, 12.15.12

Oh, yes!  We’re in business again, thanks to Mary Comfort’s care package received in the mail today!

Steven contacted Mary at the Solanus Casey Center in Detroit early this week; and she right away, through the Father Solanus Guild, fulfilled our request for more relic badges and prayer leaflets.

We can hardly wait to share our stories of Father Casey with others, as we’re praying for his beatification to happen in our lifetime.


Thursday, 12.13.12

Have you ever needed to look back at the church calendar, as I did today at 2009?  Well, here’s a really helpful site for the general Roman calendar of the Catholic Church (and more).

Links of interest…  Romcal /  Universalis


Tuesday, 12.11.12

Steven and I drove to Our Lady of Corpus Christi for their 7 P.M. Miraculous Medal of Mary novena hour, and it was amazing.  Afterwards, Father Jim invited us to the gift shop (book store), which is run by Mona Biberstein.  There we met Linda and Jesse, Sam and Ning’s neighbors, parishioners at St. Paul’s.  Small world.  Anyway, the bookstore has lots of great items: CDs, DVDs, books, medals, prayer cards (priced at fifty cents), and so much more.  Like, wow!  Steven bought two movies: For Greater Glory and St. Anthony: The miracle worker of Padua.

OLCC121112 -14     OLCC121112-67     OLCC121112-71


Monday, 12.3.12

MB12312-1Wow!  Mother Bernadette sent me a lovely chaplet with the prayers.  How did she know I’ve been ruminating a post on
St. Michael for almost two years?

If this doesn’t get me microwaving, I don’t know what will, although the next post on my to-do list will focus on Father Ralph’s healing service at Stella Maris (9.15.12).  Finally.


Thursday, 11.1.12

Woohoo!  I received another lovely letter and more prayer cards from Mother Bernadette, Prioress at the Flower of Carmel Monastery in Australia.

What a joy to hear that Sister Marie Anne, now ninety-one, receives such excellent care from two Sister-nurses within their cloistered community!  She’s an absolute treasure!

If you haven’t visited their website, you’re missing out!


Thursday, 10.25.12

Steven drove Father Xaviour, Carlos (Brother Knight and dear friend), and me to the Clergy & Religious Appreciation Banquet in Corpus Christi.  What fun we had to and from the Omni Bayfront ’cause we talked nonstop!  Once there, Jay, St. Joseph’s nine o’clock music director, joined us.

The most enjoyable part of the evening wasn’t the food or the guest speaker, Mauricio Kuri, who portrayed “Joselito” in For Greater Glory, but the company at our table, including four SOLT priests, among whom was Father Jim Kelleher, Chapel Director, Our Lady of Corpus Christi.


What a phenomenal first time for Steven and me, sandwiched between Father Jim on Steven’s left and Father Xaviour, our beloved parish priest, on my right.

Oh, and the icing on the decadent chocolate cake?  An open invitation to OLCC chapel, so I can take photos.

I can hardly wait!


Saturday, 10.20.12

Oh, happy day!  I received a lovely letter from Mother Bernadette at the Carmelite Monastery in Australia, and she included two prayer cards: one of St. Thérèse and one of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906).  Both are now part of my shared treasure trove.


Friday, 10.19.12

Today Steven brought home a prayer card from Sam, who told him the Legion of Mary at St. Paul’s has begun praying the Magnalite Catholic Rosary for America.

Thanks for sharing, Sam!




Monday, 10.8.12

Seven-twelve a.m.  Steven opened the door to the vehicle to leave for work, and he scanned the garage as he always does, making sure everything was in place.

“Hmm…  What’s that?” he stated in such a way that I immediately reacted ’cause he was looking at the bottom middle shelf not quite past the treadmill.

“A mouse???”


“A rat???”

“No,” Steven replied in a low, inquisitive tone before pausing long enough to confirm his suspicions.  “A snake skin.”  Then he moved forward, bent down to get the evidence, and firmly tugged to loosen the skin from the bottom shelf next to the rocker.

“Uh, excuse me???!!!  The snake you saw months back in the garden liked the place sooo much that it decided to shed its skin on the lowest shelf next to where I walk on the treadmill every day??!!!”

“Yes, but it’s just the skin.”

“Um, YE-ah!?!  But I’ve been out there every DAY?  And— oh, my gosh!!!” I exclaimed as my imagination suddenly weighed the possibility of both the snake and me being in the garage at the same time.

Steven took out his tape measure.  “Four-and-a-half feet,” he said precisely, “without the rattles.”

“How long do you think it’s been there?”

“I have no idea.  Maybe last night or maybe a couple of weeks.  There’s no telling.”

Whoa!!!  I was really, really, really freaking out!!!  Oh.  My.  Gosh!!!!  I still have shivers running up and down my spine!!!

“Do I leave it here, or do I throw it away?” Steven asked, knowing full well what I’d say.

“No, no, no!!!  Don’t leave it there!”  I shuddered.  “I don’t want to have to step where it’s been!!!  I’ll never walk out here without any shoes!!!”

Steven suppressed his laughter but still managed a chuckle.  He picked up the skin, wrapped it in paper, and walked over to the trash receptacle as I stood, Coolpix in hand, trying hard to contain my freaking-out dramarama dance on the third step.


Oy, oy, oy!!!  Too close for comfort, though now clues here and there from the previous months make total sense.

First, the odd-looking scat on the steps from the garage up to the kitchen entrance some months back.  Where had those things come from?  Steven was baffled by the type of animal that could’ve left those, those strange, almost permanently enmeshed clumps.  Even he didn’t have a name for them.

How I struggled to remove the rooted clumps from the carpet edges along the inner wall!  The vacuum cleaner was totally useless, so I had to pry the clumps off with a lot of determination, time, and effort using paper towels and wipes.

Off and on, too, I found the Miracle-Gro spoon and other such objects on the floor by the shelves opposite the stairs and the treadmill.  Initially, I’d thought that Steven might’ve accidentally knocked them down when he’d gone in and out of the garage while working on the back porch.  But the gardening products are up on the higher shelves, and Steven only worked on weekends, which didn’t explain why the items were on the floor almost daily.

What could be it?  There were no holes or entrances through which a critter could enter.  Or so Steven kept telling me.

Then I dared to pose the question.  “You don’t think that snake you came across while weedwacking the garden decided to come in here, do you?” I asked, eyebrows raised, eyes wide open.

“Nah, what would a snake want from inside the garage?”  Translation: You’re so silly!

Hmm, okay.  I’ll think on it some more. 

Then… out of the blue two weeks ago… my Inner Voice cautioned me to be careful about going down to the garage to exercise!  The strange thing is that my mind immediately conjured up a snake.

What if, when you lift the end of the treadmill to pull it back in place after exercising, a snake bites you??!!!  You really need to be more careful!  Look underneath and all around first!

Horrors!  I really scared myself, but I quickly forgot.  Only now I know better.  Now I can say that we’ve dealt with rats, mice, opossums, raccoons, and more.  And I’ve got the photos, too.  B-b-but SSSNAKESSS??!!!

Oh, my gosh!!!  Oh, my gosh!!!  Oh, my gosh!!!  The reality of the situation has me in Squawking Chicken Mode!!!!!

Puawkkk-PUAWKK, puawkkk-PUAWKK, puawkk-PUAAAWWWK!!!

Sooo…  This means that I need to remember to close the door leading out to the garage every single time, even when I go out there briefly, ’cause… yesssss… it most definitely is possible for a snake to slither up… or down… into the house.  (This reminds me of another ssstory...)

OMG!!!  And I should never ever ever walk into the garage in the dark as I’ve done a number of times!

Maybe the next time, as happened on Thursday and Friday of last week, I should listen to My Inner Voice when it tells me Maybe you shouldn’t go out there today.

For now, though, I just need to calm down, relax, and— sigh— have a plan for when I go exercise again this afternoon ’cause my heart health trumps the snake.

Anyway, Steven emailed with a plan of his own for our unwelcome guest.

There’s one product that has been approved by the EPA as a repellent for snakes.  Dr. T’s Nature Products, Snake-A-Way.  It is 91% effective against rattlers according to independent testing.  I’ll stop by Ace on the way home and get some to sprinkle in the garage this afternoon.

There are very few snakes that are aggressive.  The rattlesnake is not one of them.  I can move the treadmill inside, however.

My response?

Yes.  Please do sprinkle the product in the garage.

Snakes are good against mice and rats, so they need to stay.  They just need to stay AWAY FROM ME, especially if I’m outdoors ’cause just thinking about them makes me shudder.  It’s, like, my worst nightmare, next to stepping wherever rats and mice have been.

And, yeah.  I do, do, do check the ground for snakes every time I go out to water the plants.  Every time.


Monday, 10.1.12

Ahh.  The last three relic chaplets were finally mailed today, but what’s amazing is that all twelve St. Anthony relics were promised for gifting within eight days of their arrival.





Saturday, 9.29.12

I went for the mail across the street, and— lo and behold— I had a card from Sister.

Wow!  Again she knocked my socks off.

Sister sounded very happy that both her sister and brother-in-law were visiting for the first time in five years, but imagine my surprise at receiving not only two lovely notes— one from each sister— but also a teeny-tiny zipped baggie with five relics!  In perfect time for
St. Thérèse’s feast day, October 1st!

I was— am— sooo filled with joyful gratitude!


Thursday, 9.13.12

This morning I received another email from the Association of the Miraculous Medal (AMM) and discovered a very interesting tidbit from Father Luke.

As a member of the Association, you have the opportunity to learn more about Mary and our Catholic faith.  We partner with Catholic Home Study Service [CHSS] to promote knowledge of our faith tradition.  I invite you to take all [nine] courses of study, which includes “Christ’s Mother and Ours.”  The courses are free and will help deepen your Catholic faith.

If you’re interested, membership in the Association of the Miraculous Medal is free.


Monday, 9.3.12

Last Monday our friend, Cammie, emailed to tell us about Holy Cross Church in Corpus Christi.  She and her mom attended Sunday Mass there for the first time and loved it.

Of course, we had to see for ourselves; so we attended Mass there yesterday.

What a treasure trove!  What a beautiful statue of the Holy Infant on the altar!  What an energized church community!

Additionally, Father Mathias told me that Holy Cross Church was funded by
St. Katharine Drexel herself and opened in 1914.  Wow!


Saturday, 9.1.12

Amazing.  As of yesterday, all the St. Anthony relics I received from Father Primo Thursday of last week have homes.  Of course, I still need to bead the chaplets before giving them away; but they went quicker than the last time!

And today I received another batch of relic badges and prayer leaflets from Mary Comfort at the Father Casey Guild in Detroit, so I’m pretty sure they’ll all be gone in no time as well.  Anything to further the cause!


Thursday, 8.23.12

What began as a truly slow day dripping molasses for hours picked up steam around noon with perfectly timed surprises.

Prayer booklet

Not only did I serendipitously find a little prayer book, Favorite Patron Saints (The Leaflet Missal Company, n. d.) with my inked 11.3.95 inside the front cover and a note with the names of four requesting prayer (1991), but also a folded receipt marking St. Monica’s prayers.

Oh, happy day!  What a discovery!

Somehow this gold nugget had been hiding behind pamphlets and leaflets in my trusty wooden box filled with prayer cards, marbles, and other such items here on my workspace all this time.  Unseen.  As in, who knows for how long?

St. Monica’s feast day is August 27, so the timing couldn’t have been better.

And, of course, I’ll be adding prayers from the booklet to other posts as well.

Relics and more

And, oh, my gosh!  I received a packet from Father Primo at Franciscan Mission Associates!  Wow!  Within eight days, too!

I’d requested more St. Anthony relics for the chaplets I want to bead, namely Joseph’s.  He’s the extraordinary young man we met at the Solanus Casey Center (Detroit, 4.28.12) who, as of 8.19, has begun his journey with the Franciscan Capuchin Order.  But others are on my chaplets list, too; so I’m going to be busy, busier, busiest very soon.  Works for me!


Father Primo also included a St. Clare prayer card, which was quite timely.  You see, I found a lovely prayer to St. Rita in today’s booklet; so I wanted one for St. Clare as well, being that they’re both featured in the same post, which leads me to say “Isn’t God grand?  He knew exactly what I needed.  What a tremendous pick-me-up he gifted me with today!”

Thank you, Father Primo!!!

Contact information

If you’d like to receive prayer cards, leaflets, and pamphlets— or request a third-class St. Anthony relic— contact Franciscan Mission Associates, P.O. Box 598, Mount Vernon, NY 10551-0598.


Saturday, 8.4.12

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since I last received the mailing on Sts. Monica and Jude from Franciscan Mission Associates, but it’s true.  This time around, the St. Jude leaflet
(R-36) has a different cover and includes prayers “for peace” and “to share Christ with others;” so I’ve added them to my St. Monica post.


Tuesday, 7.31.12

Talk about being in Squawking Chicken Mode this afternoon!

Today visitors most likely found broken links on two popular posts: “St. Jude novena” and “St. Anthony Claret.”  What a disappointment to discover, as I did, that the web links to the Dominican St. Jude Shrine were broken.  So I immediately went into Octopus Mode— scrambling to find the new site, all to no avail even after a lot of online searches.

Since I couldn’t replace the broken links with viable ones to the new site, if any, I had no choice but to delete those “links of interest.”

Still, to be totally without access to one of my most favorite sites was unbearable.  I searched some more, recalling that Bob Dixon had told me months ago that a new site was in the works.  Yet the only redirection (www.saintofstjude.com) was a blank page, although it later opened to web results.

Feeling oh so sad about the broken connection, I typed Dominican Shrine of St. Jude into my blog’s search box to locate all the posts and pages with the links to be deleted.

“The pain!  The pain!” to quote Dr. Smith from Lost in Space.

Finally, I got to the “Words to ponder” page, since the last two links to the shrine’s site were in an entry from last year.  I clicked on Father Robert’s Daily Inspiration, and— oh, my gosh— the link wasn’t broken!

The words were linked to the Dominican’s new site!  The one I’d searched for endlessly.  The one that had eluded me despite the search engine terms I’d typed in way too many online searches to find.

How?  When?  It didn’t make sense!

I’d come to the last link only to find that somehow, miraculously, the words I’d typed September 13, 2011, were linked to the Dominican’s new website.  How cool was that?!

I turned to Steven and grinned.  “I think St. Jude didn’t want me to lose the connection!”

Right away I hyperlinked the newly-typed terms below and updated the “links of interest” for both posts.

Oh, oh, oh.  And do you know why the redirection to the new website didn’t work?

Three letters.

The new address doesn’t have www in its URL, so the dilemma was an easy fix with that minor deletion.  Oh, happy day!


Friday, 7.27.12

This morning a comment awaited me in response to my “Repeated prayers” post.

All religions have given us guidance that we should pray before God and God shall remove our difficulties and shall solve our problems.  There is also a direction that God helps those who help themselves.  It is also believed that when we conduct a prayer from the core of our heart, God listens to our prayer and He himself solves our problems.  That is the reason, most of us only pray and we do not work on the problem before us.  We start believing that God Himself would solve our problem.  Here they forget that God helps those who help themselves.  Therefore, people who have been left poor must start believing that they shall have to put in more labor and only then they shall be able to complete the work successfully.  Only prayers and no work at all would not work here on this earth.  We must further accept that God is listening to us and therefore, we should pray for a cause only once and the same prayer should not be conducted time and again till our cause is fulfilled.  God does not forget our prayer and therefore, we should conduct prayer for a cause only once and then wait for the result and we should never repeat the prayer for the same cause of action.  Let the people take up this question and come forward with suitable answer for guidance to all (6:34 A.M.; Dalip Singh Wasan, Advocate; 101-C Vikas Colony, Patiala-Punjab-India-147003).

Since I couldn’t satisfy my need to know more about the source, I shared with Steven who quickly responded.

If you go to Google maps and search on Vikas Colony, Punjab India, you’ll find that it is a one-block street in a small town in northwest India, halfway between Pakistan and Nepal.

I read his message as, “Pray once, work often.”  I believe he is making the point that there are those who pray long and often but do nothing to help God help them and simply wait passively for God to do it all.  It’s a valid point, and I would post his message.  There might be some very interesting dialog started.  Also note his comment about the poor who are told to work hard (but are not encouraged to pray for God’s help).  Implied is that work without prayer may be fruitless as well.

There’s really a lesson here for the USA, and this rather gentle admonishment from the other side of the world should be taken to heart.

This is really neat stuff,  and we have to recognize that going global means phrases and viewpoints that are difficult to comprehend.  But this is one of God’s children letting us know how he believes God means for us to receive His word.

What rings true for me is that I grew up hearing momisms in support of Dalip Singh Wassan’s comment.  Among them are my two faves: “God helps those who help themselves;” and “No one gives anyone something for nothing, so work hard for everything you want in life.”

Mom worked hard in her lifetime, and she was very generous, too.  Grandmother died when mom was nine, so she and her five siblings were doled out among relatives willing to take them in.  That meant having to comply with tough rules and expectations from those who weren’t all that keen on providing for additional family members.

Because of this she believed that “you never know what can happen in life, so you need to be prepared to fend for yourself.”  Mom instilled in us a very strong work ethic that I defend as meticulous.  Not perfectMeticulous.  So, yes.  Absolutely.  I second Steven’s comments regarding Dalip Singh Wassan’s message today.

Therefore, I laughingly, resoundingly proclaim that I most certainly do bust my buns!  Still.  And I expect the same from others.  As I told my students, “I buy no excuses.”  And they, in turn, set high standards for themselves, gratefully, lovingly, with a good sense of self about a job well done.


Thursday, 7.26.12

There’s something about the magic of three’s.  At least for me.

When I was five or six years old, I had an accident while riding the bike at my great-aunt’s house.  Twice, the jeans bottom on my left ankle snagged as my cousin, Nelda, gave me a ride; and, twice, I said nothing ’cause I was having too much fun.  But the third time I really got hurt and still have two very visible scars to show for my fun ride that morning.

Of course, Tía Queta frantically rushed out of the house when she saw us fall.  We gave her quite a scare, she said, when she saw my ankle bone through the blood and dirt.

When I told her what’d happened, she taught me the lesson of a lifetime.

“When something bad comes close to happening twice, tell someone right away so that it doesn’t happen for real the third time.”

I arrived at my three’s theory then and there.  And I’ve subsequently passed it along to everyone, my students, especially, as Landin’s Magic of Three’s.

With this in mind, Steven’s been emailing some really insightful nuggets.

“Good enough to share,” I told him.  “But would you be willing to put yourself out there for everyone to read about?”

Absolutely!  Hopefully, they will hit someone else in the soft spot as well.

So, after painstakingly ruminating the implications and all else involved, I republished the page that I’d temporarily placed into trash last night and finally arrived at a title that suits me.

Thanks to the magic of three’s, “Steven’s looking-glass”— a three-word title— combines his looking-glass idea with mine to differentiate it from my own pages.

Check it out for yourself and see what you think.


Tuesday, 7.24.12

Sunday after Mass at St. Joseph’s, we met a lovely couple, Alise and Richard, from West, TX.  In talking about building community within God’s kingdom, Richard told us that his mom participated in the first ACTS retreat in Selma, TX and subsequently introduced the mission at their present church.  Wow!

Then, today, Steven forwarded an email from the ACTS Missions headquarters at the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, TX.

Everyone worldwide is invited to commemorate the 25th anniversary of ACTS by praying a novena from September 23 through October 1, 2012.  (The first ACTS retreat began on July 23, 1987.)  Nine churches in and around San Antonio are hosting the daily novena Masses at 7 P.M.  The novena prayers end on the feast day of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, patron saint of ACTS and all Catholic missions.

We pray for the intercession of St. Thérèse to help ACTS to continue to grow and spread throughout the world in the next 25 years, as a major force in the “New Evangelization” started by Pope John Paul II.  (His visit to San Antonio coincided with the first ACTS retreat!)…  You may contact ACTS Missions at 1-210-341-1077 as we continue to formulate plans, or just wait for us to post additional information on the ACTS Missions Website (ACTS – SAVE THE DATE email, July 24, 2012).

Additionally, I found some interesting handouts on the table in the church foyer; so, of course, I shared with Alise and took some to post here and to give to others not at SJC.


Thursday, 7.19.12

A couple of surprises this week: Today, a Padre Pio card from Franciscan Mission Associates; yesterday, a letter from Padre Carmelo Fonseca.

Carmelo and I met July 1966 when we spring chickens were part of the LAMP program in Matamoros, MX.  He (a seminarian at the time) and I hadn’t corresponded or seen each other since then, so finally connecting with him was an exhilarating experience!  Mind you, I still have the three beautiful blue doilies that his sister, Rosa, crocheted for me!

Last week, too, I received a couple of unexpected surprises: First, a letter from Sister’s Prioress at the Carmelite Monastery in Australia.  She sent some lovely cards, which I’ll be adding to the “prayer cards” page.  Second, an email from Joseph, our charismatic guide at the Solanus Casey Center.  He’s been accepted into the Capuchin Order, so he begins his journey on August 19th!  We are sooo very happy for him and his family.


Monday, 7.2.12

Wow!  Again, another treasure trove received from Sister in Australia.  Like, OMG to the moon! 

I couldn’t get over the prayer booklet dating back to 1970, in perfect time for St. Teresa of Avila’s being declared a Doctor of the Church.  Oh, my, my, my.

I’ll just have to share all my goodies.


Saturday, 6.30.12

Well, it finally happened.  Steven got ahold of David Castillo at Most Precious Blood Church, and he invited us over… to view the new statues at the St. Jude Shrine and the two in church, pray the rosary before Mass at five-thirty, and enjoy the potluck dinner with Father Varghese and the lectors.

While at the shrine, I was pleased to meet Deacon Sebastian who smilingly gave me not only a church bulletin, since I’d forgotten to get one after Mass, but also some Patroness of the Americas prayer cards.  He looked for some with Our Lady of Guadalupe but found none.  Not to worry.  On our way to the parish hall for dinner, Father Varghese came to the rescue and gave me some from the office.  Happy day ’cause this means I get to share with others.


Father Varghese originates from Mylapore, which is just seven miles from where Father Xaviour, our parish priest, is from.  What great company he was sitting across from us at dinner.   Then again, everyone we met was so gracious that we felt very much at home.

Lastly, David drove us to meet Wil, who created not just my stone cross, but more than a thousand to gift to others.

We were in Hog’s Heaven.  Oink, oink.  Snort.


Thursday, 6.28.12

We’ve now viewed all three DVDs that Steven ordered from the Father Solanus Guild, and we were moved to tears each time.

Father Casey’s sweet thoughtfulness came through so naturally.  He was so very kind and attentive to everyone.

Father Casey is featured in the Knights of Columbus magazine as the “Catholic man of the month” (Columbia, July 2012, p. 5).  Additionally, the Father Solanus Guild will host a nine-day novena, July 23-31, ending with a special Mass on July 31, the 55th anniversary of his death.


Wednesday, 6.20.12

Round and round I go, and I still haven’t gotten to posting about our trip up north.  So many photos!  So many beautiful sights!

And the sacred spaces?  Oh!

I keep going off on tangents, piling more on my lunch tray in life; but I’ll get to my percolating posts.  Really.


Tuesday, 6.19.12

Today we received some pretty special unexpected favors: tomatoes from our friend, Betty, who grew them in her garden; a letter that Sam translated into Tagalog for our new acquaintance in the Philippines; and the package from the Father Casey Guild.  Happy day!!!


Wednesday, 6.13.12

What a delightful surprise to receive a phone call from Mary at the Father Casey Guild this morning about the items Steven ordered!  She’ll be including more relic badges with their accompanying prayer cards for us to give to others.  Hooray!


Tuesday, 6.5.12

I just love to get mail, don’t you?

Today I received a beautiful card from Father Charles Bourchard, Prior Provincial of the Dominican Friars, regarding our visit to the St. Jude Shrine in Chicago.  Totally unexpected, truly special, and very memorable indeed.

I also received a lovely letter from Sister in Australia.  Naturally, I devoured everything, savoring each item before spending time with the next one.  A heartfelt card with a poem, a two-sided image of Jesus, two laminated cards showing St. Thérèse and her prayers, and— oh, my gosh!  Be still my heart! 

A second-class relic of St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila).  WOW!!!!!  Amazing.  I’m so blessed because she’s my mentor.

And, last but not least, we received a card from Sam and the Lovely Ning’s brand-new grandson in Hawaii.  Yes.  A card he wrote, thanks to his beautiful mommy.  With photos, no less.  OMG.  What joy!  Children are the promise of hope, and this child is sooo sweet!  A magnificent miracle!


Monday, 6.4.12

What?  June already?  But I haven’t even caught my breath, much less written all the posts that have been in the works for the past two or three months!

We’ve been going and going and going.  A whirlwind that hasn’t let up.  Duracells, Timex watches, and the Energizer Bunny.  Gotta give ’em equal time.

This past weekend, we were at Montserrat in Lake Dallas with our friends, Mary Ellen and Steve.  What a glorious silent retreat!  Our first.

Of course, I took photos of the grounds and the chapel.  And, oh, the memories.  I’m still there.


Monday, 5.28.12

Don’t you just love it when you just happen to be at the right place at the right time and you bump into people you haven’t seen in ages?

This past weekend we were in Brownsville again, and both places we went to for staples had an added bonus.  A longtime family friend and former co-worker, Don Yanske, and his friend, Danny, greeted us joyously in the cold cuts section at Walmart.  Then, as we looked for milk at HEB, there was my cousin, Jerry, with his lovely wife, Lucy.  OMG!!!

What a perfect prelude to the following day’s time spent at OLG where we once again had time to visit briefly with Henry, Eduardo, Sister Armida, and Father Acosta.

I love God’s treasures in secret— um, not so secret— places!


Monday, 5.21.12

This past weekend, we attended Saturday evening Mass at one of my favorite churches of all time: Our Lady of Guadalupe in Brownsville, TX.  What a heartfelt connection!

We arrived forty-five minutes early, so I could bask in the beauty of the church where I was baptized.  What a blessing to see families gathered for baptisms and a wedding!  What joy to know that Father Acosta is still there!  Even the young sacristan, Eduardo Nieto, still remembered me after all these years.

I felt so at home that I didn’t want to leave!

Still, it was good to be back here, or I wouldn’t have known that Bob Dixon from the Dominican Shrine in Chicago had written.  He is such a joy to communicate with!


Thursday, 5.3.12

Home, home on the range where the deer and the antelope play….  

Yesterday Loren showed us some of the bison babies born these past two weeks.  Eleven so far.  They’re sooo cute!  More are expected, too.  Then early this morning we left Baldwin for Minneapolis so we could fly back to the heart of TX.  With nearly 1500 digital photos and a whole lot of memories that’ll be shared as soon as I get some rest.

Loren did sing to us, by the way.  Beautiful voice.

We had a terrific time!




Wednesday, 5.2.12

We managed to escape hail, thunderstorms, and possible tornadoes before getting to Baldwin last night; but the thunderstorm caught up to us— finally— when we were safely tucked in for the night.

Today we’ll spend the day with Loren, Dotty, and the five bison babies they can hardly wait to show us.  What fun that will be!

Then we’ll head back to TX early tomorrow.

What a glorious adventure we’ve had!  And, oh, the photos!


Tuesday, 5.1.12

Wow!  We’re back where we started just about.  Baldwin, WI. 

Tomorrow we’ll be visiting Loren and Dotty Smeester who co-own the Silver Bison Ranch.  They have five new bison babies to show us and lots of great stories to share, and I can hardly wait to see them!

For sure I’ll be adding to my 1300 plus photos, too.

And, yes, we had a wonderful time at the St. Joseph’s Indian School today.


Monday, 4.30.12

I’m sitting at the AmericInn in Chamberlain, SD at the moment.  We arrived not quite an hour ago and are eagerly anticipating our tour of the St. Joseph’s Indian School tomorrow.

Yesterday’s visit to St. Pius V on Ashland Avenue in Chicago was phenomenal.  I had no idea that St. Jude’s right forearm is encased at the shrine!

Think of it!  A first-class relic! 



We thoroughly enjoyed 9:15 A.M. Spanish Mass and took LOTS of photos.  915 so far, in fact.

“That’s going to require lots of editing time,” Steven said.

Um, yes.  And I’ve been mentally drafting my post titles in the meantime.


Saturday, 4.28.12

OMG!!!  Today we visited the Father Solanus Casey Center in Detroit.  Like, WOW!!!  Beyond awesome.  Truly memorable.  Best yet, we experienced a very special pilgrimage, thanks to Joseph, our young guide, whose lovely sister also works at the Center.  And we met a sweet young man, Wilson, and his Uncle Jeff, too.  I took LOTS of photos and recorded Joseph’s talk.


Tomorrow we’ll attend Mass at St. Pius V where the Dominican Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus is housed in Chicago.  I can hardly wait to visit with the Holy Infant again.  Then we’ll head to the National Shrine of St. Jude that’s managed by the Claretians.  Happy day redux!


Friday, 4.20.12

Last month, Steven and I participated in separate ACTS retreats and became part of a larger family through St. Paul the Apostle Church.  Daily, my thoughts and prayers are with this wonderful group as each member builds community through service at home, at church, and on the job.  We are truly blessed!

Thank you, Lord, for the brothers and sisters you have given to me.  May we build each other up in faith, in hope, and in your love and compassion! (the Word among us, April 8-May 31, 2012, p. 39).


Wednesday, 4.11.12

Today I received a lovely Easter card from Sister in Australia.  How wonderful to hear from her!  As always, she included an assortment of gifts: a quote by Edith Stein, a lovely ribbon bookmark, and— be still my heart— a vintage postcard of an etched St. Teresa of Avila contemplating the cross she’s holding as she sits at her desk!

There’s no way for Sister to have known that I’ve collected postcards since I was a kid!   What a delightful surprise!


Sunday, 4.8.12

We spent part of the day with Mary Ellen and Steve this Easter.  My treats included taking photos of the icons that Mary Ellen has so beautifully created and the third-class relic she has of Jeanne Chézard de Matel (1596-1670), the foundress of the Incarnate Word (IWBS) Order.



Tuesday, 3.6.12

Again, two unexpected surprises: a lovely letter from Father Ugo Sartorio, director general of Messenger to which I subscribe; and another from Father Primo.

The first was in reference to a letter/request I’d mailed late December; the second, an invitation to submit prayer requests, since Father Primo and forty others will soon make a pilgrimage to Italy and celebrate Mass at St. Anthony’s basilica.

This means, of course, that I now have two more St. Anthony prayer cards to add to my stash.


Monday, 3.5.12

Wow!  First, I received a telephone call from the Dominican Shrine of St. Jude in Chicago in regard to an email I sent last week.  How wonderful to touch base with a place I carry so fervently in my heart.  And how extraordinary to meet someone who knows Father Robert firsthand.

When Steven and I visit in April, I hope to take lots of photos to add to my January 5, 2004 memories of the shrine.

Then, a little later in the day?

Wow redux!  I found an Anthonian treasure trove waiting for me in the mailbox.  Two amazing surprises in one day?!!

Unbelievable.  My Chicken Little heart almost burst!!!


Saturday, 3.3.12

My UH buddy, Paty, and her longtime friend, Becky, dropped by for an impromptu visit on their way back to Brownsville from the Schoenstatt shrine.

Neither had a clue that Port Aransas was even here; so imagine their delight at being asked, “Would you like a tour of the place?”

And, of course, that included taking a peek at the Chapel on the Dunes.


Saturday, 2.11.12

It’s the little things that make me smile.  For instance, as I added St. Peregrine’s widget and edited some posts today, I looked at the St. Joseph widget and thought, I need another photo of St. Joseph.  Then a little while ago, guess what?

I received a St. Joseph prayer card from Franciscan Mission Associates.  Oh, happy day!

This afternoon’s mail also brought another lovely letter from my friend, Dora, who works with the Brownsville school district.  She shared some sad news and enclosed a remembrance card for a teacher— a mutual acquaintance— who died recently.

Nora was such a sweet, lively person!  I’m quite sure she’ll be missed a lot.

If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.  For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.  Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honor.  Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king? Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.  And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.  And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance (Gibran, 1923/1976, pp. 80-81).

I’ll be adding both cards to the prayer cards page.


Sunday, 1.22.12

The third time was the charm for sure.  We saw our friend, Ly Vu, at St. Joseph’s.  We exchanged printed prayers and more after Mass.  Ly was very glad to receive the Infant statue from the Oblate gift shop, and I was very happy for the chalk she shared from the Feast of the Epiphany at St. Louis Church in Austin.

Life’s an Easter egg hunt.  Good things happen all around, but it’s up to us to notice.


Saturday, 1.21.12

Oh, glorious day!  Steven and I visited Stella Maris again and spent time visiting with Father Ralph before five o’clock Mass.  My wish came true when Father Ralph let me hold St. Peregrine’s first-class relic so I could pray for Olivia.


Saturday, 1.14.12

Oh, my gosh!!!  Today’s mail brought two letters, quick responses to my letters sent before New Year’s Eve, 2011.  I was thrilled over the moon, as in joyfully moved to tears, to hear from both Sister at the Flower of Carmel Monastery in Goonellabah, Australia and Father Primo, Franciscan Mission Associates director.  What an immense blessing!!!


Wednesday, 12.7.11

Thanks ever so much, Sam, for St. Anselm’s Desire for the vision of God handout that you gave me after Mass this evening!  I looked online for the link and added it to my “Picturing God” post.

You’re a priceless treasure, Sam.  Everything you touch is golden.  Just like your flourishing mums from October 22.  I guess your ten green thumbs transcend distance and time. 


Wednesday, 11.16.11

Yesterday I lit the St. Anthony candle, and things started to feel good— like something special was going to happen— so this morning I lit the candle again; and, before long, I felt energized.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve managed to go off on sooo many tangents that I’ve worked on everything except the post on St. Thérèse.  But today I actually made some progress.  Until I went in search of photos for the post.

One thing led to another and then— oh, my gosh— I found the ones I’d taken at the Dominican Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus in Chicago, January 5, 2004!

The photos hadn’t been a figment of my imagination after all.  I really had taken them.  I was so excited that I was
laughing and crying at the same time.

How wonderful to finally add them to my “St. Anthony Claret” post.


Tuesday, 11.15.11

This morning I came across the Basilica of Saint Mary’s beautiful scriptural Stations of the Cross.  Oh, my.


Monday, 11.14.11

The Lovely Ning sent me an interesting article from “dear Padre” (Hamrogue, 2011) that relates beautifully to one’s mindset while praying the rosary.

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.


Thursday, 11.3.11

The Lovely Ning outdid herself again; she sent me a really awesome link.

Come, pray the rosary is a true virtual experience that maximizes proactive engagement.

Unlike other rosary sites I’ve visited before, this one is so real and so inclusive that I feel very much a part of the group when I’m there.

Accessibility throughout the day, language settings for either English or Spanish, intentions that can be uploaded in real time, a genuine sense of community, and so much more await us.

Be sure to visit!


Friday, 10.13.11

Oh, my gosh!  What a glorious visit we shared with the gang this past weekend!

Happy 5th anniversary!

Saturday, Junebug and Gary and the Lovely Ning and Sam came over for dinner, so we could celebrate the date when we first met.


October 8, 2006

Why Catholic? was underway for the first time at St. Paul the Apostle in Flour Bluff, so we’d been assigned to meet at Junebug and Gary’s house for the one o’clock Sunday meetings.  Besides the three couples, three others— including Gregoria “Goya” Beatty and Neli-Beli, who joined us the following Sunday— made up our group.

Of the nine, just one member dropped out halfway through that first semester.  The rest of us completed not only the first but also the second year of the program.

Still close

How the three couples have remained close over the past five years is amazingly incredible.

Steven and I returned to our home parish in May 2008, so we hardly ever spend time with the gang and email very little.

Still, we remain in each other’s thoughts and prayers.

When something special’s going on at St. Paul’s, Sam drops by Steven’s office with a note from the Lovely Ning.  Or one of them emails, which is how we found out about the ACTS retreat Mass last month.  Or Gary calls, as he did for Michael’s confirmation.  But what we count on most are the invitations to the annual pilgrim rosaries.

These anniversary and birthday celebrations are hosted in their respective homes: the first Sunday in May by the Lovely Ning and Sam; in September by Junebug and Gary, although theirs was October 2nd this year.

Of course, these festive gatherings include many familiar faces from St. Paul’s as well as newcomers who tag along with mutual friends, so we never know who’ll be there.

The beauty of it all is that everyone always has a wonderful time; but the draw for Steven and me is all about spending time with the gang, especially Neli-Beli who continues to be an integral part of our very special group.

Special weekend for the girls

So, today, fresh from having shared space with our Why Catholic? forever family, I’m thinking of the women’s ACTS retreat that Junebug and the Lovely Ning will attend beginning this evening and ending with eleven o’clock Mass at St. Paul’s this Sunday.

I wish I could’ve been part of their group, but I’ll do the next best thing.  I’ll be with them in spirit as always, and we’ll be there for Sunday Mass to show our support.

Gotta love ’em! 

And thanks for the beautiful flowers, Sam!

P.S.  October 16, 2011

ACTS retreatants at St. Paul’s…




P.P.S.  October 23, 2011

Thanks for the photos, Sam!




Friday, 9.30.11

Oh, happy day!

Well, actually, the last two Sundays were incredibly enriching.


September 16, our niece (Sue) texted Steven; so we decided, on the fly, to leave for Louisiana very early the following morning.

Before turning in for the night, however, Steven looked online for churches in Covington and found three possibilities from which to choose.

Sunday morning, we attended nine o’clock Mass at Most Holy Trinity, since it was closest to where we were staying.  And what an unforgettable experience!

Awesome ambiance.  One vision.  One mission.  Applicable to all.

Everyone we spoke with was truly in synch: extraordinarily welcoming parishioners unfazed by strangers in their midst; the priest, a loving shepherd philosophically attuned to his flock.

Walking back to our vehicle afterwards, Steven and I smilingly agreed that we could easily become part of that church community: Most Holy Trinity not only embraced us but also made us feel we belonged.

Flour Bluff

Then last Saturday morning, after I’d been on the computer for an hour and a half, the Lovely Ning, also an earlier riser that day, emailed at six with an invitation to eleven o’clock Mass at St. Paul’s the following day.

When I told Steven about it, he said, “Sure!”

We love spending time with the gang, so we’re glad whenever we can do it.

Sam, Ning’s hubby; their son, Matthew; and Gary, Junebug’s hubby— all part of our family since October 8, 2006— had been on retreat since Thursday evening, so Father Peter was having a special Mass for the men who’d gone through ACTS that weekend.

The men who filled the seven pews in front of ours were “all pumped up” (Steven’s descriptor), and some of them were in charge of the music.

WOW!!!  What an emotionally charged experience! 

I easily went through two tissues, and Steven was so moved that he borrowed one of my wet ones.


And then it dawned on me.

Two Sundays in a row we were summoned by the Holy Infant of Prague to attend Mass at two different churches devoted to him.

It doesn’t get any better than that!


Tuesday, 9.13.11

I began working on the “Prayer cards” page on August 27; and the more I worked on the page, the more I wanted a St. Jude relic.

Heartfelt request

I receive the Daily Inspiration from the Dominicans in Chicago every afternoon, and Father always previews items from the shrine’s gift shop; so that’s how I happened across their St. Jude relics.

But, in as much as I longed to place an order for one, I kept putting it off.  I knew that I’d be renewing the candle for Acacia-Darling before long, so I figured I’d take care of everything all at once.

I decided that this morning would be the day, but I updated the credits on the “prayer cards” page first.  And then I sorted the cards before putting them away in my treasure box.

But why, when the St. Jude card had been among the first to be added to the page, was it still atop the small stack waiting to be scanned and uploaded?

Lost and found

Reaching for St. Jude’s prayer card, I noticed its shininess.

Hmm.  Why is it laminated?

I noticed the small circle in the bottom right-hand corner.

Why is the white dot there?

I couldn’t really make it out, so I looked closer.

Wish come true

Oh, my gosh!  Oh, my gosh!  There’s a tiny square cloth in the circle!  It’s a relic!!!  OMG!  How could I have had this in my possession all these years and not noticed until now?

More treasure 

Even though I was certain I’d put the St. Jude card away two weeks before, it’d remained on my computer desk.

But why?  How?

It’s all very odd, but why question it?

I now have a St. Jude relic card, and that’s all that matters.


Monday, 6.6.11

Oh, my gosh!!!  I’m in Chicken Little mode.

I checked the church blog stats a bit ago, and the numbers have been rising, rising, rising.

“Father Tito did well yesterday,” I chuckled to Steven.  “Great homily!  Folks who know him must be visiting the blog.”

Then I checked my personal blog: no views today.  Okay, so I know I don’t feed it as often as I do the church blog.  Still, it’s a matter of quality versus quantity.  Sharing thoughts takes time compared to posting photos.

“Let me see what’s new on Father Tito’s blog,” I told Steven.

And that’s when I noticed something incredibly wonderful.

“He added my personal blog to his blogroll.  How great is that!  I’ve got to thank him.”

Okay, okay.  I’m calm now.  That was a very thoughtful gesture.  Like, wow-nice.

Thanks, Padre Tito!


Tuesday, 5.31.11

Today, again, is St. Anthony’s special day; so I decided to share these wonderful links with the gang, Steven, and a longtime buddy.

I love listening to both the hymn and the song so much that I thought they might enjoy them, too.


Saturday, 5.7.11

The Messenger of Saint Anthony came in the mail today.

“Guess what, darling?” I told Steven as I walked in the house.  “This month’s issue has an article on the first USA approved Marian apparition.  It should be an interesting read!”


Thursday, 3.24.11

Sometimes when the ol’ pea brain has too much going on I’m up until three a.m.

Last week, I had a few of those nights; so I reread and read St. Teresa’s book and almost got done with it, too.

Got to page 130 with only nine more to go, but I was really tired.  I knew I’d have to go back and reread ten pages or so ’cause I’d stopped scribbling notes in the margins, and nothing made sense anymore.

I took the book with me to the dentist’s yesterday morning.  Sitting in my favorite spot, I had a tough time quieting the mental noise until Steven went in first and I was alone on the sofa.

There’s something to be said about solitude.  Even if it’s just in littles.

Last week, I was sooo excited to read more of St. Teresa’s book that I couldn’t wait; but my enthusiasm dwindled the closer I got to the end.  Yesterday, though, the messages were clearly there as I revisited my notes and reread some pages.

Talk about one step forward and ten steps back.  I stayed on page 122, eight pages behind.

Still, the selections from The Inner Castle have been worthwhile.


Sunday, 2.20.11

In regard to my burning question regarding the scrutiny someone goes through to become a saint, I experienced another of my need-to-know epiphanies as I was looking for links on sainthood for my “Venerable Julia Navarette” post.

The canonization process did indeed get stricter, as you’ll read in “the process of becoming a saint.”

The find was truly serendipitous.


Saturday, 2.19.11

Talk about being in octopus mode and having oh-sooo many irons in the fire.  For months now, between my sewing and other creative tasks, I’ve been reading off and on about St. Anthony’s miracles and St. Anne.

In search of more

I’ve taken my time with the books to ponder the messages behind the text.  I’ve had St. Anthony’s since October; St. Anne’s, which I received from Mary at UTMSI, since November.


Is it just me, or do St. Anthony’s miracles seem too unreal?  Some are repeated in the book, so that makes me wonder.  Is it that I’m a skeptic or that folks from back when were so gullible that even the most simple happening was a miracle?  Why do I have difficulty accepting some of the accounts?

Having lived through two UH methodologists— Dr. Weber, forever quantitative guru extraordinaire, and Dr. Craig, world-class action researcher, presenter, and awesome professor— I learned (in case the school of hard knocks hadn’t put me through the paces yet) to dig further, look more closely, keep validity and reliability in the forefront, and find something new that adds to the body of knowledge.  So, in reading The book on St. Anthony’s miracles, the ol’ pea brain’s questioned both the message and the messenger even though St. Anthony’s my most favorite saint, the one I dialogue with daily as my best friend.

Finding usefulness and inspiration

Of course, the pondering persisted until one Saturday morning some weeks back when I awoke with more of the same nagging thoughts.

Is it just me who’s thinking this way?  How could that be considered a miracle when religious individuals awaiting sainthood in more recent times have gone through more rigorous scrutiny?  What methods were used?  Were first-person accounts really accurate? 

I made the bed, walked past our many books on various topics among which is a stash on saints and more, and suddenly stopped to look at the titles.  I wasn’t exactly thinking, so I just reached for a small thin blue book whose title I couldn’t see, as it was further back, dwarfed among the taller books on the shelf.

Seeing the book’s title made me chuckle.

What timeliness!

Anthony of Padua – Saint of the People – His Life, Legends, and Popular Devotions, edited by Jack Wintz, OFM was exactly what I needed.

Adding to the reading list

Of course, I added the book to my reading list and then— lo and behold— a couple of weeks ago, on passing the book shelves, another book beckoned as well.

I reached for a book from our Norfolk, VA trip in 2008, and pulled Teresa of AvilaSelections from The Interior Castle. 

Like, why have all these books been hiding until now?  But, as I learned from my Franciscan Crown experience, the timing has to be right; and I need to have asked the burning question.

I’ve surmised that the process of arriving is triggered by the need to know.

Sooo…  When this happens, regardless of my bogged down state with all the posts-in-waiting that the ol’ pea brain’s been percolating, I make a most timely discovery.

Amazing, huh?

Captivating book

Suffice it to say that St. Teresa’s book is wholly engrossing!  Just a few pages in, its rooms reminded me of the levels in Dante’s Inferno.  Quite fascinating.

I’ve been reading the book intermittently, making notes to myself in the margins.  This will certainly enrich my pea brain’s thought processes the second read around.

And then I’ll share my thoughts.


Thursday, 12.9.10

Where has the time gone?!!

I’ve been in octopus mode for quite some time.  November almost passed me by unnoticed, and things aren’t slowing down.  So maybe I should say molasses mode?

Worse yet, my ol’ pea brain is sooo full that my head feels heavier than the rest of me.

“Oh, nooooo,” to quote Mr. Bill (from Saturday Night Live).

I’ve been carrying around five, six posts— two already in draft— and I’m going to explode anytime soon!  Maybe my pumpkin brain will make a good pie if it does.

Mom always did call us (me) “calabaza!!!”— exclamation points for emphasis— when we (make that I) did the unthinkable or the unpredicted.


Need I clarify that this was her perspective alone?

Anyway, here’s to getting it all down (or letting it all hang out) soon.


Wednesday, 12.1.10

On Monday, I found a thought-provoking comment awaiting moderation on the dashboard.

“Reality is the playground of the unimaginative,” the yoga.com person had written.

And how does this relate to the “Lenten prayers” post? I wondered.

I shared the comment with Steven, who emailed back.

Fine, and I think I understand what she means.  Lack of dreams, imagination, or conceptualization is boring, has no personality.

However, the real world lives in reality, the land of mortgages and bills and due dates and commitments and kids needing to be fed and the homeless and the service personnel fighting for us overseas.  Too many people live in fantasy worlds and are insufficiently grounded in reality.  The ability to move between reality and the many worlds of the imagination situationally is the key to building a dream and executing it.

Otherwise, one is either a dullard or lost in space.

Jesus pointed this out.  “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and render unto God what is God’s.”  Balance in all things.  We may go to Mass to fill our spiritual yearnings, but the collection plate brings reality home.

So, post it if you’d like, but maybe you should post this as well…?

I’d already deleted the comment, so I told Steven I’d post his message here instead.

Hmm, food for thought.  Absolutely.  It’ll go on “Words to ponder” since I place personal thoughts there that go off on different tangents.  Thanks!


Thursday, 10.21.10

What a great day Saturday was!

Town’s festivities

Port Aransas celebrated its centennial and hosted lots of fun, worthwhile activities, including a parade with Marcy Thomas as its Grand Marshall.


Sarah and Wallace Wright, owners of the old St. Joseph Mission since 1967, graciously hosted an Open House at which Steven— along with two other fellow KC Knights, Joe Bream and Carlos Cardenas— conducted tours.

Like, wow! 

In retrospect

I’d only heard about the old mission during the TX Tropical Trail Region meeting in Port Aransas, May 2009, when, thanks to Marcy, her brother, and a friend, we boarded a small bus and toured Old Town.  We passed by the old St. Joseph Mission, and Marcy shared her stories, of course.

I did listen, mind you.  But, since we’d be entering the Chapel on the Dunes, I was otherwise distracted with thoughts about the place.

That’s not to say I wasn’t curious about the mission.  I was intrigued and would’ve liked to have returned on my own to take photos, but I just didn’t know where it was.

Ridiculous as this may sound, considering that Port Aransas is a small town of about 3400 and that I’ve lived here five years, I’m still unfamiliar with streets and places.  My pea brain hasn’t had to make connections ’cause I’ve been in passenger mode most of the time.

Incredibly, I used to drive back and forth… looking for the post office and/or Dr. Nowotny’s office, passing them up a bunch of times before finding them, even though both were less than ten minutes straight down from us on Hwy 361.  (And I’m spatially gifted?!!) 

Wishful thinking 

Suffice it to say, I waited a long time to see the old mission a second time, so I was thrilled when Steven finally drove me there after church, June 12th.

Wow!!!  I oohed and ahhed as I took a dozen photos from the vehicle.  I wanted sooo badly to enter and explore the place that I couldn’t stop thinking about it!

Then, about a month or so later, Steven told me about the town’s centennial festivities scheduled for October 16th.  He, as a Knight of Columbus, would be giving tours at the old mission that day.  What an awesome opportunity we’d have to enter, enjoy, and imagine what the old mission was like between 1921 and 1963!

The old mission

That Saturday, I was thrilled to fulfill my wish with countless others— some who’d been part of the mission until it closed, some who’d always been curious about it.

Thankfully, too, I now know how to find my way back there.  The old St. Joseph Mission is right behind the museum on Hwy 361 (Alister, the town’s main street).

St. Joseph’s history

The old mission closed when St. Joseph Church on Lantana St. was dedicated; the latter, demolished after our present church was dedicated, February 22, 2009.  Photos of the old church can be found in the “Library” of our church blog.  Moreover, if you go to the “SJC” page and click on Old bell, you’ll see a photo of both the former and the present churches, side by side.

And, if you’re interested in seeing the old mission photos we took the day of the centennial, check out the newly added “SJM” page on our church blog, which can be accessed by clicking either the widgetized photo of the old mission on the right sidebar or SJM under the pages section on the left sidebar.  (FYI: Once folks get used to looking under pages in the left sidebar, the widget will be retired.)



Wednesday, 10.7.10

I’ve been alternating between octopus mode and squawking chicken mode for months now, but it’s been especially true since the ol’ pea brain began percolating another “labor of love,” as Steven calls it, since the first week of April.

This new project began as an idea the afternoon I met a precious (precocious) little boy the day before his first birthday.  John was being happily entertained by a white hand balloon when I decided that, yes indeed, I’d make three very special, mostly sewn-by-hand puppets just for him.  Not the regular kind, mind you, as mine are truly unique.

I originally created the prototype for our #1 son, William, when he was just a year old.  He has a six-month-old son of his own now; but back when, a lifetime ago, William was thoroughly fascinated with buttons.  Yep.  Buttons.  All sizes, shapes, and colors.  William salivated at the sight of buttons and loved to chew on them.  So that’s how Mr. Buttons Person came about; and now, eons since then, I’m finishing up Buttons Person number seven, the third of three, for a delightful bundle of sunshine.

Sooo, with my baking, beading, sewing, and creating all sorts of stuff, it’s easy to understand why I sometimes take a long time to post ideas that’ve been taking up space in the ol’ pea brain.  And, oh, how the plants on the porches have suffered from neglect, too.  Some of them are even a crunchy-looking brown.  Thank goodness some are way hearty all on their own; but, just in case they’re not, I’m watering them tomorrow.


Saturday, 2.6.10

Gosh, I’ve really missed my blog, but our church blog has kept me in octopus mode.  Recently, I shared space with a couple of very engaging, thought-provoking women while waiting at the Toyota place a couple of weeks back; so my pea brain’s been processing that daily.  I’ve written in my journal, but it’s just not the same.  It’ll be good to share.


Friday, 1.22.10

The next part of my dream for St. Joseph Church online has materialized!

On January 4th, our files began their move to our WordPress blog, which is just about complete.

The really nice difference between a website and a blog is that the latter is much more interactive.  For instance, you can comment, as Mary Ellen and Jay did, and get my response.  But wouldn’t it be great to build community by commenting on each other’s comments?  Tres cool.

The best— and last— part is knowing that I’ll soon be uploading Fr. Xaviour’s audio homilies onto SJC’s “messages” page.  This has been the driving force behind my ideas for, first, the website and, now, the blog.  I started recording in October, and I’ve thought of little else.  It’s a biggie to be able to share Fr. Xaviour’s words to ponder, so I need to decide on the size of the space upgrade in the next few days. 

Overall, I’m really excited about St. Joseph’s new blog for lots of reasons.  Viewing document sized photos by merely clicking on their thumbnails is terrific, and the length of the pages?  Ooh-la-lah!  I could go on and on and on, but why not take a look for yourself?

There’s a page on St. Joseph, too— better than before— with lots of interesting links to browse, including a recipe for making zeppole for his feast day in March.  Yum.

And don’t forget the three web links pages!

Sooo.  Check out the church blog and see what you think.


Sunday, 10.4.09

Last December I started taking notes during Mass.  It’s something I used to do back home.  Only I’d write on the palms of my hands, since I didn’t take paper with me to church, and the bulletin was handed out after Mass.  

Oftentimes I’d wash my hands before realizing that— uh-oh— I erased my notes.  Other times, I’d transcribe onto my quotes page on the computer desktop or my journal.  Not here, though.  I go prepared with a pad and an extra pen.  I figure that, if folks can’t listen in person— we have lots of winter Texans and visitors throughout the year— they might want to read Fr. Xaviour’s message instead.  So this is how the “messages” (from the pulpit) originated on our church website.

Since the dedication of our new church building on February twenty-second, we’ve had several guest homilists, including Margot Ortega-Coco, whom Fr. Deane invited to speak in his place.  I was really impressed with Margot’s inspirational story, but I was blown away when she graciously agreed to give Steven her typewritten essay for me to post on our church website.  That was really nice.

From the start, my goal has been to post audios of the homilies, which some folks may find more captivating than the written word; but it’s taken a while to decide on the means to do that, since I faced two dilemmas: First, I needed a user-friendly recording device; and, second, our webhosting site doesn’t allow file uploads larger than five megabytes.

Steven and I problem solved until about three weeks ago.  He found a great little techno-gadget, a SansaFuze (SF), which arrived October second, perfect for Sunday’s first run.

Using only my instincts, I tested it Saturday night and learned how to turn it on and— hmm— maybe off.  I also experimented with recording and setting the volume.

Sunday morning at nine o’clock Mass, I turned on the SF right before Fr. Xaviour’s gospel reading and successfully turned it off.  Amazing, although, yes, it can do that on its own, too.

On getting home, I set the SF on my computer desk and finally made time to download its user manual from the company’s website ’cause something that cute has to be used.  Considering that it’s smaller than a credit card and only as thick as eight, the SF is quite versatile; but I still need my Coolpix to take photos.

I uploaded Sunday’s homily onto the desktop, but the ol’ pea brain was percolating another dilemma.  I couldn’t upload the wav file onto our website, so I had to come up with a plan.

I can now transcribe the homily verbatim since I can play the SF over and over till I get every last word.  Better yet I can upload the audio homilies onto my blog, make this page their central location, and place a link to here from the site library page on the church website!

© Deli Lanoux, Ed.D. and Shared thoughts…, 2008.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.  Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Deli Lanoux, Ed.D. and Shared thoughts… with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

2 Responses

  1. You are such an inspiration to me and your shared thoughts help me so much. Finally found a statue of the Holy Infant through my brother who is a monk at St Leo Abbey in St Leo, FL. He is sending the statue to me so will have the statue soon.

    Miss you and your sweet smile and your encouragement.

    • How exciting! Your very own Infant? Oh, my gosh!

      Do you know that I, too, had a very difficult time getting mine?

      Every Sunday I spent time with the Infant at Sacred Heart Church until, lo and behold, he made it possible for Segy and me to visit the original at Our Lady of Victory in Prague. Wow!

      And, in three years time, I received a family heirloom that I’d never known existed! How amazing, right?

      So I’m beyond thrilled that your sweet, thoughtful brother has found an Infant for you. How special is that?!

      I hope you’ll send me a photo.

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