Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mother Teresa's "Revolution of Love"

I just finished reading "Love: The Saint and the Seeker" by Christina Stevens in which filmmaker Stevens shares the story behind how this video was made. The miracles that took place in order for this video to happen are truly amazing (I'm not recommending the book, however, because it is very New Age oriented). Still, this video is well-worth watching, and I'm glad that I was introduced to it. I hope you enjoy it, too:


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Grace of Yes - The Next CatholicMom.com Book Club

The Grace of Yes is the latest (and, might I add wonderful!) book by Lisa Hendey of CatholicMom.com. The next book club on that site will feature her book and will begin on November 8th, so pick up your copy today: The Grace of Yes: Eight Virtues for Generous Living and plan to join the conversation!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Catholic Mirror Reports on 2015 The Year for Consecrated Life

Pope Francis has announced that consecrated life is to be the Church's focus for 2015 (The Church year begins on the 1st Sunday of Advent - November 21, 2014). The October Issue of The Catholic Mirror (the Diocesan Magazine of Springfield, MA) is filled with inspiring stories of vocations and religious life.  I invite you to take a look:

The Catholic Mirror - October 2014


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Book Review: Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati: Journey to the Summit (Encounter the Saints)

by Ana Maria Vazquez and Jennings Dean
Boston: Daughters of St. Paul, 2004

One of the great joys of homeschooling is learning right along with your children. This past quarter, we have been reading "Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati: Journey to the Summit" by Ana Maria Vazquez and Jennings Dean. Part of the Encounter the Saints Series published by Pauline Media, this particular book featured a saint I had never heard of. It is always a pleasure to be introduced to one of heaven's residents and this book was a true delight.

Pier Giorgio Frassati lived only twenty-four years, from 1901 - 1925, but he packed a lifetime of work and service into that short period on earth. Born into a wealthy Italian family, he was expected his father's footsteps as owner and editor of one of Italy's leading newspapers. Instead, he chose to forge his own path, and while excelling at sports and applying himself to his studies, focused on living a life of service to others. Even as a teen, he gave generously to the poor and chose to keep his good deeds secret. He became a third-order Dominican.

He died from polio and, much to his parents' surprise, hundreds of people they didn't know mourned his passing. Everyone seemed to have a story about Pier's generosity. He was beatified in 1990.

This book is designed for young people, but as an adult, I enjoyed it just as much as my children did. Blessed Pier Giorgio is an inspiring role model for teenage boys.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mary's Meals - Providing Food to Children Around the World

Feeding the hungry is one of our corporal works of mercy. While I always advocate feeding those near to us via donations to a local food bank, it is truly amazing how far our money can go to help feed those in other parts of the world. Mary's Meals is an organization that works to feed children throughout the world. It costs Mary's Meals $19.50 to feed one child for an entire school year. Think about that - what we Americans pay for an inexpensive meal at a restaurant can feed a child for a whole year!

Please consider making a donation and help feed our young brothers and sisters throughout the world. Find out more or donate at: http://www.marysmealsusa.org/

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Novena Prayer to St. Jude

St. Jude's feast day is October 28th and each year my parish offers a St. Jude Novena of Masses. This year it starts tomorrow (Monday, October 28th). St. Jude is known as the patron saint of desperate cases. If you have a special intention to pray for, I invite you to join us in prayer:

O God. the Apostle, Saint Jude Thaddeus was a faithful servant and friend of your Son and Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Your Church honors him and invokes his intercession universally as the patron of those in difficulty who have found no other help. Grant that through St. Jude's intercession we may know your will for us, have the strength to do it, and enjoy the consolation of your Holy Spirit, as well as your blessings in time and in eternity.

Heavenly Father, may St. Jude intercede for us in all our necessities, tribulations and sufferings particularly (here make your needs known.) With him and with all the saints may we praise You with Your Son and Holy Spirit forever. Amen.

St. Jude Thaddeus; pray for us and for all who invoke your aid.

Book Review: Seven Saints for Seven Virtues



Seven Saints for Seven Virtues
by Jean Heimann
Cincinnati: Servant Books, 2014

In our modern world, it can be extremely challenging to live a virtuous life. “The concept of virtue is often considered outdated and old-fashioned, but for Catholics, becoming virtuous is essential for eternal salvation.” What, then, can we do? Thankfully, we have saints we can look to as role models in virtue as we journey through the difficulties of life.

Put simply, “virtue is the pursuit of good and the avoidance of evil.” Traditionally, there are seven principal sins with seven virtues that oppose them: greed – charity, lust- chastity, sloth – diligence, pride-humilty, envy-kindness, anger-patience, and gluttony-patience. In Seven Saints for Seven Virtues, Jean Heimann offers the example of seven well-known saints as well as lesser-known examples of people living holy lives in order to help readers grow in these essential virtues. 

The saints profiled include Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta (charity), St. Agnes (chastity), Pope St. John Paul II (diligence), St. Joseph (humility), St. Catherine of Siena (kindness), St. Monica (patience), and St. Augustine (temperance). Each chapter includes a brief biography of one of these saints, explaining how he or she practiced the selected virtue. Heimann then offers the profile of someone not canonized who also exemplifies that virtue.  She also provides suggestions on how to put the selected virtue into practice in our daily lives. 

What is to be gained by our increasing in virtue? Everything. “Putting the virtues into practice helps us avoid sin. The heavenly virtues help us to overcome the cardinal sins in our lives, to which we tend to cling like superglue.” 

Seven Saints for Seven Virtues is designed to show that all of us are capable of living virtuous lives, provided we are willing to work at it and follow the saints’ holy example. While this book would be helpful for anyone seeking to grow in holiness, it would be especially useful for teens and young adults as they are forming their adult character and choosing how they will live. It is a practical, encouraging book that has the power to change lives.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Dysgraphia : How Can You Help Your Child?

Dysgraphia causes difficulty in writing (the act of getting thoughts onto the paper), handwriting (legibility) and spelling, and both of my boys have it (those on the Autism spectrum and those with ADD or ADHD can be especially prone to having it, although it is not limited to those two groups). I've done enough research on the topic to write a doctoral dissertation in an effort to help my children be at least functional writers.

This article is from All About Spelling and includes a plug for their products, but it also provides a very clear roadmap for how to help: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/dysgraphia/

As far as my own efforts go, last year and this year we have used products from the Institute for Excellence in Writing for the writing process component. This year, we are using the Handwriting Without Tears App to help with letter formation and All About Spelling (starting with Level 1) to work on spelling.

I'm pleased with these products and the incremental progress we are making, but I honestly feel that even if I had these products a few years ago, it wouldn't have helped at that point. At that stage, almost every encounter with writing ended with a meltdown. At 11 and 13, both their brains and their personalities have matured. While they still complain about it on occasion and struggle with the process, they can recognize the value in learning how to write and spell.